In 1664, English colonists wrested from the Dutch a tract of land that later would become New Jersey. Throughout 2014, the state is observing its 350th anniversary. Here’s a hearty Happy Birthday to the place where I was born and raised.
When I was growing up, New Jersey’s image was that of a featureless nowhere stuck between the busy metropolises of New York and Philadelphia. (Well, almost featureless. There were smokestacks. Lots of them.)
In Saul Steinberg’s classic New Yorker cover, Jersey appears as a brown smudge across the river from midtown Manhattan.
But over the last few decades — the part of New Jersey’s history that I can remember — the state has built up its brand in a pretty impressive way. Continue reading