Yes Virginia, There is a Central Jersey…

When the link to the newest AwesomeNJ post, Is there a Central Jersey, came up on my Twitter feed a few nights ago, I had to click it. What I found was a video for a Montclair State University student discussion organization. The topic that they chose to examine was whether or not a “Central” New Jersey exists. Though one student proudly defended the notion as she explained “it’s the best place to be”, the overwhelming consensus given off by the rest of her fellow scholars was quite to the contrary.

Appalled and speechless, I watched the video again. And then again. As I viewed one ignorant blowhard call those who live in Central Jersey “horrible people”, I thought to myself, “Could students at one of our state’s finest institutions (one that is known for producing exceptional teachers of all professions, at that) truly be this uneducated about the boundaries of the Garden State?”

Surely, someone has to set the record straight.

The most basic of all Google or Wikipedia searches will inform even a fool that Central Jersey is, indeed, recognized officially. It extends from the counties of Hunterdon to Monmouth, and contains Mercer, Somerset, Middlesex, and Union Counties in between. Sometimes, even Ocean County is in the discussion (or at the very least is a disputed territory between the Central & Southern portions of the state). This locality is equipped with modern marvels such as exclusive Area Codes and Circulating publications, just like any other region to the north or south would hold.

The 908 and 732 Area Codes are both obviously identified as digits for “North & Central” New Jersey phone numbers. Most owners of the 908 and 732 codes are primarily concentrated squarely in the middle of the state. They are two of the most popular area codes that NJ offers and I’m willing to wager that most owners of said digits would ID themselves as Central New Jerseyans, if given the choice.

Still not a believer? Consider this:

The Home News Tribune & the Courier News are two exclusive Central Jersey Newspapers. They cover the daily happenings of every township and city in Middlesex, Somerset & Union Counties. Thusly, a useful piece of information about their joint-website (the firms merged in 2009) is that it can be located at the interesting web domain name of www.MYCENTRALJERSEY.com.

Assuming you trust straight-forward language such as the phrase “officially recognized”, you would then have to concede that Central Jersey, in theory, contains properties such as the State University’s two primary campuses (Rutgers New Brunswick & Piscataway), the birthplace of electricity and one of the most populated cities in our state (Edison), premier shopping outlets and centers for commerce (Menlo & Woodbridge malls), the state capital & governing body (Trenton), the world’s widest bridge (the 15-laned Driscoll Bridge along the Parkway in Perth Amboy) and the vast majority of our state’s Revolutionary War historical locations.

Oh, right, lest I forget the top-notch tourist attractions that include, but are not limited to, Concert Venue Starland Ballroom, Six Flags Great Adventure, valuable spots along the Jersey Shore and Monmouth Park Racetrack.

That’s a lot of “horrible people” inhabiting an area that supposedly doesn’t even exist.

I respect my brothers and sisters to the north and south. The Jersey bond is strong and for life. However, I am willing to go to my grave fighting to ensure that Central Jersey remains an integral part of our state’s reputation. Much misguided hatred is already sent our way by those in New York & Philadelphia. What we need to strive for is unity when discussing events applicable to New Jersey, not division.

By Brian Erhardt

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