The northern portion of New Jersey, the Garden State.

North Jersey is half good and half smelly, and being from the good part, I sort of feel like I have to explain myself when people say "Oh, you're from North Jersey, hehe." You see.. northeast NJ, specifically Newark and surrounding areas, is simply a yucky place. It's an industrial outcropping of New York City, and has really become more so in the past 35 years. It's known as being 'a garbage dump' and simply 'a road from Philadelphia to New York'. It's even been refered to as 'the armpit of America' But, people who can afford to have moved 10 or 20 miles further west, into counties like Morris County or Sussex or Somerset, which is part of the 'good part'.

So the next time you think about North Jersey (or even all of New Jersey) as a horrible, smelly place, remember the 'good part'.. and if you decide to work in New York and make lots of money, you just might want your suburban home to be located not in Long Island or Westchester, but only 45 minutes west in beautiful North Jersey. By the way, this good part has some public schools that are on par academically with many private schools.. but I guess the catch is that property taxes are a bit high.

But that's just the beginning of the story.

The GREAT thing about North Jersey is its LOCATION. Location, location, location. You're basically always fifteen minutes from anywhere -- restaurant, mall, theater, stores of all kinds.. I heard there's a theory that everyone from North Jersey has at least three large malls within 20 minutes. I suppose that's true for me in Morristown.. I've got about five of them. Also, northern NJ is perfect driving distance (and New Jerseyans do A LOT of driving. That's what all the highways are for!) from a whole lot of awesome stuff. You've got skiing, all of the cultural shit in the city, and then some not-too-shabby beaches from Sandy Hook all the way down to Cape May. When you're down the shore, Long Beach Island is a nice relaxing place to spend a week or so in August.

Trenton keeps all the highways in nice shape, especially Interstate 287, the jewel of North Jersey. Also, NJ is right smack in the middle of the east coast strip of cities, and on average, an hour's drive to Philly or to New York.

There are the best diners in the world here, too. I'd say if one diner is packed, drive only 5 miles to the one next door. Yep, there really are that many of them. Such a wide selection of a wide selection.

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