New Jerseyans are fiercely proud of our state — it probably has something to do with the outrageous amount of flack we've long gotten for being the "armpit of America," even before shows like Jersey Shore and The Real Housewives of New Jersey existed. But there has long been a battle within the state when if comes to the rivalry between North and South Jersey. For me, the winner is clear: I'm a South Jersey girl through and through. Sure, each Jersey region is unique, but I'm here to prove why South Jersey is better than North Jersey.
Now, I will not even pretend that SoJo has the outrageous number of celebrities that hail from the other part of our state (though Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, actresses Cristin Milioti and Ali Larter, and TV host Kelly Ripa do come from South Jersey hometowns). We may not be considered as "glamorous" as North Jersey — but maybe that's cause we aren't trying to be NYC (yeah, I said it).
So let's travel on down to South Jersey (once you're there, you can avoid the NJ Turnpike — it's not necessary) and show you why South Jersey is a place to phone home about. Because if you're from here, there are some things only you can truly understand.
We Go Down the Shore
All three regions of New Jersey have beaches, but we're the only ones who go "down the shore."
and While You're There, You Can Gamble
We've got the run of casinos in Atlantic City (RIP, Showboat!).
we Can Sing "On the Way To Cape May"
This ridiculously corny song by Uncle Al Alberts immortalizes the historical (and haunted) seaside town.
And "Wildwood Days"
The 1950s-inspired Wildwood Boardwalk hosts amusement parks right by the water. Their Doo Wop architecture was even on AOL's Top 10 Architectural Wonders of the U.S. list. Just watch the tram car, please.
On Hot Days, we Enjoy Water Ice
Water ice (usually pronounced "wudder ice"): it's not Italian Ice, an ICEE, or shaved ice. People can make fun of the somewhat redundant name all they want, but we know you haven't lived until you've had a gelati (layer of custard, layer of water ice, topped with custard).
and we know it's Hoagies — Not Subs, Dammit
Hoagies are subs on steroids, with better bread and Italian seasonings.
we have the best Non-Law Abiding Pizza
Manco & Manco (formerly Mack & Manco) pizza on the Ocean City Boardwalk is a staple of the Jersey shore experience, but the owners were charged with tax evasion. (How Jersey of them.)
And Legal Pizza
So if you like your pizza legal, check out Mack's Pizza on the Wildwood Boardwalk (which I always liked better anyway). Don't forget the birch beer!
Most Importantly, we have the Greatest Food Creation Ever Made — the Panzarotti
The Panzarotti, made by the Tarantini family, is the most delicious piece of fried dough stuffed with mozzarella cheese and sauce to ever grace your lips. And it's one of the best hangover cures in the world.
and We Have Direct Access to Authentic Philly Cheesesteaks
Tons of places all over the country claim to have food resembling Philly cheesesteaks, but because of our proximity to Philadelphia, we can hop over a bridge and get the real deal whenever we want.
since we can Take the Speedline to Hang Out in Philly
I realize that "the city" typically means "New York City" to most Americans, but getting to our city — Philadelphia — is outrageously easy with the PATCO Speedline.
we Can Always Stop at a Wawa
Southern New Jersey has an obscene number of Wawas — the best convenience store in the land. Some Wawas are open 24 hours, some Wawas have gas stations — all are awesome.
or party at the walmart at 1 a.m.
You know you've done it.
we are serious about our sports teams
Yes, we're from Jersey, and yes, we root for the Pennsylvania teams (deal with it). We may be known for having an attitude (can we let go of the Santa thing??), but I wouldn't have it any other way. (Although I'm not pleased with the Flyers ice girls coming back.)
and know We Have the Best Mascot Ever
We Can Tailgate Our Sports Games in Peace
We Have a Growing Craft Beer Scene
Flying Fish in Somerdale has been around since 1995 and is the creator of the "Exit Series" inspired by the exits of the NJ Turnpike. And we've got Pinelands, Tuckahoe, Forgotten Boardwalk, Village Idiot, and Cape May Brewing Companies as well.
And We're M'm M'm Good
South Jersey is the home to the Campbell Soup Company, which has been in Camden since 1869. When you're sipping your soup on a cold, winter day, you can thank us.
Our Produce is Home Grown
Whatever you think about NJ, we do grow some kickass corn, blueberries, and tomatoes.
we were good enough for Walt Whitman
One of the greatest American poets (and a man who knew how to grow a beard), Walt Whitman is buried at Harleigh Cemetery in Camden.
because We Heart Nature
Seriously! People don't really think of New Jersey being nature friendly, but us South Jerseyans have got you covered.
We Have the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve
Located in Tuckerton (which some may say is Central Jersey, but I think it's South), the reserve is affiliated with Rutgers University and focuses on education, research, and land conservation.
and You Can Bird Watch at the Delaware Bay
Cape May by the Delaware Bay has been listed as the number two bird-watching hotspot in North America.
Wildlife Roams at the Cape May Zoo
Cape May has a somewhat surprisingly great, pay-by-donation zoo.
And Sharks Swim at the Adventure Aquarium
You can walk through a tunnel of sharks (which sounds more frightening than ever, thanks to Sharknado) and make sure to check out the hippos!
we're home to the Jersey Devil
With a Sopranos episode named after it, (hey, North Jersey gangsters! Stop dumping your bodies down here!), the Pine Barrens are home to Pineys and the New Jersey Devil — the mythical creature that haunted our childhood dreams, not the hockey team (go, Flyers!)
and We've Got a Dinosaur
In 1858, an almost complete fossilized skeleton of a dinosaur was discovered in Haddonfield. To commemorate the finding of the Hadrosaurus the town erected a statue of the dinosaur in their downtown.
...not to mention, one awesome Elephant
If you ever wanted to recreate the "Elephant Love Medley" from Moulin Rouge (and can't afford to travel to Paris), then you need to pay a visit to Lucy the Elephant in Margate. It's the epitome of the quirky, epic things that the great land of South Jersey has to offer. When the rest of New Jersey can show me statues of dinosaurs and elephants, then we can talk.
even The Name "Garden State" Originated Here
Back in 1876, Abraham Browning from Cherry Hill called NJ the "Garden State" when he compared it to what Pennsylvanians and New Yorkers were doing to the state. (Yep, we haven't liked you guys since 1876.)
because south jersey is simply the best part of the state
And as for north jersey?