Is it Because of the Big Hair?

BY  |  Friday, Feb 24, 2012 10:20am  |  COMMENTS (30)

America hates us. They hate us more than they hate Massachusetts, Alaska, Oregon, Ohio, Arizona, Texas, Mississippi or Iowa. They hate us even more than they hate New York. (Recently, one guy even burned our flag.) In fact, according to a recent poll, Americans view New Jersey more negatively than they view any other state but California (a double blow for this writer, who grew up in the Golden State).

I can think of reasons to not like New Jersey—outrageously high property taxes, Snooki and Pauly D (who aren’t even from New Jersey but will be forever associated with our state), the seemingly endless strip malls that line every route from here to the state line. But those of us who live here also know its many charms. Those who don’t, well, apparently don’t.

Still, I’m not going to get all defensive and start listing all the great things about this state. But I do have to wonder about these 3,300 people who were polled. They chose Hawaii as the most beloved state (I get that) followed by Colorado (I get that, too). But third and fourth were Tennessee and South Dakota. Huh?

There’s nothing wrong with either of these states, as far as I know, but they don’t generally rank high on the list of, well, anything.

So why do you think others view New Jersey so negatively? Do we deserve it, or not? Tell us in the comments below. And to see the full poll, including the demographic breakdown (example: women like New York more than men do), click here.

Photo by bankbryan via flickr


  1. POSTED BY Spiro T. Quayle  |  February 24, 2012 @ 10:32 am

    Looks like NJ needs a few more hula dancers.

  2. POSTED BY Conan  |  February 24, 2012 @ 10:34 am

    The answer is simple: if you don’t live in a place for some reasonable period of time, you have no basis on which to love it, hate it, or really know anything about it. So this wasn’t a poll but a popularity contest based on guesswork and, therefore, flawed.

    I have lived all over the US for periods of three months or longer (as a consultant, I did that a lot). I knew nothing about Texas, Arkansas, several areas of California, Georgia, or New Jersey until I lived there. I know what to like and what not to like about Jersey and the truth is most of the folks who don’t live here and travel through here see only the I-95 or I-287 or I-78 or I-corridors and they stop to eat at rest stops. Just treat the rest of the country with an open mind and you will find out what I did over the years of travel: people are pretty much the same, and people are pretty good when you get to know them even slightly.

  3. POSTED BY Conan  |  February 24, 2012 @ 10:35 am

    last I- is I-80. But you knew that. You live here.

  4. POSTED BY cathar  |  February 24, 2012 @ 10:46 am

    I think that, were folks all across the country to read this very Baristanet site even on a limited basis, it’d prove very easy indeed to “hate” or dislike, if not the entire state, Montclair and its sociological environs at the very least.

    And I especially suspect, Spiro T-for-Tawana, that even in Delaware or Iowa folks would immediately know better than to take your posts seriously.

    Or do I just have more faith in the general wisdom of the American electorate that most who’ll post here in reply have?

  5. POSTED BY Mrs Martta  |  February 24, 2012 @ 10:55 am

    I am sure we can all find food and bad things to say about EVERY state. That being said, the number one thing I dislike about NJ is the climate. From Dec. 21 through May is just horrendous to me but I know others don’t share my opinion. Yes, we got a break this year but that’s an aberration.

    This would be me:

    Fortunately, the things I like outnumber the things I don’t: the shore, the mountains, gardens, proximity to NYC, decent restaurants, my friends, a variety of jobs, access to great pizza…

  6. POSTED BY Mrs Martta  |  February 24, 2012 @ 10:55 am


  7. POSTED BY mimimichalski  |  February 24, 2012 @ 11:01 am

    It’s fine with me if people don’t like New Jersey — it’s crowded enough here already; we don’t need any more people flocking to our great state! When I really think about where else I’d be willing to live (leaving out pipe dreams like Hawaii) there aren’t a heck of a lot of places that I think are as good or better than NJ. I’d be willing to live in the New England states, maybe Pennsylvania or Delaware…maybe New Orleans…California, Oregon or Washington State. The rest of the country? Not so much. (Admittedly, as pointed out above, I haven’t had much opportunity to see a lot of the other states, but have made brief visits to most of them). New Jersey actually has a lot of great things to offer, from pastoral scenes of farmland to woods, from quaint towns to cities. It’s near two big cities that offer a lot of cultural and entertainment opportunities — NYC to the north and Philadelphia to the south. Yes, property taxes here are too high, the roads get too crowded. Nothing is perfect!

  8. POSTED BY mimimichalski  |  February 24, 2012 @ 11:01 am

    Whoops, left out the great state of New York!

  9. POSTED BY Conan  |  February 24, 2012 @ 11:03 am

    At one time I firmly believed that there was no pizza west of the Hudson or north of the Harlem. I have now emended that to read West of the Delaware and North of the Housatonic (except one place in New Haven). We do grow tolerant as we grow older.

  10. POSTED BY mimimichalski  |  February 24, 2012 @ 11:04 am

    Oh, and Mrs. Martta, I do agree the weather in the winter is abominable. Like you, I am a summer person! And if it has to have winter, I’d rather it be white fluffy snow, as in New England and New York State, etc., than the grey slushy stuff we get here!

  11. POSTED BY bree480  |  February 24, 2012 @ 11:09 am

    I’ve lived here for about 5 years now, CA before that. I don’t know who they polled but the fact that they voted CA last, already proves that it is flawed. The great weather, beaches, desert, and mountains make it better than at least half of the states in this country. But enough about CA. I have to say that there are probably more things I don’t like about NJ than things I do. And all the “reality” shows featured here aren’t doing NJ any favors. Jersey Shore, Jerseylicious, Real Housewives, Mob Wives (actually not sure where it’s filmed but it seems NJish). The people come off as mean and stupid, always looking to start a fight, who always think they’re right, with bad accents. Based on that, I wouldn’t think much of NJ either. But parts of NJ have charm and you can’t beat being close to the city. And I love diners too.

  12. POSTED BY walleroo  |  February 24, 2012 @ 11:10 am

    Of course everyone hates NJ. We’re all a bunch of a$$holes. Even we hate ourselves.

  13. POSTED BY Mrs Martta  |  February 24, 2012 @ 11:15 am

    Yes, I am glad to see you say that, Mimi…there IS a difference. I have spent winters in New England (not on the coast) and is does feel more comfortable to me. In VT, because it’s bordered by Lake Champlain and not the ocean, I see kids waiting for the school bus wearing long shorts in fall! Plus, let’s face it, it’s a lot more scenic in Vermont or Edgartown, MA, than parts of Jersey in winter. The snow doesn’t get that dirty mucky look.

  14. POSTED BY jerseygurl  |  February 24, 2012 @ 11:20 am

    ‘Roo is right. The Jersey left (right of way if you are making a left turn at a red light when it turns green), The Housewives, Governor Christie, Governor Corzine, the bad hair, that accent, the list is endless.

  15. POSTED BY jerseygurl  |  February 24, 2012 @ 11:21 am

    Oh, and remember McGreevey? Oy.

  16. POSTED BY hrhppg  |  February 24, 2012 @ 11:38 am

    I agree with Conan. I have a friend who grew up in Baristaville and moved to Hawaii. He told me that a neighbors cow got out of its fence, so the other neighbors butchered and ate it instead of being neighborly and helping the guy get it back. Far cry from how it looks on TV or from a resort beach.

    I’ve been to a few dozen states and can’t imagine living in anyplace but NJ. Even Philly was a nightmare – Denny’s IS NOT a diner ! And what kind of city is closed at 3 am ? Even the 1 diner was closed.

  17. POSTED BY Spiro T. Quayle  |  February 24, 2012 @ 11:40 am

    jerseygurl, will you be changing your name to hawaiigurl any time soon?

  18. POSTED BY State Street Pete  |  February 24, 2012 @ 11:45 am

    As mimi says, let em think it’s a dump. The fewer tourists the better. They jam up the roads and drive up the rental prices.

  19. POSTED BY jerseygurl  |  February 24, 2012 @ 11:47 am

    @Spiro, Nah. I like it here.

  20. POSTED BY Kristen Kemp  |  February 24, 2012 @ 12:27 pm

    The forgettable states aren’t the most hated because no one remembers they exist. Indiana? Kentucky? Oklahoma? I speak the truth when I say these places are worse than fried opossum feet.

    My life’s dream was to settle down on Perry Street. But who wants to deal with celebrities, kindergarten applications and the A train everyday? I’ll never get used to the local chest hair, gold necklaces or DeCamp buses, but I over-paid for a house here, so I’m staying.

    The haters don’t get what makes this state so great: We have three Ikeas, The Miss America pageant and the most diners. Oh, and I can’t forget to mention Short Hills Mall. Don’t our amenities count for something?

  21. POSTED BY Mrs Martta  |  February 24, 2012 @ 12:31 pm

    LOL…your chest hair and gold necklaces comment made me giggle, Kristen. But you can see that in parts of Brooklyn and Queens as well.

  22. POSTED BY DagT  |  February 24, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

    My soul was formed in Brooklyn but I gave my heart to New Jersey the first time I walked into The Osprey in Manasquan eons ago. It’s been one long party ever since!

  23. POSTED BY frankgg  |  February 24, 2012 @ 1:11 pm

    “Americans view New Jersey more negatively than they view any other state”
    ~ sour grapes

  24. POSTED BY raeven  |  February 24, 2012 @ 1:35 pm

    If anyone thinks NJ is expensive to live in (which it is), Hawaii is even worse. Save for the incredibly low taxes. There aren’t many well paying jobs out there either. Most (except for the extremely wealthy summer home mainland transplants) live in much simpler/older/smaller yet v expensive homes. Although you can’t beat the every day scenery and beach access.

  25. POSTED BY bebopgun  |  February 24, 2012 @ 1:43 pm

    Not even the Jets or Giants can bring themselves to say they’re from New Jersey.

    We have elevated sweatpants to more than casual wear. Not many places can make that boast.

  26. POSTED BY Spiro T. Quayle  |  February 24, 2012 @ 2:53 pm

    Perhaps NJ has cornered the market on sweatpants, bebop, be thankful for small things, because, on the south shore of Long Island, polyester warm up pants are still the main event. People make that weird plastic rubbing sound when they walk by. Makes it hard to hear the seagulls working their way through the dumpsters.

  27. POSTED BY PAZ  |  February 24, 2012 @ 9:12 pm

    Haband started in Passaic county.

  28. POSTED BY Conan  |  February 24, 2012 @ 9:31 pm

    Perhaps the most eclectic and wacky thing about New Jersey are the people who post on this blog. No way could they be called a bloc — the differences resonate but they all put their 13-cents in. It is kind of like the funky neigborhood bar you have always wanted to find where the drinks are substiantial, the food excellent, the prices reasonable, the company attactive, intelligent, and copasetic, and the Haband slacks well fitted. What’s not to like?

  29. POSTED BY PAZ  |  February 26, 2012 @ 7:22 pm

    Conan….and hopefully that bar has a jar of pickled pigs feet, hard-boiled eggs, a full size shuffle board and a juke box stuck somewhere in the 1950’s.

  30. POSTED BY kit schackner  |  February 26, 2012 @ 8:32 pm

    I like NJ because even though out-of-staters may think the state bird is the middle finger, it’s a very friendly place. I like that we have Indy movie houses. I like that you can get a meal from anywhere in the world without having to pay a toll. I like that we have towns named Hohokus, Pluckemin and Buttzville and nobody says boo. I like that our governor’s mansion is named Drumthwacket. I like that when they ran a competition
    for a new state slogan, most of the entries were very funny and cynical, and that the winning slogan: “New Jersey – Full of Surprises” was launched a week before McGreevy came out.

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