New Jersey
The Garden State


*This story appears on September-October 2021 Terre & Culture magazine issue, in the section Ameritalia.



New Jersey, as a territorial extension, is one of the smallest states in the US, but it is the most densely populated. The highest populated city is Newark, where many Italian immigrants are now living.

New Jersey is also nicknamed “ Garden State”  do to his agricultural and green  territories.

It is located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean; it borders are: to the west with the Delaware River which marks the entire western border with Pennsylvania and the south/southwestern border with the State of Delaware; to the north with New York State.

The Hudson River separates northeastern New Jersey from New York City. The north-eastern metropolitan area is also called Gateway Region (entrance region), name due to the presence in its territory of the famous Ellis Island, the island from which, in the first half of the twentieth century, tens of millions of emigrants needed  to be controlled  before being admitted to the United States.

The counties of Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex Passaic and Union are part of it and in these cities, do to  the proximity to Ellis Island, many Italian immigrants did settle down and began to operate mainly in agriculture where the third generations still manage large agricultural centers, mostly growing vegetables, fruit and specialty farm products.

Agriculture is the third highest industry and one of the most important in the United States for the production of dairy, wheat, vegetables and apples. It is also the third largest producer of blueberries after Michigan and Maine.

New Jersey is the eighth richest state in the Union and the third state in the United States by per capita income. Located in the heart of the Northeast corridor, it occupies a central position within the Boston - New York - Washington corridor, with the largest concentration of economic activities in the Northeast. It is one of the main business centers in the United States, thanks to the presence of 19 companies ranked among the top 500 in the world.

Environment In the interior of south-central New Jersey is the vast forest of Pine Barrens, home, among other things, of the Pinelands National Reserve, an ecosystem that has remained surprisingly intact, despite its location in a highly anthropized area, between New York and Philadelphia, while the splendid beaches with their white sands are very famous, among the most famous are Asbury Park and Atlantic City, also called the Las Vegas of the West Coast, very famous for its casinos and gambling center.

The beaches of New Jersey were visited by Giovanni Verazzano in 1524, after whom the bridge that connects State Island in the state of New York was named and is considered the longest bridge in the USA that exceeds the Golden Bridge in San Francisco by only 20 meters.

History New Jersey was populated by many Indian tribes including the Lenape and later ruled by the Dutch and the Swedes, then occupied in 1664 by the English; in 1787 it became the third state of the Constitution of the United States of America.

In 1900 the cities of New Jersey were important in the Industrial Revolution by transforming freight shipping from canals to rails. Very important are the commercial ports and the military naval base.

The inventor Thomas Edison was born in the city of   Edison in 1847 the city of Edison,  is holding a credit of over 1093 of Edison  inventions!

Tourism Tourism is highly developed especially for the beautiful beaches overlooking the Atlantic Ocean,  many New Yorkers own beautiful villas along these fabulous, white and laughing beaches, many others have chosen inland country farmhouses for their weekends, and in particular old farms, located within the inland NJ State, and very close to the  border state of Pensylvania.

I am often a guest of dear friends who bought an old 1700 farmhouse, entirely built with ancient stones, and wood, whit large beams to support the old ceilings.

The property is surrounded by a large park, crossed by a stream with clear waters, it really seems to live in the past, far from the modern  frenetic world where we are now living !

New Jersey cuisine The cuisine of the state is mainly based on agricultural and fishery products, but if you have the opportunity to visit this state, do not forget to taste the famous “sloppy joe sandwich”  the  most famous sandwich in the USA! It is prepared  with ground beef (sometimes replaced with ground turkey), onions, tomato sauce or ketchup and various flavorings, and served in a classic burger Bun! Also excellent are the “Disco Fries”, the famous French fries covered with a particular sauce and with the addition of mozzarella and traditional American cheese.