Why doesn’t New Jersey get any respect? Woody Allen said in a movie about 15 years ago, ”There is an intelligence to the universe with the exception of New Jersey” and here we are with the “Jersey Shore” show that proves it. Critics hate it. Viewers love that show. Even the late great George Carlin in his act called it the “Toll Booth state. It’s the Garden State if you are growing smoke stacks.” It seems there is always a joke about New Jersey. Just look at the other famous show based in the state, “The Real Housewives of New Jersey”. Could Snookie and the Situation be the offspring of those cat fighting women? What is in Jersey’s water if those are the creatures of that state?
Ben Franklin said, “New Jersey is like a barrel tapped at both ends”. It is caught between two major cities, New York and Philadelphia. The reality is that New Jersey is the second richest state in the United States. A leader in pharmaceuticals, telecom and agriculture. 15% of its land is working farmland producing most of the blueberries in the country. The state ranks 10th in sweet corn production, 8th in tomatoes And 4th in bell peppers, 3rd in cranberries, 2nd in blueberries and 1st in taxes. Yes, Jersey people get back less in taxes than any state in the union. That is the real joke!!
Do you think only stupid people come from Jersey especially based on the characters from those 2 hit shows? Some really bright ideas came from New Jersey. Thomas Edison patented his famous light bulb from Jersey. He is just one of big names from Jersey. Merrill Streep is a Jersey girl. It does have its share of poverty mostly from cities like Camden and Newark. For the most part life in Jersey is good. It ranks 2nd highest in per capita income behind Connecticut and in front of Massachusetts.
It is a great place for the middle class. It has the most strip malls, diners and car dealerships, in contrast to the natural beauty of most of the state. 22% of the land is covered in pine trees. Most importantly, some of the purest water in all of the United States is in Jersey. The town of Rumsen has a place called Victory Park that only gives off elegance and beauty. It is a historic town nestled around a clean picturesque river.
MTV’s “The Jersey Shore” is filmed in Seaside Heights and is pretty much like the show where you can swim, get tan, and drunk at one of the many bars. The shore is 120 miles long. Most of it is inhabited by pretty boring families. Not like the characters from the famous shows. So, why do people think Jersey is so ugly? Blame it on the Turnpike known as Interstate 95. That highway runs through the entire state possibly passing every gritty industrialized smoke stack and landfill in the state. Not a pretty smell or picture.
I forgot to mention “The Sopranos” also set in New Jersey. The hit HBO show’s producer David Chase grew up in Jersey and fell in love with the gritty parts of the state and wanted it put out there in that show. He found beauty in the large oil refineries brightly lit giant drums filled with oil surrounded by the dark reflecting water. Years ago people would apologize that they came from Jersey. Now they push Sinatra and Springsteen and Van Halen up front and say “Yeah! F. U. I’m from Jersey!”
The states unofficial singing poet is Bruce Springstein who describes Jersey in song especially in “My Home Town”. He made Jersey very American in a non hillbilly way. Cowboy hats are not the only people that wave the American flag. His song “Born To Run” is about getting away but makes Jersey sound very appealing. Jersey doesn’t care what other people think. They are proud of all New Jersey has and had. Oh! The first baseball game was played in Hoboken, New Jersey the home of Frank Sinatra. Enough said.