Think you understand the enigma that is New Jersey? Known for mall hair, competent driving (PDF), and unique variations on the common pronounciation of words like coffee (cwa-fee in garden state speak, check out this Chris T-certified NJ MP3), even a former governor claimed that the middle finger was the official state bird. WFMU’s beloved and oft-stigmatized home state earned its reputation somehow. I was beginning to think it had a lot to do with the trail of ruin left behind by the likes of NJ stalwarts Bruce Springsteen and Bon Jovi.
But really, there is so much more to the culture of this most densely populated state in the union than a few blue collar rock heroes, diners, and numbered exits on the turnpike. You wanna see what NJ is really all about? The answers to questions you have yet to pose may be found on the NJ Guido site (which might be old news to you if you're a NJ-native). Or if you’ve had it with beer pong, venture into the occult on the Weird NJ site. Click here for some garden state factoids. I can't even begin to scrape the surface of toxic waste, gubernatorial scandals, or the grammatical rules concerning the phrase "down the shore."
NJ also has plenty of international class, with towns named
Lebanon, Oxford, Bogota, Dover, Newfoundland, Verona, Stockholm, Bethlehem,
Gloucester, Hamburg, Vienna, Manchester, and Cologne. “I'm from Berlin...
Berlin, New Jersey, of course.” Original names of Jersey townships include
Hopatcong, Cheesequake, Beemerville, Keasbey, and Ho-Ho-Kus. Possibly the best one is Delaware, NJ;
isn’t there a rule against that? More funny city names here. Or just listen to Dave Van Ronk's "Garden State Stomp" (real audio) from an archive of Irwin's show.