Why Does NY Look Down on NJ


That New Jersey State of Mind Is Richly Deserved

If you're in the contracting business in this country, you're suspect.
 If you're in the contracting business in New Jersey, you're indictable.
If you're in the contracting business in New Jersey and are Italian, you're convicted.

- Raymond J Donovan

by Craig Wilson

Who would have thunk it?

New Jersey, rich fodder for late-night comedians throughout the ages, is having the last laugh.  It's the Number 1 state in median household income, the Census Bureau reported this week.  Coming in second this time around was perennial winner Connecticut.

Now, I've been to New Jersey, and New Jersey, you're no Connecticut.  Which might be your charm.

As a native New Yorker, albeit an upstate New Yorker, I was always taught to look down on New Jersey.  It was what you did as a true New Yorker, and to be honest, it wasn't that hard.  You only had to journey across the Hudson to immediately realise you were in a different state, not only geographically but mentally.  One thing was for sure: it wasn't Fifth Avenue.  Which also might be its charm.

As I grew older and my circle of friends grew wider, I began to realise that many of my best friends were from New Jersey.  Liz Hood, a pal for 25 years, came from the Oranges.  I can't remember which.  East or West.  Doesn't matter, although I think it might to those who live there.  Liz has a great laugh and sings in a group with two other women, one also from New Jersey.  Its repertoire includes an original song called My Garden State, which ends with the line "I want to live and die in dear old Jersey, along the blue Atlantic shore."

Say what you will about the state, its people are loyal.  And any place that looks like a nuclear wasteland in spots and still has the chutzpah to put "Garden State" on its license plate has to be admired.  Talk about spin.

What I like most about New Jersey is that it has a distinctive personality, unlike so much of America today, New Jersey isn't bland.  There's always a politician being investigated, a good Italian restaurant nearby and, of course, there's the shore.  No one goes to the beach.  You go to the shore in New Jersey.

My partner, Jack, is a Jersey boy, born and raised in Trenton.  Proud of it, too.  "Trenton Makes/The World Takes."  It says so right there on the bridge.  He's so secure, he always admits not only to New Jersey, but Trenton, when people ask where he grew up.  It's never nearby Lawrenceville.  Never Princeton.  Never even West Trenton.  Just Trenton.

Kathy O'Brien, a columnist for The Star-Ledger in Newark, is another old friend and a longtime Jersey girl.  She plays her cello in the local symphony, is raising her daughter on New Jersey air and has no plans to leave any time soon.  Years ago, I went to her wedding and managed to hit a police car in Morristown that weekend.  It's a long story, but with a happy ending.

I ended the night eating doughnuts with the cops, commiserating with the officer on duty about the two most misunderstood professions on earth - law enforcement and journalism.  New Jersey won me over that evening.

Other than Princeton and Far Hills and Bernardsville, there's not much pretension in New Jersey.  What you see is what you get.  Oil tanks.  A rest stop named after Vince Lombardi.  The Sopranos.  In short, real life.  And 8.4 million people are happy to call it home.

Martha Stewart is from New Jersey.  She moved to Connecticut.  I'd say that pretty much says it all.

Source: USA Today Wednesday 8 August 2001; email Craig Wilson at cwilson@usatoday.com

In Love With a Jersey Smell

Since New York City is the home of Wall Street, which goes up when employment goes down, no one should have been surprised when New Yorkers concluded that a mysterious sweet scent that smelled like a giant Mrs. Butterworth’s spill must have been something really, really bad.  When the smell first appeared in 2005 (and recurred 7 times), New Yorkers called 311, the city complaint line.  Some feared a deadly terrorist attack camouflaged as maple syrup.

This being New York and Mayor Michael Bloomberg being who he is, the city immediately capitalised on the bizarre occurrence to test ways to track a real attack with airborne gases.  After an outbreak of sweet-smelling air on 29 January, city investigators and New Jersey officials found the source: a New Jersey plant processing fenugreek.  Fenugreek is one of those all-purpose plants that everybody in the world seems to know about — unless they live in Manhattan and think it’s nerve gas.  It has a distinctive smell.  Like maple syrup.

On that evening, the fenugreek was apparently being processed by Frutarom, a global operation that creates natural flavouring and sweet smells for foods and cosmetics.  The plant is one of several in northeast New Jersey counties that produce natural food additives and fragrances.  There are arguments, of course, about how natural those substances are, but they do smell nice.

Which has presented yet another problem for New Yorkers.  Mostly, non-residents think of the Garden State as smelling like a row of factories.  Or rotten eggs.  Or gasoline.  Get used to it, New York.  Sometimes, New Jersey stinks like a stack of pancakes on a cold winter morning.

Source: nytimes.com 6 February 2009

See also:

bulletNew Jersey State Song (Not) - for more about the song "My Garden State" and to listen to the three contenders (at this point) for New Jersey's official state song.  (The page contains three mp3 files and is approximately 5 meg in size.)

New Jersey Regions

The seven regions are based on population density, economy, and - to a lesser extent -
landforms, soil, and natural vegetation.  In detail, each region could be further subdivided,
but this would obscure more than reveal the varying character of the state.

Source: A Geography of New Jersey: The City in the Garden - Second Edition by Charles A Stansfield Jr 1998

New Jersey from Space

This photograph spans Philadelphia to New York City (sandwiching New Jersey in between).

The "City of Brotherly Love," Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (southwest corner of photograph) can be seen in this northwest-looking, low-oblique photograph.  On the west bank of the Delaware River 100 miles (160 kilometers) upstream from the river's mouth lies Philadelphia, the fifth largest city and port in the United States and one of the largest freshwater ports in the world.  Having one of nation's largest industrial parks, Philadelphia is a leader in ship repair, oil refining, publishing and printing, insurance, banking, and in the manufacture of textiles, clothing, chemicals, electronic equipment, and metal and machinery products.  The seat of many philosophical, artistic, dramatic, musical, and scientific societies, Philadelphia is the home of Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence was signed and the Liberty Bell.  The city is also home to the first daily newspaper and the first established hospital in the United States.

Camden, New Jersey, home of the famous poet Walt Whitman, is an industrial city on the east bank of the Delaware River across from Philadelphia.  Items manufactured there include canned goods, paper and wood products, chemicals, leather goods, and automobile accessories.

Further north, where the Delaware River turns northwest, midway between Philadelphia to the south and New York City to the north, lies Trenton, the capital of New Jersey.  Items manufactured there include steel cables, rubber goods, cigars, paint, woolens, textiles, plastics, and metal products.  During the American Revolution, Trenton was the site where General Washington crossed the ice-clogged Delaware River from Pennsylvania to surprise and capture the enemy garrison and its 900 troops.  The Delaware River, 280 miles (450 kilometers) long, rises in the Catskill Mountains of southeastern New York.  The lower Delaware, from Trenton to near Wilmington, Delaware (not visible in the photograph), flows through a highly industrialised region.  The Chesapeake-Delaware Canal links the Delaware with Chesapeake Bay (part of the Intracoastal Waterway).

Near the northeast corner of the photograph, portions of Newark, New Jersey, and New York City are visible.  Part of the famous New Jersey Pine Barrens and coastal areas can be seen (center-east edge to southeast edge of photograph).

Source: space.com photo taken June 1991

The Red Star Is Approximately the Location of Morristown

Source: county-map.digital-topo-maps.com/new-jersey.shtml

Just Hanging Around in New Jersey

A 29-year-old unidentified man hangs upside down from the Route 18 South bridge over Weston Mill Pond in New Brunswick, New Jersey as police and firefighters assess the situation.  A passing cabby noticed the man hanging from the bridge about 9:00am and alerted police.  Police said he had dangled for about 3 hours from the end of a 6-foot rope about 15 feet above the water.  He declined to reveal how he got there.

Source nbc10.com 11 April 2004 and USA Today 12 April 2004 photo credit Mark R Sullivan, East Brunswick, New Jersey via AP

Roller-Coaster Glitch Strands 20 Upside Down

by John DelGiorno

Guests riding a roller-coaster at Great Adventure got more than they bargained for this afternoon.  At about 3:30pm, a train on one of the coasters stopped upside down with 20 passengers on board, about 75 feet above ground.  The name of the ride is "Batman and Robin the Chiller."  It took authorities 40 minutes to lower the train down to where the passengers could all walk off without injury.  The reason for the problem has not been identified.

There was a power outage at the park after the incident, but it is not known if it is related.  The incident is being investigated by the state of New Jersey.

Source: abclocal.go.com Jackson Township-WABC 18 August 2004

Just imagine hanging upside-down 75 feet in the air for 40 minutes...

Perceptions of North and South Jersey

Curiously, the perception of northern New Jersey by those living in the New York/northeastern
 New Jersey metropolitan region seldom reflect awareness of the rural exurban northwest.
The common contrast of north and south is urban-rural.  Both of these regional pictures are overly simplified.

Source: A Geography of New Jersey: The City in the Garden - Second Edition by Charles A Stansfield Jr 1998

For more articles on New Jersey including facts, census data, complex highway interchanges, photos, transit plans, politicians, geology, canals, regions, governance, flora and fauna click the "Up" button below to take you to the Index page for this section.

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