A Long Island Girl Living In South Jersey
In August (2010) I decided to move to South Jersey and open up a shop in the Village Greene at Historic Smithville. This hub is going to explain everything I had to do and basically compare life on Long Island to life in Absecon, NJ.
Up front I want to warn you that the negatives definitely attack first, but there are many positives as well. They just take longer to show themselves. One of the first things you notice when driving to NJ is the amount of tolls. They have <$1 tolls often and they require exact change. There is no "oh shit i have no change" exit either. There is the toll or a ticket that will arrive a few weeks later. Some of these tolls aren't even right in front of you. You have to have the sense to read signs and move to the right lane and go through them. My parents both just drove right by a few of them and are now paying several tickets as a result. Very sneaky, NJ.
Once you get off the big roads you will notice something else while driving that is annoying at first but you later realize it's actually quite smart. No left turns. On bigger roads you have to make a right and then go around a small loop and go straight in order to go left. On small residential roads they allow left turns but only with an arrow. On Long Island you can pretty much do whatever you feel safe doing, which we all know, means saying a prayer and pushing the pedal down. After a week or so I realized that I hadn't seen a single car accident. I've been here a month now and I still haven't. So that small inconvenience but be doing something right. Also, people seem to accept the speed limit for what it is here. I don't think I've ever driven less than 20 miles over the speed limit before moving here. Now if it says 45 I actually drive 45. It's kinda nice.
Speaking of nice, that's exactly what the people are. And not in a sickeningly sweet way lik ein the south, but in a genuine, that really wouldn't be a problem kinda way. I got caught off gaurd with a $3 toll once and I had to dig around my car counting nickels and dimes and the woman in the booth was helpful and assured me it was fine and (here's the big thing) there was a long line of cars behind me and not one of them honked or yelled at me. Amazing.
Once I got past all the driving differences, I actually had to start registering with things like the gas company and the electric company and comcast.....COMCAST. Comcast is the WORST company to deal with EVER. I mean it. I dealt with some a$$holes before but they really win the crown. I won't get into exactly every way they screwed up my life because I shouldn't use bad words but just trust me. If you can use another company for your phone, internet, and tv...DO IT. Comcast will mess up your appointment time, your bill, your order, and then when you spend hours on the phone with them, they still will not resolve the issue.
The south jersey electric company puts you on hold while waiting for the next representitive, like many companies do, but they make you wait in silence. It's really awkward. I kept checking my phone to make sure we were still connected. The gas and electric companies will also charge you a couple hundred dollars for a deposit. Between my business and my apartment it was a hefty sum and I was too through.
My apartment was a whole other issue. Apparently in NJ the town has to inspect your apartment in between every tenant. There is one inspector and she decided when she feels like working. In NY a person moves out and maybe the super repaints before you move in. That's it. Here, I had to wait for her to inspect which ended up being a week after I had planned on moving. Not fun. You know how hard it is to organize a moving truck, having things installed, mail, and people to help at the last minute? Sucked. The only good things about it is that the complex had to maintain the apartment in a functional and clean way until I moved in. In brooklyn I moved in with mouse poop and roaches but here it was sparkling and somewhat resembled a hotel room.
The other thing about my apartment is that it was about 3 times the size of my brooklyn apartment, included a lot more amenities, for only $80 more a month. Pretty awesome. Some other little things that are different: There are very few 7-11s which is upsetting to my mainly because my bank is Citibank which has atms in all 7-11s. No free ATMs for me. There are Wawa's everywhere though and those are free ATMs on their end. So I only get charged by my bank instead of mine and the ATM. Everything is cheaper here, the most exciting of which is gas. I fill my tank for $25 instead of the $37 I was paying in NY. Also, all gas stations are full serve. No more driving around looking for one. All alcohol is only sold in liquor stores. No more beer in the supermarket, which is an inconvenient bummer. One thing I was super excited to discover was ALDI. If you don't know it, find it. It's a super cheap supermarket I was introduced to in the Midwest. They eliminate costly extras like bags, credit cards, bigtime name brands. By not having those things, they provide food for reallllllly cheap. Like most of what I buy is less than $1. You can easily fill a cart for less than $50. Aldi's don't exist in NY. Cause NY is all about spending as much money as possible on everything.
Now, I love NY. I will always be a NYer at heart. I will always have a potty mouth, wish to drive fast, find it acceptable to spend $7 on a beer in a bar, and crave slurpies to quench my thirst. But, it is nice to not always be impatient, poor, and have strangers be rude. I'm just sayin...