25 Things Every New Jersey Native Knows to Be True

When you’re from New Jersey, you’re a breed of your own. No one else can understand us. What other state has so much pride that its residents get tattoos of the state outline? Below is a list of the top 25 things only NJ natives understand—and trust us, you'll only get it if you're a part of the club.

1. Going “down the shore” isn’t actually a thing

Despite popular belief, only people from northern New Jersey use this phrase, and everyone else in the state considers them tourists. If you are from any place in NJ near a beach, you say you’re “going to the beach,” and when you say “down the shore,” us beach natives know you’re a benny (sorry, Northerners!).

2. Yes, “Benny” is a nickname

Or more like a code name locals use for tourists, including people from northern NJ. Benny = Bayonne, Elizabeth, Newark, New York. But, in reality, Benny is a code name used for anyone who doesn’t live within a 20-mile radius of his or her own beach.

3. NJ is the only state that is split into two

There is definitely a divide when it comes to North and South Jersey. Southerners have to put up with Northerners coming to our beaches and Northerners have to put up with being tourists in their own state.

4. Or, split into three?

Whether or not there is a “Central Jersey” is a debate people from Jersey will have forever. Middlesex, Monmouth, Mercer and Somerset counties make up “central Jersey” (Hunterdon, Union and Ocean counties are contenders as well).

5. No one says “Joisey”

We know we have accents and speak rather fast, which can make us hard to understand. And we may butcher words like “water” and “dog,” but “Joisey” is just not in our vocabulary.

6. Pork roll/Taylor Ham is the greatest invention ever

Apparently, no one else in the country is graced with the gift of pork roll/Taylor ham. One piece of this meat on a breakfast sandwich is the greatest thing you will ever have. And depending on where you’re from in Jersey, you call it Taylor Ham or pork roll—just another thing to divide us. 

7. We know the real way to make bagels

What better to put that pork roll, egg and cheese on then a fresh, NJ bagel? They say there is something in the water here that gives us the best dough for our bagels, but whatever it is, eating a Jersey-made bagel will be the best moment of your life.

8. Italians DO rule

Back when The Sopranos was big, everyone thought NJ natives were all connected to the mob. While most of us do not have mob connections, the Italian population is huge. And they talk with their hands.

9. Life is better with gas attendants

People from other states can call us lazy, but when it’s zero degrees out and the wind is blowing so strongly you have to lean against your car and unscrew your own gas cap, us NJ natives hand our credit cards to the gas attendants and call it a day.

10. No one calls them “jughandles,” but they make driving easier

Turning around in the middle of a busy highway is almost as foreign of a concept as pumping our own gas. In Jersey, we have jughandles, or U-turns. Everyone says U-turns. They can’t even be explained, you just know what they are and they’re much safer than turning around in the middle of the road.

11. A lot of New Jersey natives think they live in West Virginia

For some reason, rural NJ areas are filled with kids who swear they’re country. Big tires, lifted trucks and Jason Aldean blaring from the speakers… We've seen it all. They are their own people. You’re either out there off-roading with them, or you're busy questioning why they think they’re real country folk.

12. We are actually always in a hurry

The stereotype that we’re fast drivers and fast walkers is spot on. If you aren’t doing at least 10 over the speed limit, get out of our way.

13. Wawas rule the world

You know you’re from NJ when there are at least five Wawas within a 10-mile radius of your house. And even though Wawa is an overpriced convenience store, NJ natives will always swear by it.

14. Doing “Weird New Jerseys” is every high-schoolers favorite hobby

Lambertville High School, Marlboro Insane Asylum, The Devil’s Tomb and Jacob’s Ladder, The Devil’s Tree, etc. are some of the many Weird NJs from the book Weird NJ. Every state has a Weird book, but when you’re 17 and from Jersey, the cool thing to do is go into the woods at 2 a.m. and try to find these strange landmarks.

15. It's called Great Adventure

Not Six Flags. It’s just not.

16. Seaside isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

Seaside Heights is one of the biggest tourist attractions in NJ. After MTV’s show Jersey Shore brought more attention to it (but before the historic picture of the Jet Star rollercoaster in the ocean after Hurricane Sandy made waves), Seaside Heights didn’t have the best reputation. This boardwalk became ideal for the younger crowd while families went looking for boardwalks more like Point Pleasant and Wildwood.

17. But a Seaside Tony is heaven on Earth

If you ever find yourself in Seaside Heights, however, stop by Steaks Unlimited and get a Seaside Tony. They say Philly has the best cheesesteaks, but Steaks Unlimited threw some cheese balls into their delicious cheese steaks and called it a Seaside Tony. The world will never be the same.

18. No one actually looks like Snooki circa 2010

We think we made a big enough deal about this while Jersey Shore was on, but we'll reiterate: we do not all look like Snooki or The Situation. The gym/tan/laundry look is purely tourist-related. 

19. You define yourself by your parkway exit

When you get asked where you’re from, it’s “Exit 124,” not “Sayreville,” and even if you haven’t heard of a town where someone is from, you can easily figure out how far away they live because you can calculate how far their exit is. And if you don’t understand this, you aren’t from NJ.

20. We all root for out-of-state teams (What choice do we have?)

Besides hockey, New Jersey has no sports teams of its own, even though the Giants' and Jets' stadiums are in Northern NJ. While the state is filled up with Philly and New York fans, there are a surprising number of people who are fans of random teams that are far away, like the Cowboys and Redskins.

21. We do, in fact, have the best tomatoes

NJ is “The Garden State,” so it's only right that we have the best tomatoes around.

22. When we go to other states and see how nice people are, we can’t figure out why

NJ natives keep to themselves. We do not wave to strangers and we cut off other drivers without thinking twice. So when we visit other states and a cashier asks us how our day is going (and genuinely cares about the answer), we can’t help but wonder if we stepped onto another planet.

23. The Jersey Devil is an actual thing

Many Weird NJ books are made up of Jersey Devil-related locations. He’s a real thing from the Pine Barrens, and every person was afraid of the woods as a kid from hearing the stories about this creature lurking in the dark. It’s a Jersey thing.

24. You know “The Oranges” aren't fruit

South Orange, West Orange and East Orange make up Northern NJ, and natives just bunch them together and call them “The Oranges.” We’re The Garden State, not The Fruit State.

25. Diners are forever

Where can you find half the Jersey population at 3 a.m.? At one of the many diners that line the highways of the state, enjoying their unhealthy, late-night snacks.  

When it comes to Jersey, its residents have pride like no other. Don’t think you can out-drive us, out-talk us or make a better breakfast sandwich than we can, and everything will be fine.