Good Ole’ New Jersey. You’ve seen “Jersey Shore.”
It’s OK to admit it.
After all, that show has furnished much of what the world knows, or think they know about New Jersey.
Between that show and the SNL skit made by Jerseyans as an inside joke gone terribly wrong, outsiders have gotten some terrible idea about The Garden State.
However, how well do you know New Jersey?
Here is a list of 10 myths about New Jersey, some fact, some opinion, but all of the them contributing to the idea that New Jerseyans should be proud to live in such a beautiful and unique state.
1. Self-Serve gas stations are the best.
If you feel that way, then it is possible that you have never spent a below-zero, windy, sleeting, icy winter’s afternoon pumping gas on America’s eastern seaboard.
2. The Statue of Liberty is in New York.
Technically, Our Lady Liberty is planted firmly in Jersey waters.
3. It’s all one state.
Ask anyone who calls New Jersey home and they will bluntly inform you that you are very wrong. The state colloquially divides itself into three distinct places: North Jersey- home of shopping malls and fancy pants, Central Jersey- home of Bruce Springsteen and South Jersey- a foreign land south of Highway 1. Also, everyone in New Jersey is from a legitimate place with a legitimate place name- exits are for landmarking purposes only.
4. The whole state is dirty.
The air pollution levels in the state are lower than the US standards. Sure, manufacturing makes some sections smell a little colorful, but it definitely won’t kill you.
5. You will be able to walk in and speak the language just like everybody else.
New Jersey is one of those areas where the local culture has defined the people beyond the recognition of their fellow Americans and it goes way beyond bizarre affectations. There are some parts of Jersey where a Sloppy Joe is a deli meat sandwich, the beach is just “The Shore,” and “youse” is the plural form of “you.” This isn’t just the common “pop v. soda” debate, this terminology is worth throwing down over and requesting clarification on what in the heck a “jimmie” is, will instantly shun you as a tourist.
6. Everyone has big hair, metallic clothes and spray tans.
Oh, Jersey Shore, how many terrible lies you have spread. The hair gel subculture is no more of a societal norm than surfers in California or rednecks in West Virginia. Do they exist? Certainly. Does everyone dress this way? Thank goodness, no.
7. Speaking of surfing, you can’t surf in Jersey.
Surfers can surf wherever there is water and a ripple. Some gnarly waves can be caught off of the shore in the right conditions, if you are patient enough.
8. Why is it the Garden State?
All I can see are highways. New Jersey is actually at the forefront of states in America for preserving its wide open spaces from further development. 22% of this bustling state is left to nature’s devices and all of it is protected by law. You may have to drive a few minutes to find it, but its out there and it is beautiful.
9. It is impossible to make a left-hand turn.
OK, so yes, kind of. The so-called “jug-handles” have been criticized and belittled, but in Jersey the idea is to get where you are going and to get there as fast as possible and in one whole, continuous piece. “Jug-handles” are the state’s roadway solution to handle the kind of traffic that a only state with America’s highest population density can amass. And they do it pretty well.
10. Monsters aren’t real.
Well, guess what folks, they are real in Jersey and they are spectacular. One of the best parts about a place that is entirely devoted to its own culture is the perpetuation of some terrific urban legends. Everyone everywhere has heard of the Jersey Devil, but that is merely a jumping off point. There are haunted trees, theaters, bars, rabbits in New Jersey. There are monsters everywhere. But don’t worry. I heard they only devour the souls of anyone that isn’t from around there.
New Jersey is so much more than the pathetic caricature that has been broadcast into America’s living rooms.
The food is delicious, the scenery is gorgeous and the people are definitely worth getting to know.
Anyone willing to give it an honest chance, won’t be disappointed!