Portraits of Mom & Pop Store Owners and Workers in Hoboken, NJ

John-Delaney photography

Hoboken Originals explores the survivors of a neighborhood in transition. Through the eyes of the old establishment family business owners and workers, I aim to better understand what defines a neighborhoods identity or uniqueness.

With these portraits I aim to reflect and celebrate a community’s distinct character. Hoboken, New Jersey charmed me when I first moved here in the winter of 2007. Sitting in the shadow of Manhattan, Hoboken is only a mile square and has a long and proud history. I grew particularly fond of the old Mom & Pop shops that I encountered. Many of these establishments have existed for generations and within their walls I found a quiet contemplation of a cherished history.

Hoboken’s older family businesses are succumbing to the changing economy and are closing their doors. They are inevitably being replaced by the ever ubiquitous national chain store.

A recurring theme of my photography is the effort to record what is vanishing from our collective memory – a way of living, a tradition, or trade. I try to capture the fleeting present so that we can honor that which is deeply rooted in our past. —John Delaney

New York photographer John Delaney worked closely with Richard Avedon as an assistant and then as his personal fine art B&W printer for 15 years. He was also the printer for Irving Penn, Bruce Davidson and Annie Leibovitz. In 2012 Delaney received his Masters in Digital Photography at the School of Visual Arts and his work has been exhibited internationally.

John-Delaney photography

John-Delaney photography

John-Delaney photography

John-Delaney photography

John-Delaney photography

John-Delaney photography

John-Delaney photography

John-Delaney photography

  • Scott

    These are simply wonderful! Where’s the book?

    – Scott

  • Tus
  • Jack Silbert

    Excellent photos but was disappointed to not see captions here or on the photographer’s site. If we’re supporting the Mom & Pop places, might we want to mention them and maybe drive a little business their way? (Schnackenberg’s, in the final photo, is currently handing over family management after 81 years.)

  • John Delaney

    Jack – Your point is well taken. This project is still ongoing and I will very soon be adding captions to all the subjects. And exhibition is scheduled at the Hoboken Historical Museum next year. I’m hoping this work will bring a needed influx of business.
    Tus – August Sanders is an obvious inspiration for this project. Love his work.
    Penn’s Trade work is also influential.
    Scott- A book will happen. Next year when the work is complete.

  • Laurie Petersen


    These are beautiful photographs. Would love to bring you on one of my future walking tours. We’re on a similar journey.


  • A Man A Beard A Camera

    Great photos John…and an awesome project. Like Jack said below, I’d like to read about your characters and get to know them. This will really top-off your project.

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