There is NO CENTRAL JERSEY
Oh Erin Vogt, my beloved colleague, brilliantly played I must say! Your timing was impeccable. Choosing to write an article on how Rutgers reignited the Is There A Central Jersey Debate on the day I lost my voice was genius. You knew I couldn't be on-air to rant and rave! Did you think that would stop me? It's okay, I have laryngitis but I can still type.
So Rutgers did a basketball promotion asking "Does Central Jersey exist?" by offering fans their choice between three different hats, North Jersey, South Jersey or Central Jersey. First I'd like to commend them for at least making it a question and not cleaving to the absolute diehard fairytale of a Central Jersey. Second, kudos to Logan Ryan for emphatically stating there is no Central. In a tweet he said anyone who thinks they are Central needs to make a choice between North and South. Bravo!
You see a choice was once being made. Let me bore you self-appointed Centralites with a little history. If you're not too distracted also chasing after Big Foot or writing to Santa Claus try to pay attention. In 1980 when Reagan was elected, also coming to a head was a movement that began in the 70's for South Jersey to secede and become the 51st state. It culminated in a non-binding referendum that election and 5 of 6 counties in the southern part of the state voted yes. Atlantic, Cape May, Burlington, Cumberland and Salem all voted to become a separate state. Only Ocean said no but the vote was extremely close there. Camden and Gloucester chose to not put the question on the ballot for their voters.
The point is, everything south of 195 and the Manasquan River was going to be considered South Jersey, and that's a lot of the same land that many now pretend to be a fairytale kingdom known as Central Jersey.
Just because it got built up over time doesn't mean it had to become it's own separate place. Why can't people realize the southernmost portions of North Jersey and the northernmost portions of South Jersey simply increased in population and building. How does that suddenly make it somewhere new?
It's tough enough to get New Jerseyans to agree on where North and South begins and ends. By throwing the Central illusion into this crazy mix you've only muddied the waters even more. And why? Why has it become so important for people in the center of our state to disassociate with either end? In a geographically small yet densely populated place like the Dirty Jerz did you really think you were doing anyone any favors by complicating it more?
You're like the kid who wants to celebrate half birthdays. Did you have an imaginary friend named Central growing up? Let me guess, your parents went along with it to, too. Which brings us to our fine mess.
I was born and raised here. In Union County just south of Elizabeth and Newark Airport. I am from North Jersey. We didn't speak in terms of Central and unicorns and leprechauns. There was a 201 and a 609 area code. Now we have so goddamn many they have to overlay one on top another. The myth of Central Jersey is the same; an overlay, a card trick, smoke and mirrors.
I ain't buyin' it!
We got our media from New York and South Jersey got theirs from Philly. If you got both, you know you preferred one over the other and stuck to that one, so don't use that as a Central argument. If you watched Action News with Jim Gardner you were a patriot of South. If you watched Chuck Scarborough you belonged to the North. Just because you lived on the fringes doesn't mean you had to get so insecure and develop your messy lies.
North has sprinkles on ice cream and subs. South has jimmies on ice cream and hoagies. What do YOU have Central?
Still not convinced? Fine. Still want to drive me crazy with this new age nonsense? Before I yell at you to get off my lawn, I'll leave you with this.
Here's a quiz that tells you if you're North or Central or South Jersey. Just don't believe it if it comes back Central.
Here's another to tell you if you speak like you're from North, Central or South. Same caveat.
Now get off my lawn! My NORTHERN lawn!
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