The great New Jersey debate: North vs South vs Central

It’s the age old question – which is best?

Yup Scarlet Knights, we went there. From subs to hoagies, and Taylor Ham to Pork Roll, here are the facts about North, South, and the infamous Central Jersey debate.

It has been the age-old question for all New Jersyans since the dawn of the I-95 — are you from South Jersey, North Jersey, or the ever-debated region of Central Jersey? Nearly every New Jersey publication out there has had this debate at least once or twice, and the controversy still brings about some heated debates. So naturally, The Tab decided to get in on the never-ending controversy of what exactly decides the boundaries of our beloved home state of Jersey.


You see, it would be easy to just look at a map of New Jersey and divide it into two equal parts, North and South – end of story. But this North versus South versus Central Jersey debate cannot merely be decided by just geographical division alone, this division is decided by the way we New Jerseyans live – its rooted in the way we talk, walk, and surprisingly where we shop.

Now everyone in America knows just how proud we New Jerseyans are of our amazing home state, and we damn well should be – we are the best after all.  From having some of the most highly ranked professional sports teams in the league, to having some of the most mouth watering culinary experiences that money can buy, New Jerseyans are beyond proud of what their state brings to the table.

However, such simple tasks of deciding what teams you root for, or what names you give to certain foods is what seems to singlehandedly distinguish what region of Jersey you’re from.

Take sandwiches for instance

Now all great New Jerseyans know right off the bat what region of New Jersey a person is from simply by hearing the mere utterance of the words “hoagie” and “pork roll”, or “sub” and “Taylor Ham”. Being a tell tale sign of a Southern New Jerseyan, the words “hoagie” and “pork roll” automatically associates someone with South Jersey – and that’s a fact. Therefore, when ordering a “sub” with “Taylor Ham” you are distinctly considered a Northern New Jerseyan. Sorry about it.

is this a hoagie or a sub?

Is this a hoagie or a sub?

Taylor ham or pork roll? or Taylor Pork Roll?

Taylor ham or pork roll? or Taylor Pork Roll?

Also, even where you order these sandwiches gives away a huge clue as to where in Jersey you are from.

Take into account the infamous Wawa versus QuickChek debate



Wawa, the holy grail for all things amazing, is something only the lucky residents of South New Jersey get to experience. And it in no way, shape, or form can be even remotely compared to a QuickCheck. Don’t believe that praising Wawa is purely a Southern New Jersey trait? Well take a look again – what does Wawa call their sandwiches? That’s right, a hoagie!

So thus, all the not so lucky Northern New Jerseyans must settle for second best, QuickChek. Sorry.

Sports teams

The decision of what sports teams you’ll root for is something that has remained the greatest divisor of regions within Jersey. Having only one major sports team in the national league, The New Jersey Devils, the division of the surrounding state’s teams amongst the Jersey regions is what sets us apart.

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Identifying anything associated with “the city” as none other than New York City, all those within reasonable distance of NYC root for the obvious choice, the New York teams (aka the Giants, Jets, Yankees, Mets, and Rangers). However, those who somehow identify themselves with living partially within the bounds of “the city” of Philadelphia root for the Flyers, Eagles, and Phillies. As these fans don’t quite mix very well together at any sporting event, you can then see why this decision is such a dividing factor in deciding Jersey’s boundaries.

These decisions alone brand Jersey residents into the roles and regions in which they will forever reside within New Jersey’s debated boundaries. And, as it’s so clearly been seen, New Jerseyans take great pride in the regions in which they live and make sure to distinguish themselves from the other regions.

However, this affirmation has also brought about the debate of a third and controversial region within New Jersey, the Central Jersey region.

Having many, if not all of the benefits, of living in Southern New Jersey, Central New Jerseyans hold true to their highly debated existence. With some exceptions, we have seen that this central region of New Jersey encompasses all of Monmouth, Middlesex, Mercer, and sometimes Ocean counties, which accounts for a large portion of Jersey’s overall population. Identifying mainly with the lifestyle of Southern Jersey, many Central New Jerseyans also find themselves identifying with some aspects that are shared with Northern New Jerseyans as well (especially sports teams), which has led to the ongoing debate if a Central Jersey even exists.

Although, whether you’re a Benny or a Piney, or just somewhere in between, always be proud to be from Jersey – because there is no place like home. So Scarlet Knights, we must now ask you – does Central Jersey exist? What region of New Jersey do you think you belong in?

Rutgers University