Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Garden State

When I returned to America I felt kind of out of touch. I wanted to catch up with some of the U.S. Television series that I had missed during my time in Europe. My Father owns the collectors box set of The Sopranos Season 1-5. I had read positive reviews about it and I love The Godfather trilogy. One night curiosity got the best of me and I popped the first DVD into the player.

Eric and I are now completely hooked. We're currently in the middle of Season 2.

So when I found out last week that the ship from Germany had arrived and we would have to pick up our belongings in New Jersey, I was sort of looking forward to the road trip. I'd never visited The Garden state and "The Sopranos" is filmed there. I wanted to hear a real "Jersey Accent" and visit "the home state of Tony Soprano"

Jersey gets a bad rap and is referred to by negative nicknames. (I.e. "The Toilet Bowl State" and "The Cancer Capital") I wanted to see for myself.

We pulled all the back seats out of the mini-van for storage space and hit the road at 10 A.M. on Tuesday.

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Once we went over the Verazzano Bridge and passed the last New York exit... we were greeted with our first glimpse of the New Jersey landscape.

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We pulled into our exit and drove down the streets of New Jersey. I had brought my camera because I wanted to take some snapshots of the architecture and the local areas. At first glance... I have to admit, it doesn't look so appealing.

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However, there is a feeling of history, a worn down industrial quality and realness to it. The roads were broken up, the shingles falling off the houses and the businesses looking like they're from the 1950's

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I loved it. As an artist, I wished I lived closer so I could take my canvas out onto the street and paint the homes, the abandoned buildings and the peeling paint revealing the bricks underneath.

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That's Eric. He looked around and laughed "when we have kids I'll keep them in check by threatening them with: "If you keep this up.. I'm gonna send you to New Jersey!"

I think we were just in a bad part of town, after all... it's probably called "The Garden State" for a reason.

After going to visit Customs to clear our documents...and then traveling to another office to pay all these additional charges for the x-raying...etc. we went to get a bite to eat in a hole in the wall Italian sandwich shop. The place was only half-painted and the door was hanging off the kitchen entrance, but the food was great.

Next stop was the storage place at the harbor to pick up our belongings.

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It was loud, hot, dirty and crowded. There were men everywhere with dirt smudged faces and wife beater t-shirts. They arrived with huge storage trucks and were loading their goods from the platform. I was the only girl there and I felt out of place when they looked me over. I held onto Eric's hand.

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We had yet MORE additional fees to pay and then we were instructed to back up our truck into the loading dock.

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When they saw us ease into an available spot with our tiny mini-van, some of the workers started laughing. It wasn't even high enough to reach the platform. It stood out like a tiny little sore thumb. Apparently this was a commercial storage area.

The forklift arrived with our two 6 ft tall cartons on pallets containing our belongings. Way too large to fit into our mini-van. The situation looked grim. The man with the forklift accessed our situation and murmured "uh...good luck with that…"

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So we tore open the cartons with a knife and started separating everything. We began to place it all carefully into the mini-van, like putting together a complex jig saw puzzle. We managed to barely squeeze it all inside and close the van.

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We headed home... with my seat pushed so far up that I was kissing the windshield and my knees were pulled up to my chest. Good times. Eric looks less than thrilled in this shot because this was in front of us....

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Bumper to bumper traffic.... the entire drive home.

But.... We have all of our belongings again! Everything that I posted in THIS ENTRY 4 months ago in Germany is now in our garage in New York..... FINALLY

I realized I haven't been to many states in the U.S., Here is a sad map of the places I've visited in my lifetime.

create your own personalized map of the USA
or check out ourCalifornia travel guide

Not too impressive. I'm so eager to travel to more countries in Europe when
I haven't even explored much of my own home country yet
posted by Clarity25 at 8:18 PM |


At July 26, 2006, Blogger Tara 

Hate to break it to you, but ALL of Jersey is like that. It's gross.
The only thing Jersey has is Great Adventure.

At July 27, 2006, Anonymous nikig 

Ah yes Jersey...NEVER STOP THERE!!! Did you know that? I have driven through and had no desire to sight see. a photographer...I could find inspiration anywhere...even Jersey! :~)

At July 27, 2006, Anonymous allonpaper 

Please tell me you at least listened to the title theme song of Sopranos while you were driving through Jersey. (Cigar optional.)

At July 27, 2006, Blogger Octavia 

*nods solemnly*
Yes, this is because Europe kicks major arse. We appreciate you acknowledging that.
This comment will self destruct not in 5,4...

Hahaha god what a hassle. I love those kind of situations. (The boxes too big for the car sort situation) I have a strange thing for manual labour. I've been known to start exchanging shelves and beds from rooms around the house at around 1am.
I'm in fact in the middle of a cathartic room cleaning right now, so no doubt something will get moved.

I can't believe, from what it looked like - you actually gave away all those
It's great you have all your stuff though! =)

At July 27, 2006, Anonymous Tenshi 

Niiiiice. See, when I was in the NE states, I *TOTALLY* skipped NJ, and now I see why.

We did go through the middle of Brooklyn. My dad locked the car doors for that one. *sigh* :\

At July 27, 2006, Blogger Kathleen 

Anytime you want to color in the Mitten State, you just let me know. ;-)

I'm so glad you have your stuff. It's nice to know it's home, even if it's still in storage.

I look like that when I'm stuck in traffic, too.

At July 27, 2006, Blogger Brandy 

I don't know why but I had just figured that you would have had one of those crazy roadtrips that seem to be the right of every American!
I've been to more states than you and I don't even live there!!!

Now I think before you leave the US again you have to go on a roadtrip its like prom without the dresses and bad music!

A lot of industrial towns have that look to them.

At July 27, 2006, Anonymous ricky 

I heard that New Jersey was closed not too long ago. Not sure why, because, well, I don't really pay atention to stuff about New Jersey, because, well, it's New Jersey. :-)

At July 27, 2006, Anonymous Emily 

um ALL of New Jersey looks like that!

I avoid that state like the plague. It's nice that you were able to find beauty in the decaying buildings and piles of trash. You always have that talent -- You try to see the good in everything.:)

I filled out the map and it was nearly all red.

But I envy YOU for traveling to Europe. I have never left the United States!

At July 28, 2006, Blogger Kathleen 

Thought you'd like to know that there's a pic of Fiona playing in NY at (right side column Day In Pictures) along with cute tigers and a moose. Always worth a look.

At July 29, 2006, Anonymous Tenshi 

The pass for the private entries is "wickedgoodpost" - if you get an error on one, (a recent one) - try "privateguru".

No, my weekend isn't so hot. In fact, it fucking sucks.

At July 30, 2006, Blogger candoor 

I'm up way past yesterday's bedtime just to say hello to my favorite online people and what happens when I come here, I get shivers of memories swamping me from all corners of my mind... I've driven the Belt Pkwy (having lived in Brooklyn at a few different exits for much of three decades) thousands of times... wow, as much as I love Florida, I still miss the city that never sleeps...

as for Jersey, it's basically become one big extention of NYC, Philadephia, Washington DC, and Baltimore (not to mention it's own urban blight from within)... the chemical and oil processing plants are along the water and the first thing you see when coming from NY and the whole east coast of NJ along NYC is basically an inner city suburb of NYC, but if you head inland and look around, there's still lots of green... the north has some nice hills and small mountains and countryside (like the NY Catskills) and the south inland still has farmland and wild areas...

I hope you guys are feeling more settled and finding smiles in your days... you never fail to put a smile on my face when I visit you - thank you for your creativity and the beauty in your heart that you share so well :)