Recently, the girls (7 months and nearly 4) and I took the Light Rail to Hoboken. It was a chilly Sunday morning, Dad had to go to the office, and we needed a change of scene.

When we moved here 2 and a half years ago, I had never heard of Jersey City, but I knew all about Hoboken (or so I thought): a great music scene, a really cool place to live in New Jersey (if “cool” and “New Jersey” can be put together). I wanted to live in Brooklyn. But then we looked at the apartments. Yes, we could afford Brooklyn—but not the Brooklyn of our dreams. The Brooklyn we could afford was across the street from a prison or a twenty-minute uphill walk to the first of three subways to my job in midtown. And daycare was going to cost triple what we had been paying. So, reluctantly, I agreed to look at some apartments my husband had seen on craigslist in Jersey City.

Now, we’re here. But the romance of Hoboken lingers. We don’t really like the city, which seems like a fine place to be single or newly married. But the name! Hoboken. Hoboken! What a great word. To walk along Frank Sinatra Drive in Hoboken and look across the Hudson River at the Manhattan skyline, well, it’s enough to make you burst into song. Instead of giving the three syllables more or less equal emphasis, my daughter used to really play with it, talking about Ho-BO-ken. We went there once in our first fall here and she got a hat. Her Ho-BO-ken hat. We did not go back until the other weekend.

So, there we are, on the light rail, listening to that soothing voice (the same woman’s voice on those between-terminal airport trams): “Harsimus Cove. This stop is Harsimus Cove. The next stop is Pavonia/Newport.” Oh, how my daughter lit up at the announcement of “Hoboken Terminal.” Such is the magic of a pretty name.

You can imagine, then, that our stop’s name left her a little crestfallen: “Jersey Avenue.” Not a lot of poetry there. The Jersey Avenue stop in Jersey, City, New Jersey. I don’t remember a place I’ve loved to live more, but the name does leave something to be desired.