View Full Version : New Jersey's Image - NJ pride

10-24-2004, 01:09 AM
10/21/04 - Speech for Celebrate New Jersey Day (http://www.aboutnewjersey.com/editorials/newJerseyPride.php)

Over 300 years ago William Penn felt it necessary to stand up against the critics of New Jersey by saying, “That there is such a province as New Jersey, is certain…and it is not right in any to despise or dispraise it…”

170 years later, in 1846, Bishop George Washington Doane, son of the builder of the first NJ state house, declared “We have well nigh forgotten that we have a history. We have almost lost the very sense of our identity. We have no center. We have made no rally.” Now, 158 years later, we are here to make that rally.

Today we fight against and for over 300 years of long history. Against, because we have long sat in the shadow between Philadelphia and New York, never getting the recognition we so richly deserve. We fight for our history, because it is something to be proud of. States throughout the country would die to have the history that is contained in these 7,000+ square miles, yet we as a people do not celebrate it.

I have lived in 6 states and traveled to 34 others, I know the pride that the other states enjoy. It is time for New Jersey to take its rightful place and stand tall with similar pride. This has been my goal for the past 6 years when I first realized that the distain for New Jersey is not just from New York, but actually extends coast to coast as well as encountering it from people over seas and in Canada. It was because of the questions such as, “does New Jersey have any trees?” or “you mean Joisey?”, not to mention “Isn’t New Jersey just part of New York?” that brought out my love for this state and made me decide to develop my website. Through AboutNewJersey.com, my goal is to show people all that New Jersey has to offer and to do my part to bring pride to this under appreciated state.

My friends around the world, from Canada, to Sweden, Israel to Australia – know about my love for NJ, sometimes through the computer I can feel their eyes rolling and saying “not again”. But through sharing with them the history, my photos, the many things I do, and the numerous NJ postcards I send them I have now gotten them all to want to visit here.

To change the way the outside views New Jersey, we must first change the way the citizens of New Jersey feel about their own home state. How can we get others to respect us when we have two NFL teams who play here with another state’s initials on their helmets, with our rest stops along the Turnpike carrying NY merchandise, and nearly no NJ souvenirs -- except for the Newark Airport snow globe, the same goes for Liberty State Park, our most visited park. How can people expect much from New Jersey when we don’t even have any welcome signs at our borders proudly announcing “Welcome to New Jersey, the Garden State”? When we have a 3 time Stanley Cup Champion that proudly carries the NJ name yet can’t even attract any attendance – because half the people from Northern New Jersey supports the NY team and southern NJ roots for the Philadelphia team. These are things that will have to be changed, to show people – it’s okay to be proud of NJ. To form a proud identity.

All New Jerseyans must be encouraged to be ambassadors of the state, instead of just blindly accepting the negative comments and stereotypes.

Now Marguerite told me that I should add in a bit about me and my “stories”. I would much rather talk about New Jersey, but here it goes. When I first moved back 5 years ago from Indiana, I was staying at my cousins’ house. All I kept hearing from Steve (13 at the time) and Joey (8 at the time) was how boring NJ is and there isn’t anything to do. I found out that they never actually had gone anywhere, so I took them places – Atlantic City, Seaside Heights, Great Adventure, which they had never been to, Princeton, and more. I then took them out to Indiana and Chicago for a week. They both now have a different opinion of New Jersey. Steve just last month told me he found himself defending New Jersey and said he was becoming like me.

November of that same year, my sister came out to visit and said I should run for governor. I told her that’s okay – I just want to be New Jersey’s ambassador. And through the years that is what I have been. When anyone is willing to listen, and sometimes when they aren’t, I tell them about New Jersey and all there is to do here. When I see New Jersey not getting the respect or acknowledgement it deserves – I speak out.

When NY was on CNN’s Talk Back Live telling the world how they were planning on “hosting” the Super Bowl – I sent the show an e-mail. I informed Talk Back Live that it was impossible for NY to host the Super Bowl – since the Giants are a New Jersey team (no matter what initials they may wear on their uniforms) and the stadium is IN New JERSEY. If the Super Bowl were to take place in the Meadowlands – it would be hosted by New JERSEY – not New York. CNN chose my letter to read on the air and pointed out that I was correct. Even though the New York representative’s response was that it’s basically New York, and everyone considers it New York anyway, it was good to show everyone watching that it should have been NJ representatives on the program – not New Yorkers.

Again, this past spring, when I looked on Royal Carribean’s website and saw that they were sending vacationers to NY for side trips, even though their port of call was now New Jersey – I sent out my customary e-mail. A few days later I received a phone call from Jaye Hilton, Manager of Corporate Communications. She informed me that my e-mail had made it all around Royal Carribean. We talked and she invited me up for a private tour of the ships and to the Cape Liberty Cruise Port’s official opening. She also told me that it was very good that I wrote my letter, that it showed people that New Jerseyans want the recognition and that New Jersey is not an extension nor interchangeable with New York, but it’s own unique state. She also let me know that the website was being changed as we spoke and that if I had any other problems to call her personally.

In addition to speaking out, I also invite people out to visit and show them around. In August, a friend of mine from Texas came out. She wanted to get away from her roommate, had never been to New Jersey and decided spur of the moment that she wanted to see for herself what the big deal is with New Jersey. So she drove TWO days out here and arrived on Thursday. I took her to Princeton, Great Adventure, Cape May (where MAC kindly got me tickets to the Emlyn Physick Estate and the trolley tour), Seaside Heights, Delaware & Raritan Canal, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory in Plainsboro, Liberty State Park, Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty and I’d hate to admit it – New York. Needless to say – she left Monday exhausted. She got the quick Reader’s Digest view of New Jersey, but at least enough to see the diversity of the state. She left here wanting to explore more and wanting to come back.

This is what “Celebrate New Jersey” Day is all about. – it’s a way to showcase the state to its citizens who take so much of it for granted.

It’s going to be a long road and it won’t be easy to change people’s perception and attitude toward NJ, but with hard work and dedication, I know we can succeed.

04-03-2005, 12:49 PM

Funny... it was last year My fiancée and I were at Newark Airport, and I wanted to get a NJ postcard to mail from the terminal before departing. A gag, as if we couldn't wait to start mailing postcards, (Greetings from the Airport! Having great time! Coffee shops here are wonderful!)
Anyhow, couldn't find a postcard for the life of me! It was irksome to say the least, twirling all the racks of New York postcards and not seeing a single representative of the Garden State.
I have already touched upon this subject with you before, feeling like we're New York's little stunted brother and all... But, I'm glad someone else notices the lack of postcards.

One question, regarding Weird NJ... Now that they're doing "Weird U.S.", do you think that they are expanding, or somewhat abandoning NJ for a more accepted subject? I wonder if they're selling out.

P.S. I'm the guy you told about Ye Olde Centerton Inn... still have yet to go there, planning a wedding and all. I do have to check it out this month because I left that part of my book, (which is nearly finished) marked for further addition. I do need to provide a proper description.

04-23-2005, 08:29 AM


02-14-2006, 09:49 PM
I was recently thinking New Jersey needs a state symbol , and why not other states have theirs . The one I came up with is the monument at High Point State Park . Its meaning is strictly N.J. .It is one all New Jerseyans would be proud of once they found out what it is about . And when out of staters found out about it they would look at N.J. with some more respect . And why not , this monument was built by NEW JERSEYANS and recently renovated by NEW JERSEYANS . IT IS OUR AND OURS ONLY ! One of the best things about it is , N.Y. and Penn. have to look up at it ,literaly . We should have shirts , hats ,flags and other things made up with this monument on it . More people from N.J. and other states would go to visit it out of curiosity , bring more dollars in the area ,and see how beautiful that part of the state is !And you know what I AM VERY SERIOUS ! I say we start an effort to do this ! Did I make a point ? NEW JERSEY HISTORY SECOND TO NONE !

05-01-2006, 01:50 PM
I'd go with the National Newark Building (744 Broad Street) as our state symbol. High Point monument is an obelisk on a hill. No one ever sees it unless they make a concerted effort to go there. The Newark skyline is visible from the Turnpike, 78, 280, 1&9, and, if you strain, the Parkway. Newark is our largest city, one of our oldest cities and, historically, the city of New Jersey. When the Newark Arena gets built I'd like to see it get a few postcards as well. I'd also love to see the state buy the rest of the island that sits in Newark Bay between Elizabeth and Staten Island from New York and build a massive monument there. Perhaps a huge Eagle protecting Newark's harbor.

Jersey Warren
05-02-2006, 09:57 AM
That was absolutely GREAT, JD! We share many things in common. I have lived in 7 different states and the number of states I have visited also numbers somewhere in the 30s. I have also been an unabashed New Jersey promoter for most of my life. (Starting when I wrote a poem called "The Importance of New Jersey to Me" in fifth grade. And no, I don't have a copy of it and I can remember only a few lines of it.)

When I told my wife about this site and a little about you, we became convinced that you must somehow be a long-lost relative of mine!

The opposite of New Jersey — in the pride department — is Texas. Texas schools require that Texas history be taught. Some schools even have students pledge allegiance to the Texas flag! Many, many businesses fly the Texas flag alongside the U.S. flag. If anything, Texans in person far exceed the reputation they have for being braggarts.

And, in my opinion, Texans have much less than New Jerseyans to be proud of. Their sole "claim to fame" is that they are BIG. So what? Oh, and the Alamo. Did you know that a New Jerseyan named Richard Lucius Stockton died at the Alamo?

But you at least have to give Texans (and others) who take pride in their states credit for loyalty. This website and the movement to instill pride in New Jersey is long overdue. I give you much credit, Jersey Devil, and I will contribute to "the cause" in whatever way I can!