Sell The Smell

Our house in Brooklyn today.

I’m a New Yorker. Born in Brooklyn, moved to Tuckahoe went I was 11. Spent my summers “Upstate,” as we say.  Got my college education in The Bronx. We always looked down on “Jersey” (never daring to call it “New Jersey”).

Well, after living here since 1991, I’ve realized it, like other states, has it’s good points and bad. Some things are getting better, while others are getting worse. Traffic congestion varies, but it can get maddeningly chaotic when critical roads get backed up. On the other hand, roads and bridges are improving with key projects’ conclusions.

At times, it feels like the entire northern part of the state is urbanized, then other times you take a ride from Oldwick to Long Valley and it feels like you’re in New England. From farms to factories, 12-lane turnpikes to single-lane dirt roads, this state has it all.

The state’s tourism department isn’t working with any particular slogan or tag line these days, but I do remember “Jersey’s Got It” from the 80’s and “New Jersey & You: Perfect Together” from the 90’s. So I was quite surprised to come across the “Jersey Doesn’t Stink” site

It’s a good effort and kind of cute. The video responses they’ve gotten are pretty good.

On the contrary, I’d look into doing it differently. I had a thought a few years ago, once I became comfortable with being a New Jersey resident, the new slogan should be “New Jersey: What’s That Smell?”

All that’s good about the state has it’s own distinct smell: The Shore, the restaurants, the fresh fruits and vegetables. “Stink” sounds worse than “smell,” don’t you think? Even the negatives can be handled in this context. “What’s that smell? Petroleum hydrocarbons being burned off to make your gasoline. New Jersey is home to three large refineries, with a combined capacity of nearly 700,000 barrels per day.”  Or “…that’s methane gas being released by an old landfill. That gas is being used to generate electricity. And it’s being cleaned up now to comply with the Clean Air Act.”

Think of the cultural enclaves, with their vibrant restaurants: Indian in Edison, Portuguese in Ironbound, Turkish in Paterson. You get the picture. Can’t you just smell it?

I know MTV Networks is happy with the popularity of the “Jersey Shore” show, scandals and all. Gov. Christie ought to through his weight around and get them to cease and desist as they may be infringing on the state’s trademark: The Jersey Shore. His response on ABC News was lame…

He can pick a fight with the state’s teachers, but not MTV lawyers, ey? That stinks.

One Response

  1. You may have remembered: “Jersey’s Got It” , but most followed it by “AND I don’t Want it!”…
    This is probably why it was dropped!

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