It’s settled: Central Jersey is real. Last week, NJ Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill officially recognizing the central part of the Garden State. City Cast Philly recently spoke to state Senator Andrew Zwicker, who sponsored the bill, about why that's important. Here are some highlights from that interview, which have been condensed for clarity:
Do people identify as being from Central Jersey?
“Absolutely. It's a source of pride. There is no way that someone who lives in the center of our state says, ‘Oh, I'm from North Jersey or I'm from South Jersey.’ We are Central Jersey, through and through.”
Why did you propose this measure?
“It’s really about tourism. We have tourism data from pre-pandemic and where we are now for northern, central, and southern regions of the state. And what we’re seeing is that the central part of the state has lagged behind. Along with that piece of defining Central Jersey comes a promotion of a new area and some money that’s put aside to promote it.”
How would you spend an ideal day in Central Jersey?
“I would start with a walk, jog, or a bike ride along the Delaware and Raritan Canal. Then I would get lunch at one of the local restaurants which sources all its vegetables, fruits, and meats from Central Jersey farms ... Maybe then I’d get tickets for one of the local theaters. We have award-winning regional theaters. I just saw Hasan Minhaj at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton.”