WATCH: Exploring New Jersey’s ‘midpoint’ (Part 4 of 5)
Only in New Jersey can you find residents claiming their own section of the state. In Part 4 of a week-long series, “New Jersey: A Divided State,” we head to the spot referred to as New Jersey’s midpoint.
Some Garden State residents refuse to associate themselves with the northern or southern portion of New Jersey.
As evidenced in the Wednesday segment of our series, central Jersey has its own identity, and, according to some folks, it covers a wide swath of the state.
Michael Aaron Rockland, the author of four books on New Jersey, helped us hone in even more on the center of the state. One could split the state geographically, he said, but population plays a role as well.
“I would say that if you went from New Brunswick, straight across the state, that would be the center of central New Jersey,” Rockland said. “There’s more south of it than north of it, but the issue is not just land; it’s an issue of population.”
With that, New Brunswick became our next stop – specifically, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.
“Rutgers is the center of New Jersey,” said Steven Miller with the department of journalism and media studies, suggesting one could argue that Rutgers symbolizes the entire state. “It’s not just here in New Brunswick. There’s a Newark campus, and there’s a Camden campus, but the main campus is the center of New Jersey.”
Miller noted the state at one point had only two area codes, 201 and 609, essentially splitting New Jersey into two halves. Today, area codes are dividing the state into nearly 10 segments.
“Today’s students have told me that the idea of the 201-609 divide is archaic and antiquated because central Jersey is unto itself now; western Jersey is unto itself,” he said.
Tomorrow, in the final part of our series, the experts above explain why New Jersey’s “border war” exists in the first place.