"New Jersey is like a beer barrel, tapped at both ends, with all the live beer running into Philadelphia and New York." - Ben Franklin.
For years the boys and I would take Boy Scout camping trips in the poconos by heading north from South Jersey, following NJ State route 31 from I-295 all the way to Buttzville ( a town name that a car full of teen aged boys will never tire of ).
Over the years on our trip up RT-31, we began to notice something: In Trenton , at the intersection of I-295 and 31 those long thin sandwiches filled with Italian meats and chesses were clearly called Hoagies. In Buttzville (giggle, giggle) these same sandwiches were always called Heros.
The question became: where exactly on our route did that change?
We narrowed it down to Flemington, a New Jersey Town known to us only for it's many car dealerships with gigantic American flags flying in the breeze. It is frightening to see so many disproportionately sized flags. Anyway this is where we found the line. Big flag town.
We narrowed the point to this spot on 31 just past the last giant flag car dealership, where the road dips under a railroad underpass. On the south side of the underpass is a Wawa where you can proudly step to the counter and order a Hoagie. On the north side is a small "Hero" shop. South - Hoagie. North - Hero. We found it.
We had found one point of a line thought to be imaginary and we (or specifically, I) had always wanted to explore this line out a little further.
Then, this morning I read about Steve Chernoski, a man who has taken this a step further to determine where north and south Jersey divide and is filming a documentary about this burning topic.
Among his strategies for determining alliances:
Conveniences stores: Wawas vs 7-11.
Sports Teams: Eagles v Giants, Devils v Flyers,Phillies v Yankees,Sixers v Nets. (It turns out there is a lot of overlap and it's easy to be a Phillies-Devils fan).
Food: the eternal jimmies vs sprinkles debate. Hoagies v Heros.
According to Steve, it turns out that the single greatest N v S predictor is Dunkin' Donuts. That's right Dunkin' Donuts. Read about it here.