Posts Tagged ‘new jersey’

Woods

January 5, 2012

Today my brother-in-law took me for a hike in rural New Jersey. (Yes, there is such a thing.) It was freezing cold.

I had forgotten how beautiful winter can be.

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Metuchen

September 20, 2011

Hello, readers in England! I thought you might like to see pictures of Metuchen, the town where my sister lives.

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I love Metuchen. It is exactly my idea of what an American town should be: it has a Main Street, with an ice cream parlor and a used book store and several pizza places. (Also an uncountable number of nail salons and psychotherapy offices. After all, this is 2011.)

It has an old movie theater with a fancy marquee. It has cicadas and grassy lawns and a cemetery that dates to the Revolutionary War. Best of all, it has an old-fashioned train station.

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But Metuchen also has a lot of wonderful qualities from non-picket-fence America: It’s not all white. You can go to an Indian grocery or a Korean supermarket or a Vietnamese sandwich shop. The one thing citizens have in common is they’re all New Jerseyites. This means they have the sense of humor and no-bullshit directness you associate with New Yorkers, minus the attitude. It is impossible to be snotty and be from New Jersey.

Despite the Parisian Café.

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Aloft

November 27, 2009

On Saturday I flew from California to New Jersey for Thanksgiving.

As the plane started its descent, the woman right behind me, in 30A, got very excited. “Is that Manhattan? I think it’s Manhattan!”

I looked out my window, hoping to see the Empire State Building and the Chrysler and the other tall one with the pyramid top. But either she had very sharp eyesight, or she was mistaking Newark’s boxy skyline – looking as romantic as it possibly could in the hazy distance – for Manhattan.

My best guess was that we were flying over Elizabeth. If New Jersey is the armpit of America, Elizabeth is one of the individual hairs. It’s one of those places where even the billboards are decaying: a city of chain link, broken glass, aluminum row houses whose backyards look like empty lots.

Taking in these sights, 30A sighed in rapture. “I just love the East Coast. It’s so different. Everything about it!”

This is the wonderful thing about me moving to Britain: I get to be like 30A, oohing over things like mailboxes, municipal buses, and jars of marmalade. Everything is romantic just because it’s new. And because London really is more beautiful than Elizabeth.