The conversation I can never get away from, and everyone wants to have. North Jersey vs South Jersey. Poor Central Jersey just has an identity crisis because who knows if it actually exists. Each one thinking they’re better than the other. I hear it from friends. I hear it at work. I heard it at college. I cannot get away. If you’re not from New Jersey, you will not understand, nor care about this. But if you are…you get it. They are very different, I could write a novel.
I lived in South Jersey for 24 years. I have now lived in North Jersey for over 2. Let me clear one thing up – South Jersey is not New Brunswick or Trenton. South Jersey is pretty much Burlington County and below. I swear people up here think Middlesex county is South Jersey, and that is so far from correct. I have had the pleasure of traveling for work, which has allowed me to work in about 7 different counties in Jersey. So, I have actual experience with all the different and unique things about the diverse state of Jersey.
I am not going to sit here and say one area is better than the other. Because North and South both have so many pros and cons. I love and hate different things about them. I can definitely say that New Jersey gets its reputation from North Jersey. The whole ‘we are better then you, what the hell are looking at asshole?’ attitude. I can admit I have began to absorb that attitude. My friends from other states never fail to remind me that they can “always tell I’m from Jersey”. I’ve also taken on the aggressive driver reputation. The traffic up here is just crazy, you really don’t have a choice.
When people think of North Jersey they think of this…
Fist pumping. Tanning. Italians. Expensive. Pizza. New York accent. They really don’t fist pump. I’ve tested it out. They actually get pretty annoyed when you assume they’re anything like the Jersey Shore cast. Everything is expensive. I still haven’t wrapped my head around that part. Their pizza and bagels are incredible. South Jersey food seriously cannot compare. They do in fact tan a lot while talking in fake New York accents. I’m still not used to it. But then again, I’m told I have a Philly accent. So, what’s worse? In my mind, North Jersians say caramel and chocolate very weird, but they think I say home and phone weird. They also call pork roll – Taylor Ham. One cool thing is I’m five minutes from everything I need such as food, the grocery store, or the mall. And the malls up here are way better than down there. North Jersey has it’s areas such as places in Sussex county or western Morris country that resemble South Jersey, those are my favorite.
Unfortunately, my lovely hometown in South Jersey is known for things like this..
My coworkers actually make jokes about how no one has teeth or health insurance, and they’re all dumb republicans. All I will say is most people have all their teeth, Millville is an exception. And sometimes there are cow crossings or tractors holding up traffic. Also, riding four wheelers in the mud actually looks like a great time. Yes, there are awful parts of South Jersey. But, there’s awful parts of North Jersey too. We can’t hate on each other for that. Paterson, Camden, Newark – we all have the not so great areas. South Jersey has absolutely beautiful farm land and fields for miles. You might not prefer this, but there’s nothing like driving down an open road with the windows down music, not worrying about stop lights, traffic, or anything. Everything is about 20 minutes away, but growing up I didn’t know any different so I didn’t mind. Cost of living is actually affordable. And everyone is just genuinely nicer. Let alone, they have Wawa. God’s gift to Earth. Life is slower down there, in a good way. My mother once said moving up to North Jersey made me “forget the simple life”. I haven’t forgotten, though. Going down to visit reminds me every time of where I’m from and the values it has taught me.
So, where would I rather live? Honestly – wherever life takes me. Right now, it’s North Jersey. Someday, maybe life will bring me back down there. Maybe in the future, life might even take me to another state all together. Because let’s get real, New Jersey over all is not the best place to live compared to our neighboring states. Yeah, we don’t pump our own gas, but the prices we pay in taxes, car insurance, and everything else just isn’t worth it in my opinion. No matter where we live, we can all agree that no one calls it “Joisey”, Bruce Springsteen is indeed The Boss, and Chris Christie may be the real Jersey Devil.
I miss my family and friends, but I’m happy I’m experiencing a different kind of life and making lifetime friendships. I love the life I’m creating up here and I wouldn’t change it. I will not take sides on which area is better, but South Jersey will always be home.
PS: Here’s some of the artwork I’ve done in the last week or so. Super happy with them!