Monday, September 7, 2009

What town in NJ has the best downtown with good rail access?

In our search for the perfect NJ town to live in, my fiancée and I are asking for your help. I want access to rail that puts me in NYC or Philly in a reasonable time. She wants a walkable, cute downtown. A great coffe shop and sports bar would be bonuses. A cool co-ed softball or other adult sports league like a running club would be double bonus.

I will break it up into 3 sections. South, North and we will give the "Central" people their say too, although all of their rail is the same as North Jersey people (all lines lead to NYC). There is a voting bar above. Whichever town wins each section, will move onto the next round. We will go to the winning town and I will video blog the experience.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Lambertville screening Sat. Aug. 15 - 7:30pm

New Jersey: the Movie next screening
Saturday, August 15, 2009
7:30pm - 8:35pm
ACME Screening Room
25 S. Union Street
Lambertville, NJ 08530-1841
Suggested $5 donation at the door

Friday, July 24, 2009

Keyboard Cat does NOT like corruption!

I don't care WHICH political party you're a member of, I WANT my state back!

Give it to them keyboard cat:

Inspired by Charlie Schmidt:

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Wawa and Remembering Harry Kalas

Your local NJ Wawa is the exclusive seller for Rich Wolfe's, Remembering Harry Kalas. However, NOT all New Jersey Wawas are selling the below book.

Phone calls and visits to local Wawas in the "Central" areas of the state gave us this map:

The Red Counties represent those with Wawas that ALL sell the book.

The Blue Counties represent those that do not have any Wawas.

The Blank Counties have been singled out.

A "P" means that the Wawa had the book.

The "N" means that the Wawa didn't sell the book.

Two in disputed territories say that they had the book, but that it sold out.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Steven Piperno's closing song

This song rolls over the credits to our film. I threw together a little slideshow to go along with it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How New Jersey is viewed by America . . .

 . . . AND why I think the most underrated reasons people specify they are from SOUTH or CENTRAL or WEST Jersey is because of these:

I'm getting some North Jersey friends on this for some defense.

Have a good time down the shore this weekend!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Civil War related divides . . .

New Jersey was once divided into East Jersey and West Jersey, as I have discussed here before. That eventually evolved into North and South Jersey. But in the early years of our republic, this divide was quite apparent when it came to slavery.

1) The slavery rates were much lower in South Jersey during the first three generations of the life of the nation (1790 to 1860). At the beginning of this period 92.6% of New Jersey's slaves were in the northern counties. By 1840 it was over 99%.

2) The 1860 popular vote for Lincoln
in the Southern Counties as a whole was 55%, but was only 45% in the Northern Counties.

So although some people like to take the Mason Dixon Line and extend it across South Jersey, this early divide was really a kind-of-reverse Mason-Dixon Line.

Why was this? Too complicated, I would recommending further reading the linked site to get the answer.

But there will always be "Central" people trying to dispute that history. It all reminded me of the below clip, which inspired this post:

The above video takes about 4 seconds to begin playing.
The full above episode can be found at:

Friday, May 1, 2009

Next screening: Hoboken Film Festival

We are very happy to announce that New Jersey: the Movie has been accepted to the 2009 Hoboken International Film Festival.  Details to come soon.

Totally off the radar, but of interest, an article that I read this morning has to do with the town of Baarle-Nassau/ Baarle-Hertog.  It lies within the boundaries of the Netherlands, but because of a history dating back to feudal customs of the Middle Ages, the borders of Belgium and the Netherlands zig-zag through the area.  It makes New Jersey's divide pale in comparison!  Many of the borders even go through houses and bedrooms!  Click on the picture to read the article.

The above video takes about 5 seconds before playing.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The School District Economic Factor Divide

New Jersey divides all of its municipalities that have public schools into, "New Jersey District Factor Groups."   The most wealthy towns get classified as: J, I, GH & FG and I have taken the top 4 and colored them GREEN.  The rest are categorized as DE, CD, B & A  and I have taken the bottom 4 and colored them RED.

I included sending districts into the elementary district bracket that the area is in cooperation with.  These factors change quite often, but I'm sure that I'm pretty accurate as of 2009.  

BTW - I went to middle & high school in a RED district. . . but do you see what I see?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Fred Armisen - time to ante up

In comedy, there are always safe bets.  Sometimes a comedian tries new material, and it bombs. For instance, talking about someone's race or a "too soon" joke may be risky.   But cracking on New Jersey?  It's an old forumla that continues to work well for Saturday Night Live:

I have written about these instances before. Read instance 1 and instance 2.  

It seems to me that the "safe comedic bet" continues to be the North Jersey Gateway Region Italian-American.  

Similar to how West Virginia gets stereotyped for being full of rednecks, New Jersey gets busted on for being mafiosos and guidos, not to mention some of the physical attributes like the turnpike and its environs. And in New Jersey: the Movie, we try to show that New Jersey is NOT just the opening scene of the Sopranos

However, I have friends that do embrace this stereotype.  They went to a high school packed with guidos and say simply, "That was MY New Jersey."  And they're damn proud Tony Soprano wandered around here. 

But for many New Jerseyans, that New Jersey is as foreign as Armisen's hometown on Long Island.
Why is this relevant?  Well, The Real Housewives of New Jersey is going to be premiering on Bravo next month.  And with surnames like: Guidice, Laurita, & Manzo  - it will further cement this New Jersey stereotype to North America:

What is strange is that all the other housewives series were named after the county (Orange County) or the city (Atlanta, New York City).  

So why does Bravo lump a state together for the first time?  Why is ALL of New Jersey in the title when the series maybe should be called, "The Real Housewives of Bergen County?" 

I think we need an apology for all of this.  Not so far as, Be Nice to New Jersey week; but something else.

Here is my proposition:

I have no doubt that Fred Armisen is the brains behind these writings on SNL.   He grew up somewhat locally and appeared in all 3 of the linked SNL skits above.  And I'm pretty sure you will see NJ parodied again on SNL  . . . once the housewives show hits the airwaves (and no doubt Armisen will be involved).  

So, I want Fred Armisen to ante up.  I would like to see him do some sort of apology to New Jersey on SNL.  For a state that has (rightly or wrongly) provided him with this bounty of jokes, it is the least he could do . . . seriously, Fred.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

NJTM wins another award!

Thanks to all of you who drove down to Asbury Park for the Garden State Film Festival. Our film won the "Home Grown Award" for Short Documentary - Honorable Mention. You can see the list of winners here. Being that there were NO other Honorable Mentions awarded, we believe that we captured the fan vote.  So a special thanks to all of you!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

"Central Jersey" Deleted scenes

Actually, one of these clips made the final cut, but that was it:

Monday, March 30, 2009

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.


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!  

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Springsteen songs = free stuff

So, we at New Jersey: the Movie have a challenge for you.

We want to interact with fans more and get people very excited for our upcoming screenings in the next couple months.  So here it is:  

The closest person to guess 7 of Steve's favorite Springsteen songs will win 2 free New Jersey: the Movie t-shirts plus 2 free tickets to one the the upcoming screenings of the film.

1) You have to select 7 songs (not 6 or 8).
2) You must email them to: nsjersey[at] or you may post them in the comment section here.

Winner will be notified via email  . . . 

All we ask is that you become a "fan" on New Jersey: the Movie on Facebook (if you own an account).

HINTS: 1 is a newer song from Magic, 5 are from the 80s (1 from Nebraska, 2 from The River and 2 from Born in the USA) and 1 is from the 70s (and it is NOT from Born to Run).  

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Roller Derby anyone?

Not totally about New Jersey - but there was a great article in the NY Times Magazine about the resurgence of Roller Derby across the USA.  Of this, there are many New Jersey roller derby girl teams and we included the Jersey Shore Roller Derby Girls in our documentary.  

Here are the Jersey Shore Roller Girls explaining the flat-track game:

Here are many New Jersey teams that you should check out:

South Jersey Shore - Boardwalk Brawlers 
North Jersey Shore - Jersey Shore Roller Girls
New Brunswick - New Jersey Dirty Dames
Morristown  - Morristown Madams 
Skylands - Sisters of Mayhem 

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sunday, January 11, 2009


After seeing the Arizona Cardinals shock the Carolina Panthers, I think it is safe to say this game today is for the Super Bowl. No disrespect to the Cardinals - I just think the Giants AND Eagles are both relieved to see the Panthers out of the way.

Anyway, enjoy the game today. I have to work later on - so I might be drinking coffee and not beer, but I may be up in Hightstown, Exit 8 off the turnpike, at the Tavern on the Lake (1o1 N. Main St.) for the first part of today's game. If you want to see a 50/50 divide of Eagles & Giants' fans - go there (though I think it will be more like 60%-40% Giants).

And finally, we were mentioned in the New York Daily News today and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Enjoy reading!

Friday, January 9, 2009

ABC Story on NJ Eagles-Giants Divide, etc.

Good story on the Eagles-Giants' divide, but they got the 195 thing wrong . . . though it is close. There are few Eagles' fans in Brick Township, for instance, which is well south of 195. But, they interviewed a friend, Mayor Ron Dancer, of Plumsted Twp. who is featured in our film.

Also there is a good article in the Philly Inquirer today about Mulligan's in Hoboken - which is my neighborhood pub - where I watched most of the Eagles'games and the Phillies' World Series run as well.

Finally, I will be interviewing tomorrow morning around 7:30am on WJRZ 1001. FM

Sunday, January 4, 2009

New Jersey divided between 2 NFL Football Teams

In North Jersey - they will be rooting for the New York Giants. And in South Jersey, they'll be pulling for the Philadelphia Eagles. However, there will be about 3 - 4 New Jersey counties in the "central areas" where you can see a 50/50 mix of Eagles & Giants' fans at the nearby tavern for next Sunday's NFL playoff game. However, each county distributes their sports loyalties differently.

Warren County is pretty much Giants' territory now - except for some mixture in the southwestern river towns centering around Phillipsburg - but these days - it's all leaning Giants.

Hunterdon County is Mostly Giants - except there is a mixture along the river towns. In the southern part, there continues to be some Eagles' dominance.

Mercer County is pretty evenly split and it is the only county in NJ with no clear territory in any town. The northern towns lean toward the Giants & the southern towns lean toward the Eagles.

Ocean County has many of its municipalities leaning toward the Giants, though there is strong Eagles in the far south and in Plumsted Twp.  However, it is the only county that has all 4 types of loyalties  (Solid Giants, Leaning Giants, Solid Eagles & Leaning Eagles).

Middlesex & Somerset Counties are solid Giants' counties.

Monmouth County has the two townships in the panhandle that are a mixture, but there aren't many good taverns in those areas to compare here.