- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 13 April 2016
- Written by AMANDA GANGIDINO | LIFESTYLE EDITOR
Residents of New Jersey have been in an ongoing debate on the existence of Central Jersey. Many argue that our state only consists of two regions: North and South Jersey.
However, those that reside in Central Jersey and attend Monmouth University challenge this argument. Those of us that have grown up in Central Jersey have never questioned its existence.
Maria Ciezak, a professor of communication, shared her thoughts on this dispute. “I believe that there 100 percent is a central New Jersey, as I live there! Being from the shore, born and raised, we are dead smack in the middle of North and South.”
Upon enrolling at Monmouth, I came to realize that many students held strong opinions about the Garden State’s geographical battle.
Being a native Central Jerseyan, I always believed that there were three regions of our wonderful state.
North, South, and Central Jersey all embody defining characteristics that are specific to those areas. With over 3 million residents and 170 towns, Central Jersey does exist and it is one of the most influential areas of our state.
Here are some signs that are unique and recognizable to Central Jersey residents, proving its existence.
1. It’s called “pork roll” not “Taylor ham.”
The dispute over what to call this breakfast sandwich has pitted the geographical regions of this state against one another. In the north, they refer to it as “Taylor ham,” whereas Central and South Jersey call it a “pork roll.”
Tierney Rosen, a sophomore psychology student, said, “When ordering this sandwich, I always say Taylor ham, but so many of my friends at school argue with me and say it is called pork roll.”
2. Traveling “down the shore” is not a very long drive.
Since Ocean County is in Central Jersey, many beach towns are located in this area. Therefore, most Central Jersey residents they spend most of their days in the summer enjoying time at “the shore.”
Nicole Gallagher, a sophomore psychology student, is from Old Bridge and is always at the beach in the summer. “Since I am only 30 minutes away on my days off from work I am always driving down to Belmar for a relaxing day in the sun,” said Gallagher.
3. When you refer to “The City” you mean Manhattan, not Philadelphia.
Those from South Jersey refer to Philly as their city, but for those that live in the central of New Jersey, Manhattan is our city.
4. There are many well-known colleges in your area.
For us residents, we don’t even have to go far from home to get a great education. Princeton, Rutgers, TCNJ, and of course Monmouth are all excellent schools that are located in Central Jersey.
5. Speaking of the many colleges in Central Jersey, you know several people that have attended Rutgers.
At least five people in your graduating class went to Rutgers after high school. Not only do you know people that go there, but also you have probably gone there to visit friends or indulge in a famous “Fat sandwich.”
6. There are bountiful amounts of strip malls and actual malls in your area.
If you are from Central Jersey, you could probably list at least three malls that are nearby.
7. You have been to Six Flags almost every year.
Located in Jackson, Great Adventure (also known as Six Flags) is one of the best theme parks in this area. Hurricane Harbor, The Safari, and main were all desirable destinations of our childhoods.
8. You or someone you know has hit a deer in your area.
In Central Jersey, deer are a huge issue. They run out on you while you are driving leaving you with guilt and a wrecked vehicle.
9. Central New Jerseyans are not far away from the beach, Manhattan, or Philadelphia.
Living in the middle of the state has its perks. To get to the beach it should not take more than about 40 minutes. To get to Philly or Manhattan it usually takes a little over an hour without traffic.
10. You never had to choose between New York or Philly teams.
Fans from both the Giants and Eagles can be found in this part of New Jersey since we are right in the middle of both.
11. No one knows where your town is located unless they are also from Central Jersey.
Whenever I tell people I am from Manalapan, a look of utter confusion is expressed on their face. Tell a fellow Central New Jersey resident and they will know exactly where you are from.
To settle this dispute, Central Jersey does exist. It is a melting pot of both cultures that derive from New York City and Philadelphia. Central Jersey has its own distinct characteristics that differ from both North and South Jersey.
Although, there are three separate and distinct regions of the Garden State, we all share one unique quality that unifies us: we never have to pump our own gas.