Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Why Somerset & Middlesex lean toward North Jersey

If you looked at all of the evidence in the last post, and are still unconvinced about why we included ALL of Middlesex and Somerset counties into North Jersey here is one more reason: PRINCETON.
Princeton, at the northeast part of Mercer County, was thought of as North by most state residents who we interviewed and polled.

I did see a pattern of "education bias" in the polling. Many of those interviewed (rightly or wrongly) associated North Jersey as more cultured, and thus felt it was natural to "bring Princeton along." This was common in the North-Central counties, but I was also surprised about how many South Jersey residents agreed.

I also bought into it, partly because I grew up in Mercer County.

It is uncanny how the towns in Mercer that revolve more around Trenton (Ewing, Hamilton, Robbinsville & the southern part of Lawrence) differ from those that revolve around Princeton (Hopewell, West Windsor & the northern part of Lawrence). East Windsor was the toughest to figure out.

Another amazing stat - look at the residents of MERCER COUNTY. They were uncharacteristically united in their vote. 93% of them said Princeton leaned to North Jersey.

The following is the poll of people who thought Princeton was NORTH Jersey. North or South was the only choice - no Central. Each County had 30 residents polled (630 people total), and if you don't think that is a lot, sorry. It took me a LONG time to do!

NJ Residents by county who thought Princeton was North Jersey:

Bergen - 47%
Passaic - 17%
Sussex - 27%
Hudson - 33%
Essex - 43%
Morris - 53%
Union - 53%
Warren - 77%
Somerset - 67%
Hunterdon - 70%
Middlesex - 73%
Mercer - 93% . . . very surprising
Monmouth - 90% . . . very surprising also
Ocean - 73%
Burlington - 87%
Atlantic - 80%
Camden - 77%
Gloucester - 83%
Cape May - 100%
Cumberland - 100%
Salem - 97%

Princeton's average was 69% NORTH . . . well above the required 50.01% to tip it to North, thus taking its northern neighbors in Somerset & Middlesex counties along.

But, wait - there are 3 towns in southern Middlesex that are technically south of Princeton: Cranbury, Plainsboro & Monroe Township. What about them?
Well - I had to do some even heavier groundwork there.

Monore was easier to lean North because of its area code not being 609. I also interviewed guys within the fire department there who seemed to indicate a more "North Jersey" preference, while hinting that their southern neighbors in Millstone were culturally different.
NOTE: Cops & Firefighters, though they wouldn't be filmed, were some of my best overall sources. No group had a better "pulse on the town" than them.

Cranbury students attend Princeton High School - thus linking Cranbury's destiny with Princeton.

Plainsboro, the northernmostof the 3 towns, has a new Village Center which is pretty much at the same latitude as Princeton's Train Station.

But as you can see by the last post, latitude is really a secondary thing. Plainsboro & Cranbury are culturally linked to Princeton and above all else, that's what matters here.

FINAL VERDICT: North Jersey

Monday, March 23, 2009

Finding the line: part II

We guarantee that this post will be more controversial than the last. But these are the counties that after exhausting research - pointed NORTH. These counties have more in common with North Jersey than South Jersey.

Now it must be said, that this is a debate mostly about Somerset and Middlesex counties, where most residents consider themselves as being from Central Jersey. However, if we are going by CULTURE first and geography second, then it must be understood that this is North Jersey.All of these counties have many things that bind them together.

#1 - Sports loyalties. No one can hide behind the Central label here. Someone from the south of the county, from even Cranbury or Skillman, roots for the same sports teams as someone from Mahwah, with very rare exceptions.
#2 - They watch the New York news. Even though some of the southern towns here get some Philly stations; they all get more New York channels.
#3 - It is closer to fly out of EWR than PHL in all of the above counties
#4 - The following are called a sub, Italian ice and sprinkles (not hoagie, water ice and jimmies)
#5 - All are within the New York metropolitan area and "The City" is NYC.
#6 - Somerset is north of Princeton (which is a big deal that I will talk about in my next post) and Middlesex is in the Gateway region as defined by the state of New Jersey.
#7 - The Newark Star Ledger is the biggest selling paper in all of these counties and has a special section for all.


Somerset & Middlesex Debatable:

#1 The towns of Rocky Hill, Montgomery, Plainsboro & Cranbury have a 609 area code and some of them are geographically closer to Philadelphia.
#2 It is Pork Roll (not Taylor Ham)
#3 The southern parts of these counties are below the Raritan River - which the Driscoll Bride spans.
But let's be clear on one thing. Most people in North Jersey cite the Driscoll Bridge as their biggest dividing line. Since that spans the Raritan River - we can use that as a dividing line and easily take out the northern parts of Middlesex and Somerset counties.

Now in the next post, I will explain why the southern parts of Middlesex and Somerset are still culturally North Jersey.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Wawa line moves farther North

This happened in August 2008. Sorry for being late, but we did mention it earlier. Below is the new Wawa map.

The most astounding thing? In the story - they call it, "A hoagie making showdown."

The new Wawa is in Phillipsburg, which is above I-78. This further points to our thesis that New Jersey's dividing line is cultural and not geographic.
Though it is a stretch to put ALL of the new area below in pink, most do have easy access to many Wawas across the river in PA (like Lambertville does in New Hope).

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Finding the line: part I

Thanks for voting - You voted Toms River as South Jersey. It was close! But after exhausting studies, travel and documenting - the bottom counties are what we will call undisputed South Jersey. We're leaving these counties out of the argument for now:
Next: North Jersey

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Toms River is defined by the roads

It is simple. It is the roads.

The fact that I can leave my work in Millburn, Essex County, and make it to our Toms River screening in nearly the same time as my girlfriend, who works in Delanco, Burlington County, is why Toms River  (and many other towns in northern Ocean County) is different than the other South Jersey towns that are greatly tied to Philadelphia.

McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Military Bases & the Pine Barrens essentially create a barrier that inhibits a major road connecting the South Jersey suburbs of Philadelphia to Toms River and the nearby beach communities there. . . 
Routes 70, 72 & 38? They are sluggish alternatives (especially in the summer), though she will probably NOT take the way google maps suggested and will just stick to those roads. . . like it or not.

But again, the roads are key - and I may be able to beat her there (if I can make it over the Driscoll Bridge in time). And that's crazy, but it is what could point Toms River more "North" - the all powerful Parkway.

According to google maps:

Millburn to Toms River screening
- 1 hr 20 minutes

Delanco to Toms River screening - 1 hr 19 minutes

And what about those neighboring beaches in Toms River? Well, in the summer, many Burlington County people go farther south to the beaches - because it's faster, while people from North Jersey prefer those neighboring Toms River beaches (or ones north of them).

Let's suppose she got off work on a warm Friday and went right to the beach:

Delanco to Seaside Heights - 1 hr 32 minutes

Delanco to Surf City (LBI) - 1 hr 42 minutes

But the smoothest ride to the beach (and the spot she usually went to) . . . .

Delanco to Margate City (Atlantic County) - 1hr 31 minutes

Nice 295 & AC Expressway fast ride if done correctly.

But the closest?

Delanco to Belmar (Monmouth County) - 1 hr 7 minutes

So why doesn't she (and other Burlington County) people go there?

Because this is New Jersey. We go "Down the Shore" . . . . not "Up the Shore."

Monday, March 9, 2009

Toms River - North or South Jersey?

Some people think this is funny that I'm even brining this up. 

But we have a screening in Toms River  at the Toms River Branch of the Ocean County Library on Tuesday March 31st at 7pm with the band, Save Pluto and if I wear my Eagles' jersey there, reminding fans that the Eagles defeated the Giants in January - I don't think I'll get a warm welcome.

Reasons for North:

-Pretty much New York/ NJ Sports' fans - unless you drive farther south toward LBI
-Closer to fly out of EWR than PHL
-It is a sub here
-Have you seen rush hour traffic at (and north of) exit 80?? Even in the winter!
-Nearby Seaside Heights unquestionably becomes North Jersey for 3 months in the summer

Reasons for South:

-It is Pork Roll here
-It has sand
-Look at a map!
-Even though it is closer to EWR, many residents prefer flying out of ACY
-South of exit 80 and you're in the Pine Barrens

Debatable:  I still hear w's slipped into words like "coffee" & "chocolate" here - even by locals (especially younger residents).


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Dividing Line coming soon!

When we first started this venture back in the summer of 2007, we never knew what we were getting into.  Now after months and months of hard work and positive feedback, we are ready to reveal the dividing line in our film at the screenings above.

For those that have emailed, the goal is to have the film on DVD and in some independent theaters by the end of this year.  However, there still remain some major financial challenges on our part that we hope to have completed soon.

Anyway, we thought we would share some of the dividing lines that people created along our trek.  I have tried to recreate them in photoshop.

This was done by a guy in Edgewater.   
This line was one of the most common drawings:
And finally this was drawn by a guy from Upper Township:Keep reading and we would love to know what towns your line would go through!