3/10/04 - Is New Jersey Fully Utilizing New York's Penn Station?

This is my first editorial for the new AboutNewJersey.com website and I hope it gives others some ideas. I welcome others to submit editorials you feel are important in supporting New Jersey tourism.

I just came back from New York today, and I went through the new New Jersey Transit terminal like I have many times before. I noticed there was something missing. I may have thought about this before – but now I have a forum to express it and get it out to a wide audience.

As I looked around I asked myself, “Where are the New Jersey travel brochures? Where is the New Jersey information desk?”

Now wouldn’t it make sense to utilize this space to give people information on New Jersey? I know some people may argue – “well the majority of people in the station are NJ commuters, so why do they need information?” Contrary to this belief, I have found that many New Jerseyans themselves don’t know what the state has to offer. But even more importantly is the fact that there are numerous people utilizing that terminal who aren’t New Jerseyans, such as people traveling to meet college friends at Rutgers or Princeton. Also, there are many people who just stop in after getting off the LIRR and subways to see the beautiful marbled terminal, since it’s right across from their entrance.

No one can deny it is the most beautiful thing in Penn Station and should really make NJ proud, so why don’t we use it to promote tourism and change New Jersey’s image?

The way I see it, the terminal offers a bored and captive audience. Many people like to walk around, look at things, and read, while waiting for their trains. I witnessed many people doing this, while waitng for my train.

The terminal does offer the beautiful mobile of New Jersey History that many people stop to look at and even take pictures of. But I feel a New Jersey information desk would allow people to get information on the many things to do in New Jersey and is a great way to show off the state to millions of people.

At the end of the summer is the Republican National convention. Many people will be traveling to Penn Station, and some may even come into the NJ Transit Terminal. We should have information available so people can walk in and see what New Jersey has to offer. There is no reason why we can't have displays promoting New Jersey at the entrance of the terminal as well as several inside.

New Jersey needs to work at advertising a NEW image to people and this Penn Station has a ready made audience of millions of people. Let's show them the mountains, the state parks, use it to advertise the Battle of Monmouth Reenactment, the historic sites, the amusement parks, restaurants, museums, and the numerous other things no one thinks New Jersey has.

No one else will advertise New Jersey for us. We need to take the initiative and promote our state if we want to change its image around the country as well as the world.