I was born and raised in Brooklyn, and I have lived in New York for more than a quarter of a century. However, I have also lived and worked in New Jersey for slightly greater than four years. Therefore, I can poke fun at New Jersey if I feel like it.
As a New Yorker, I used to chastise the New York Giants and the New York Jets for keeping the New York in their names despite the fact that they play their home games in New Jersey. However, when I moved to New Jersey, rather than call myself a New Jerseyan, I figured that if calling themselves New York was good enough for the Jets and Giants, then continuing to call myself a New Yorker was good enough for me.
I cannot say that I hate New Jersey. After all, one can buy clothes there without paying sales tax. Western New Jersey near the Delaware River Gap is arguably the most beautiful part of New Jersey. However, if I never lived there again, that would be just fine with me. The portion of New Jersey that faces New York is predominantly factories, warehouses, shipping docks, oil tanks, wetlands and landfills. The stench of chemicals, stagnant swamp water and garbage permeates one’s vehicle while driving on the New Jersey Turnpike, especially in the summer months. It is simply awful.
The “jughandles” – those ramps that allow you to go from one highway to another when both highways intersect and are controlled by traffic signals – can be a pain in the neck, especially when one approaches the same traffic signals twice. Did you know that those concrete dividers in the middle of the highway are known as Jersey Barriers or Jersey Walls, and were developed in New Jersey?