Home Culture 13 TV Shows That Have Referenced Hoboken

13 TV Shows That Have Referenced Hoboken

by Sarah Griesbach
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Without a doubt, it is Cake Boss that comes to mind when thinking Hoboken on national (and international) television. Local pride in Carlo’s Bakery was part of the show’s recipe for success from the beginning, but this show’s followers spanned the globe, drawing sweet pilgrimages to Carlo’s from distances as far as Japan and Egypt. But every Hobokenite knows there’s plenty more to share when it comes to showing off the Mile Square. From restaurants to NYC skyline views to amazing architecture, there are plenty of reasons to choose Hoboken for all kinds of shows. Read on to learn about other hometown favorites making their silver screen debuts.

tv show references hoboken

Better Call Saul

Some Hoboken name drops are less honorable mentions, like Better Call Saul’s description of the “Hoboken Squat Cobbler” as a sexual fetish (Season 2, Episode 2). If disappointed in that association, Hobokenites might feel some relief knowing that Hoboken was not and will not be attached to any infamy surrounding the beloved series Jersey Shore, as the program was banned from production within the Mile Square.

Cake Boss

buddy Cake Boss

(Photo credit: @buddyvalastro)

Fans got to know the whole Valastro family, rooting for Buddy’s fast recovery from hernia surgery and cheering his brother Mauro’s first assignment – making a second-anniversary cake for a gay couple (Season 4, Episode 12), who previously had their wedding cake made by Buddy (Season 1, Episode 4). There was nail-biting as Buddy’s wife, Lisa, approached her due date (Season 0, Episode 6). But viewers tuned in and kept the series going for over a decade because of the wildly inspired themed cakes like the out-of-this-world design for Liberty Science Center’s planetarium (Season 2, Episode 7) and the 40th anniversary of Sesame Street cake (Season 2, Episode 14). Awe at those frosted masterpieces, created to celebrate life, brought precocious kid chefs and their parents, couples, and college roommates together as few things can.

Carnival Eats

The Cooking Channel’s Carnival Eats introduced viewers to the Hoboken Fat Boy, an overstuffed hero made with fried chicken tenders, fried ravioli, and lots of mozzarella. The foot-long sub, made with bread from Hoboken’s famed Antique Bakery, is so large as to require the use of a fork and knife. Carnival Eats’ Canadian host Noah Cappe gave it a thumbs-up but suggested eating the monster meal while sitting down (Season 4, Episode 19).

Dream Street

Though not nearly as long-running as Cake Boss, there was one other TV series to be filmed entirely in Hoboken. In 1989, following their success creating Thirtysomething, producers Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz brought Dream Street to NBC. The dramatic series centered on the Debeau family and their small refrigeration business around which several sibling conflicts centered. Garnering less than stellar reviews, Dream Street lasted only one season.

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Hoboken’s Leased

The team behind Hoboken’s Leased put out a series pilot episode in May of 2020 in which Roman (Marco Torriano) is a musician trying to be a real estate agent in the cutthroat Hoboken apartment market. The hurdles he’s up against aren’t pretty, though the city sure is.

House Hunters

In HGTV’s House Hunters, an Australian couple searched for and found a lovely, spacious Hoboken home. Real estate agent Alena Ciccarelli helped her clients explore the 2016 Jersey City and Hoboken housing market before they settled on The One. Locals will be particularly impressed that the family ended up closing on a house that included a bit of yard for their daughter to play in. (Season 112, Episode 13).

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Hoboken has stayed mostly outside the many small-screen depictions of New Jersey crime and corruption tropes. New York City crime shows don’t typically include a ferry ride across the Hudson either. However, in 2002, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit provided ample views of the Lackawanna Hoboken Train Station to make it easily recognizable by local viewers. (Season 3, Episode18).

Man v Food

Hoboken eats and treats have appeared in a few television programs. On Man v Food, food adventurer Casey Webb found the fare in Hoboken Hot! Hot! Hot! Fiore’s House of Quality and O’Bagel were highlighted for their featured fare but top billing in this episode went to Tony Boloney’s Seven Deadly Rings Challenge, where diners consume a slice of pizza topped with chicken tenders stacked in the order of their increasingly painful to consume spicy heat (Season 4, Episode 3).

Sell This House

The trials and tribulations of finding a home in Hoboken have made a few noteworthy TV appearances. On Sell This House, siblings Nancy and Bill Harkins staged their four-bedroom condo to sell in a now-distant 2004 real estate market. Almost two decades later, it’s difficult to imagine that a bit of clutter and mismatched furniture could once stop a deal on a Hoboken home (Season 2, Episode 21).

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The Sopranos

The Sopranos took place in enough nearby locales that the series deserves honorable mention in this list. Of the Sopranos episodes that feature Hoboken’s near neighbor, Kearny, one takes place in a fictional diner, while the other uses the (now sadly closed) iconic Skyway Diner (Season 2, Episode 21). Other episodes throughout the show’s duration placed the crime family at Satriale’s, a fictional pork store taken over by Johnny Soprano, that was, in actuality, an abandoned building now demolished. Jersey City’s St. Patrick’s Church was a Sopranos staple, and the iconic giant carpet-holding Muffler Man that stands before Wilson’s Carpet and Furniture underneath the Pulaski Skyway was part of the opening theme to the television drama.

The Twilight Zone

In 1960, The Twilight Zone’s Rod Serling spoke the opening narration: “What you’re looking at is a ghost, once alive but now deceased. Once upon a time, it was a baseball stadium that housed a major league ball club known as the Hoboken Zephyrs. Now it houses nothing but memories and a wind that stirs in the high grass of what was once an outfield, a wind that sometimes bears a faint, ghostly resemblance to the roar of a crowd that once sat here. We’re back in time now, when the Hoboken Zephyrs were still a part of the National League, and this mausoleum of memories was an honest-to-Pete stadium. But since this is strictly a story of make-believe, it has to start this way: once upon a time, in Hoboken, New Jersey, it was tryout day. And though he’s not yet on the field, you’re about to meet a most unusual fella, a left-handed pitcher named Casey.” The down-on-its-luck baseball team employs a robot named Casey, who pitches unhittable fastballs. From there follows an AI existential quandary (Season 1 Episode 35).

Veep

Hoboken was given the ugly stepsister treatment to New York City on Veep when ex-President Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) moves into a stunning NYC brownstone while Former White House staff member Gary Walsh (Tony Hale) is revealed to have moved to Hoboken as a sacrifice to his employer and idol. Walsh shares an apartment with three roommates in Hoboken ostensibly because he can’t afford to live in New York, but is determined to be close enough to Meyer to make her early morning tea (Season 6, Episode 4).

The Watchmen

Perhaps the coolest Hoboken TV moment happened when a giant squid emerged over the Manhattan skyline as seen from Washington Street, between Brown Street and West Court Square, in The Watchmen. It’s not just a giant squid, but a giant psychic squid that kills millions of people with his psychic shockwave. Whoah, right? The DC Comics graphic novel-inspired scene takes place at a street fair in Hoboken in 1985. (Season 1, Episode 5).

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