Posted tagged ‘Garden State Parkway’

The Weekend Before Presidents Day Weekend in Atlantic City

April 8, 2010

Wordpress won't let me put up any pictures of the event. Perhaps that's for the best....

It’s been far too long since I’ve written about one of my escapades in Atlantic City.  Well that drought is gonna end right now.

My latest trip was over a month and a half ago, but I have good reason for not writing about it until now.  You see, that last visit was for a bachelor party.  Now that the couple is happily married and have returned from their honeymoon, I figure this entry will do the least amount of damage to their marriage.

That fateful night began the same way any trip to AC does: taking the long ride down the Garden State Parkway to the Armpit of America’s city of sin.  This time, I was going to the Tropicana, Atlantic City’s Cuban-themed hotel and casino.  Its interior is made up of cobblestone flooring, an artificial blue sky ceiling, and a bunch of high-end, expensive clothing stores – just like the real Havana!

After arriving, I met up with the rest of the group.  Being the most familiar with AC, they asked where I thought we should eat.  This being a bachelor party and all, I suggested Hooters, which seemed to please everyone.  Admittedly, I had never been to a Hooters before, so I was pretty excited about going.

It turned out to be such a let down.  I was always under the impression that the waitresses were supposed to be all flirty and everything.  Ours turned out to be a dud.  Looks-wise, I’d say she was slightly above average.  Personality-wise?  Total failure.  As for the food, that was just as disappointing.  But the beer was good. (more…)

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Book Review: Living on the Edge of the World

March 2, 2010

NJ is the edge of the world? More like center of Hell!

Time for another book review! Last time, I wrote about the bible of the Turnpike, Looking for America on the New Jersey Turnpike. For today, I’m reviewing Living on the Edge of the World, edited by Irina Reyn. This book is a collection of short stories all about life in New Jersey.

There are 19 stories total, including Reyn’s introduction, each by a different author who grew up in the state. Anyone from New Jersey will probably relate in one way or another to these stories. And anyone who isn’t from New Jersey can read this book to get an in-depth look of what our state is really like.

What’s great about the book is that each story can stand alone and still be a wonderful read. Whether the author loves or hates his or her native state, each story is equally passionate. Of course, people from New Jersey aren’t known for their subtlety.

Another cool thing about the book is how each story provides not just the name of the author, but also the town and exit number of where the story takes place. Though Reyn doesn’t point out whether the exit is on the Parkway or Turnpike, she doesn’t have to. Us New Jerseyans know instinctively.

Though each story is good, some stand out a little more than others. Here are just a few of my favorites. If these pique your interest, go read “Living on the Edge of the World” yourself. (more…)

The Saturday After Martin Luther King Day in Atlantic City

January 25, 2010

Atlantic City - even the murals in the bathrooms are sleazy...

After visiting Atlantic City on Halloween and Christmas, I decided to continue the trend of spending each holiday in that shithole of a place. And what could be a more important day than the Saturday after Martin Luther King Day? This sure sounds like someone with a gambling problem looking for any excuse to cover up their random trips to AC. But, I had a very valid reason for going this time – a friend’s birthday.

I had some out-of-state family business to take care of in the days prior to this one. Yet, a mere couple hours after getting off the plane in Newark, I was on the Garden State Parkway heading towards AC. Okay, maybe I do have a gambling problem.

Soon after arriving at Caesars, we walked around the Pier, which is high-end version of the typical Jersey mall – only this one is built right above the ocean. In addition, the Pier is somewhat well known for its dancing fountains, which is a (very) poor man’s version of those found at the Bellagio in Vegas. Only in the Armpit of America can a stupid fountain in the shape of a toilet (seriously, it is) be a major tourist attraction.

Following birthday cupcakes and cookies in our hotel room, it was time to hit the casino. After putting $20 in a nickel slot and playing for 10 minutes, I was only down four bucks, which is better than I usually do. Anyway, it was then time to go to the bar. On this night, we went to Game On, an ESPN-owned sports bar on the aforementioned Pier.

This was only my second time at Game On, but it is probably my favorite place to hang out at Atlantic City. Though I’m admittedly not a huge sports fan, those that are can be entertained by countless TVs all around the place showing every game imaginable. And those mechanical bull aficionados, like me, will be happy to know that you can ride one for only $2. In addition to the two bucks, you have to sign a waiver saying you won’t hold the place accountable if you die. But those 5 seconds you’re on the bull before getting thrown off and having everyone laugh at you is definitely worth it.

Another draw is the bathroom. Upon entering, you’ll meet that lovely lady in the picture at the top of this entry. In addition, the spaces right above the urinals have little TVs built right into the wall! (more…)

Christmas in Atlantic City

December 31, 2009

Atlantic City. Just those words conjure up such a mix of emotions for me, and likely, a lot of other people. I always get excited when the opportunity arises to take that drive down the Garden State Parkway to the poor man’s Las Vegas. Whenever I leave the city, though, I am full of regret, disappointment, and disgust.

It’s like I’m in an abusive relationship. The Atlantic City lures me down with promises of lavish gifts. I go and then get punched around, lose my money, lose my hope, and lose my lust for life. When I can finally pull myself away from the casino, I feel dirty and taken advantage of. I vow never to return; doing so would just make me a sadomasochist. A couple months later, Atlantic City will send me flowers (or actually just some coupons promising me five bucks in slot money) and I’ll come running back into its abusive arms. This past Christmas was no different.

You may be surprised that I would want to spend my Christmas in such a disgusting place. Don’t worry, I’m Jewish. Christmas is just a free day off from work for me and an excuse to eat Chinese food. For the last few years, it has also been an excuse to go down to Atlantic City with a bunch of Jews for Christmas Eve. As a matter of fact, I spent Halloween there too. Yeah, maybe I have a gambling problem. (more…)

Fwd: Rules for New Jersey Drivers

November 27, 2009

On several occasions over the years, I’ve received this e-mail laying out the rules for driving in New Jersey.  Though some of it is true, many points on the list are just your typical Jersey bravado.  Sure, us residents of the Armpit of America are indeed known for our aggressive natures, but this list exploits that a little too much.  All that being said, I’d like to present the contents of this continuously forwarded list, along with my response to each item.

1. You must first learn to pronounce the city name; it is New-erk
not New-ark.

I have no clue why this is the first rule.  There are many other places in New Jersey to drive to or from aside from Newark.  On top of that, anyone in New Jersey knows how to pronounce Newark.  I’m sure most of the country knows as well.  The only people who might get confused are those unfortunate souls who call Delaware their home.  In case you don’t know, Delaware has a city called Newark, which they pronounce like “new-ark.”  So, this rule only applies to Delawareans.  Why the author of this list decided to cater to people in that backwater state is beyond me.  Delaware sucks.

2. The morning rush hour is from 5:00 a.m. to noon. The evening rush
hour is from noon to 7:00 p.m. Friday’s rush hour starts on Thursday
morning.

This rule plays up the legendary New Jersey traffic jams.  Sure it’s an exaggeration, but who in the Armpit of America hasn’t felt that our state’s rush hour lasts 24 hours a day?

3. The minimum acceptable speed on the turnpike is 85 mph. On the
parkway it’s 105 or 110. Anything less is considered “Wussy.”

Yes, people in New Jersey go faster than the speed limit.  85 mph is indeed a suitable speed for driving on the Turnpike, but 105 mph on the Garden State Parkway?  Even this sometimes-aggressive New Jersey driver doesn’t agree with that.  The parkway has way too many curves to drive that fast on.

On a more serious note, who the hell says “wussy” anymore?  I haven’t used that word since 6th grade.  The only people who still use the term “wussy” are middle-aged mothers trying to sound cool.  Change the “w” to a “p,” and then it would be more accurate.

An elusive open road in New Jersey

An elusive open road in New Jersey

4. Forget the traffic rules you learned elsewhere. Jersey has its
own version of traffic rules. For example, cars/trucks with the loudest
muffler go first at a four-way stop; the trucks with the biggest
tires go second. However, in Monmouth county, SUV-driving, cellphone-talking
moms ALWAYS have the right of way.

This rule is pretty accurate for the most part.  The only thing I’d suggest is mentioning something about how those assholes with loud mufflers and big tires usually don’t even stop at a stop sign.  But the part about SUV-driving, cellphone-talking moms?  So untrue.  This statement, combined with the use of the word “wussy” above just proves that some bored middle-aged woman who thinks she’s cool/tough wrote this list.

5. If you actually stop at a yellow light, you will be rear ended,
cussed out, and possibly shot.

Again, this is mostly true.  I’m often amazed when I go through a yellow light and at least two more cars behind me will go through the light as well.  By the way, who says “cussed out”?  The only time I ever heard the word “cuss” instead of “curse” in New Jersey was when a Texas transplant said it.

6. Never honk at anyone. Ever. Seriously. It’s another offense that
can get you shot.

I’m calling bullshit on this one.  While us New Jerseyans are prone to road rage, you don’t get shot for honking at somebody.  It’s expected.

7. Road construction is permanent and continuous in all of Jersey.
Detour barrels are moved around for your entertainment pleasure during the
middle of the night to make the next day’s driving a bit more exciting.

Ha!  I couldn’t agree more.  Thanks to Obama’s stimulus package, road construction is even more prevalent.  And it does indeed seem like the construction crews just move around the barrels and cones just to piss us off.  If they were doing actual work, wouldn’t we see some kind of improvement on New Jersey’s roads?

8. Watch carefully for road hazards such as drunks, skunks, dogs,
cats, barrels, cones, celebs, rubber-neckers, shredded tires,cell-phoners,
deer and other road kill, and the Homeless feeding on any of these
items.

Another good one that is surprisingly accurate.  My only complaint?  I’ve never seen any celebrity being a road hazard.  But then again, there was this one time I was driving in the middle of the night and a Jon Bon Jovi ran into the road.  Turns out it was just a possum, but you can understand my confusion.

9. Mapquest does not work here — none of the roads are where they
say  they are or go where they say they do and all the Turnpike ez pass
lanes are moved each night once again to make your ride more exciting.

All of the above is true.  Mapquest, Google Maps, and other direction services probably conspire with the people who make the road signs just to piss us off.

That's more like it!

That's more like it!

10. If someone actually has their turn signal on, wave them to the
shoulder immediately to let them know it has been “accidentally
activated.”

It’s true, New Jersey drivers are infamous for not using turn signals.  This is one of the things about driving in the Armpit of America that really pisses me off.  I try my hardest to put on my turn signal at the appropriate time, but, occasionally, my Jersey blood forces me to neglect doing so.

11. If you are in the left lane and only driving 70 in a 55-65mph
zone, you are considered a road hazard and will be “flipped off”
accordingly. If you return the flip, you’ll be shot.

This first part is definitely accurate.  But again, the author exaggerates about getting shot.  New Jersey isn’t that dangerous as the media makes it out to be.  If someone gives you the finger, by all means, give it right back.  Unless you’re a “wussy” soccer mom, it’s pretty much expected.

12. Do not try to estimate travel time — just leave Monday
afternoon for Tuesday appointments, by noon Thursday for Friday and right after church on Sunday for anything on Monday morning.

Uh, isn’t this the same as #2?  And whoever wrote this list neglected to consider that not everyone in New Jersey is of the Christian/Catholic persuasion.  And most of those who are don’t even go to church on Sundays.

13. If you are an elected official in NJ State you can drive without
wearing your seat belts

Tying in the problems with New Jersey’s road to it’s corrupt politicians is a great way to end the list.  Who can forget our soon-to-be-ex governor’s little incident on the Parkway?  While us ordinary citizens could get ticketed for not wearing a seatbelt, Jon Corzine got away with it.  But at least he lost the election.  Now let’s just wait until Chris Christie does something stupid.  I give him 60 days.