farewell new jersey

white sneakers

New Jersey, farewell – I’ll miss a few things, and won’t miss many others.  I’ve lived in a few states in this Union:  in order, Massachusetts, Tennessee, Illinois, Mississippi (with a brief time spent living in Germany), Tennessee, then some time overseas in Russia, then New York and most recently New Jersey.  In a few more days, I’ll add Florida.

New Jersey…I’ll miss:

  • Your proximity to Manhattan, the place on this Earth that will always seem the most perfect place for a human to live, to me.  I’ll tell my children to come live in Manhattan – but not New Jersey.  But then again, living close to Manhattan seldom meant VISITING Manhattan.
  • My neighbors, who were nice people, and their kids, who were charming and wonderful companions for my son and (due to her age, to a lesser extent) my daughter.
  • Your mild summers.
  • Your sports teams, namely the New York “New Jersey” Jets, whose outrageous ticket prices made it difficult for me to attend games, and who have caused me no end of heartbreak through the years.
  • The local Houlihan’s.  I know it’s a chain restaurant and I know it’s blah food and it’s really not my thing, but they were always patient and pleasant with our kids and always accommodated us with friends and family buying silly drinks with umbrellas and bringing exacting kids’ orders.
  • My house – the first one I’ve owned after 15 years of renting.  It’s not the Taj Mahal, but I put a lot of sweat equity into it and I’m proud of the way it turned out.  It was a home for us, our children and our family.

I won’t miss:

  • Crippling taxes, which are accompanied by failed school systems, understaffed and overwhelmed safety officers, broken roads, awful libraries, pathetic museums and non-existent public parks.
  • Traffic.  Hellish traffic.
  • The weather.  If I never see snow again in my life, I’ll be happy.  I’m not one of those people who likes snow, even in small doses.  Go away, snow, forever.
  • Commutes.  One of the primary determinants of a happy working life seem to be commute length.  I averaged probably more than an hour and a half living in New Jersey – it doesn’t make for a happy life to live in a place where three hours a day are spent commuting.
  • Cost of living.  We often noted how our local supermarket seemed insanely expensive even compared to the same chain in Queens near my in-laws’ place.  In New Jersey, chains seemed to feel free to increase costs simply because – well, you have nowhere else to go.
  • The weather.  Oh wait, I said that before.  Well, that’s the main reason we’re leaving.

Sometime today I’ll leave New Jersey, probably for the last time.  With no family here and no real reason to return, I don’t think I’ll be back anytime soon.  We’ll be back in New York, and we might come to visit friends in Jersey.  But for me, another page has turned.  As Omar Khayyam says, “The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, Moves on”.  Farewell.

photo credit: joiseyshowaa

20 comments

  • Good luck with the move, Steve!

  • I wish I was you! HA HA! I am stuck here in our great state. Hey but I read a great article today that says my county is #11 in the highest paid counties in the country! I am sure Corzine will target us for another tax somehow for being paid so well. Yeah right.

    I loved your point about the supermarkets. My husband I do a lot of our grocery shopping in central PA when we visit my inlaws because things are literally 1/3 less. I work in Brooklyn and too find things are even cheaper in the supermarkets in NYC.

    Good luck! Enjoy those crippling humid days of the Florida summer! 🙂

  • Steve: I agree with you on Manhattan–no place better in my mind either! But I'm really looking forward to reading all about your new life and new adventures in Florida, sunny Florida.

  • 'Manhattan, the place on this Earth that will always seem the most perfect place for a human to live, to me' I couldn't agree more!

    Good luck on the next part of your journey Steve 🙂

  • We have relatives in New Jersey, and almost every trip or return trip has produced its own bit of drama, be it a speeding ticket, hours of traffic, getting rear-ended on the George Washington Bridge, kids throwing up on the shoulder of the Turnpike…I could go on. But there are some nice areas in the north (Wayne) and the south (Medford). Some places grow on you; others never do. Good luck with the move!

  • Good luck and best wishes! I am looking forward to your posts which I hope will give us some insight as to how the move is working out for you and your family.

  • Good luck with the move. Not sure what route you are taking, but if you get close to Birmingham I'll be glad to buy you a beer. But not if you're driving. 🙂

    Welcome back south. It's hot… but beautiful down here!

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  • While I live in Canada, I've been to Jersey over 10 times the past 3 years and I love it!
    So many different things to do and the people are nice.
    But the traffic – I've never seen anything like it!

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  • You're leaving the fire for the frying pan. New York is the #1 state in the US with the highest, highest taxes.

    I'm leaving New York and heading to Florida come this fall.

    You can have it!

  • Thanks everyone for the good wishes! We moved our furniture out on Wednesday and packed up the car and left for our multi-stage (via relatives – doing the visiting tour) journey south on Thursday. Hopefully within a week we'll be in Florida!

  • Let me welcome you to Florida, Steve! Not the land of sun right now, as we are having some much needed rain after a three year drought. Florida has its pros and cons, to be sure. No state income tax, but to balance the budget they keep cutting and cutting….not sure what's going to be left after they're done! Our governor is now running for the Senate, our Attorney General is running for governor, etc. so we will be somewhat leaderless until the next election.

    Let's see….watch out for random sink holes, lizards are everywhere, palmetto bugs and roaches don't mean you're dirty (it just means you are living in Florida), wear lots of sunscreen and get your hurricane box ready to go!

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  • Wow, that sounds awesome! I'll miss knowing your site as one of the tri-state area sites I visit. I'll still visit though! We're planning to move soon but we'll be going further east out to Long Island. One day we'll make the brave move down south (or out west).

    Good luck down there!

  • Best of luck in the Sunshine State, Steve! After leaving Florida for family reasons, and being back in Philly for 15 years, I completely echo your sentiment about never seeing snow again. I'm hoping to return to Florida, too. Just remember – sunscreen, bug repellent, and Tupperware, all in large quantity! The lizards are fun. The roaches, palmettos, and skeeters – not so much. And, as my cousin advised me long ago, when I asked how long it takes to get used to the heat and humidity, “I've been here for 10 years; I'll let you know when it happens.” Still beats the heck out of winter…

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  • Ahh Jersey.

    I grew up in the Garden State, but have now spent the last 12 years in California.

    NJ definitely has its pluses and minuses compared to CA. They are:

    Good
    -NJ public schools are quite good relative to other states (like CA)
    -cost of living
    -proximity to NYC
    -lots to do
    -people – definitely a lot of flavor & attitude

    Bad
    -Accents
    -taxes
    -weather
    -not much outdoor activity possibilities
    -reputation – what exit you from?

  • I've lived in NJ pretty much my entire life (in my early 30s now) and to be honest, I feel generally the same way. New Jersey seems to be quite a broken State. Newspaper mentioned recently that the average property tax is now up to $7,000!!!

    With most of my family and friends here, it is difficult to leave – but I have been feeling a strong urge to do exactly that for quite some time. Financially it really doesn't make sense to remain in this State for much longer, unless the politicians start doing things right.

    I've spent a lot of time in Florida over the past few years. My grandmother has a vacation home there and my dad & stepmother live there. The people in Florida, from what I've experienced, seem like all northerners who have relocated (most have the northern accent). Very nice state & the property taxes are much lower than NJ. I was there for hurricane charlie… we evacuated & the eye of the storm passed right over where we were staying… a rather “interesting” experience. Regarding weather, you know when you're baking something with a lot of juice in the oven at a high temp then open the door? You get that blast of super hot humid air? That's what Florida seems like in July & August, but it's nice to be wearing t-shirts & shorts in February!

    Good luck with your move.

  • I've lived in NJ pretty much my entire life (in my early 30s now) and to be honest, I feel generally the same way. New Jersey seems to be quite a broken State. Newspaper mentioned recently that the average property tax is now up to $7,000!!!

    With most of my family and friends here, it is difficult to leave – but I have been feeling a strong urge to do exactly that for quite some time. Financially it really doesn't make sense to remain in this State for much longer, unless the politicians start doing things right.

    I've spent a lot of time in Florida over the past few years. My grandmother has a vacation home there and my dad & stepmother live there. The people in Florida, from what I've experienced, seem like all northerners who have relocated (most have the northern accent). Very nice state & the property taxes are much lower than NJ. I was there for hurricane charlie… we evacuated & the eye of the storm passed right over where we were staying… a rather “interesting” experience. Regarding weather, you know when you're baking something with a lot of juice in the oven at a high temp then open the door? You get that blast of super hot humid air? That's what Florida seems like in July & August, but it's nice to be wearing t-shirts & shorts in February!

    Good luck with your move.