As the only new state that is old enough to be called only by its last name and still make the exact same sense [think about it – New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York all still need the New specification], it gets a lot of bad rap for more than one reason: for much of the rest of the country, it’s a piece of land that follows New York City during day time and takes a backseat to Philadelphia around/after sunset; if you ask the residents of Jersey City and Camden, they probably would rather be considered as suburbs of New York City and Philadelphia than a part of New Jersey; for most New Yorkers and Philadelphians, it’s an unnecessary clump of landmass that adds 100+ miles to the commute between their respective cities [ask the Giants/Eagles fans, or the Mets/Phillies faithfuls, if you don’t want to trust me].
It’s not uncommon to find someone asking What’s there in Jersey? If a question could be answered with another question, one might ask that asking person What’s not there in Jersey? Of course, it’s not New York City or Philadelphia or Los Angeles. When one looks beyond the stereotypical & fleeting impressions of the Turnpike and the Parkway and the factories and the refineries and casinos / boardwalks of Atlantic City, it’s not hard to realize that there is plenty more. While it is impossible for me to make this a comprehensive and exhaustive guide to Jersey, it wouldn’t be fair [to myself] if I didn’t write about some of the interesting stuff I came across in the last 14 months or so.
First thing to surprise me was the number of parks – some as large as thousands of thickly wooded acres with waterfalls – in almost every county of this state, aptly making it worthy of the title, Garden State, in spite of the high population density and most of them are staffed by very knowledgeable folks. With wooded areas and parks come a variety of birds – so much so that there is a World Series of Birding, organized by the New Jersey Audubon Society. And to make a passing mention of other noteworthy things – Horn Antenna that proved the Big Bang Theory, Tower that played host to Marconi and the first wireless telegraph communication, house where Albert Einstein lived, institution where some great minds have worked [and are working], Princeton University, Fluorescence Capital of the World, Coach Vince Lombardi’s Grave and the list just goes on.
And since a picture is often worth about a thousand words, I figured I would make a collage that conveys much of what I have seen and experienced.
Best of my photographical attempts, depicting few facets of New Jersey, are here. I have deliberately not included the pictures of many wonderful people [and their families] I have come to know – for I don’t have pictures of all of them. Given the population density of this area, it wasn’t always easy to find these cool people but it just proved to me that there are helpful and friendly people everywhere. And, I respect each and every one of them for [often going out of their way, making/taking time to help me] making my stay here memorable 🙂