When I hear the mention of New Jersey in the past, my mind would picture an industrial place with lots of factories, trains and minimal flora. Not sure why I have that image when the short time I visited there in the mid 1990s, I saw the lot beyond my cousins' backyard were full of trees. Perhaps it was because I was on trains back to back for 2 days... Somehow the train and the sight of industrial-looking side of the state stuck in my mind.
Anyhow, here are 3 things I bet you didn't know about New Jersey...
1. New Jersey is The Garden State
You know that? Well, I guess it was just me then. But if you were just like me, look up New Jersey in the Google Maps.
You can distinctly see the many "green spots" that are peppered throughout the state! They could be a municipal park, county park, state park, national park, a forest, a golf course or golf club. We didn't really go to any of parks BUT ...
... going through I-95/New Jersey Turnpike for more than halfway to Washington DC was such a revelation! The trees along the highway were beautiful - red, orange, yellow and green!
Beautiful colors in the neighborhood too!
2. Liberty Statue is in New Jersey!
So sayeth my New Jerseyan cousins... that Ms Liberty is Jersey Girl, not a New Yorker! And that NJ and NY fought over her with NY saying that she must be a New Yorker since she is facing NY.
A quick wiki research showed however that the land above water that Ms Liberty is standing on is owned by New York. BUT the New Jersey has riparian rights to the water around Liberty Island and the land submerged in water. Hu-wat??? Is it just me thinking this is absurd?
Here's another one - Ellis Island. In the middle of the right side of Ellis island is a rectangular piece of land belonging to New York. The rest of the land and water around it belongs to New Jersey. Okay, someone tell me what that is all about??? Check it on wiki - but in summary, the land enclosed by the rectangle is the natural portion of the island while the rest is artificially created portion by landfill.
There are 3 take off points to go to or around the Liberty Statue - the Liberty State Park in Jersey City, NJ, Battery Park in lower Manhattan, NY and Pier 83 near the Lincoln Tunnel.
Liberty State Park is where Dan, Gladys and Bibok brought Al and myself earlier for a brief overview. We returned there with Manong Bong, Ate Eileen, Totoy, Girlie Ann, Megan, Aiai and Munah.
This time Daddy, Mamang, Ann and Al went for the ferry ride to visit Ms Liberty. Where was I? Continue reading on to #3 down below!
But before you go there, let me tell you more about Communipaw Terminal in the Liberty State Park. In the past... after the immigrants were processed in the Ellis Island, most of them would go to this terminal to take a train to their final destinations. Today... it exhibits moving 9/11 paraphernalia (which I will use for next year's 9/11 post!).
3. Jersey City is home to many Filipinos.Jersey City is a small city less than 10 sq mi to the west of Manhattan, across the Hudson.
Anyhow, it is home to one of the Philippines chain bakery/restaurant, Red Ribbon, there. (I heard Jollibee was opening a store there soon.) We got halu-halo to go despite the cold weather - it was warm inside the car, anyway! :)
Another of my cousins favorite is the Philippine Bread House. I bought Ube bread, Monggo bread, Nilupak (lubi-lubi) and Sapin-sapin for pasalubongs to family and friends and for our own consumption. (Actually, Girlie Ann bought them for me since the store's credit card machine was having problems when we were there and I had no cash. Salamat ulet, Girlie Ann!) My favorite was the Sapin-sapin. It was just the right sweetness, the right firmness - perfect!
Meanwhile, there are a couple of businesses catering to the Filipino community there. See more photos of PNB, Phil-Am grocery store (they had flat screen monitors all over the store for advertisements! We got some siopao for the "ferry-riders" and for Tristan back in TX), Casa Manila, Fiesta Grill and other Jersey City views
I've heard it a lot that New Jersey has no sales tax. Actually, they don't have it on clothing (only? New Jerseyans, feel free to correct that statement!) but have it on others (like Legos!). So those of you who love shopping for clothes will have a great time in the factory outlet stores. One of them - Jersey Gardens- is just across the EWR Newark airport! AirTran actually connects the airport to the factory outlet stores!!! Make sure you bring a big luggage!!!
Anyhow... all in all, the cities we've visited in NJ were:
Central - Jersey City, Newark, Hillside
North - Bergenfield
South - Edison, South Plainfield, Dunellen, New Bruinswick
Further South- Sewell
I'm sure there is more to see, but these are what we could fit in to this trip's itinerary!