Hamilton Township, at a little under 90,000 residents, is the 8th largest municipality in New Jersey. (Highly populated townships are no stranger to NJ, as the 6th and 7th largest municipalities are also townships.)
Hamilton is the very epitome of a Megalopolis suburb. A few years ago, it passed its parent city (and NJ state capital), Trenton, in population. With each passing day its 40 square miles get more crowded, more conjested, and more urbanized. A new strip mall or professional office complex seems to pop up every month (seriously), as do middle to high income housing developments.
You really have to experience it here to understand what I mean. I'll take a drive and suddenly yell to the person in my passenger seat "Where did that bank come from? How long has that been there?" Not 20 minutes later, will come the cry of "I was on this street 3 weeks ago, and those houses were NOT there. Are those like insta-houses?" And of course my favorite: "They're building a CVS here? Isn't there a CVS THREE blocks from here? And a Thrift Drug TWO blocks from here? What the hell? And why is this guy going 20 under the speed limit??"
Living in Hamilton means new discoveries everyday. Like just finding out there's a 7-11 only 5 minutes from your house -- of course, you don't care, because there's a Wawa 2 minutes from your house. Speaking of Wawas, there are four of them within 10 minutes from where I live.
Ah, but there are benefits to living in the center of the Megalopolis, right? I am currently no more than 10 minutes from I-95, I-195 (to the beach...that's right! I said beach! not shore! ha!), I-295, Route 1, Route 130, and the New Jersey Turnpike. Hamilton also has a New Jersey Transit station, which means there are plenty of ways to get the hell out of here.
There are over twenty elementary schools in Hamilton. But there are only three middle schools, and three high schools. You're all good, smart people. Please don't try to think about that for more than 5 seconds. "But...how can they fit...thousands of kids...into...your hallways must be...and...but...but..." See? What did I say? Stop! Move onto next paragraph!
True story. My girlfriend from college visits Hamilton for the first time. She gets out of my car. She looks around hesitantly. The look on her face is that of a person who's just had the ground ripped out from under them. She says, "What's that smell?" Then I look over to my other friend. We've lived here all our lives. We don't smell anything. Amazing, isn't it?
The smell is probably just a mixture of smog and the sulfur from the power plants along the Delaware River. The anthrax in the Hamilton post office (no more than 8 minutes from my current position) on Route 130 is odorless, of course. But at least we got our 15 minutes of fame on CNN. Yes, the mail still arrives over a week late.
Well that about finishes our look at Hamilton, NJ. So the next time you're cruising down the New Jersey Turnpike, and you're coming up on Exit 7A (Hamilton-Trenton), do yourself a favor and just keep going. You've all been warned.