Never far away from culture
Yes, New Jersey sometimes plays second fiddle to New York City and Philadelphia. That’s the bad news. The good news is that New Jersey is able to draw on the rich cultural scenes of the nation’s largest and fifth-largest cities.
Wonderful theater, wonderful museums, wonderful history. The Metropolitan Museum, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Museum of Natural History, Franklin Institute, Museum of Modern Art, Barnes Foundation, Independence Hall, Kimmel Center, National Constitution Center, Liberty Bell, Statue of Liberty.
People come from all over the world to sample what we have at our doorstep every day.
Some of the nicest suburbs in the nation.
Looking for charming, leafy neighborhoods, where you can take a bike into town or hop on a train to get to work, New Jersey has plenty of them: Rumson, Summit, Madison, Berkeley Heights, Westfield, Ridgefield, Rutherford, Bedminster, Chatham, Blairstown, Moorestown, Toms River, Cape May, Mountain Lakes, West Orange, Millburn, Princeton, Hopewell, Lambertville, Colts Neck, Barnegat Light, Cranford.
High standard of living
Yes, New Jersey has a high cost of living, but it also has a high standard of living, thanks to its proximity to high-paying jobs here and in the New York and Philadelphia job markets. According to the 2010 Census, it had the second-highest median income, $64,918 — just pocket change behind No. 1 New Hampshire.
It has the third highest percentage of millionaires, behind Hawaii and Maryland, and by the close of the decade, New Jersey is anticipated to have the highest density of millionaires, at 24.6 percent, according to a Deloitte Center for Financial Services study. (The estimates of household wealth are based both on financial assets such as stocks and bonds, and nonfinancial assets like primary residences and business ownership.)
New Jersey residents also have the highest average amount in savings accounts — $7,477 — according to a May survey by Pitney Bowes Business Solutions.
Thomas Edison, the most prolific inventor in history, is a fitting symbol for the genius and creativity that have made New Jersey one of the nation’s, and world’s major incubators of progress.
Edison, who was awarded 1,368 patents during his lifetime, gave us the phonograph, motion pictures, a commercially viable incandescent light bulb and hundreds of other lesser-known inventions, including the stock ticker and the electrical vote recorder.
Edison died in 1931, but his legacy has continued throughout the years in the research labs of universities and corporations. Since 1977, when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office began tracking state-by-state data, residents and companies based in New Jersey have acquired more than 115,000 patents, more than all but three states — California, Texas and New York.
Among the state’s creative output: TV dinners, transistors, Band-Aids, bubble wrap, tetracycline, air conditioning, LCDs (liquid crystal displays), condensed, Teflon, condensed soup, anti-theft tags, bar codes, chlorination devices, drive-in movies, anti-bacterial cream, flight simulators and Valium.
Strong public schools
You can talk all you want about how the U.S. trails other nations in science and math, but the best schools are the equal to any, and the best public schools are here in New Jersey, despite the deficiencies cited on a regular basis by the Christie administration.
No question, the poor performance in many New Jersey schools are nothing short of a disgrace, and something that needs to be addressed. But the good things taking place in many, if not most, of our public schools should not be easily dismissed.
Don’t believe the NJEA’s ads touting how wonderful New Jersey schools are? Believe this: New Jersey had the highest SAT scores in the country last year. Education Week magazine’s annual “Quality Counts 2011” survey, which ranks the states on key education indicators, including achievement results, school finance, and other factors critical to student success, had New Jersey leading the pack nationally.
Sure, New Jersey gets some intensely hot, humid days during the summer, and some major snowstorms from time to time. But compared to most other parts of the country, the climate is generally moderate and not given to extremes.
New Jersey has less frigid weather than the northern states, and less heat and humidity than the south. It has fewer tornadoes than the Midwest and Far West, and fewer hurricanes than the Gulf Coast.
Most of the year, each of the four seasons — something many parts of the U.S. lack — offer their own pleasures; during the periods that are less pleasant, you can rest assured that the won’t last.
Sandy beaches and mountains within an hour’s drive.
We aren’t the only state with white, sandy beaches and nice mountains, but there aren’t too many that have access to both.
For long-time residents, it may be easy to take the state’s 130-mile coastline, which stretches from Sandy Hook to Cape May, for granted. But there are millions of Americans who are a plane ride or uncomfortably long car ride from the sun and the surf. And the mountains.
New Jersey has the Kittatinny, Watchung, Ramapo, Highlands, Sourlands ranges. More than 70 miles of the Appalachian Trail cuts through the northwest corner of the state. If that isn’t enough, the Poconos in Pennsylvania and the Catskills and Adirondacks are within easy driving distance.
For those who enjoy the beach culture, New Jersey has the boardwalk named the tops in the nation, Atlantic City, by National Geographic. The Wildwoods boardwalk, called “one of the kitschiest” in the country,” ranked ninth.
Gateway to the world
Have you ever taken a flight from Newark Liberty International or JFK to Europe, the Caribbean or some other distant port of call and heard the stories from fellow travelers who embarked from some point in the nation’s heartland and felt like they already had traveled halfway across the world?
One or more connections, often with delays and lost baggage, and lots of aggravation before getting on a plane to their final destination.
Yes, Newark Liberty and JFK leave a lot to be desired. But at least once on the plane, it’s generally smoothe sailing.
Many of us may take it for granted how fortunate we are to live within easy reach of airport that can take us nonstop to nearly every part of the world?
Concert capital of nation.
New Jersey, with its wide range of concert venues, is a magnet, year afteer year, for virtually every touring musician and musical group, of every musical genre.
Those who, for whatever reason, skip the amphitheaters, concert halls, theaters and clubs of New Jersey, doubtless stop off in New York or Philadelphia. Few states, if any, make those kinds of music offerings available within a one hour’s drive.
Many need not travel far from home. Among New Jersey natives or residents: Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, Queen Latifah, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Connie Francis, Dionne Warwick, Sarah Vaughn, Marilynn McCoo, Whitney Houston, Eddie Money, Kool and the Gang, George Clinton, Lauryn Hill, Count Basie, Ice-T, Nick Adams, Ricky Nelson, Dizzy Gillespie, Leslie Gore, Paul Simon and Frank Sinatra, the Smithereens, My Chemical Romance, Wayne Shorter, Woody Shaw, Skid Row, Sebastian Bach, Symphony X.
Access to pro teams worth cheering for.
Sure Boston is on a roll, with the Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins and Celtics all playing well. But New Jersey sports fans not only have three pro hockey teams, two pro baseball teams, two pro football teams, three pro basketball teams (counting the women’s Liberty) and a pro soccer team to choose from in New York, but a bunch more from Philly.
And if you can’t get enough of baseball, there are seven minor league teams to choose from, where you can see many players play on their way up to the big leagues, or briefly, on the way down for rehab games.
First and best
New Jersey has often done it first. And it frequently does it best.
Some of the firsts:
The Passaic River was the site of the first submarine ride by inventor John P. Holland.
In 1642, the first brewery in America, opened in Hoboken.
In 1935, the G. Krueger Brewing Company of Newark, New Jersey became the first brewer to market beer in steel cans. In that year, only about 25 percent of beer was packaged in bottles and cans — the rest was kegged. Today, however, about 90 percent of America’s beer production is consumed from bottles and cans.
Les Paul invented the first solid body electric guitar in Mahwah, in 1940.
The light bulb, phonograph and motion picture projector, were invented by Thomas Edison in his Menlo Park, NJ , laboratory.
We also boast the first town ever lit by incandescent bulbs.
The first seaplane was built in Keyport. The Aeromarine 40F was a two-seat flying-boat training aircraft produced for the US Navy and built by the Aeromarine Plane and Motor Company of Keyport, New Jersey. Fifty out of an original order for 200 were delivered before the end of World War I, with the remainder cancelled due to the armistice.
The aircraft was a biplane with a pusher propeller. The pilot and instructor sat side-by-side.
The first airmail (to Chicago ) was started from Keyport.
The first phonograph records were made in Camden at the Victor Talking Machine Company.
Atlantic City has the longest boardwalk in the world.
New Jersey has the largest petroleum containment area outside of the Middle East countries.
The first Indian reservation was in New Jersey, in the Watchung Mountains .
New Jersey has the tallest water-tower in the world. ( Union , NJ !!!)
New Jersey had the first medical center, in Jersey City
The Pulaski SkyWay, from Jersey City to Newark, was the first skyway highway.
NJ built the first tunnel (Holland Tunnel) under a river, the Hudson .
The first baseball game was played in Hoboken.
The first intercollegiate football game was played in New Brunswick in 1889 ( Rutgers College played Princeton ).
The first drive-in movie theater was opened in Camden.
The first radio station and broadcast was in Paterson , NJ .
The first FM radio broadcast was made from Alpine, NJ, by Maj. Thomas Armstrong.
The Great Falls in Paterson , on the Passaic River , is the 2nd highest waterfall on the East Coast of the US .
New Jersey is the world leader in blueberry and cranberry production (and here you thought Massachusetts ?)
Highlands, New Jersey has the highest elevation along the entire eastern seaboard, from Maine to Florida .
New Jersey has the most diners in the world and is sometimes referred to as the “Diner Capital of the World.”
New Jersey is home to the original Mystery Pork Parts Club (no, not Spam): Taylor Ham or Pork Roll.
Home to the less mysterious but the best Italian hot dogs and Italian sausage w/peppers and onions.
North Jersey has the most shopping malls in one area in the world, with seven major shopping malls in a 25 square mile radius.
New Jersey is home to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island .
New Jersey is the largest chemical producing state in the nation when you include pharmaceuticals.
New Jersey has the third largest seaport at Port Newark-Elizabeth.
George Washington slept here. Several important Revolutionary War battles were fought on New Jersey soil, led by General George Washington.