By Alexa Woronowicz
The much-debated differences between North and South Jersey — especially prominent at the centrally located College — were the main focus of the latest Brown Bag Series.
Local filmmaker Steve Chernoski presented his film “New Jersey: The Movie,” which explores the cultural, economic and political diversity of the state, on Friday, Feb. 3 in the Mildred & Ernest E. Mayo Concert Hall.
A Ewing native, Chernoski grew up rooting for both the Philadelphia Phillies and the New Jersey Devils, teams traditionally associated with South and North Jersey, respectively.
“Like the state, I had an identity complex of my own,” he said.
This confusion sparked Chernoski’s quest to find where the division between the two areas is actually located. After traveling the state for one year to film his project, he found that there is “something everyone disagrees about.”
In the movie, Chernoski interviews N.J. residents about various differences and compiles their answers to form
possible division lines. Some of these
lines are based on sports team supporters like Eagles fans vs. Giants fans, as well as “Shoobie” vs. “Benny,” (nicknames for non-shore people) and pork roll vs. Taylor ham.
More classic N.J. debates such as “sub” vs. “hoagie” and “jimmies” vs. “sprinkles,” although all sides had strong followings, were ultimately impossible to map.
Chernoski also examined the negative perceptions each region has for the other. While the north believes that southerners drive too slowly and are afraid to speak their minds, the South feels that it is continually “getting the short end of the stick” concerning resources and funding.
“There was such diversity,” said Elizabeth Leach, freshman graphic design major. “I didn’t realize how people from South Jersey viewed North Jersey.”
Even though Chernoski is able to create tentative lines dividing the north and south, central Jersey always seemed left out. No one appeared to be sure where the area fits in, or if it exists at all.
In a deleted scene Chernoski visited the College, a place “where people kind of culturally mix,” only to find that its students still argue over which region it belongs to.
After interviewing a state historian, Chernoski learned that N.J. was traditionally partitioned by the east and west — not north and south . This helps Chernoski draw a more accurate dividing line, but there is never a definitive conclusion.
Instead, Chernoski asked, “What the hell unites us?”
Despite the stereotypes attributed to the north and south, the entire state faces even worse image problems from outsiders.
The people of N.J. have their disagreements, but in the end, they share pride for their state.