Tuesday, November 24, 2009

New Jersey

This week, I am home in New Jersey.
When I come home, I always watch all the of the Anthony Bourdain No Reservations episodes that my family keeps on Tivo- something wonderful that I do not have in my apartment in Boston. Coincidentally, I watched an episode about New Jersey. Anthony Bourdain is from Leonia, New Jersey. Though Leonia is in the same county as my town, it is a place I don't venture to often, and Bourdain's take on New Jersey really proves to me how different everyone's experience of New Jersey can be. Leonia is not much like the little town I grew up in. He addresses the stereotypes, all of which are somewhat true, but most of which that don't apply to my own general experience. When I drive around, I rarely see chemical waste plants, unless I am on my way into New York City or down to the shore. He mentions everyone's fascination with the Soprano's, and the fact that you judge the quality of the New Jersey business based on whether or not there's a signed Soprano's photo on the wall. Though the Soprano's also took place in my county, it still seems so different. Yes, maybe I used to be great friends with the daughter of the owner of "Satin Dolls" strip club, but that was never really a huge part of my life.
To me, New Jersey is home. It's my family and my friends. It's having all four seasons at their finest. It's beautiful, it's about pride, it's about balancing between being a native and a tourist in New York City. It's about driving around on weekend nights with your friends and stopping into a diner at 2 am for gravy and mozzarella fries. Its... a lot like Anthony Bourdain's experience, now that I really think about it. And maybe I see that one of the Soprano's cast members has been to the same pizza place, and maybe I know that Reverend Run is a lousy tipper and uses the same car wash as me, but none of that really makes any difference. I love this place, and I've never seen a single episode of the Sopranos.

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