c/o MSNBC TV
1 MSNBC Plaza
Secaucus, New Jersey, 07094
CC: Tucker Carlson
1 CNN Center
Atlanta, Georgia, 30303
I read with disappointment today’s Washington Post column, in which you state, “‘The Sopranos’ is a blueprint for life in New Jersey, as far as I’m concerned…I think we’re going to live off Exit 13…Take a left at the chemical plant, those are the directions.” While I know that, as a non-native New Jerseyan, it may be easier to lump many of our State’s finer qualities into Sopranos re-runs and pop culture stereotypes, I thought I might take this chance to educate you on your newly adopted home.
Not every New Jerseyan is employed by a Mob-owned trash disposal firm, contrary to your belief. New Jersey has a wide range of outstanding corporations and small businesses, including a booming pharmaceutical industry that has earned New Jersey the nickname “Medicine Chest of the Nation.” We have a thriving tourism industry, down the Shore, on hot summer days when droves of people from other states flock to our beaches and boardwalks. We are recognized as one of the leaders in the country in terms of the biotech, electronics, and research and development industries, and we have a growing entertainment industry as well, as evidenced by your own future employer, MSNBC, locating its studios in Secaucus.
New Jersey’s famed Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway are vital conduits of transportation for the entire State, but the State is also crisscrossed by many two-lane Main Streets, which connect quaint, picturesque hometowns with one another. As opposed to the industrial wasteland that many associate with the Garden State, New Jersey is a patchwork of urban, suburban and rural areas. New Jersey’s Highlands in the northern part of the State, and the Pinelands in the southern part of the State, are pristine reflections of nature’s bounty, and we even have agricultural regions in Salem and Cumberland Counties that match similar areas in your current home state of Virginia.
New Jersey is rich in history and culture. Our State saw some of the pivotal battles of the Revolutionary War fought on our soil. The Battle of Trenton, which took place only a few miles from where our Statehouse currently stands, was one of the turning points of the war. We are the home of the first college football game (Rutgers vs. Princeton), the first organized baseball game (in Hoboken), and the first professional basketball game. Albert Einstein lived in Princeton. Thomas Edison lived in Menlo Park. Frank Sinatra lived in Hoboken. And even today, New Jersey can boast a number of successful native sons and daughters, including Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Danny DeVito, Meryl Streep, Whitney Houston, and, someone you may be familiar with, Jon Stewart from Comedy Central’s Daily Show, who grew up in Lawrence, right near Trenton.
I hope that in the time you call New Jersey home, you will be able to learn firsthand that the Garden State is so much more than the sum of the stereotypes held nationally against it. We are a rich and diverse State, with a landscape as varied as the nearly nine million people that call New Jersey home, and stereotypes and generalities expressed by national figures in a public forum do a disservice to the wonderful qualities of our home State. I hope you will reconsider your statements to the Post, and may I be the first to welcome you to New Jersey.