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New Jersey: So Good They Couldn’t Think of a Name For It


The poor old so-called Garden State suffers an inferiority complex the size of its Turnpike. No matter that it’s the home of a vast shoreline of sandy beaches and wild surf, that its interior still has beautiful farm land, and that it’s the birthplace of Frank Sinatra and Bruce Springsteen, it can’t get over the fact that most people know it for the oil refineries that line the aforementioned Turnpike, the swamplands that neighbour New York City, the vast acres of McMansions and identikit suburban communities that are rapidly eating up the beautiful farm land, and the urban disaster that has long been Newark, and the eccentricities of the Sopranos. Given that its Capital City has long used the seemingly embittered slogan “Trenton Makes, The World Takes,” it’s perhaps not a surprise that the State paid an ad agency to come up with a new catchphrase.

Unfortunately, the agency in question must have been based in New Jersey itself, as it banked a $250,000 check and then delivered the patently unconvincing “New Jersey: We’ll Win You Over.” That motto failed to win over the new Governor, Richard J. Codey, who instead threw the contest over to the public. 8,000 sugestions, five finalists and 11,000 voters later, Governor Codey yesterday unveiled the new Slogan:

“New Jersey: Come See For Yourself.”

As he did so, a dozen “exotic” dancers were protesting new anti-smoking legislation 100 feet away on the Trenton State House steps. Go see for yourself. This is why we love New Jersey: who else makes it so easy for New Yorkers to feel superior?

You have to wonder why the State’s Bosses didn’t just ask The Boss for a catchphrase instead. After all, Bruce is the man who repeatedly comes to New York City and ribs the audience about his home state’s superiority in most matters of music, sport and mafia TV shows. Undeterred – or at least not personally insulted – New York celebrates one of Springsteen’s finest moments by launching its Guitar Festival this Saturday night with a free concert at the World Financial Center Winter Garden, at which the likes of Michelle Shocked, Mark Eitzel and Vernon Reid will perform the album Nebraska, in sequence. If you seat yourself correctly, by the Financial Center’s vast windows, you’ll be able to see New Jersey. For yourself. From the comfort of New York.

PS: Like Kevin Smith, I married a Jersey Girl.

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