New York Daily Photo Analytics

Monday, December 15, 2008

Goin' To Jersey

If you live in New York City long enough, you will eventually hear something along the lines of "I'm goin' to Jersey" or "I was in Jersey" or "they live in Jersey." Most New Yorkers see the state of New Jersey as a grouping of bedroom communities to the city - there are over one half million commuters from New Jersey to Manhattan daily.
The state nickname is the Garden State and one of the major highways is the Garden State Parkway. Now in fairness, there are some nice areas of New Jersey, but if you have seen any of the well known gardens in the UK, France (the Gardens of Versailles e.g.), Italy (Boboli e.g.), Japan or the U.S., you would agree that to call New Jersey the "garden state" is perhaps a bit disingenuous. This is the only state in America where every county has been designated as urban by the Census Bureau's Combined Statistical Area. New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the USA with 1,134 people per square mile.
Whether you like New Jersey or not, it is an important part of the psychic makeup of a New Yorker's mind. Go here to see my post on View of the World from Ninth Avenue. In this classic image created by Saul Steinberg in 1976 for New Yorker magazine, New Jersey is depicted as one of a small handful of geographical landmarks. Ever present, looming in our minds, New Jersey is like background noise for the city. It is frequently the object of jokes by New Yorkers.*
This small state is a place of extremes. It has the second highest median income in the United States, yet Camden is one of the poorest cities in America. It is the home of Princeton University. The state has a strong presence in chemical development and oil refining. The Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal is one of the world's largest container ports. You have the Jersey shore with Atlantic City.
There are only three ways to drive directly from Manhattan to New Jersey - the George Washington Bridge and the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels. So congestion is the rule of thumb - there is heavy traffic even at times that would be unexpected anywhere else - the photo was taken Sunday afternoon. Jersey anyone?

* Why are New Yorkers so depressed? Because the light at the end of the tunnel is New Jersey!

2 comments:

Jarart said...

Great reminder of our trip back to the airport after our visit!

Ken said...

Brian,

Interesting post. I have lived my entire life in NJ, about 15 minutes from NYC. I went to school for 2 years (On 42nd St across from Bryant Park in the late 70's) and thought the best thing about going to NYC then, was getting on the bus and going home. NYC was a different place then.

I worked in NYC in the mid/late 90's and was always amazed at the lack of respect New Yorkers give NJ.

We have the benefit of being so close to NYC and can then retreat to the suburbs where it is a little less crazy.

We have an incredible shore line, many get older historic towns, farm lands, great open spaces, the north west is mountains (or large hills) and wonderful scenic drives, and many great museums and sporting events.

We also pay double taxes for working in NY and spend a ton of our money enjoying ourselves in NY.

For those who do not understand NJ, I would say it is because you haven't taken enough time to explore it.

Be happy to take you on a tour.

Ken