Essentially New Jersey?
July 11, 2014 2:05 PM   Subscribe

In order to block out a new writing thing. I'm looking for things that are essentially or unquiely New Jersian in flavor or references that would ping a lifelong resident of the state- types of stores and houses, idioms, vacation spots, regional foods, etc. I'm also looking for media that has the right feel of the Garden State that aren't Kevin Smith movies. I've read this AskMe about New Jersey books already and I've seen The Sopranos. What are other examples of "Only in NJ" things?

For the purposes of narrowing it down, I am more interested in Central to Southern NJ than Northern NJ.
posted by The Whelk to Grab Bag (73 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Anything Springsteen. Wawa. Jenkinson's/Bar A. Beach/Great Adventure traffic. Diners, all the time.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:11 PM on July 11, 2014

Well, that area of NJ still has a strong diner culture, for one thing.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:11 PM on July 11, 2014 [4 favorites]

The Wawa/Quick Chek border is extremely important and relevant here. Central's got Quick Chek, Southern's got Wawa.
posted by asperity at 2:14 PM on July 11, 2014 [4 favorites]

asperity, I'm from Central NJ (Monmouth County) and we never had a Quick Check. Always Wawa.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:15 PM on July 11, 2014

Well, very roughly speaking. I think it's a very wavy border? Union and Somerset have QC.
posted by asperity at 2:16 PM on July 11, 2014

Union County, where I grew up was almost entirely QuickChek but Wawa was encroaching.

Diner culture is VERY strong. It was sometimes the only thing to do.

Lots of bands saving up for a few measly hours in terrible rehearsal studios with feedback-y amps.
posted by Brainy at 2:17 PM on July 11, 2014

Pork roll is a popular regional food that I never ate.
posted by Brainy at 2:17 PM on July 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

(And Middlesex. Middlesex has QC.)

How about the Rutgers Grease Trucks?
posted by asperity at 2:19 PM on July 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

A lot of suburban New Jersey felt like a depression. Like the sort a bowling ball would make in a bed. Difficult to scramble out of, easy to fall back into. Kind of boring. There would be New Brunswick to the south, and NYC way to the north, but for all the towns nearby there wasn't really anything. It was like living on Sunday constantly.
posted by Brainy at 2:25 PM on July 11, 2014 [6 favorites]

I'm from Hackensack (Bergen County), which is absolutely "North Jersey". As far as we're concerned, the border between North and Central is Union County.

Three things:

1) Diners. Can't stress this enough, as a teenager and a 20-something we lived out of diners.

2) Not pumping your own gas. It's illegal in NJ, don't even try.

3) Blue laws: You could only buy food and medicine on Sundays.
posted by Oktober at 2:25 PM on July 11, 2014

Jersey born and raised (Morris County, though, so North Jersey all the way).
The first time I took an out-of-state road trip, I pulled into a gas station on route 17 somewhere in NY. I pulled up to the pump, and I waited. And waited. And waited, for a good 5-10 minutes.

Eventually I realized what was going on, and got out and pumped my own gas for the first time in my life. I was terrified that I'd do it wrong somehow.

Apparently, I am far from alone in this among native New Jerseyans.
posted by freelanceastro at 2:27 PM on July 11, 2014 [4 favorites]

posted by elizardbits at 2:28 PM on July 11, 2014 [5 favorites]

Evil Clown of Middletown is your search term. If you are talking coastal Central, there is a whole private beach club culture thing that I can come back and elaborate on.
posted by Stacey at 2:30 PM on July 11, 2014

Pork roll! Especially pork roll, egg, and cheese on a hard roll at a diner.

Jug handles for making left turns.

Not pumping your own gas.
posted by xsquared-1 at 2:31 PM on July 11, 2014 [3 favorites]

Oh, also: Mischief Night is the night before Halloween, when older kids (12-20) go out and do pranks of various sorts (ranging from toilet paper in trees to eggs on houses and breaking mailboxes). I know this is a common thing in North and Central Jersey, but I don't know if it extends to South Jersey.
posted by freelanceastro at 2:32 PM on July 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Mischief night was like 13-17 for us, because we realized if we were 18 and got caught we'd actually get in trouble.
posted by Oktober at 2:38 PM on July 11, 2014

The shore. Many states have beaches. NJ has the shore.
posted by hexatron at 2:38 PM on July 11, 2014 [5 favorites]

Fat sandwiches are pretty Central Jersey-specific.
posted by RogerB at 2:43 PM on July 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Rita's water ice.
posted by backseatpilot at 2:43 PM on July 11, 2014 [3 favorites]

The neighborhood pizza and hoagie joint that's pretty much entirely linoleum, always overlit, and has surprisingly good food.

A soft serve ice cream place, maybe with tables inside, definitely with a walk-up window.

Wawa. Always, always Wawa.

Mischief Night does indeed extend to South Jersey.
posted by EvaDestruction at 2:52 PM on July 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

We always called pork roll Taylor Ham (Morris County). You go "down the shore" to Point Pleasant or Seaside for the day, to eat Kohrs Frozen Custard and all manner of greasy Italian food on the boardwalk. Tastycake cupcakes come from Philly but are big in NJ. In Morris County and especially Morristown there is lots of revolutionary war history and many historical sites. George Washington slept here a lot! Diners, of course. Excellent pizza and Italian food all over north Jersey. From my friends who grew up in Newark, Jimmy Buff's Italian Hot Dogs. Jimmy just passed away this year. Now, there are great Portugal and Argentine all you can eat and heavy on the meat restaurants in Newark. Hoboken has become a hip town of young professionals who work in The City (that's NYC if you live here).

Check out Weird NJ for the odder aspects of the Garden State.
posted by mermayd at 2:58 PM on July 11, 2014 [4 favorites]

Going to the beach at 1AM. Or going to the beach any day in September a.k.a "Locals' Summer".
posted by tommccabe at 3:01 PM on July 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

Oh, and for South Jersey vacation spots: far more likely to be Ocean City or Long Beach Island than Seaside Heights. Great Adventure over Action Park, but the Pennsylvania amusement parks were popular, too.

Yes to Tastykake. No to "Taylor ham" - it's porkroll in South Jersey.

Can't think of any housing styles I'd call Jerseyan, but Acme and IGA grocery stores say "Jersey" to me.
posted by EvaDestruction at 3:03 PM on July 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Jersey Devils. Not those. These.

Jersey Mike's. (Yeah, I know - selling out by going to California? Whaddaya gonna?

Cape May Victorians.

And to get you in the mood....
posted by BWA at 3:03 PM on July 11, 2014

Diners. They're good here, not crummy greasy spoons.

Pork roll, egg and cheese on a hard roll.

Going 'down the shore,' not 'to the beach.'

Iconic beach bars like Jenkinson's, Bar A, D'Jais.

JERSEY STRONG bumper stickers.

Mischief Night.

Great Adventure. Just call it Great Adventure, no one says Six Flags.

A million malls in any 15-mile radius.


Fat sandwiches, originally from the Grease Trucks at Rutgers.

Boardwalks, both plain and serene, and also covered with people and loaded with food and game stands.

Boardwalk pizza. It's gigantic.

Custard, both at Rita's and from smaller stands.

Referring to your location by what exit on the Parkway or Turnpike you're near. Always 'the Parkway' and 'the Turnpike.'

Women calling themselves 'Jersey girls,' myself included! /fist pump
posted by rachaelfaith at 3:03 PM on July 11, 2014 [7 favorites]

You know where I'm coming from in terms of geography on this, so to add to my previous lists, in no particular order: P.S. We had Wawa in Perth Amboy.
posted by ob1quixote at 3:05 PM on July 11, 2014

South Jersey Only: Wawa Hoagiefest. Like Subway's $5 footlongs, but 2" shorter, better and tastier. They have over 30 sandwich varieties. A food staple for college students and anyone else who likes good, cheap food.
posted by zarq at 3:07 PM on July 11, 2014 [1 favorite]


Wawa for sure


Rita's and frozen custard


Panzarotti (it's deep fried calzone YUP)

Amish markets and pork roll

closeness to Philly and thus its sports teams (Phillies, Flyers)

the shore, LBI, the Pine Barrens

the current status of the Funtown pier may be helpful in setting the date in your writings (i.e. is it still intact [2012 to mid-2012], has it been ravaged by a hurricane [late 2012-2013], or has it also been gutted by a large fire [late 2013-present])

locals seem to like/tolerate Chris Christie despite his dingus tendencies (maybe not lately...)

being easily able to drive long distances like it's nothing/especially to get to the yacht club where your sailboat lives. sailing in general (but not in a rich-person yacht club sense)

ah, the wonders my south NJ boyfriend has taught me!
posted by ghostbikes at 3:07 PM on July 11, 2014 [5 favorites]


Log cabins
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:12 PM on July 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

I thought of one more thing, a sense-memory from when I was a child and before we moved away: the smell of fresh ground horseradish at the Englishtown Flea Market.
posted by ob1quixote at 3:13 PM on July 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah, reading these answers, I can almost immediately ID the person from "south" and "north Jersey." These roughly correspond to Philly and NYC media markets. I've also always felt that the shore has more 'south' leanings than north.

I grew up in Bridgewater and then went to college at Rutgers in New Brunswick, both of which are Central, but generally has more north type things than south. Seconding: diners, lots of highways criss crossing through suburbia, the "devil tree," mischief night, Weird NJ, etc. I'd be happy to answer more pointed questions, as well.
posted by lownote at 3:26 PM on July 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

I grew up in NYC and went to college in Delaware, and so much of this stuff is familiar to me because it's regional, but the two things that are really uniquely Jersey in this list, to me, are the beach badges and the not pumping your own gas. My grandma lived in Toms River and those beach badges really take me back to summers at grandma's.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 3:29 PM on July 11, 2014

Star Ledger and/or The Courier News. For central jersey, not only diners but chili dog places like Red Tower and Red Tower II.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:45 PM on July 11, 2014

Being from Central Jersey and having to argue with North/South Jerseyans over your existence
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:52 PM on July 11, 2014 [6 favorites]

I grew up in Monmouth County. We had Wawas near where I lived, and Quick Checks by the shore. Rita's or Rick's italian ices were the thing to buy at the shore. Locals go to Asbury Park, Ocean Grove, Bradley Beach, and Avon. You drive to the beach every weekend.

Great Adventure was the theme park of a choice (and a big employer).

There are often corn fields and orchards nestled in between neighborhoods made almost entirely of Toll Brothers McMansions. Deer eat your gardens if you live in the suburbs, away from the shore. The only things they don't eat seem to be marigolds, lamb's ear, and lavender. Occasionally you see dead deer by the side of the road - people tend to get into accidents with them.

Turkey vultures are everywhere. Stink bugs just rolled into town over the past couple of years. Tons of people own horses, and you get to see them when you're driving (the fenced-off fields are often by the side of the road).

You go to diners every week, sometimes multiple times a week. You order eggs, hamburgers, or gyros. You drive everywhere. Everywhere. There are strip malls full of big box stores everywhere. Kosher delis and Italian bakeries exiled from Brooklyn are tucked into some of them. They all prominently note that they are from Brooklyn.

Outlet shopping is extremely popular. Outlets are always crowded, no matter what day it is.

I grew up near a Norkus Foodtown. The other supermarkets are Wegmans (crazy popular), Shop Rite (where my folks shop), and Stop and Shop (just rolled into town, replacing the Foodtowns).

It's common to commute two hours each way into New York for work every day. There is often nothing to do in Monmouth County besides shopping and going to the shore.

Everyone is frustrated by the smartasses from other states who make Jersey Shore references, ask you why you don't have a "Joisey" accent, or tell you that Central Jersey doesn't exist. Those smartasses all think New Jersey (all of it) looks and smells like Elizabeth, because they drove through it one time.

There are about a million small bagel stores. Bagels and New York style pizza are an institution.

People are born-and-bred Jersey boys or girls who love Springsteen, transplants from New York, or the children of New Yorkers.
posted by topoisomerase at 4:00 PM on July 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

There is often nothing to do in Monmouth County besides shopping and going to the shore.

If you're a teenager girl, movies and the Freehold Raceway Mall.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:09 PM on July 11, 2014

Well this is 80s Middlesex County, but a lot of our neighbors were operating "wholesale" businesses out of their garages. Like one lady had an entire garage full of velour clothing, another one had shoes, etc. I don't know if this is stuff that fell of a truck or what. And then there were all the outlet stores, that actually were outlet stores, not this modern deal of specially manufactured low-quality goods for outlet stores. And everybody knew somebody with access to cut-rate goods--seconds of Godiva chocolate, for instance. Patio furniture. Corelle. And then there were the flea markets--one stall with all the black leather jackets and vests, another with the thick gold rope necklaces, another with the fringed suede booties. Just this whole discount culture that simply doesn't exist in the other places I've lived.

That cheese smell when you had to drive to the Newark airport. Mischief night. Tastykakes, the only thing I really miss about New Jersey. Diners with jukeboxes at every table and often you could ask the cook for something special and they really did know how to cook, it was awesome. Carvel ice cream. Pierogies made by the church ladies.
posted by HotToddy at 4:13 PM on July 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you're a teenage girl with a car, 7-11, the beach, and occasionally a road trip to Wildwood where you basically just drive there, smoke a cigarette, feel badass, turn around, and drive home to be back by curfew.
posted by Stacey at 4:14 PM on July 11, 2014 [3 favorites]

Oh and Battle of the Bands. Was this a New Jersey thing?
posted by HotToddy at 4:16 PM on July 11, 2014

Tom Scharpling is proudly New Jersey; dredge the archives of The Best Show on WFMU (RIP).
posted by Turkey Glue at 4:27 PM on July 11, 2014

Pork roll! Especially pork roll, egg, and cheese on a hard roll at a diner.

Optionally with ketchup and/or on a bagel, and the egg is over easy, with pepper, and the cheese is straight-up American. This is the "Jersey breakfast."
posted by limeonaire at 4:33 PM on July 11, 2014

Also in Monmouth County: You get off school for all the major Jewish holidays. Also, many of the Shop Rites have large kosher sections and large selections of imported Israeli candy. I was surprised when I went off to college and realized that that wasn't exactly standard.

And yeah, the Freehold Raceway Mall is/was a Big Deal when you're in middle school. It's gone upscale since it was sold to Simon. It used to be more homey and homely, with a giant ugly fountain in the middle of the mall. The Simon version makes me somewhat uncomfortable.

Oh, and there is no NPR. There's New Jersey 101.5 and about a million music stations on FM, but that's it. This means that when you are driving your minivan or SUV (the streets are filled with them), all you have to listen to is the same Katy Perry song, over and over. Sometimes, late at night, there are radio shows where people call in to discuss their alien abduction experiences, though. I used to listen to that with my dad in the car, along with Bob Brinker.
posted by topoisomerase at 4:40 PM on July 11, 2014

locals seem to like/tolerate Chris Christie despite his dingus tendencies (maybe not lately...)

And definitely not if you're a teacher. By the way, if my Jersey breakfast details are wrong, blame it on my North Jersey ties. I'm actually from the Midwest. Which, by the way...


I say this, and apparently I'm the only person other than a relative of my husband's (who was also from the Midwest originally, though a longtime Jersey resident) who he's ever heard say it this way. I wonder if it's some kind of Pennsylvania influence, as I have some other bits of that in my speech patterns (my father and grandmother say "clowset" for "closet").

Oh, also: candy barns!
posted by limeonaire at 4:45 PM on July 11, 2014

Thought of a movie for you. Last I checked this wasn't on DVD or streaming, but if you're committed enough to this thing to seek out VHS tapes - try "Whatever," starring Liza Weil. The main character is a teenage girl in the area of New Jersey where I grew up, a decade or so before I did said growing up, but it was still very recognizably a Teenage Girl in Northern/Central New Jersey sort of movie.
posted by Stacey at 4:48 PM on July 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Edited because holy crap, it is Amazon streamable now. That's very new!
posted by Stacey at 4:49 PM on July 11, 2014

Oh, also essentially New Jersey: mustard gas shells washing up on the beach!

Superfund sites!

People throwing used batteries into the street! (OK, maybe that's just a North Jersey thing.)

But seriously, it's not really a visit to New Jersey without some kind of reminder of pervasive environmental contamination by industry and/or government.
posted by limeonaire at 4:58 PM on July 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Acme and A&P grocery stores
Honky Tonk boardwalks
Chosen Freeholders
posted by SemiSalt at 5:56 PM on July 11, 2014

For vacation? The shore.
Don't forget a sloppy joe (it's not the usual).
Margate elephant
Raceway park
The Pine Barrens (don't forget the Jersey Devil)
posted by plinth at 5:57 PM on July 11, 2014

I come from that town with the log cabins linked above - right on the edge of the pines. South Jersey. Went to Rutgers New Brunswick so I have some idea how North vs. South Jersey is pretty different. The Pine Barrens. Cedar water. Hoagies. Ocean City. Going to a diner late after a school event to have pie or ice cream. Buying fresh corn or blueberries from a farm stand. Suburbs near farms near pockets of poverty reminiscent of Appalachia. Mischief night.

I will also be willing to answer specific questions if you have them. (I'm actually in South Jersey right now visiting family.)
posted by gudrun at 6:09 PM on July 11, 2014

This is real and not that far from me. I always ask people if they've seen the missile cruiser in the middle of the corn field near I-295 and the NJ Turnpike. It's close to a Costco too.

There's also pineys and the desire of South Jersey to split from North Jersey because of irreconcilable differences. And the incredible change in the population of shore communities between out of season and in season (when people go "down da shore").
posted by forthright at 6:32 PM on July 11, 2014

Sorry, these are NNJ:
A railroad called the Chemical Coast Line.
Would you rather live in Manhattan and face Jersey .. or live in Jersey and face Manhattan?
posted by LonnieK at 6:52 PM on July 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Almost forgot The Flagship.
posted by plinth at 7:36 PM on July 11, 2014

The reference to 295 reminded me: if you're from South Jersey, on the non-shore side, you're probably more likely to use 295 than the Turnpike. More local exits, less New York-bound traffic. Rt. 130 also runs pretty far south.

In addition to jughandles, massive traffic circles, usually with a diner sitting on the outer edge. Knowing how to get somewhere exclusively on county highways or rural routes. Signaling before cutting someone off on the highway.

You can get a perfectly good cheesesteak at your local hoagie and pizza joint, no need to go to Philly. The best sausage sandwiches (with grilled onion and pepper) are on the boardwalk.

And yes, the most delicious blueberries and corn (Silver Queen!) straight out of the field at a farm stand. Tomatoes, too, I've been told (my distaste for tomatoes is totally incomprehensible to my family). Cranberry bogs. U-pick farms and orchards. The smell of acres of manure in the spring.

School trips to Revolutionary War sites and the Franklin Institute and the surprisingly good planetarium at Ocean County College and the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant. Probably schools go to the aquarium in Camden now, though I was too old for that.
posted by EvaDestruction at 7:52 PM on July 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

N-thing gas stations. As a lifelong Oregonian (the only other state that does NOT have self-service gas stations), I'm well aware it is perfectly possible to forget that in 48 other states, they have to pump their own! And I've spent my whole entirely life right at the OR/WA border, so it's gotta be worse for those mid-state.

Unless they've worked at a gas station or spent time out of state, most Oregonians don't even know how. And it's perplexing, if you're trying to figure it out without instructions - or someone kind enough to tell you to flip the little thingamajig down.

I only gave in and learned to pump gas about 3 months ago. I've done it 3 or 4 times since then - and only because it's been times where it was more convenient to stay on the WA side for gas, now that I live over here.

(What do people do if they have multiple small kids and have to go inside to pay? Do they really wake them all up and haul them in every.single.time?)
posted by stormyteal at 8:03 PM on July 11, 2014

Kevin Smith is from Jersey and his stuff is pretty legit.

Some counties are dry and have blue laws outlawing most business activity on Sunday - even in tourist areas.

Large awnings on porches.

South Jersey the local accent sounds a lot like Delaware and Baltimore.
posted by bq at 8:17 PM on July 11, 2014

Growing up in central NJ (Lawrence, between Trenton and Princeton) in the 80s, WPST was the radio station for popular music - it wasn't a NYC or Philly station. And WTSR or WPRB for more alternative music, the City Gardens crowd. And City Gardens, of course, was an insititution. I probably went to at least 2 or three all ages shows a month for about 6 years.
Hanging out in New Hope was a thing for a while as well, although that's technically in PA.
posted by conifer at 4:13 AM on July 12, 2014 [2 favorites]

If you're getting to Central Jersey via the North, when you mention Elizabeth everyone will know you're referring to the stinky egg smell.
posted by kinetic at 4:59 AM on July 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

West Jersey (west-central?)(along the Delaware R): front porches with upholstered sofas, chairs and awnings, 17th c stone houses built with a warm, orange-tan-colored stone, Preserved Farmland.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:42 AM on July 12, 2014

Jughandle left turns.
posted by ellenaim at 7:00 AM on July 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

My Central Jersey youth was essentially spent:
- Driving to Princeton Record Exchange
- Driving to New Hope, PA to go to the witch stores
- Driving down the shore, hopefully borrowing somebody's grandma's beach badge, and stopping at the bagel store on the way
- Driving through a traffic circle to the mall
- Driving to the diner to waste time, probably by buying a single cup of coffee and getting refills for several hours
- Taylor ham.
posted by thirdletter at 7:29 AM on July 12, 2014 [4 favorites]

Fresh-picked Jersey tomatoes are the best!
posted by mermayd at 7:33 AM on July 12, 2014

White Mana, Action Park, the quarry by the ironworks, going down the shore, the new brunswick grease trucks, good corn, Weird NJ.
posted by entropone at 8:00 AM on July 12, 2014

Oh god, yes, the hippie stores and witch stores of New Hope were totally a thing. And hours upon hours at the diner. Where, chances were, Kevin Smith would be holding court. He tended to borrow lighters and not give them back. Jerk.
posted by Stacey at 8:33 AM on July 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

There are a few things that were so much a part of NJ that I didn't realize that they were very distinctly NJ:

Italian ices
Diner culture
That big sandwich on a roll is called a "sub"
"The boardwalk"/Asbury Park
"Down the shore"
Can't pump your own gas
"Mischief night"

Pizza and bagel culture are inherited pretty directly from NYC-- once again, it's the sort of thing you just assume is the way it is "everywhere" until you leave.

Mall culture-- you can pick out where a person grew up and what their socio-economic class was based on what mall they hung out at (much more so than "what exit?" which is what non-New-Jerseyans think New Jerseyans ask each other).

Wawa is a distinctly central-to-south Jersey thing. I don't think I registered the existence of Wawa's until I started making regular trips between NJ and DC.
posted by deanc at 9:31 AM on July 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

I thought of one more extremely specific place that might be the kind of detail you're looking for.

Sciortino's Pizza opened in Perth Amboy in the '30s with a coal-fired oven imported from Italy brick by brick. The now-disgraced former Mayor Joseph Vas invoked eminent domain over the restaurant to build the new police headquarters. The oven couldn't readily be dismantled and when the building was demolished in 2004, so presumably was the oven.

Due to popular demand, they opened a new restaurant in the original location in Perth Amboy on New Brunswick Avenue, but with a new gas-fired oven.
posted by ob1quixote at 10:48 AM on July 12, 2014

Response by poster: Sciortino's Pizza was our Special Event Pizza Place growing up ;)
posted by The Whelk at 11:17 AM on July 12, 2014 [1 favorite]

Muskrat trapping in the meadowlands. A lot of blue collar immigrant families who lived in the swampy zones got through the depression selling muskrat skins and eating muskrat and possum in red gravy and crabbing in the meadows. This lasted well into the 1970s, all within ten miles of Manhattan. In the 1970s I used to hear a lot of the use of "yea" to mean "so much as " as in "that muskrat was yay big." "The creek was yay long"

Calzones and zeppoli at Pizzatown USA in Hackensack. Callahan's and Hiram's Hot dogs in Fort Lee (Hirams is still there) and the peculiar cult of rippers and Texas Wieners in Clifton and Paterson. Oddly: all the Chinese food in New Jersey sucks! Never figured out how that could happen.

Fishing off of piers along the Jersey shore or going out on party boats for bluefish and fluke was a very blue collar activity. So was deer hunting. Jersey has some really wild areas: bears would stroll though Bergen County malls every now and again.

Hopelessly dead end jobs unloading trucks at shopping malls. Or parking cars at mafia run discos. Or packing plastic calendars at the plastic calender factory.

Strange mono-ethnic towns in the Jersey meadowlands. Kearny was all Scottish, had a curling parlor and fish and chips shops. Garfield was Polish and Hungarian. There was a Kalmyk Mongol town in south Jersey. Union was Coptic Egyptian - I believe it is now mostly Cuban and Vietnamese. Palisades Park has the densest concentration of Koreans in the USA. Paterson is home to all sorts of North Caucasus folks and various Tatars. NJ is one of the most culturally diverse places in the USA.
posted by zaelic at 8:15 AM on July 13, 2014 [1 favorite]

OMG that's true, Vineland is full of Italians.
posted by bq at 5:03 PM on July 13, 2014

I LOVE not having to pump my own gas. Even better, gas in NJ is on average 50ยข cheaper than in New York state.
posted by monospace at 8:23 PM on July 13, 2014


I hope you never got slices at Pizzatown USA.

I grew up in Hackensack, and we quickly got wise to their recycling pratices: if you left a pie on your table without finishing it, they'd take the slices and sell them individually.
posted by Oktober at 9:06 AM on July 14, 2014

I'm not from New Jersey, but the Lower Trenton Bridge certainly seems iconic:
posted by akgerber at 7:51 PM on July 14, 2014

South Jersey's got old Quaker towns like Haddonfield, Moorestown and especially Crosswicks.
posted by whuppy at 8:07 AM on July 15, 2014

« Older Trade Blogs and Publications for Online Publishers...   |   Help me unpack some of my weirdness around giving... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.