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Can The Cake Boss Save Hoboken's Economy?


Reality TV star is town's biggest sensation.

It's been a long, hot media summer where I live in the mile-square city of Hoboken, which has an economic health closely linked to that of Manhattan.

First, an alleged bribery scandal at the Malibu Diner unseated a mayor of one month, who in true Hudson County fashion picked up $12,904.04 for his 31 days, including $4,254.46 for unused vacation time.

Next, Sinatra Park was swarmed by cameras after a small plane and commuter helicopter collided beside the riverside soccer field, scattering debris in their wake before sinking tragically into the Hudson River.

The city's first hotel, the new W Hotel (HOT), drew a small coterie of celebs to its low-key opening.

But by far, what's got the locals really buzzing are the lines at Carlo's Bake Shop across the street from City Hall on Washington Street. That's the home of Buddy Valastro, Jr., aka the Cake Boss.

With one season in the can and another set to start filming, Cake Boss on TLC (DISCA) has turned this already-renowned specialty cake baker into a bonafide tourist draw. On many days, the line of people who show up to see Buddy and the stars of his real-life Italian family drama in the flesh are out the door and snake around the block.

Kate Hahn Kaiser, a friend who's trying to get in all she can before moving with her kids to China for a year, groused on Facebook this week about the situation:

"I want an express 'I knew about Hoboken's Carlos Bakery before the TV Show' line, to enable my kids and I (and any other regulars) to slip in for the casual cannoli craving fix or the spontaneous gotta-have-it-now mousse mania moment … I think that's fair, the new lines out their door are unfair (to me)!"

I get all my cakes at Carlo's. (They know how to use butter.) But I haven't been in since the show took off. So I checked out the scene myself one morning this week to see what changes had been made.
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