It has now been a year since I left my home on the little slice of heaven known as the Jersey Shore to move to the gates of hell that is Long Island. So how do the two compare? Let’s see in this sort of revival of my long-forgotten State vs. State feature:
Perhaps the biggest difference is that Long Island allows you to make left turns instead of the jug handles for which New Jersey is so famous (or infamous). I definitely appreciate the ability to make a simple left instead of going around in circles, with many traffic lights having dedicated left turn signals. However, there is one disadvantage to this system – the red lights are looooong. At most intersections, each of the four roads will have it’s own dedicated green light AND it’s own special left turn arrow light, so the convenience of making a left turn comes at the expense of your time.
New Jersey has quite a reputation for having bad drivers, but they are nothing compared to those in Long Island. In the past year, I have seen countless instances of drivers swerving from the left lane to make a right turn, and cutting off other drivers to make a left turn from the right lane. Moreover, no one seems to have mastered the use of the turn signal. While New Jersey drivers aren’t know for their politeness, I’d still prefer them over these crazy Long Island motorists.
New Jersey and Long Island alike both deal with negative reputations of their populations. And to stereotype the whole population one way or another is unfair. While I’ve met some really horrible people here, most are pleasant enough. But, I will say that the Lawn Guyland accent is pretty annoying. Then again, New Jersey isn’t immune to bad accents – from the New York-influenced speakers in North Jersey and the Philadelphia-inspired vernacular of South Jersey, to the strangely southern accents of Sussex County. (FYI – hailing from Central Jersey, I speak in a perfect, non-offensive accent – or so I think…)
New Jersey and Long Island both suffer from way too many highways adorned with way too many strip malls. But what’s in those stores differs greatly. One of the biggest differences is that you can buy beer and wine ANYWHERE. All grocery stores, convenience stores and drug stores have a wide selection of alcoholic beverages. The other major difference is that apparently Long Islanders can’t get enough frozen yogurt. There are at least 10 different chains and no matter where you are, there are at least three frozen yogurt shops somewhere nearby.
While this is just a basic overview, New Jersey clearly is the winner. Then again, I do have my bias – growing up in New Jersey, Long Island has always been a place of detestation. And, as I’ve learned, Long Islanders look down on the Armpit of America with the same level of abhorrence. Since neither can compete with the excitement of Manhattan or the beauty and open space of upstate New York, New Jersey and Long Island alike continue to bully each other. But there is one thing residents of both places can agree on: New Jersey and Long Island are both better than Staten Island!