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.