Sunday, December 21, 2008

How the state divides HS athletics

OK, I know that we DO NOT acknowledge Central NJ for this documentary when it comes to our "dividing line."

But the state does in many of its classifications. In HS sports it does as well.

I am posting this because it calls into question those people in Somerset, Middlesex and Hunterdon Counties who claim to be from CENTRAL NJ. . . or the "so called" Raritan Valley. Well, for most of you - the state thinks you are NORTH.

The only two counties that fall completely in green (Central) are - Mercer & Monmouth.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Snow Dividing Line

Looking at the snow map and getting some reports from friends on the ground, below is the snow line today in New Jersey. This was done at noon, so it already has changed an hour and 1/2 later. ANY town that was listed on as having: snow, wintry mix, sleet or freezing rain was included in the blue. If the weather was listed a just rain for the town in question, it was SOUTH of our snow day dividing. . . and for today - is SOUTH JERSEY.

Hoboken in the snow - 2:30pm

Sunday, December 14, 2008

SNL busts on New Jersey . . . again

I have written on this blog how Saturday Night Live has busted on New Jersey before, and we even use a clip of Tina Fey from 2003 swiping a low blow at Atlantic City in our film.

But yesterday, during the last episode of 2008 for SNL, Fred Armisen, dressed up as New York Governor, David Patterson, swiped at New Jersey a couple times:

Now I don't know if this was as low as the previous times, because Paterson is legally blind, a fact SNL exploited during Amy Poehler's farewell:

Does this mean that SNL was actually defending New Jersey, citing that because Paterson is blind - he doesn't really know about the state?

Probably not, as you can see in rough clips from our film below, the only thing that seems to unite New Jerseyans is the disdain Philadelphians and New Yorkers seem to share of us:

Is it any coincidence that Fey is from a Philadelphia suburb and that Armisen is from Long Island? Hmmmmmm . . .

Well, we do give it back to our neighbors for 3 months in the summer time down the shore. I guess it's a symbiotic relationship . . . I guess.

Anyway, you can see more of what New Yorkers and Pennsylvanians think of New Jersey in our film . . . and it looks like the next showing will be in the New Brunswick area - as the voting above indicates!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Band feature: Mike Mullane & the Bayonne Bleeders

If you have read this blog before, chances are that you know about Bennys. Well, Mike Mullane (who is originally from Bayonne . . the "B" in B-E-N-N-Y") was an unlikely source to come up with the unofficial Benny Go Home (BGH) Anthem, I'm a Benny, but the tune has become a staple at the North Jersey Shore. His band, "the Bayonne Bleeders," are coined after the famous Jersey boxer, Chuck Wepner, who famously went all 15 rounds with Muhammad Ali, and even knocked him down in the 9th round (and was the insipration for Rocky). Here is a pic of the band with Wepner:

The band has more to offer than just "Benny" related songs, and one of my favorites is a catchy tune and nice ode to our friends, the Jersey Shore Roller Girls. You can listen to the songs here at their myspace site and Mike has recently re-located from Bayonne to the North Jersey Shore, making his lyrics in Benny's coda prophetic. Listen to the lyrics . . . very clever and funny if you've hung out in Manasquan, Belmar, or Seaside on the summer weekends. I definitely know a guy who got rid of his rear car seats to put in speakers and, yeah, he was a Benny.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Band profile: Lifeguard Nights

This was a fun band that I happened upon . . . party because of their name. Formerly known as the "South Jersey Seashore Lifeguard Convention Band" (SJSLCB) and now "Lifeguard Nights" the band describes themselves as such: "If Frank Zappa's Mothers of Invention procreated with Bruce Springsteen's E-Street Band and raised their child on Indie Rock, Lifeguard Nights would be that child."

I still have issues with what lead singer, Vincent Brue, considers to be South Jersey, but they have deep roots in the state and I'm glad I found them. We used an older song from theirs, "Sandbox" over our South Jersey montage in the film. I am working with the editor to even feature their new song, "Unrequited Love" in the credits which you can listen to here. Check out their website: . . also look into their myspace site and facebook fan sites. Here are some notable videos; the bottom video parodies a very famous Van Halen music vid. I also hear they put on fun live shows . . . and you can see why below:

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Vote for which place in NJ we should have our next screening

Hey fans . . . and Happy Thanksgiving.

Success has followed us as we have been accepted and shown our film at 3 NJ film festivals: Wildwood by the Sea, where the film won its first award and was categorized as "must see", Reel Jersey and NJ State Film Fest at Cape May and are awaiting word from others, including national ones.

However, we (like many of you) are in pretty deep financial debt. We still need a good chunk of change to clear music, pay the bands & copyright things. If fans ever want to see the film on DVD, we need a Christmas miracle of sorts. Well, I won't get that dramatic.

We have decided instead of waiting for every NJ film festival, that we will go around the state and book short screenings at local eateries, pubs, playhouses, which ever place it works. One of these independent screenings will be on Tues. March 31st at the Ocean County Library. These will allow us to sell our t-shirts (you can also buy them online), mingle with you guys, get your feedback and hopefully raise some dough.

The question is where do you want the next screening? . . . (around the time of January or February) Vote above and we'll let the fans decide!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Preview: some of the bands in our film

One of the bands that we included in the film is, Save Pluto. They competed in a battle of the bands of sort on G Rock Radio and we at NJ: the movie spent a lot of time looking at these bands, especially because most had Jersey roots.

These guys were a definite favorite, and there wasn't many the crew here could agree on. But these guys rocked and were a group who we saw as an up-and-coming band. They stood out from many of the others in the competition. And - they just signed a publishing deal too - so I guess we have good taste!

Anyway, see an interview they did beforehand:

And hear one of their songs . . .

by the way . . . we are not putting this song in, but "Impressed" which you can listen to at their myspace site. The lyrics "are we ever going to get together" had some meaning from my point-of-view on this film . . but anyway, enjoy!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Director Kevin Smith says that anyone from Jersey should be a Devils' fan

Amen. Alleluia, praise the lord. I've ranted on this enough. Kevin Smith has said that he doesn't get anyone who doesn't root for the Devils if you live in NJ. Read the Yahoo Puck Daddy Blog here. . . it is worth while if you love Jersey and especially hockey as well.

I will summarize my feelings shortly below:

My father was a Reds' fans and my mom as Cubs' fan - because my dad was from Southwestern Ohio and my mom was from a suburb of the Windy City. Jersey doesn't have a baseball team - so I rooted for the Phillies. I threw my dad's Reds cap out at 4 (when we lived in Ewing) and put on a Phillies' cap - because that was the closest city to us.

Jersey HAS a hockey team and appropriately, I'm a Devils' fan since I have always lived here. My dad and I agree on that (he's not from Columbus). I'm 31, and was 11 when the Devils made their playoff run in 1988.

Ranger fans are allured by the city - pure and simple. The parent argument (like, my father was a Ranger fan - so I have to be) doesn't stick to me for the reasons that I mentioned above. I just tell the Ranger fans who live in NJ (and more importantly grew up here) to remember your Jersey blood when the New Yorkers laugh at you as you board the NJ Transit back to NJ.

My whole point is that I DON'T see how anyone born or raised in NJ UNDER the age of 35 can be a Rangers' fan (with the exception of South Jerseyeans who are Philly fans and can't get the Devils on TV). The Devils were already here. And a Jersey team should be enough . . . especially with 3 recent Stanley Cups! Kevin Smith has come out and said it . . . why can't we all?

Well, up next for me, I'm in the process of creating a joke blog on how we can help our brothers and sisters in NJ, who happen to be Ranger fans, ease their transition . . . and offering them moral support . . . .in their eventual move to New York. That's right, I said it.

DMV links, bridge toll & parking information . . . and even links of reliable movers. Everything to help our dear friends move to where their heart really is - NYC. . . that's why I've been gone from blogging so long, but Devil fans - look at it as a Christmas present coming soon.

Flyer fans - no gripes here - you're safe in South Jersey . . though Smith does have some gripes with you . . . I know . . . it's a long ride up to Newark . . .

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Buy Official New Jersey: the Movie t shirts!

We just got our t shirts yesterday and are SOOO excited! FRONT:
BACK . . . and you can see that there is a checklist:

You can use a sharpie (but we recommend a fabric marker) and check off how North or South Jersey you are! My marks are NOT consistent at all. . .

Anyway, you may purchase these at this link, using Pay Pal, which if is safe and secure. The shirts are $12 and shipping and handling is $3.50. We are personally shipping to you ourselves, to cut our costs (so you may write me a badgering email if you don't get them in time). We really went out there to try and raise more money and the shirts are AWESOME . . . . so please click below. Thanks to Jason Higgins for helping me set this up!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Next screening: Sat. Nov. 22nd - NJ State Film Festival @ Cape May

We got into the New Jersey State Film Festival at Cape May! Saturday November 22nd at 2:15pm in Theater C at the Beach Theater at 711 Beach Ave Cape May, NJ.

To buy tickets - your options are here

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Read a review of our film!

Click here to read a review of our film from TCNJ's newspaper, the Signal. Thanks to Pete Spall for writing!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

See two clips from the film NOW!

We had a great time at our screening at TCNJ last night. Here was the interview on, "The Early Late Show" to plug the film. Thanks to Matt Owen, Kyle Schimpf, Scott Pioli and the rest of the crew at LTV.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A look at our North Jersey writer . . .

Here is a plug for our North Jersey writer, Jen Singer, who we interviewed for our film. We filmed her in Kinnelon, which was beautiful. Check it out her recent clip on a needed, "Halloween Candy Bailout" at UBATV. Funny.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Rate the county: Bergen County

Bergen County: perhaps no county is so synonymous with North Jersey than the rest, but also some place that seems it is its own world at the same time. My first experience with Bergen was watching the movie the Coneheads in high school, where much of it was filmed in Paramus. Of course Paramus is know for its malls, which supposedly makes the town the number one zip code in retail sales in the entire USA . But Bergen is more than Paramus.

I have been to a lot of the towns in the county and there are many beautiful downtowns (see Ridgewood), I awed at the size of the houses (see Alpine) and wondered about the map drawing (see South Hackensack). Check out the hills of Mahwah and Ramsey where you can see the NYC skyline VERY far away on Route 17 south because of their elevation.

It is the only county in NJ (maybe with the exception of Hudson) where some people call the sandwich a hero.

But what is your opinion on Bergen County? Well, here is what Bruce Willis and Jon Stewart had to say about it (and also Salem County):

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Rate the county: Mercer

So I have devised a new gimmick to keep the subscribers to this blog happy as well as readers:

I will give you a county; please comment on any adjectives, phrases or descriptions that you would use to describe the county.

For instance, at the New Jersey Devils' game last night - I saw a rare creature. A guy who was a Devils' fan and a Phillies' fan . . . just like me. I immediately guessed where he was from. I said, "You must be from Mercer County." That guy was from East Windsor . . . and he couldn't believe that I nailed it.
But that's Mercer: the only county in New Jersey where EVERY town's sports loyalties must be questioned and are debatable. You just can't find another county in the state that compares. Ocean comes close. But there are few Phillies' fans in Toms River.

So how would you describe Mercer County - the home of Trenton and Princeton?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The railroad divide

There are roughly nine branches of NJ Transit train lines in the North and "Central" areas of New Jersey. This is not including the PATH system, the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail or the Newark Light Rail.

In South Jersey there is one, the Atlantic City Line. But there is also the River Line and the PATCO. . . which are kind of the southern equivalents of the PATH and Hudson-Bergen Light Rail.

The biggest reason why this passenger rail divide exists is purely population . . the center of the state's population (as of 2000) is in East Brunswick in Middlesex County. . . and that is why most of the rail lines are north of the pop. center (notice how the above map divides the state too).

But New Jersey used to have some older railroads. Check out this great website and see the progression of South Jersey's railroads. Then check out this North Jersey historic rail site (which could use some updating).

There are also some in Northwestern NJ that are still around for tourists today. Some that I have not mentioned are freight railroads - a pretty good list can be found here of all rail lines in New Jersey.

So the question is - if you could build a passenger rail line in New Jersey, possibly to make your work commute easier, (of course NOT keeping in mind our state's deficit) . . . where from and where to would you build it?

Monday, September 29, 2008

The song I'd like to be in the credits . . .

If you don't know . . . when a film buys the rights to a song for the opening or closing credits to a film, it usually costs more money. We will be posting some of the amazing bands whose music will be featured in the film on this blog.

But for now, my wish list for the ending credits goes to this song.

I tried to find a Bon Jovi song that was a real gem, something that hasn't been played out and something where people will wonder, "Wow, how did I miss that one?" Click on the play device on the right hand side of the web page to play the track.

If the band gets and unusual increase in downloads to this song on itunes, zune, napster or any of the other licensed music sites, we can make a strong case to the publishing and record company, but more realistically - the band - to give us a reduced price. Oh yeah, if anyone knows any members of the band, we would be happy to give them our rough cut. I think the film will speak for itself.

New Jersey: the Movie wins its first award

New Jersey: the Movie took home the honors of, "Home State Award" as selected by the jury and audience at the Wildwood by the Sea Film Festival for top film. We thank them very much!!

Also I saw a great quote on Jen A. Miller's Shore blog today:

"Central Jersey" is a mythical, mysterious, undefined beast. Like Bigfoot."

Sunday, September 28, 2008

My favorite time of year for sports

October is approaching. I get to enjoy Phillies' playoff baseball and Devils' hockey. These are two videos I enjoyed, chances are you will like one of them. And if you hate both? Well, that means your a Ranger fan . . and the River is due east, buddy.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Two reviews - from opposite corners

Well, we have two reviews of the film from writers at the exact polar opposites of the state: Bergen County and Cape May County.

Here is the Bergen article
Here is the Cape May one
I thank Jim Vanore from the Cape May County Herald and John Stoles from the Leader of the Meadowlands for talking to me and writing the reviews. I also like reading their different point of view. You have to keep in mind the audience they are writing to . . . and you'll see their North - South differences!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cuts of the film showing THIS WEEK!

A short version of New Jersey: the Movie will be showing this week at the following film festivals:

Saturday Sept. 27th -

ENCORE: Sat. Sept. 27th - Wildwood by the Sea Film Festival - Wildwood Convention Center - Wildwood, NJ - 1pm

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

1210am podcast - the line revealed!

You can listen to our podcast from our screening with 1210am - the Big Talker here.  The line is revealed!  But you'll have to see the film for details. . .

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Mercer county is South Jersey!! ??

They did it at wikipedia again. Someone re-edited the site and now there is a map that clearly puts Mercer County in South Jersey. . . even though every resident I interviewed there clung to the "Central" banner.

And how can you put a county where you can literally see the NYC skyline (Union) in Central Jersey?

I don't necessarily deny Central Jersey - I just thought for our documentary we could lean every place in "Central Jersey" to the North or South.


"The City" for you is:

A) New York City
B) Philadelphia

A) Makes you more north
B) Makes you more south

End of story . . but hey, anyone can edit wikipedia . . be my guest.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Line revealed!

Well . . . not quite yet, though we did show it at Ponzio's last night sponsored by 1210am - The Big Talker.  Thanks again to Dr. Mazz and his wife, Clinton and Ed and the rest of the 1210 crew who made last night happen.

But, I am willing to give more details about how the line came about by having you look at a map below.
This map compares the current divide amongst sports teams in red  (Philly) and blue (NY/ NJ), to the first line dividing New Jersey called the Keith Line which was not north and south, but EAST and WEST.  

Well before it became a state, in colonial times, New Jersey was divided.  There was an East Jersey and a West Jersey.  And the first line drawn by Surveyor General George Keith, only made it up 2/3 of the way before we realized he drifted too far west and stopped near the Raritan River branches.  The line in black represents that line and continues west, if Keith had finished it.   Just look how that original line, which still demarcates the borders between Ocean and Burlington, western Monmouth and western Somerset, matches the Sports' loyalty line.  From 1686 to 2008, it is amazing how little some cultural things have changed.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Buckets of rain . . buckets of tears . . .

If you remember this post, you will see that all of us here at New Jersey: the movie have fallen on dire economic times. We asked some of you to give and some of you have, including: Kenneth Kolanko and Louise Bolge. Thank you!

Sometimes, it is amazing how independent film even gets made. Again we are hoping the film speaks for itself. . . and the positive reviews will role in, and then someone (maybe a studio?) will make us an offer. But future hopes don't pay the present bills.

Andrei got a new apt. . . (but not a new paycheck . . . and you'll bet that I'm stalling as long as humanly possible) and they sent me this pic via cellphone that I thought was classic.

They're still unpacking stuff during a raining day which I'm sure is putting us all down. The worst for me is that the Mets - Phillies' game was postponed!

OK, I'm done begging for money in future posts. But we do hope that you will come and see for yourself anyway and make it your call . . . . I can't wait for Tuesday!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

1210am sponsored screening - Cherry Hill - SOLD OUT!

We are SOLD OUT for this Tuesday's screening in Cherry Hill. If you look at the post below - we don't see a dime of the ticket purchases - it is all about exposure at this point. . . and we thank 1210am the Big Talker for their exposure of our film.

The next screenings:

Wildwood by the Sea Film Fest - two screenings -

Fri. Sept. 26th - Time and place TBA

Sat. Sept. 27th - 1pm - Wildwood Convention Center - Venue 4 - Wildwood, NJ

For Wildwood - you can purchase tickets by calling the number here.


Reel Jersey Film Festival - Williams Center - cinema 2 - Rutherford, NJ - 3:30pm - Sat. Sept. 27th

For the Reel Fest - You can purchase tickets via paypal here - then select individual event ticket option - if that's all you want to see. You can call the numbers on their website for more info.

My friends and colleagues: Andrei and Alena

The time is coming. With 3 screenings this month - we are wrapping it up here at New Jersey: the Movie. And I would like to take this blog entry, to give a shout out to my two colleagues (and friends) Andrei and Alena.

They have endured two straight near sleepless weeks putting their touches on the film and finishing our New Jersey cut to have it ready at an earlier time than any of us thought. Andrei even moved apartments yesterday and is busy trying to setup his new station to finish the magic touches this weekend. . . all while Alena helps out and remains the guiding force of this project. That's dedication.

The first cut is a 27 - 32 minute cut geared toward the people of New Jersey. A more general cut is being made for non-New Jerseyans . . . and if someone or company would like to buy and mass distribute the film in theaters and DVD (after they see it for themselves) in my perfect world - it will have to be one and a half - two hours to accurately fit in everything I would like. In a perfect world . . .

A little bit about them:

Andrei is Russian and is originally from Kazakhstan (yes, the same country as Borat). . . and, yes, he loves to say, "very nice." He is a graduate of Temple film school and had a very popular blog, My Life with Bad English, that got critical acclaim. Clicking on this post for instance - will show you how Andrei dreamed of coming to America ever since he was a child. And Andrei has fulfilled his dream by recently becoming a US citizen. He gets home from work everyday and uses his free time to edit this film. The little that I have been able to fundraise to pay him - is not really what he is worth. . . but he takes it with the knowledge that he is working on something big here at NJ: the movie.

Alena is also Russian, and a former roommate of mine from the Jersey Shore. When I found out she was a "media criticism" (I think) major originally I laughed, because if you know Alena - she is very opinionated about everything . . but possess the knowledge about a lot to back it up too. She is also a graduate of Temple film school and has worked for free, for the past year. . . again hoping that this project was worth it. When Andrei and I complain (it happens a lot), we complain to her. She takes it all in and still micromanages everything. She is the great - but will probably read this post and be mad that I left something out . . . but she still demands the best.

You can come down to Ponzio's in Cherry Hill on Tues. Sept. 9th at 7pm to meet us and see what we've done. It will be sponsored by 1210am - The Big Talker. We will hopefully be selling our awesome t-shirts and we will (I'm warning you) also be looking for any donations.

Your money goes to copyright lawyer fees, trying to get copyright clearances and film festival fees. . . and of course paying Andrei a little more for what he is worth. How could it be a film about New Jersey without Bon Jovi music? Or Bruce? If we can clear it all - it's in. If we can't afford to - Andrei will find something - but it won't be the same. Right now is a critical time for what will actually be able to be in this film. . . there are many other bands who have music too and must get proper credit, and they will be featured on future posts.

We are definitely at a pivotal time. You can even still donate and guarantee your name will be in the film. It is paypal secured. There is more too: CLICK TO SEE. It is the least we can do for you - for helping us make an enjoyable ode to our state. . .that we hope can be enjoyed by all, have parties thrown around and even used in the classroom.

But I invite you to come and see for yourself. Tuesday - 7pm - Cherry Hill will be the first of many screenings. . . you can meet us and we'd love to know that you are reading this blog too. And if you want to throw us a couple bucks, so I can keep what is left of my savings account and stop eating ramen noodles (it has been dinner the past two nights) it would be very welcome. Thanks to all of you for reading!

Monday, September 1, 2008

September at the Shore

Just because "the unofficial end of summer" is now over, doesn't mean that it is reason to stop enjoying the Jersey Shore. Each town usually offers something unique until the end of October.

There is LBI's Chowderfest for one.

Also, did you know that I have been editing videos about the South Jersey Shore for author, Jen A. Miller? It was all shot in one long day to complement her book, The Jersey Shore: Atlantic City to Cape May.

She has her reasons for not including LBI. (I will point out that South Jersey Magazine doesn't include any of Ocean County in its publishings).

The last video, about Cape May, will be posted on her blog by mid-September. Below is the latest one - but remember - I'm not a professional editor . . . I just did her a favor because she did many for us and the film! Thanks again Jen! Buy her book!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

NJ Colleges - BOOK us!

Thank you all form your comments and emails on the last post.

But now I am writing to college students. On Friday October 3rd we will be on "The Early Late Show" at TCNJ . . . and will be showing the film there on Wednesday October 15th . We will also be selling our awesome t-shirts . . . which you will need a fabric pen to appreciate to the fullest (I cannot divulge anything else).

So . . . if you are at a NJ college, we are interested in coming to you . . . showing part of the film, having Steve talk and having a brief PowerPoint presentation on the history of NJ and cluing you in to where this "divide" is.

Wouldn't it be great for your college organization to host us? (and it would look good on your resume). As we do the film festival circuit and wait for the national and international replies . . we want to keep our momentum going. We definitely have the most fun interacting with the young people of NJ because when you go to an NJ college - that is the first time the North-South divide slams in your face!

As a former history teacher (Steve) I can say that I have the confidence that I can keep a room of drone bees interested. And we're also in the works to have it be an educational DVD cut for classrooms as well. . . so tell your professors too!

We want to visit your college/ university. . . . let us know.

Email to: nsjersey[at]

Monday, August 25, 2008

What town is the "closest" in New Jersey?

No theories here. I am looking for advise. North - South - it doesn't matter.

I have a second little brother for Big Brother/ Big Sisters of America who lives in Clinton Hill in Brooklyn. (My first I am proud to say will be attending Rowan University as a freshman on a scholarship this month).

There have been many emails I've gotten which criticized New Jersey. One standout email commenting on our film was a person who wrote that he moved to Brooklyn from New Jersey and wrote that Brooklyn had "more of a sense of community" than any New Jersey town would. . . North or South.

I thought about this as I ate dinner and played chess with my little on DeKalb Ave. and everyone said "hi" from their cars and walkers stopped to greet the waiters and diners outside on the block.

I was impressed. . . but because I love New Jersey - I was determined to find a similar city/ town in NJ.

I have lived in many places in New Jersey - which gave me the confidence to go through with this documentary: Woodbury, Ewing, Margate City, Somers Point, Maplewood, and Hoboken. I feel like I know the state better than many, but I still learn things new everyday.

Right now, my girlfriend and I talk about marriage, about our future - and I want to see it in the Garden State.

Yes, I get out. I was out west for 3 weeks with teenagers and travel to Europe often . . . (we're looking to go to Turkey next . . . as a history guy - it is a good place).

But what town in New Jersey, in your opinion, fits the bill of having that great "sense of community?" A place where you see someone new everyday and someone you know everyday? A place where everyone says hello and there are an abundance of outdoor cafes. A place where there is such an immense pride of "being there" . . . that it cannot be argued.

I have seen it in many places: In Monmouth County - there are some great towns that I found and in Hunterdon - there are many too. But even in Millville and Morristown - I felt good. Of course, Hoboken grows with me everyday . . but I really want to know - what is the best New Jersey town that has the "sense of community for you?"

Saturday, August 23, 2008

New Jersey's divide: how unique is it?

We ask this question at the beginning of our film. Switzerland, Belgium, Sudan, Italy, California, Illinois . . . there are tons of places in the world where they have a North-South (or East-West) divide and many others within those. Hell, James Carville called Pennsylvania - Philadelphia and Pittsburgh with Alabama in the middle.

While acknowledging these places in the film, we also tried to point out how this North-South Jersey divide is unique. . . but also trying to find "what we have in common" at the end.

What do you think? How unique is Jersey's cultural divide compared to these others?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Old Post: Where is the Center of New Jersey?

Video thumbnail. Click to play
Click to Play
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.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Screenings near you!

We have a busy September ahead of us, with 4 possible screenings of part of our film:

SOUTH - Tues. Sept. 9th - Cherry Hill, NJ - Ponzios on Route 70 at 7pm - working with 1210am - The Big Talker- as sponsor, amongst others.
FAR SOUTH - Thurs. Sept. 25th or Fri. Sept. 26th - Wildwood, NJ - Place and Time TBA - Wildwood by the Sea Film Festival
FAR NORTH - Sat. Sept. 27th or Sun. Sept. 28th - Rutherford, NJ - Place and Time TBA - Reel Jersey Film Festival

"CENTRAL" - College of New Jersey - Ewing, NJ - Possible Sept. or Oct. screening.

All events will feature a Q & A with Steve, the director. Depending on the amount of time, there will also be a slideshow presentation and other clips which we hope will eventually translate into DVD extras.

The only thing is that "The Line" will not be revealed. . . we have been advised to wait for that. But if you really examine these blog posts closely and come by and watch the film, you can make an educated guess, I'm sure!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Rocket Power Shoobies

Have you ever watched the Nickelodeon show, Rocket Power? They are kids who live in a beach town in California and mention outsiders, or shoobies often. The spreading of this term is quite interesting . . .

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Bennys vs. Shoobies

You might have heard two different names that shore locals give to tourists: Benny and Shoobie. But at the Jersey Shore - they're divided too. You can read our interview on's shore blog about this.

But, the above map is where the beach locals are divided. In the North (blue) they call tourists - Bennys. In the South (red) they call tourists - Shoobies.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Thursday, July 31, 2008


Thanks for your support. We raised over 700 dollars between cash and online donations at our screening last night at Mulligan's. We are planning on having another showing/ fundraising on Sept. 9th in Collingswood sponsored by 1210 am - the Big Talker. If you donate over $50 - your name will appear in the credits. You can donate online - safe and secure through pay pal here. Your money goes to:

-paying the editor
-paying the animator
-paying for t-shirts & other graphic designs like posters to promote the film
-film festival fees and shipping costs

A special thanks to Brian Gertzen and Jeremy McKown for their online donations.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Shore Locals to adopt Philly customs to separate themselves from North Jerseyans?

Just like hipsters in 2002 embraced Pabst Blue Ribbon . . . thereby starting a trend, the same thing could be happening at the North Jersey shore with sports teams. Allow me to elaborate first:

I got a lot of flack when I put up the sports' loyalty line. Mostly they were from Monmouth and Ocean County people - who continue to insist they share no possible common traits with the dreaded "Bennys" from North Jersey and beyond - though people in Burlington County and south would strongly disagree.

An interesting observation is that this "Benny" thing is becoming so ingrained into the Shore population's consciousness, even little kids are on board and you also heard about Belmar's mayor. To me it parallels the rise of groups like Benny Go Home who are championing the cause of locals at the shore, and are getting a much bigger and loyal following in the past couple years.

They're very articulate guys with interesting views on how visitors affect the shore: from abuse of eminent domain to cyclical trends on the decaying and revitalizations of shore towns, and how tourists fit into these equations. But other locals have taken the "word use" to a different level - claiming it relates to only guidos or all non-beach people. They have hijacked it, in some cases, and applied it to all North Jerseyans and Staten Islanders, amongst others. . . where the guys at BGH just define it as rude tourists from anywhere.

But now there has been more of an effort from some shore locals to separate themselves further from those up north - after my "pale attempts to paint them as brother and sister" as one reader wrote in. Some have emailed me that the shore sports teams are different. Where in North NJ - the Giants, the Yankees and Rangers are the teams du jour, at the Shore they would much rather follow the Mets and Jets - like Long Islanders - but split when it comes to their home state and have the strongest showing of support for the New Jersey Devils.

But more and more people have tried to hint that they also support the Philly teams (some claim it was their parents), like the Phillies and Eagles and Sixers (but not the Flyers) and like using the word hoagie recently because of the abundance of Wawas.

This weird, but noticeable trend in emails and comments to my posts have brought up this question: Like those hipsters who fueled PBR's comeback - could the people at the North Jersey Shore, whom I consider to be on the cutting edge of NJ culture - because of the great music scene and the skate and surf culture there - actually start to think it is cool to adopt some South Jersey/ Philadelphia customs to truly and finally separate themselves from the Bennys once and for all? Being that the word has seemingly become synonymous with North Jerseyans and New Yorkers, could it be something that could happen there?
Not likely . . . . "the city" will NEVER be Philly to the North Jersey Shore people . . . but watch out for other interesting developments there.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Photographing the line

Photographer Christian Lipinski and I drove last week and photographed the "dividing line" between North and South Jersey that will be detailed when our film comes out. Here are two of the photos:

We will be having a fundraising party and rough cut showing of New Jersey: the Movie at 8pm at Mulligan's on 1st in Hoboken, NJ this Wednesday July 30th. Stop by and say hi!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Wawa's Hoagiefest . . . changing the name game?

Wawa is expanding so much. Now they have a very aggressive marketing campaign promoting their $2.99 shorties. But its biggest effect could be to get you to call the sandwich a "Hoagie" and not a "Sub." This media blitz comes complete with Sgt. Pepper inspired art and a very catchy theme song on their website.

It all brings up a big question for me. In the areas of Ocean, Monmouth, Middlesex, Somerset and Hunterdon they definitely call it a "sub." But with all of these new Wawas there, could Wawa actually change their language? Could people in Red Bank, Hillsborough, Point Pleasant and East Brunswick use the word hoagie more often after this ubiquitous campaign? I see the vans and posters nearly everywhere south of the Wawa line. I also think our documentary has inspired t-shirts . . . . if we just had interns, I would have had time to come up with this:

Oh well . . . but if you have eaten at a Wawa in the past month . . have you called it a hoagie inadvertently?

PS - I am using Firefox's browser for this entry and its spell check does NOT recognize the word - hoagie . . there's red all over this post!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It was the housing boom stupid (me)!

Included in this post is a very important line. It is the sports' loyalty line in New Jersey . . . and additionally another map of what I predict it to look like in 20 years.

The great thing about Sports' loyalties - is that, again, there is no hiding behind Central. You're either a NY/ NJ sports' fan or a Philly sports' fan (and if you are a Dallas fan - can you name the state capital of Texas without googling it?)

OK, I did forget about myself - growing up in Ewing - I was a mixed fan (Devils & Nets - Phillies & Eagles) and I guess the reason I have so much nostalgia for my home county and motivation for this film is that it is the only county where the sports' loyalty question is so evident. There's nothing like a Mercer bar during a Giants or Eagles game. As one guy said in Lawrence Twp. in our documentary, "You'll find someone to argue with and someone to agree with here." But like every other city in the state, each town there . . leans to one side or the other.

But, the lines above - are where they are, in a big way, because of the housing boom in the late 90s early 00s. Staten Islanders and other New Yorkers followed North Jerseyans south and west - searching for cheaper housing and lower taxes. I thought retirement alone contributed to it, but many mayors that I spoke with in Ocean County, a former Freeholder in Hunterdon and a sports' writer from the Express-Times, all confirmed that it was the housing boom that saw the North Jersey sports' loyalty line inch further south and west. Those Philly fans in southwestern Warren County are older and of a different generation than the younger NY/ NJ fans. . . ditto to those few Philly fans still found in Ocean County. Even Mercer may someday change to all north.

This was one of my most interesting findings in this quest. Ocean County Mall is dominated with NY/ NJ paraphernalia, easily outnumbering the Philly stuff. They may have issues with the Bennys down there, but most Ocean County residents celebrated that Giants' Superbowl XLII victory just the same as the Bayonne, Elizabeth, Newark and New York people did. They have a common bond.

If you want to see a stark difference in Mercer, though, go to Dick's Sporting Goods in Princeton on Route 1 . . . where the New York/ New Jersey teams dominated the store displays . . . and then go south to the Sports Authority in Lawrenceville, on the Route 1 northbound side and you will find it as even as it gets. . . and they're only about 2 miles apart.

I was waiting for over a year to post this line, so I am hoping the comment board lights up.

Monday, July 14, 2008

You are from North Jersey if you don't know these . . .

Thanks to many of you for the recent feedback. But I cannot even debate with people claiming to be South Jersey if you don't know about:

1) The Mummers

2) The Curse of Billy Penn (A friend had to tell me about this - this must be my North Jersey side)
3) The name of the state's official fruit . . . notably South Jersey residents score much better on naming the fruit than North Jersey residents, undoubtedly because it is predominantly grown in the south.

Not to try and follow a tacky internet quiz, but if you knew all three, you are from South Jersey.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Welcome NY Times readers

Hello NY Times readers. In this blog you will find many theories, maps, quickly done clips, and other random posts.

This is a debate that New Jersey has had with itself since I can remember.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Bon Jovi set to play Central Park

If you haven't heard from me for a while, it is because I am out visiting my relatives in Chicago. But I had to write because Bon Jovi is playing in Central Park today!

Out here, I saw a Cubs' game and a Brewers' game and my girlfriend and I bumped into a filming of, What Not to Wear downtown on Michigan Ave. All I have to say is that every guy in the place was clueless who these people were . . . including me; but the ladies were in awe. Much fun. . . . but another reason I LOVE Jersey. The food here in the Midwest, be it Illinois or Wisconsin, SUCKS.

Despite Chicago Style Pizza and Bratwurst, I cannot wait to get back to Jersey. I am going right to Benny Tudinos and getting a slice. This is one of the reasons that I feel like I will never leave New Jersey. There is NO better food from every ethnicity in the country. This state . . . people . . . has so much to offer, cuisine-wise and it is the best place to eat in the USA. . . . and with the possible exception of Queens, that is the truth.

Anyway, send me your videos from the Bon Jovi concert . . . I would love to be there filming us New Jerseyans - descending on NYC in great numbers. . . . oh well.

Check it out people!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

What is Central Jersey culture?

If you were to google "North Jersey" or "South Jersey" you can find many quizzes or other lists that start like . . . . "You know you're from North/South Jersey when . ."

There are others that say, "You know you're from New Jersey when . . . ." also.

But I have yet to find one that says "You know you're from Central Jersey when . . ."

Now if some of you think it is hard to convince me there is a Central Jersey, let me tell you that with one of our consultants; it is even harder. This person asked me today, "What is Central Jersey culture? If it is just a mish-mash of the two (North and South). . then I don't call that culture."
OK, and this has no bearing on our line and could be attributed to my native Mercer county pride, but I countered this person and told them that there is no bigger cultural difference in New Jersey than going from Mercer to Burlington. The cable changes, the sports loyalties go from mixed to solid Philly and the newspapers change (somewhat . . still Trenton papers, but the Star Ledger and Philadelphia Inquirer seem to flip flop) and even some voting patterns change.

But my consultant brought up a good point. What IS Central Jersey culture? I have written here before that Monmouth and Mercer county have little in common. I mentioned Kevin Smith (a Monmouth native) in my last posting. And when Clerks came out in 1994 - that movie might have well been set in a foreign country. I didn't know people who tawlked like that and really couldn't call it my Jersey (though I did love the street hockey on the roof). Chasing Amy (a movie I LOVED) also was different. Smith made it seem like every New Jerseyan just hops into "The City" easily; but during my college summers, I was much more likely to go to Philly than New York.
Hence my confusion and feeling like the South Jersey people were never fairly represented when people spoke of New Jersey.

Then, I moved to Margate City after graduating and had people tell me I was from North Jersey. When I argued, they cited the the fact I was an NJ Devils' fan and noted "those long-winded politicians in Trenton." Alas, I had to agree there was a faster pace of life in Mercer compared to Atlantic and even Burlington (that I mentioned earlier) . . .

So, after all of this rambling - the question still remains. What is Central Jersey culture? I challenge readers to come up with a quiz or posting . . . to answer this.

PS - It is acceptable to also say that there is no Central Jersey.