Wednesday, April 30, 2008

If there is a "Central Jersey" . . .

While traveling around ALL corners of the state - the most consistent counties labled "Central" by residents were:  Mercer and Monmouth.  But . . . 

There are many things different in these two counties.  For example, in Monmouth - "The City" is New York.  In Mercer it is debatable.

I got thinking about all this as the beach season approaches.   It reminded me of my high school days in Mercer.  The funniest thing to me, growing up in that county, is how we never went to the Monmouth county beaches.  The shortest commute was right across I-195 to Belmar and its surrounding communities.  But did we go there?  Rarely.  

Even in the early 1990s, it was always assumed that these towns were "ceded" to people from the farther north counties.  Instead, we would drive a longer distance to Seaside Heights or LBI. 

We'd possibly trek to Point Pleasant, but that was mostly considered a "Northern Beach" even though geographically, that didn't make much sense.

Even in these "centrally located towns" away from the beach, we always made it complicated on ourselves.  

Do you have any correlating or conflicting stories related to these theories about "Central" or why Mercer's beach choices seem odd . . . especially when gas is so expensive?  Please email or post a comment.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Round and Round

New Jersey was once famous for its traffic circles, though the state has been trying to eliminate them over the years. Driving through a traffic circle was one of our NJ obstacle course challenges, as we held a competition between a North and South Jersey girl to see which part of the state could claim NJ road supremacy. You'll have to see the movie to see which side won.

Speaking of that, we are trying to arrange an NJ college tour to show a "teaser cut" of the film this summer and fall while we await film festival feedback. We will post showing dates on this blog as well as our myspace and facebook sites.

Here is a recent article on the Somerville traffic circle that inspired this post.  Even though they have tried to build over it, it is still problematic for many reasons . . . and if you've sat in traffic near it, you can relate.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

What does your soft pretzel look like?

If your soft pretzel looks like this:

you are in South Jersey.

If your pretzel looks like this:

You are in North Jersey.

Of course being in a Wawa can skew this pattern for some (as they only offer the Philly pretzels) but ballparks and other specialty stores, especially local delis, are the best places around the state to judge this.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Discussion at Monmouth University

Today, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mr. Patrick Murray and Dr. Richard F. Veit about the poll that Mr. Murray helped conduct asking New Jersey residents what towns in NJ they thought were North, South and Central.

This is worth the read to for the statistics alone, but is also interesting to see how "Central" evolved into the data.

During my drive back, I saw this sign:

on the entrance ramp to the Garden State Parkway (exit 105). You will see this is very few places in the state. What does that all mean?

That the state feels there are too many trucks in North Jersey and is diverting them all South.

But seriously, having a working knowledge on what a parkway actually is, may clue us into why this sign exists. Still you can email me or post a comment on what you think this picture's caption should be . . . it could be quite fun.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I want to go to the beach

And it's not because of the great weather recently. It is because after getting pasted by our cross-river Rivals, the New York Rangers, I am livid. You can read why I love the New Jersey Devils for back information here. But after this series, my feeling is that there are still too many New York Ranger fans who live (and more importantly) grew up in New Jersey for my liking and, admittedly, they did a good job flooding the Rock for the Devil home games (and usually have).

I am writing an Op-Ed on these feelings for an NJ paper and will expand further there.

But I need a vacation. In my observations, it is no surprise that the greatest percentage of Devil fans compared to Ranger (or Flyer) fans is at the North Shore. It is the heart of New Jersey Devils' country.

I could have expanded this map to Middlesex, Somerset and parts of Hunterdon too, but I haven't been convinced of their Devil fan loyalty the way I have with the North Shore.

Considering New Jersey, the North Shore is pretty geographically isolated from both New York and Philadelphia and I am finding the Jersey Pride is the strongest in these areas, in part due to their geographic position. One person told me that their pride is a result of the beaches and the fact that they're not a backwater of any city (though this is debatable).

True, there are Ranger fans in these areas too and all over New Jersey. The romance that people in the northern (and central) areas of the state have for "the city" is tough to ignore (look at me, why do you think I live in Hoboken?)

But I need to be around my fans now without any blue shirts lingering. Read Kevin Smith's NHL blog for more insight why (I recommend his entry on "Live to Hate the Rangers"). By the way Kevin Smith is also from the North Shore.

After playing hockey (in New York) on Wednesday and looking to find a place in Manhattan to watch the Devils-Rangers Game 4 , I was surprised to hear other fans cheering when the Devils scored a goal. It was a punk band, from Asbury Park, catching the game before their gig in the city. It was nice to see and from my whole documentary observations - typical. Right now, I LOVE the North Jersey Shore and am dreaming of the waves to drown out my sorrow.

NOTE: I hold no grudge toward the South Jersey fans of the Philadelphia Flyers, in this instance because, for the most part, they have never been able to get the Devils on Cable TV.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Raritan River/ Driscoll Bridge Theory

A very popular dividing line theory in North Jersey (especially the immediate suburbs of New York) is that the Driscoll Bridge on the Garden State Parkway is the dividing line between North and South Jersey.

Named after former NJ governor, Alfred E. Driscoll, most Northern NJ/ New York vacationers to the Shore consider themselves, once they cross the bridge, which spans the Raritan River, to be "Down the Shore" and can "smell the ocean." Actually, as one person pointed out, they are still in Middlesex County, smelling the Raritan Bay. But it is brackish if not salty anyway, so I think their noses are justified.

Below is my line taking the end of the Raritan River and following it along its most western trajectory . . . the black is just me connecting where the river line would be if it formed at a similar parallel starting at the Delaware River. The map to the right is the Raritan River and its branches.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Thank you again

Hey all,

I just wanted to thank you all for your emails and posts in response to our write-up in the Press of Atlantic City. I wanted to thank Amy Kuperinsky for doing the piece and also Daniel Weiss who just interviewed us for New Jersey Monthly Magazine which should be coming out soon.

There is a summer ahead that includes a lot of editing and debating, but hopefully we can get a NJ College Tour organized this summer/ fall in the run-up to our premiere. I promise to keep this blog updated in the meantime and include highlights and more theories.

If you're reading this blog, you either have interest in New Jersey or hopefully, like me - you love this state - North or South.



Thursday, April 10, 2008

Can you be a New York area sports' fan in South Jersey?

These guys are New Jersey/ New York area sports' teams and they say they live in South Jersey. Go ahead and debate!

See their towns too: Jamesburg and Middletown

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

A major discovery for us!

In our travels, many people theorize that the dividing line between North and South Jersey is the Old 201 - 609 area code zones. Here is what that map looked like then and what it looks like today:

But what is amazing to us (though probably obvious to some) is how the old area code map matches our last post - New Jersey separated by driving time to Philadelphia or New York City. It seems like Bell Atlantic/ Verizon planned it that way!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Line by driving time (not miles)

My friend's line convinced me to go to Google Maps and actually go through some of his border towns and type in the estimated driving time to Center City Philadelphia and Lower Manhattan. The resulting line below actually marks about the same traffic-free driving distance to New York City or Philly.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Why I love the New Jersey Devils

Even though it is playoff time, I can't blog every game the New Jersey Devils play because this is my North-South Jersey blog. So I am going to start a new blog where I will be blogging and video blogging every day that I possibly can - about the Devils' playoff hunt. True, I am skeptical going in vs. the New York Rangers, their biggest rival, and a team that has dominated them this year. Hockey, like any other sport is very psychological and the Rangers (and Henrik Lundqvist) are in the Devils' heads. But as always, I have faith. Click this link to see my new New Jersey Devils' blog.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Cable TV Theory - Could use help from you

Here are two maps, one that shows you the cable provider for every town in NJ (these were exhausting stats to compile) and then another which ranks the municipalities North or South based on the Cable TV theory.

Again, this is certainly the most exhaustive map I have created, but helpful if you subscribe to the Cable TV Theory, which states:

If you add up a town's number of channels from Philadelphia vs. those from New York then whichever one that you have more of, would give you a North or South Jersey town. NJ channels are a wash.

The towns in Hunterdon and Warren along the Delaware River that have Service Electric Cable pretty much are even - they can get all major networks from every city. In some Mercer towns, they were missing NBC 4 from NYC, so that put them "South." In many Ocean County towns, they were missing NBC 10 from Philly, but had all the New York stations - so that put them - "North."

Cable TV is very important because it affects which area you tend to identify with and has a big effect on what sports teams you may support . . . a 5 year old kid who can't watch the Yankees on TV everyday has a tremendous percentage chance increase of not becoming a fan of theirs compared to a kid who can. Then again, now there's satellite and you do have overlap in many areas - but fun nonetheless.

The overlap gets very murky in some areas. There are parts of Mercer that are unclear. Hopewell (Comcast) gets all equally. But parts of Princeton get Comcast and others - Patriot. Trenton, Hamilton, Yardville, Robbinsville seem to get Optimum Cablevision AND Comcast.

This is quite common around the state, but it's still confusing. In Princeton on Patriot, they're even as far as NYC and Philly channels, but with Comcast - they are out one NYC station. In southern Mercer - if residents have Optimum Cablevision - they're even, but with Comcast - they are down one NYC channel. I also realize with Verizon coming into the game and other companies always expanding - that this line is ever changing. But as of Dec. 2007 - it is pretty close to accurate. If you live in Mercer (or see any other mistakes in other places) and can help clear this up, please email me or comment.