When I was growing up here in North Joisey, especially during my teens, I had a ball. There was so much to do in both states. If we couldn’t find something to do in New Jersey, we’d just scoot across the bridge on the bus into New York City, which was like a big playground.
Living in Northern New Jersey was a blast! When I was a young chippie, we’d spend Friday nights at the latest hot club in Manhattan partying like a rock star until 2:00 a.m., then head over to a secret after-hours spot and party some more until the butt-crack of dawn.
After that, we’d get on the train half-drunk and hung-over with wobbly knees from too much dancing and go to the nearest fried chicken and waffles joint and get our grub on. OMG, that is so good! Sometimes we’d take in a concert at Madison Square Garden or see a Broadway play and then go clubbing.
On Saturday mornings, we’d schlep back to Jersey and sleep a few hours and then spend the day either at the New Jersey Shore lolling by the ocean (we called it “going down the shore”) or we’d go to one of the pristine lakes in the Hudson Valley Region or up to the mountains of Upstate New York (“Uppa-State” as us New Jerseyites sometimes called it).
On Sundays, you could also hang out in Central Park in New York and go bike-riding or ice-skating, depending on the season, which is big fun.
We spent most of our Sundays during the warmer weather in Washington Square Park, which back in the day, was like a mini-Woodstock on a regular basis. There were street performers, psychics, dancers, musicians, singers and comedians all performing for free. There were impromptu poetry readings, street evangelists and back then you could smoke weed there and cops wouldn’t bother you. Of, course, yours truly never did that. I was a good girl (Mm-hm).
You could also go into New York City for the shopping, museums, zoos, college events, botanical gardens, art galleries, chess competitions, block parties, street festivals, food festivals, the Puerto Rican day parade, the West Indian Day parade (in Brooklyn) and good old 42nd Street in Manhattan (we called it “The Deuce”), which was good for just hanging out and people-watching.
If you got sick of Manhattan, you could hang out in another borough. The Bronx had some of the best block parties in history.
Of course, there were the New York amusement parks, Rye Playland and Coney Island. You have not lived until you’ve ridden that rickety-rackety, death-defying Cyclone Rollercoaster at Coney Island.
If we didn’t feel like going to the city, we’d go to the beautiful parks in New Jersey and bike ride, play tennis or Frisbee or have a barbecue during the day and sometimes we’d go to Newark, New Jersey or Paterson, New Jersey. They had some happening clubs there also and some of the greatest backyard parties in history.
If we wanted to shop or just hang out with friends, we could go to the malls in Paramus, New Jersey and the stores that line Route 4 and Route 17. If you’re a shopoholic, then Paramus, New Jersey is paradise!
The town where I grew up in Northern New Jersey had a great mix of ethnicity’s and still does. Everybody happily co-exists and does their thing.
I grew up here and I raised my kids here and I honestly believe that none of us would have been the people we are without having grown up in Good Old New Jersey, stench and all.
Check Out My Other New Jersey Article: New Jersey is the Best Place on Earth, Even With It’s Stinky Turnpike