Friday, April 15, 2005

Jersey Girls Do It Better

I want to try and avoid making this blog too personal, and I do realize that most of today's posts have been just that. But late nights in New York have that effect on me, so please bear with and I'll try and include some fun links.

This is my love letter to New Jersey.

A year ago, the Times' New Jersey section (which I usually hate because it's entirely written by cranky former New Yorkers who are pissed that they now live in the 'burbs) wrote a shockingly insightful article called "Proudly Answering to 'Jersey Girl.'" The Times charges for its archives, so I won't bother linking. But here's a very true line about a Jersey Girl from the article:

"Nicole McKenna, said the true litmus test for a Jersey girl was this: 'You always say you can't wait to get the hell out of this place. But you A) never leave, or B) leave and then want to come back.'"

Living in New Jersey all these years, I have typically been surrounded by people who also love the Garden State. On the occasions that I have had friends who have left, they typically miss the Jers tremendously. Even transplants I know have grown to love it, usually. Jersey is like this fabulous crazy aunt, who wears bloomers and farts in public. You make fun of her and she irritates you, but god forbid someone outside the family talks trash about her.

Lauren moved to Kansas four years ago, and aside from calling the first month and complaining about how terrible the bagels were out there, she acclimated. But from time to time, she would have a frustrating run-in about her home state. Professors and other students would express shock that she was from NJ, because she "seemed so nice." And the usual jokes about how polluted and "gross" it was came up.

Likewise, last night when there was a conversation about where you would want to go if you had to leave Manhattan temporarily, lame-ass Westchester won out over the Jers (which came in just ahead of Long Island). I might have been okay if they said Rockland County, but White Plains? Come on. Kids, there's a reason I live here. And those reasons are below.
  • The only true diners in the world. My personal fave is the Tick-Tock.
  • Malls. Goddamnit, MALLS.
  • Crickets at night.
  • Lightning bugs.
  • Some of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever seen.
  • Miles and miles and miles of beach - from the tacky (Seaside, anyone?) to the tasteful (Bayhead).
  • And speaking of the shore, how about some skeeball and waffle ice cream?
  • Bruce. 'Nuff said.
  • Atlantic City - it's Sin City East.
  • The cheapest, diviest Irish bars around. Contrasted with some of the classiest Irish joints around.
  • The best Italian food. Hands down.
  • Little breakfast nooks like the Bagel Dish Cafe in Highland Park, which do not have a line around the block (cough cough, Friend of a Farmer).
  • Driving ranges all over the place that charge $5 for a bucket.
  • The Big M (aka, Meadowlands Racetrack to those of you not betting the trifecta).
  • Montclair and its dining options (Thai, Vietnamese, Pan-Asian, Sushi, Indian, Italian, French, Barbeque, Ethiopian, Chinese, Mexican, and a real live dinner club with ginormous steaks).
  • New Brunswick, NJ.

The list is not exhaustive - I know I'm leaving off a ton of stuff that I love about my home state. But it's spring, which is a beautiful time around here. And now that I'm a crazy aunt, I wouldn't want my own favorite crazy aunt to think I didn't love her.

No posts for me this weekend, so have a good one. I'll be back on Monday with a review of Deadwood.


  1. Lauren from the Kans1:25 PM

    Since I'm being used as an example of leaving the Jers and living to tell the tale, I feel I must interject.

    Despite all the bad press the Kans seems to be getting on a regular basis, most of it deserved for the people running the show here, its actually a very nice place, a place where I see rolling hills, rustling wheat, and even some buffalo on a daily basis (though these are some sorry-ass buffalo who need more exercise). But as god as my witness, I will be back to the Jers, some day, oh yes, I will be back, and here is why:

    1. the train. People who take it every day probably can't stand it but for the price of gas out here you can't beat it with a stick. You will never get more reading done than when you take the train to work every day.

    2. fish. fish is good and good for you and I can't get any out here and it stinks. also chicken, there is no Purdue in Kansas and it shows.

    3. the shore, this was mentioned before and I never realized how cool it is till I left but just knowing that I can go where the ocean meets dry land is a major comfort. also, I know people around here who actually try to surf at some of the local lakes, I mean, is that the lamest thing you've ever heard or what?

    4. the little things, like St. Barts Italian Festival Labor Day weekend, luminaria on Christmas Eve, walking in Westfield, ragging on Westfield, going to the City instead of saying I'm going to New York City.

    there's nothing easy about New Jersey, there's traffic, noise, industrial eyesores, speed traps in Dunellan and if you go out on Rt. 22 soon after you get your license, you will likely get in an accident. But there is no place like the Jers.

    I know I'll think of more once I post this and I don't regret having gone out and lived someplace not Jers for a bit but I love being a jersey girl, and it is something real and apart from being just me.

  2. Anonymous5:12 PM

    Information Wants to Be Free!

    Here's a link to the full article, gratis.

    Senor Chuq, bandito

  3. Anonymous5:14 PM

    Sorry, link here

    Monsieur tschuck