Once again, the mythical land of magical powers and wondrous things has come up in our state discourse. Atlantis, Shangri-La, El Dorado? No, it's Central Jersey. Governor Murphy, an expert in all things Jersey, having grown up in Massachusetts and residing the last few years in a gated, guarded millionaire enclave tucked up cozily on the Navesink River, would certainly be the expert on the subject.

Since his people don't like reporters asking difficult or pressing questions, they allowed a student journalist named Jared, to ask his highness if he thinks Ocean County is in Central Jersey. He offered a typically Murphyesque answer saying the county is sometimes left out of "statutory definitions." Who talks like that?! Certainly not someone from anywhere in New Jersey. He offered this map on his Twitter account.

The true answer from someone who has studied this issue with precision analysis and lifelong experience in the state, is....It's in both North, South and if it indeed does exist, Central Jersey as well. Central Jersey only exists in the minds of people who live in the areas of Monmouth, Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon and parts of Union and Ocean counties.

They don't want to be associated with North Jersey, because they're all transplanted New Yorkers or woodland rednecks in the far northwest of the state.

They also don't want to be associated with the "Philly" talking, Piney hillbillies of the southern part of the state. However, the part of the state they live in is called North Jersey by the people in South Jersey and "Central Jersey" is considered South Jersey by those who live north of the Driscoll Bridge in North Jersey.

I explain it all with my map here:

The maps explains the differences and reasons for the divisions. There are TWO cultures in the state, formed mostly by traditional "media" markets. The people north of the line that cuts through Ocean County, Jared, relate more to the New York media culture and its sports teams, foods, etc.

There is a roughly 15-mile-wide swath where it's a mix of both. That's where people who say they're from "Central Jersey" proudly live and call home.

It's not an easy question, Jared. That's why you shouldn't ask someone as complex and important as Massachusetts Murph. Ask him about the Back Bay or Fauniel Hall or Fenway Park. Those are all within his "pay grade," as he would say.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy. Any opinions expressed are Dennis's own.

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