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Bergen County Blue Laws: Make Them Permanent

These past two Sundays, you’ve been able to shop in New Jersey. This includes Paramus, despite additional town bans on Sunday shopping. They tried to fight the temporary lifting of the blue laws, but were denied.  Kudos to County Executive Kathleen A. Donovan for requesting the lifting of the ban, Governor Christie for agreeing and for being a supporter of businesses open on Sunday, and for Judge Menelaos Toskos for denying Paramus’ aim to appeal it.

 

Now it’s time to make it permanent. There is some evidence that Christie has wanted to do so, and the number $65 million has been floated as additional sales tax revenue. In addition to the tax revenue is the work hours required to man shops on Sunday. With the economy and unemployment rates what they are, this would be a much needed boon.

 

The country is moving forward, and it’s time for anti-capitalist laws like the Bergen County blue laws to be repealed permanently. It only hurts local businesses, as in the 21st century shopping is not difficult. People can purchase pretty much anything online, or drive outside of the county to a different one, or to New York. This means extra unnecessary driving which is bad for the environment, bad for people that want to run a quick errand and bad in times of gas shortages. It means less revenue for New Jersey as a whole, and I could see where if the state and county made more money, tax-hikes could be avoided. It does create less traffic in Paramus and major routes through the county on Sunday, but that’s not much boon to travelers who have nowhere to go with everything closed. It also worsens crowds on Saturdays, when everyone that needs to shop is forced to do so. Supermarkets and other essential businesses that are allowed to open on Sundays are more crowded because shoppers do what they have to Saturday, leaving what they can do Sunday for Sunday. Opening businesses would create more total shoppers and cars and travelers, but it would spread it out over a longer period and across more shop as well.  It’s also unfair to residents who work Monday through Friday and follow the Jewish Sabbath on Saturdays.

 

I do feel for residents that live right next to the malls and busy shopping areas, but if you were really looking for a peaceful area one day a week isn’t doing it for you. It’s time to stop getting in the way of businesses and their freedom to operate in this county.

 

 

November 12th, 2012 by Ceetar in garden state, life, new jersey, new york, travel
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‘Upstate’ Noun May Be Confusing

I grew up on Long Island.  We often refer to Upstate when talking about anywhere from Buffalo to Plattsburg and in-between.  The southern border varies, as many people don’t consider the counties just north of the Bronx as Upstate.  Geographically, just about every location in New York is upstate from where I grew up on the south shore of Long Island.

 

I still use the term, but just recently it dawned on me that it’s not quite clear now that I live in New Jersey, and in the north part of the state at that.  Much like referring to Manhattan as “The City” can be confusing depending on location and context, referring to “Upstate” when you’re less than 10 miles from the northern border of your state doesn’t make a lot of sense.  For the first time when referring to the Finger Lakes area of New York, I had to use the phrase “Upstate New York” to clarify.  I was referring to the herd of white deer I used to see occasionally off route 96 between Seneca and Cayuga lake when travelling between Ithaca and Buffalo.

 

Do people in South Jersey ever refer to the northern parts of the state as Upstate?

March 6th, 2012 by Ceetar in long island, new jersey, new york
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Transitioning From Beer Douche to Beer Geek

You know the type.  That guy who is somewhat new to craft beer, and always is talking about it.  He asks the waiter “What microbrews due you have?” and often orders the trendiest one.   He (or she) berates your choice of beverage, and seems to bask in the superiority of having ‘discovered’ beer.

 

The problem is; he doesn’t really like it.  He thinks he’s supposed to like an IPA so he drinks it, but his palate isn’t used to the bitterness.  He’ll hear about some new super double IPA and have to have it, not prepared for the intense taste.  This guy actually is a disservice to beer, as anyone that is trying to follow him into the world of beer may be turned off by the intense flavors.   Real beer is not about intensity, it’s about flavor.   There is nothing wrong with enjoying a good wheat beer, or a simple pilsner that’s well crafted.  Just like some people will never enjoy 100,000 scoville unit hot wings, some people will never enjoy 100 IBU beers.

 

That’s the transition stage from beer douche to beer geek.  But It’s also a good way to figure out what you like.  Some people rave about Imperial Stouts.  I tend not to like them too much so I don’t order them, even if they’re somewhat trendy.  IPAs are acquired tastes, and many people don’t want that much bitterness in their beer.

 

Another problem is that there are a lot of mediocre breweries out there.  They’re usually still better than the Bud stuff, but just because a beer is micro doesn’t mean it’s good.  So as someone breaking into beer (and I can see it being pretty daunting these days) just trying new things, it’s easy to find stuff that’s not very pleasant.  But as you learn what’s delicious, both in general and to yourself, it’s a world of difference.   Sixpoint, Troegs, Brooklyn, and Flying Fish are some of the breweries I trust to make high quality beer ‘around’ NYC.

November 2nd, 2011 by Ceetar in Beer, Breweries, new jersey, new york, Uncategorized
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My Internal Google Map

HaledonI spent 26 years on Long Island but the last three in New Jersey.  Someone mentioned Smithtown to me recently and I immediately knew it was on Long Island, but I was drawing a blank as to exactly where on the island.  My internal Google map and sense of direction has faded without regular use.

 

The problem is my body hasn’t downloaded the New Jersey versions yet.  I’ve started to get a feel for the roads and areas I travel on regularly, but the ways to get from here to there, or where a town I’ve never been to like East Hanover is, still elude me.

 

While driving around Long Island, if I encountered traffic on the Meadowbrook Parkway I might know where to get off and how to get around it, or cut over to the Wantagh Parkway.   If I’m stuck on route 4 in New Jersey, a road I travel pretty regularly, I’m still sketchy on how best to bypass it.  A couple of weeks ago I tried to get off and head south towards 46/80 knowing that it would lead me to the same George Washington Bridge that I wanted to cross, but I ended up getting crossed up and it took me longer than it would’ve to just sit in the traffic.

 

I suspect that in time I’ll learn more as I live here longer, but I’ve crossed the threshhold where I can say “Hey, I just moved here give me a break!” when I don’t know where Haledon is even though it lies directly between the town I live in and the town I work in.

July 7th, 2011 by Ceetar in garden state, long island, new jersey, new york
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Election Process

Voting is the same in New York and New Jersey for me.  Basically, both states are strongly democrat, and my vote didn’t really matter.  I’m happy with the outcome of the election, but the process still leaves much to be desired.

 

For one, I don’t understand why Election Day wasn’t Super Tuesday.  Let us all go in, and pick from at least the 6-7 legitimate candidates running around at the time.  This isn’t a tournament bracket where you slowly eliminate people until it’s only two. 

 

My biggest issue is with the process.  Why are any states still using scantron style sheets?  New York, at least on Long Island, usually votes with levers.  In New Jersey, there were buttons to push that lit up little green x’s, and then we pressed the vote button and the machine reset.  If I can get through the massive lines at Starbucks in Penn Station and place a complicated drink order while securely transferring information (money in this case, but could be a encrypted vote packet) digitally to a bank after authenticating my account through a swipe of a piece of plastic, why can’t I vote that way?

November 7th, 2008 by Ceetar in new jersey, new york
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Excitement in the Little Things

I’m also a big fan of variety. I was feeling stuck and bored with Long Island in general, having grown up there, and spent most of my life there except for the three years in Buffalo for college. Even though I’ve only moved to the other side of the city, a mere 35-40 minutes away, the differences make me feel good.

It’s the little things, going to a different mall, trying out the different local pizza places, not knowing my town well enough to walk through with my eyes closed. It can be fun just driving around, getting a feel for the neighborhood, and the surrounding area. Yesterday I was driving and was in nearby Ridgewood when I suddenly realized how and where two streets connected, and it was like a whole area of the map in my head unclouded. Sort of like how when you explore the map in games like Warcraft or Civilizations, you gradually get to see more and more of the map as you go to new areas. Whereas back home, even trying to get lost or go for a drive, I’d think to myself,

“Oh, It’s Old Country Road again. How boring.”

I knew how to get places, I knew what was at those places, and It ceased to be exciting. Even things like “Wow, it’s dark here.”, or “Hey, look at that cool house.” are new and interesting, because I haven’t seen them before. Even if they’re similar, it’s the variety that excites me.

Eating out has gotten easier too. We’ve got a whole list of places that we want to try. The Gotham Diner, that diner that’s in a barn, that sub shop around the corner.. the list goes on as we discover new places. On Long Island, we’d eaten at so many places that it’d lost it’s excitement.

“Hibachi place? Nah, we were just there.”,

“Fridays?…nah, too long a line.”,

“Diner? Eh..”

It’s even nice to have a different view out of the windows in our apartment.

October 4th, 2008 by Ceetar in dinner, garden state, long island, new jersey, new york, pizza, ridgewood
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Taylor Ham

Variety.

 Even if most people are content to get into a daily rhythm with vary little change, everyone still usually enjoys a little difference. They don’t say “Variety is the spice of life” for nothing. It’s the reason we can be content visiting cities or towns that are much like the cities and towns we are used to, with a few minor changes. Maybe they have different climates, different trees, or different fast food chains. It’s why we desire to go to France and other countries that are actually very similar to ours. This discussion came up once in college in a class I took on UFOs.

The professor asked us a question. “What do we/can we really get out of finding life on other planets?” This is hard to say; maybe we’re hoping the aliens will be close enough to us that it’ll be like going to France. But more likely they would be so different that we wouldn’t be able to relate or even communicate at all. This class was actually about U.F.Os, not aliens. Most people think they’re related, but not this professor. The class was very interesting, and way to complex to go into now.

This brings me to Taylor Ham. Taylor ham, also known as pork roll, is merely a sausage like pork product created in Trenton, NJ. I see it as an option in a lot of deli and meat counters around New Jersey, but had never heard about it in New York. I don’t like ham or pork, so there will be no taste test type comparisons here. It’s merely an observation. Another one being Black Russian bagels. Apparently New Jersey is too good for plain old pumpernickel bagels. They have to add sesame seeds to them to make them black Russians. These I have tried and they taste exactly like you’d expect. A pumpernickel bagel with sesame seeds. (I know, you’re shocked.)

September 23rd, 2008 by Ceetar in bagels, black russian bagels, garden state, new jersey, new york
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Garden Variety New Yorker

Living in New Jersey is very different than living on Long Island.  Even though both are basically suburbs of the city, and I’m virtually the same distance away from Manhattan, it’s a lot more rural on the mainland.  New Jersey Transit doesn’t run as smoothly, as often, or as overnight as the Long Island Rail Road. 

 

It’s a little quieter at night, but not noticeably.  In general though, things don’t stay open as late in New Jersey.  In the Paramus/Fair Lawn area, most stores are even closed on Sundays, which means everyone has to either rush around on Saturday to get weekend errands done, or drive to further away towns to do things.  Luckily grocery stores are still open.  And you can get your liquor and beer in the same store, which cuts down on trips. 

 

I still think of myself as a New Yorker, despite now living in New Jersey.  I hope never to lose that, wherever I may live.

September 15th, 2008 by Ceetar in garden state, long island, new jersey, new york
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