Central Jersey – It Does Exist!

I am proud to be a resident of Central Jersey, the middle stretch of the Armpit of America. Though some would say it doesn’t even exist, that’s a bunch of nonsense. Not only is it real, it’s the best part of the state.

For one, people here don’t have accents. Many of those in North Jersey have obnoxious New York accents. And many in South Jersey have different, but no less obnoxious, Philadelphia accents. And in the more rural parts of both the North and South, people have traditional Southern accents somehow. But in Central Jersey, there’s no such thing. We say our words how they’re meant to be pronounced. No “New Yawk Pawt Authawrity” as they say in the North, and no “hooome” or “phooooone” as you might hear in the Southern part of the state.

map-nj

Key to Map: Green = Central Jersey. Not Green = Not Central Jersey.

As our brethren to the North and South continue to debate about the right words for certain things, Central Jersey often casts the impartial deciding vote. When it comes to the “subs” of the North vs. the  “hoagies” of the South, we’re Team North all the way. (After all, “hoagie” is the most revolting word in the English language and should never be associated with food). Speaking of revolting food, we’re Team South on the “pork roll” vs. “Taylor ham” debate, calling it pork roll. (Although, “tailored ham” would be a more accurate name for New Jersey’s favorite mystery meat product.)

One question that always gets brought up when discussing this subject: where is Central Jersey? In my perspective, Central Jersey is made up of all of Monmouth and Mercer Counties, the southern portions of Middlesex and Somerset Counties, and the northern part of Ocean County. And maybe we can throw in some other parts of the bordering counties, as long as they swear off their annoying habits.

The great debate about the central part of our state was recently given national attention on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.” The host sat down with Phil Murphy, our state’s new governor and Central Jersey resident. Like any politician, he tried not to take sides, referring to “Taylor pork,” and refusing to weigh in on the sub/hoagie thing. But it was still an entertaining interview, like when Colbert asks Murphy what town he’s from, and consistent with his middle-of-the-road approach to the interview, he responds albeit truthfully, with: “Middletown.” Then Colbert asks if Central Jersey is a mystical place like Narnia. I’d say it’s more Middle Earth – that would have been the perfect answer.

The one thing I don’t like about the video is the part with Jon Stewart at the end. Yes, he’s from Central Jersey as well, but I just don’t understand why the former host of a show on Comedy Central is venerated as a god by so many. Sure, he gave Colbert his start and all that, but if you really wanted someone to weigh in on the subject, it would have been much better to get a Central Jersey resident worthy of more respect and admiration. Like how great would it have been if instead of that bullshit with Jon Stewart as the Supreme Chief Justice of New Jersey, they had Phil Murphy say, “Let me check with the boss” – and there’s Bruce himself to declare that Central Jersey really exists.

Instead, the segment ends with Stewart sitting in a diner eating a sad-looking sub (not hoagie), and I can’t help but think what an egregious mistake that was. No matter where in New Jersey you’re from, whether North, Central, or South, left or right, up or down, one thing every resident of New Jersey can agree on is that you don’t get subs at diners. You get them from a Mom and Pop sub shop in a strip mall, or from a reputable local chain, like the appropriately named Jersey Mike’s. Or if you’re in a pinch, you get an inferior sub at Wawa for no other reason than the joy of pressing the buttons on the screen.

Bottom line, yes Central Jersey exists — and I think we should banish Jon Stewart from it.

 

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