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 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

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 . . . 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.