NEW JERSEY IS POSSIBLY the most slandered state in the Union. Everyone likes to make jokes about Snooki and Tony Soprano and call us America’s Armpit and they all think they are absolutely hilarious. But New Jersey is actually a legitimately awesome place to live. It is certainly the most underrated state in America. Here’s why.

1. It’s called the Garden State because it’s beautiful.

Excepting that space between Newark and New York which is, unfortunately, all that a lot of NJ visitors ever see.

2. We’re the only ones that know how to drive.

Slow cars do not get to drive in the left hand lane. This is the only state where that very obvious rule is understood.

3. If you get booed in Jersey, you can always pretend they’re just saying “Bruuuuuuuce!”

Which is basically the exact opposite. Also, watch this and tell me that any lesser state could produce a man this awesome:

4. Pork Roll.

‘Nuff said.

5. Easy access to two great American cities.

The cynics will say New Jersey is just the sprawl between New York and Philly, but we know that the Big Apple and the City of Brotherly Love are actually Jersey Sprawl. We would’ve put them in our state, but then all of the tourists would be flocking here, and we’ve got enough bennies as it is.

6. We know how to capitalize off of our beaches.

A friend of mine always complains about having to pay for Jersey beaches. “You don’t have to pay for beaches in Florida,” she says. Yes, that’s true, but New Jersey offers something that Florida doesn’t: meth-and-alligator-free beaches. And we know you’ll pay to get on our beaches anyway. So really, we’re just smart businessmen.

7. You can get solid surfing here without having to fly the 10 hours to Hawaii.

And you can get solid surfing pretty much anywhere along the shore.

8. Being the “World Diner Capital” is better than having a ton of Michelin stars.

Seriously: how often do you eat at a Michelin-starred restaurant? Virtually never, right? And how often do you eat at a diner? As much as humanly possible, obviously. So clearly it’s better to have a ton of delicious diners than it is to have a ton of prestigious culinary superstars.

9. The best movies and shows are set here.

Everyone fixates on the whole mobster reputation of New Jersey, glossing over the real message we should be getting from all those gang movies: if you want a movie or show to be good, make it in Jersey. The Sopranos, the best show of all time, is the obvious one to point out, but Harold & Kumar? Jersey Girl? The Matthew Broderick remake of Godzilla? You’re welcome, world.

10. We’re job creators: employing thousands of people in the lucrative gas pumping business.

Just think how much unemployment would be decreased across the rest of the country if more states required full service gas pumps.

11. We’re the real American melting pot.

The state of New Jersey is just incredibly diverse. We’ve got large Muslim and Jewish populations and pretty much every stripe of Christian. We’ve got the country’s largest Peruvian population, the largest Cuban population behind Florida, a large Brazilian population, a ton of Irish and Italian Americans, and one of the highest percentages of Asian Americans in the country.

The reason is simple: we’re the American Dream. We’ve got elbow room, beaches, a good education system, all sorts of food, and lots of opportunity. It’s a pretty solid place to live.

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