Central Jersey: Does It Exist?
New Jersey will always have a very interesting reputation. Its diversity, culture, and location are something I have always appreciated. However, this love is not shared by all. According to a recent poll by Matt Shirley, a social media poll taker, New Jersey is the most hated state by Deleware, Pennsylvania, New York, and Connecticut. While many of our neighbors may not be too fond of us, New Jersey has always focused on what it loves most; itself. In fact, according to that same poll taker, when asked what’s your favorite state, New Jersey was the only state that “Likes No One.”
I truly love the New Jersey mentality. Many of us are just living our lives and being ourselves. We don’t care what people think of us; we’re New Jerseyans. However, our solidarity is being compromised with one simple question; Does Central Jersey exist? This question has brought social media, the news, and the people into chaos. While it is universally accepted that there is a North and South Jersey, many proponents believe that between North and South Jersey lies a Central Jersey that is so different culturally, it deserves its own borders.
This commotion started where many new ideas start today; social media. For the last few years, I have personally seen hundreds of posts and polls asking on whether they call a specific meat a “Pork Roll” or “Taylor Ham.” I was only familiar with the term “Taylor Ham,” as that’s what Nutley’s Bagel Boy calls it. When I learned that traditionally, South Jerseyans called it “Pork Roll,” I was baffled. How could such a small state have such a different name for the same exact thing, and also be so completely passionate about it? Being the internet, many of the posts I saw were filled with aggressive comments, claiming that their term was superior, and the other term was flat out wrong. Of course, the argument never went anywhere, but I was baffled to even see my state so divided on such a little issue.
In the last year, the internet has fallen into a new New Jersey debate. This Central Jersey question appeared out of nowhere and has taken the internet by storm. Once again, social media has been filled with hateful speech and ignorance at any time this question is brought up. It seemed to me that people will fight for the sake of fighting. However, this debate officially ended when New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy logged onto Twitter, and officially claimed, “As Governor of the Great State of New Jersey, I hereby declare that CENTRAL JERSEY DOES EXIST.” He even went on to list the names of the counties that belong in said region. While the region holds no administrative or legal importance, Murphy did something astounding. He brought his state together.
I believe that New Jersey is a great state, and the hate our state neighbors give us is unfair. However, what New Jersey does best is simply not caring about the world around us. Just look at the drivers, we do not care! The idea of Central Jersey claiming its existence should have never been a debate in the first place. Our state is full of diversity and culture, and it should be celebrated. If Central Jersey believes itself to be culturally different from North and South Jersey, we should not oppose. We should not let these imaginary borders with our state separate us, we should celebrate the borders of our state as a whole together.