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.