Tuesday, April 8, 2008
NEW JERSEY: AMERICA'S G SPOT
Kathy G over at the G-Spot is my favorite new entrant into the crowded blogosphere. Though I couldn't pick her out of a lineup, anyone who writes knowledgably about economic inequality, Joan Crawford, and Republicans who barbecue dogs all in the same week deserves the widest readership possible. Even better, Kathy G shares my perverse fascination with New Jersey, arguably the most interesting state in the U.S., politically, economically, socially, spatially, ethnically, and racially. And I say this as someone who was not born in the Garden State, who watched the Sopranos on bootleg videos way too late, and who attended his first Bruce Springsteen concert just three years ago, in the best venue ever, the Atlantic City Convention Center, thanks to the inveigling of the uber New Jersey historian and over-caffeinated cultural critic Bryant Simon. Though I wouldn't want to live there, NJ is a great place to spend an afternoon. Last summer, I traipsed through Newark with my kids (yes, they liked it). Admittedly we had the whole New Jersey Historical Society to ourselves, but it's well curated and worth the stop. We rode the subway, ate ice cream to the tune of Brazilian drummers, and had lunch in one of the dreariest diners that I have ever set foot in. For those accustomed (like me) to blasting through the Garden State at 70mph (alas, I got a ticket for speeding there last summer), I recommend veering off the Turnpike for a lunch stop in Plainfield, a marvelously diverse town home to Jim McGreevey, but better yet some of the best Guatamalan food in el Norte. And for a romantic getaway (yes, that's possible in New Jersey), check out Frenchtown, an old mill village along the Delaware about halfway between New York and Philly, a low-key alternative to nearby Lambertville and New Hope.