It was easy to feel the New Jersey pride during Saturday night’s Hoboken Relief Fund Gala. Escaping to the warmth of the W Hotel, Hoboken-natives, community leaders and Manhattanites alike braved the winter weather to come out to celebrate Hoboken and continue to raise funds for the Relief Fund’s efforts to rebuild Hoboken post-Hurricane Sandy.
The night kicked off with a bang: sweet jazz tunes from Robert Lawrence Orchestra engulfed the room while guests mingled, and dined on some of Hoboken’s favorite eats including Sushi Lounge and Fig & Olive. The Brownstone, owned by stars of Bravo’s Real Housewives of NJ, the Manzo Family, also catered the event. The Manzo’s were also in attendance. Mom, Caroline along with Hoboken’s favorite sons Chris and Albie and daughter Lauren stayed throughout the night to meet guests and show their support for Hoboken. As Caroline explained she couldn’t allow her sons who live in Hoboken to have all the fun. “I was visiting Chris and Albie so often I decided to get my own place in Hoboken. I realize I’m liking this area so much I stay here a couple times a week.
The Manzo family wasn’t the only NJ-celeb in attendance. Buddy Valastro, star of TLC’s Cake Boss served as the gala’s honorary host. Buddy who owns Hoboken’s Carlos Bakery gave attendees a rousing speech, focusing on how far Hoboken has come in the last decades. “Back in the 80s and 90s a lot of people didn’t think this city would make it, they didn’t want to give us a chance but look at Hoboken now!” Buddy bellowed. The Cake Boss, who’s show airs in over 180 countries also made a special cake for the gala, showcasing Hoboken’s history and rise to the great city that it is today. The cake was later auctioned off to one bidder with an extreme sweet tooth for $4,000.
My favorite part of the night was listening to the unique sounds of rockstar pianist ELEW. ELEW had a short stint on America’s Got Talent before Josh Groban invited him to play on his tour. Throughout the night ELEW wowed the crowed by his speedy fingers and rock star take on the classical instrument. Playing everything from Coldplay to Nirvana, ELEW was anything but background piano noise.
The live and silent auction, good food and flowing wine was enough to keep guests happy but what I enjoyed most was hearing about Hoboken’s history. I admit I can count the amount of times I’ve ventured on the Path on one hand but I welcomed the opportunity to learn more about Hoboken, home of baseball and Frank Sinatra. It was a great night with wonderful company and has made me want to cross the great Hudson and explore this city.
The Rebuild Hoboken Relief Fund was formed in partnership with Mayor of Hoboken, Dawn Zimmer and the City of Hoboken to aid residents, businesses and local charities in their recovery from losses incurred as a result of Hurricane Sandy. It is the central fundraising entity responsible for the local rebuilding effort. To learn more about the Fund visit their website.