Tuesday, December 18, 2007

With the Author of the Jersey Shore: Atlantic City to Cape May

Some time with Jen A. Miller, author of: The Jersey Shore: Atlantic City to Cape May in Collingswood, NJ - Camden County.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Taylor Ham Pork Roll and more

Is it called "Taylor Ham" or "Pork Roll?" For those that eat pork, New Jersey's famous breakfast can be eaten with ketchup, mustard or mayonnaise. But what to call it? It is as devisive as "sub" or "hoagie." And then, there are some clips from my weekend as we try to wrap up filming.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Where is the Center of New Jersey?

There have been disputes. Just searching online will lead to them if you search for the "geographic center of NJ." Environmental factors cause it to change slightly from year to year. But people who think they live in Central Jersey may be surprised to find out the state's Center.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Interviews with colleagues

Some good times with my fellow colleagues . . .

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

LBI: Chowderfest

My ventures around LBI. Very rough, but hope you like it. We recommend counting Mets, Yankees & Phillies' apparel on people. Sorry about the typo on "Mets" vs. "Meets." It will be fixed tonight.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

Take our survey . . .

Jon Bon Jovi from Sayreville is from North Jersey. Read this excerpt he gave in a Playboy magazine interview:

“The roadside diner right off the circle in Wall Township is a fabulous greasy spoon, one of the real silver-bullet diners. Taylor ham—a pork roll—is a Jersey fixture. Taylor ham with cheese on a hard roll is love. The big question is: ketchup or mustard? Everyone in north Jersey puts on mustard, everyone in the south, ketchup. I’m a mustard guy myself. A cherry Coke is wonderful with chipped ice. Diners are made for Sunday mornings or the day after when you need grease to soak up everything you did the night before. Then you order breakfast and lunch at the same time. That’s the greatest. It cures a hangover.”

It certainly challenges the Raritan River/ Driscoll Bridge theory . . which states that everything south of the Bridge is South Jersey. But Bon Jovi used both terms: Taylor Ham AND Pork Roll . . . but he used Taylor Ham twice. NORTH JERSEY!

Take our survery on whether you put ketchup or mustard on your Taylor Ham or Pork Roll.
Taylor Ham or Pork Roll?

Monday, October 8, 2007

Rutgers tailgating

Although Rutgers lost again this past weekend, there is no doubt this football team has united the state. You see flags in the southern & northern counties equally. Those flags were just not there five years ago. It is a pleasure to see. As you can tell, we are getting to the bottom of our conclusions. Enjoy the outtakes from the tailgate!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Buzz . . .

We just filmed a driving competition between North and South Jersey girls. Who can parallel park better? Or better navigate one of NJ's infamous traffic circles?
Who won . . . South Jersey or North Jersey?

Well you'll have to see the film, but we may put a trailer up here soon.

Also, check out our write ups:

NJ Pols

NJ.com Blog

Our remaining filming schedule includes a couple festivals in the disputed territories of Mercer & Monmouth Counties, LBI's Chowderfest, a Giants-Eagles' game at Theo's Tavern in Hightstown, NJ , Rutgers football tailgating and the flooding of the cranberry fields.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Get out your notebooks & maps

We were at TCNJ today and it was eye opening. I had to cut A LOT here just to trim it to 6 minutes (a long highlight for us). The centrally located town of Ewing provides the setting for the campus, which is perfect as you will see when the guy talks about how antennas had to be tilted certain ways to get Philly or New York channels years back.

Going to college in NJ is one of the first times students from this state run into the "culture shock" of North and South Jersey: you say where you're from and get judged by others who are from somewhere different. This is where the debate starts many times and thanks to TCNJ we were able to witness a lot: best friends saying completely different answers . . . people realizing that there are cultural differences among them, but they are most definitely united on campus about Wawa, though there is a 7-11 right down the street. We think we also got to the bottom of some counties in terms of North/ South. . . but you judge.

I editing all of these really fast, keep that in mind. I'm losing sleep but doing it because people are really watching now! We are definitely starting to gain a following.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Cowtown Rodeo - Salem

Yesterday we filmed in Cape May and Salem Counties. We used an HD camera, which only my production assistant can upload with, so here is what we did with the "mini-mini" DV camera at the Cowtown Rodeo In Pilesgrove Twp., NJ - Salem County.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

South Jersey Shore

Here is old footage that I finally got around to uploading from the South Jersey Shore.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Of Football, lip liner and Wawa

We have a lot of footage and will be shooting much more over the next two months. We have so much that I have to get another external hard drive for all of the video!

I really don't quite know if the stuff that I put on here will make final cut. It will be a long process.

But anyway, listen to Stafford Twp.'s Mayor talk about the North Jersey "push" South in relation to football. This would go along with Bob at West Jersey.org and his Receding Hairline Theory:

Some residents of South Jersey will personally define what is South Jersey by the amount of over-development that occurs. If rural character is used as a yardstick then South Jersey is the area that is less developed than North Jersey. Unfortunately, the hairline continues to recede.

Then, listen as a South Jersey girl who moved North describes her definition and how much she loves Wawa. One thing that we're finding here: South Jersey and Shore people are very loyal to Wawa and people that have moved from the North gladly prefer it over 7-11 and Quick Check.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

RIP North and South . . .

My journey up to northwestern New Jersey was eye opening. More and more this line is not so much looking as North and South Jersey, but the old East/ West Jersey that was in place in colonial times. People in Phillipsburg, have more in common with Philadelphians than they do North Jerseyans. Drive a little east to Clinton or north to Belvidere and that influence disappears. The river towns from Mercer, through Hunterdon all the way up to southern Warren county all have a little more "South" Jersey to them than "North." I'll be at the Frenchtown River Fest this weekend to investigate further.

This project just got more interesting and more confusing:

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Day at the Beach

We were at Ocean Gate, Seaside Heights, Point Pleasant and Lakewood yesterday.

Ocean Gate is perhaps my new favorite town at the Beach. Hidden and beautiful . . . and best of all: friendly people.

Peter Smith was a very gracious tour guide to Seaside Heights and he has a lot of pride and knowledge on the history of the town.

Then we met with the guys at: Benny Go Home. Their mission has a lot more to it than I could have imagined. We talked to them for so long, I got my 7th parking ticket this month. I can't wait for August to end. Anyway, check out their website.

Finally, we were allowed to film at a Lakewood Blue Claws' game.

The Shore (or beach, whatever you want to call it) is truly one of New Jersey's jewels. Here is our video of highlights:

And here are rules that the guys at Benny Go Home feel like visitors to the beach should follow:

Also, check out our two "theory maps" below:

benny - shoobie

benny - shoobie
Originally uploaded by nsjersey

This is the dividing line of the North and South Shores based on the use of the terms: 'Benny' (in the North) and 'Shoobie' (in the South).


Originally uploaded by nsjersey

This is the dividing line of North and South Jersey based on the Wawa theory which states: when the Wawas end, you are in North Jersey. This map may be too specific and may be redrawn at a different time.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Some interviews with officials

Here are some early highlights (finally getting everything uploaded) of some elected officials' interviews.

Thanks again to Mr. Lynch, Mr. Muller and Mr. Varano.

Jim Irwin made the maps.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A most excellent adventure . . . so far.

This has been very fun so far.

We have been to all counties in NJ and will definitely need to stop in more for longer. I still need to get at least 30 people in each county to draw their line on a map. We'll see how it goes.

Recapping our journey, We have had interviews with:

The mayors of:

Plumsted Twp.
Berkeley Twp.
Manchester Twp.'s tax assessor

Freeholders from:

& Ocean Counties

Bob from West Jersey.org

NJ's distinguished historian, John T. Cunningham

We filmed at the New Egypt Speedway and a Sussex Skyhawks' game and we also bumped into an Oscar winner, Joe Renzetti.

There have been many great restaurants, diners and pubs that we've filmed in and good people that we've met.

Coming up, we have interviews with:

The mayors of:

Lacey Twp.
Ocean Gate
liaison to the mayor of Seaside Heights

The Bennygohome.com group

We will be filming at the parks of the Minor League Baseball teams:

Trenton Thunder
Somerset Patriots
Lakewood BlueClaws

and will have a lot of fun at the Cowtown Rodeo.

We'll also be at Chowder Fest

That's my blog update . . busy uploading more video now . . .in other news:

My parking ticket count is up to 5. The 1st two were easy mistakes, the next two were because I parked (and fed the meter) but I parked on street cleaning days in Hoboken. The signs should be more abundant. The city of Burlington tagged me while we were filming. If you know anyone in the Hoboken Police Dept. who would forgive my tickets, I'll be so happy!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Rainy days, busy week ahead

This weekend was quite eventful. We went from Trenton and headed south to Salem County, then drove Route 49 through Cumberland and Cape May counties to my Shore base in Somers Point, then up to Smithville.

Today was spent in Hoboken, New Brunswick and into the Hunterdon towns of Clinton and Frenchtown. It was rainy, but worth getting out to see these great places. Hunterdon is especially beautiful. Western Hunterdon county has a very strong PA influence (just simple geography), but also a NYC flavor as well because of its proximity to Interstate 78. The heavy rain mangled with our camera a little and we are working on fixing the technical glitches from today's shooting . . . I am so wishing we shot in HD. Anyway, here are some outtakes It is too late for me to do any real editing (again, I'm not getting much sleep lately), so enjoy it raw:

I am heading to Warren and Sussex counties tomorow, with a break at Drew University with NJ's famed historian, John T. Cunningham. Later on, we will film at a Sussex Skyhawks' game. Hope the weather holds off. I like wearing my cargo shorts because of all of the pocket room that holds my pens, cards, etc . . . Overall they make filming and interacting with people much easier with this. I am not liking the thought of having to wear long pants in August. Warm up weather!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Days 3 & 4

Again, I put this together in an hour's time and these are just outtakes; nothing official yet. But, I would love it if Lindsay Buckingham gave us permission to use "Holiday Road."

This video cuts off some people. PC curse. I don't know why I used my PC to do this . . . the MAC is so much better.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Right back where I started from . . .


The East is getting settled, the West is still wild.

Ocean County has become a lot clearer and I feel I could draw a line there. However, my hometown county, Mercer, and southern Hunterdon became murky. . . go figure.

I interviewed today in Manchester Twp. and Berkeley Twp.. And I also stopped in Jackson as well . . . all in Ocean County.

Then, I interviewed with a County Freeholder from Hunterdon County in Flemington at the historic courtroom where the Lindbergh kidnapping trial took place. I went to the Union Hotel and asked the ghosts if this was North or South Jersey. No response.

Then, I drove down Route 31 from there and went to Yardville, southern Mercer County. At the Yardville Tavern, the Mets' replay was on and they were listening to Mike and the Mad Dog on the Yes! Network on another TV. And I expected to see all Philadelphia stuff adorn the walls. . . more confusing.

But, they do fly out of Philadelphia airport and not Newark. More to come. We will be taking the River Line down: Burlington and Camden counties tomorrow and the hitting the southern counties the rest of the weekend.



At the New Egypt Speedway . . .

OK, it's after midnight and I will be staying at my South Jersey base for the next 3 nights, so who knows how my blogging will be? Wish I could post video now, but I can barely keep my eyes open. My bed is calling.

I was at the New Egypt Speedway and got the feeling, though the word, "Central" came out a lot, that "South" definitely was used more. New Egypt (northern Ocean County) is definitely Southern NJ. I interview with the mayor there next week and maybe he'll change my mind. . . it is right near the geographic center of NJ and if you were to look that up, you'd find it and the residents are quite aware of this.

Then, I drove down to (again) Allentown in western Monmouth county and though it was my second time there, I still couldn't get a feeling, but if I had to, I would lean toward Southern NJ again. I'm returning for their Fall Fest, to get more people's opinions in October. It's too nice of a town and too questionable of a place to overlook.

I have many interviews tomorrow, but don't quite know where. Too much going on. I'm going to bed and will wake up early to double check . . . . but I think I will be in Ocean and Hunterdon tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Surfing in "Central" Jersey . . .

If you are from an organization that has been contacted for permission to film, you can click here to get an overview of the project.

Here is my vlog from today. Short, but time is not a luxury right now:

Monday, August 13, 2007

Some numbers for you . . . .

If you are from an organization that has been contacted for permission to film, you can click here to get an overview of the project.

The results as completed by residents of Morris and Bergen counties are as follows. We interviewed 30 people each in both counties. I did not have time to convert the Excel table to a picture file using Photoshop, but will do so soon.

Percentage of people in Morris County that thought this NJ town was SOUTHERN Jersey:

Somerville . . . . .13%
Trenton . . . . . . .70%
Princeton . . . . . .47%
New Brunswick . .20%
Perth Amboy . . . 17%
Sayreville . . . . . .30%
Red Bank . . . . . . 63%
Belmar . . . . . . . .83%
Point Pleasant . . .90%

Bergen County

Somerville . . . . .10%
Trenton . . . . . . .73%
Princeton . . . . . .47%
New Brunswick . .20%
Perth Amboy . . . 17%
Sayreville . . . . . .30%
Red Bank . . . . . . 50%
Belmar . . . . . . . .87%
Point Pleasant . . .93%

What was surprising to me was that many people ranked Princeton North over Red Bank. Many residents also held the Raritan river theory strongly, which everything south of it, is Southern NJ. This is why Perth Amboy shows a stronger North percentage than Sayreville, even though they're pretty close to each other. However, what I cannot explain and was surpised by, was Princeton's elevation to the North by mostly half. This could be the pride of putting the elite city in one's own quarters, who knows? We'll have to see what the Southern New Jerseyans say.

I was also in Passaic too today, but had trouble finding a centralized population. If you know of some good towns to film in, let me know. I was in Paterson, but as one native to Paterson told me, "This town is a melting pot with a lot of rather new immigrants. They will be very unfamiliar with your question." But I did enjoy the town, especially the Passaic Falls, the second largest falls east of the Mississippi behind Niagra. I have video that I will post soon.

I'm heading down to Ocean and Monmouth today and that will only be the first of many visits and then to the New Egypt Speedway on Wednesday. Then, I'll have full crew by Thursday throughout the very busy weekend for us.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

North Jersey trekking

First of all, if you are from an organization that has been contacted for permission to film, you can click here to get an overview of the project.

On Monday August 13th, we will be filming in Morristown, Newark, Millburn, Hackensack and Closter. We will begin vlogging then and should have video up by that Tuesday. Stay tuned.


Thursday, August 2, 2007

Ocean County abuzz

First of all, if you are from an organization that has been contacted for permission to film, you can click here to get an overview of the project.

In latest news, by far the abundance of our responses has come from Ocean County.

We have over 10 mayors from the towns in this county scheduled to interview and had very interesting thoughts shared by a County Executive as well. We will also be filming at a Lakewood BlueClaws' game on August 25th.

If you see this post about our theories, Ocean County gets really interesting.

1) It seems to be where the term Benny and Shoobie collide.

2) Sports' loyalties are divided: The North Part - toward Point Pleasant all NJ/ NY fans, except if you go west into Plumsted Twp. . . . many Philly fans there. LBI territory is divided as well, but if you go further south to Little Egg Harbor Twp. it is all Philly.

3) Cable TV gets murky there. The New York and Philadelphia affiliates are shared by most.

There is much more, and I have a feeling that we will be spending a majority of our time there. . . at least in the East part of the state . . . but one thing is for sure:

This line is not straight and it is not clear . . . but a focus is coming.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Update II

Filming to start next week . . . if you're new to this discussion go here to read more: Where is the dividing line?

Filming starts next week and here are the theories we will be investigating:

  1. Sports’ loyalty theory – If you’re a Philly fan, you’re south. If NY/ NJ fan, you’re north. We will be looking at many sports stores in the area and seeing what hats/ jerseys they sell more.

  1. Cable theory – There are spots in NJ where you get the local network affiliates of both NYC & Philly. That’s murky territory and where we will spend a majority of our time.

  1. Driscoll Bridge theory – everything south of it is SJ.

  1. Raritan River theory - ditto

  1. NJ Coastal Rail Line Theory – it stops in Bay Head

We will have a conversation with the mayor of Bay Head to highlight this part.

  1. Capital City Theory – Trenton is the dividing line

Mayor Palmer is going to offer his thoughts on this one.

  1. "Benny"/ “Shoobie” theory – at the shore if you use, Benny you are North, Shoobie you are in the South. We have the group at www.bennygohome.com to interview for this.

  1. Wawa theory – Where the wawas end, that’s North Jersey.

  1. Bob’s Receding Hairline Theory – As NYC suburbs increase and Philly’s decrease, the line is ever changing, but "North Jersey" is moving farther south.

We will be filming at the Trenton Train Station to see how many people take the NJ Transit line to the city or take the Septa to Philly.

  1. West – South Jersey theory – a historical perspective that will be highlighted by interviews with John T. Cunningham and Bob from www.westjersey.org.

11. Area Code theory - 609 & 856 are South Jersey.

We're going to have a lot of fun . . . we have a mayor that swears his town is the center of NJ and many more colorful characters to show you. Also looking for NJ bands who want their music featured. Our favorite so far is Status Green, they really wail.

Finally, this was put on our myspace discussion . . . it is not what we think, but a funny map:

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Update I

We have contacted and hope to interview Comcast Cable executives (to see where NYC and Philly news stations overlap in NJ). We also will be able to film at many Sporting Goods' stores (for example to see if they sell more Eagles or Giants' jerseys), and have been honored with a phone call from NJ's prime historian, John T. Cunningham.

We'll also do fun things like see where driving styles and accents differ and try to find "down the Shore" where the term for visitors, Benny (a North Jersey term) and Shoe Bee (a South Jersey term) overlap in the state (hint Ocean County).

Also got permission to film at a Lakewood BlueClaws' game and I am really hoping the Trenton Thunder and Somerset Patriots follow suit (but for now, why not get tickets to see a BlueClaws as a favor for their kindness?)

Finally, I have setup interviews with many mayors of what we considered to be "border towns." Most of the replies came from mayors in Ocean or Monmouth counties. But sadly, noth much yet from Mercer & Hunterdon counties. There must be something out West. In Mercer, you'd think the county I'd most identify with home would show me some love. :( . . but the good news is that there was one, the one we considered most important. Mayor Palmer's office in Trenton has confirmed with me and that city is VERY important to me as I've always considered it my base (as I grew up in Ewing).

An interesting fact is that the Trenton papers: the Trentonian and the Times cover both Philly and NYC sport teams (though on the Trentonian's site is has a main link to allaroundphilly.com . . . interesting). But to shuffle things up a bit the capital city has two minor league teams: The Thunder and the Devils (renamed from the Titans) who are the New York Yankees and New Jersey Devils' minor league affiliates. It may have really changed the dynamic.
I thank Mayor Palmer's office for the call and also hope to get more call backs soon . . . filming starts next month. Stay tuned for many video updates in the next couple weeks.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Where is the dividing line between North and South Jersey? This is a question that matters only to those who live in or near the Garden State, but has been asked quite often, as most residents here do have an opinion on the matter.

So, this summer I (with a film student) will be traveling to all 21 NJ counties to ask people to draw their line on the map and also get their thoughts on camera.

True this has been written about before. But there are still many unanswered questions as of now.

Sometimes, the term, “Central Jersey” will come into the mix . . . appropriately so. But for the sake of this documentary, we are more focused on trying to define ONE geographical boundary rather than two. This is hurtful for me, as someone who grew up near Trenton and always referred to the area as, “Central Jersey” as well. But we can't make this too difficult a task, though it will be handled with care. I come to this project with a good background I believe.

I lived my early years in Woodbury (Gloucester), then grew up most of my schooled life in Ewing (Mercer). After college, I lived in Avalon (Cape May), and Margate City & Somers Point (Atlantic). Then, I moved jobs and lived in Maplewood (Essex) and currently reside in Hoboken (Hudson). All in under 30 years.

I have a theory that sports' loyalties clearly divide the state. I will seek to prove it in with interviews and graphs. Geography is important to me. I have degrees in the humanities and taught history and geography for six years. The truth is that borders have always fascinated me. I am as much of a product of the divided loyalties the state represents as anyone: I am a Philadelphia Phillies and Eagles fan, while I bleed red and black for the New Jersey Devils. I probably even hate the Flyers more than the Devils’ traditional rival, the New York Rangers. People ask me how I can do that all the time, but it is all that I have known.

So the project will involve me and my very creative friend, Helen, who is a film student at Temple, shooting this documentary, compiling statistics, blogging and vlogging in all 21 counties of New Jersey of the next couple of months.

We hope to release the full film in the spring of 2008. Love to hear people's comments . . . but I must say, unless you live or grew up in the area . . . you won't care. If you did, this is a very important question.