When we were kids in the 1970s our dad brought us out to lunch at the Rum Runner restaurant in Sea Bright on Christmas Eve Day. The Gagliano Family hosted the big Christmas Eve Dinner, so dad took us out to give mom a respite. We were a bit of a handful in those days.

Every year the proprietor, Nicky Egidio, would greet us at the door and cry, “Great news kids! Santa Claus is in Hoboken!”

We would all giggle – Nicky’s enthusiasm was infectious. Plus, we had no idea what or where Hoboken was.

I shudder to think what Santa Claus in Hoboken would be like today. He would probably be all caught up in hipster culture, working at a cooler-than-Starbucks coffee shop [“each coffee bean is individually swaddled like a newborn baby to de-stress the picking process”] wearing his red pants capri-style, with a buttoned-up red flannel shirt and fuzzy white porkchop sideburns. Wearing his red cap ironically.

The last several years have been good to Hoboken. In the late 1970s it looked like a lost cause.

So I ask you: if Hoboken, why not Camden? No matter how dark things appear, there is always hope.

Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all. See you in 2015!

– Bob Gagliano

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