Destination: New Jersey

76-Second Travel Show: The Monopoly Travel Guide to Atlantic City

With help from the world-famous game, Robert Reid gets beyond the boardwalk

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The Roads Home

The Roads Home Photo by Nicholas_T via Flickr (Creative Commons)

On a bi-coastal life amid the bridges of the Delaware River

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Video: Stuck in Newark

Caught in the latest round of security-related airport gridlock, one passenger decides to make the best of things.

Pulitzer Finalist Takes Road Trips to Wawa, Sheetz

Hank Stuever spent part of his summer traveling to the competing convenience stores throughout the mid-Atlantic, “a local sort of road trip, a mini-mart epic.” His story about it is odd and kinda brilliant. He writes about Wawa vs. Sheetz: 

It’s even a toss-up to which one gets stranger as the night wears on. They come into the Sheetz on Prince William Parkway in Dale City in the darkest of night, and poke-poke-poke at the made-to-order menus on the touch-screens. Touch the picture of the sandwich you want. Touch the picture of the kind of cheese. Now touch the pictures of lettuce, the pickles. Now touch the mustard, the ketchup. The touch-screen system is not merely there to impress you. “We used to do it where you fill out a paper form and leave it in the basket, but people got smart and realized the paper at the bottom of the basket comes first, so they’d stick theirs in at the bottom and then you get problems,” Stan Sheetz says.

Also: “You would be shocked how many people can’t read and write.”

I also love this comment on the piece from JOKR715: “Finally, a fluff piece I care about!”

Bollywood Mega-Star Questioned at Newark

Bollywood Mega-Star Questioned at Newark "My Name is Khan" poster via Bollywood Hungama
“My Name is Khan” poster via Bollywood Hungama

Shah Rukh Khan is one of Bollywood’s best-known stars, and his apparent detention for questioning at Newark Liberty International Airport this weekend has touched off a minor diplomatic incident between the U.S. and India. The silver lining for the actor? Plenty of free publicity for “My Name is Khan,” his upcoming movie about—wait for it—an Indian traveler’s struggles with racial profiling in America.

Hotel on the Hudson: Interview With Eva Ziegler

Hotel on the Hudson: Interview With Eva Ziegler Photo by joiseyshowaa via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by joiseyshowaa via Flickr (Creative Commons)

W Hoboken’s opening party was last night, complete with ladies in giant martini glasses, a Jamie Foxx musical performance and W-shaped fireworks over the Hudson. (With some M’s and E’s mixed in, depending where you stood.)

Before the festivities began, I sat down with Eva Ziegler, W’s Global Brand Leader, in the W Hoboken’s “Chandelier Room,” the bar and club space with wall-length picture windows overlooking the New York City skyline.

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In the Budget Travel Game, Persistence Pays Off

I know, I know—awhile back I said that the real key to successful budget travel was to be informed. Well, here’s another absolutely critical element in the cheapskate traveler’s makeup: tenacity.

Last week I was contemplating a quick trip to Atlantic City, and while browsing hotel websites I came across a great web-only deal: $39 per night, for a premium room. But when I tried to book two nights—at $39 each, plus about $10 in taxes, coming to a tidy total of $88, right?—the total showed up as $114, with no explanation of where the extra $26 was coming from. Puzzled, I tried rebooking as “2 adults,” in case it was a hidden single supplement, but no dice. I tried opting for a standard room, also listed at $39, in case I was facing a hidden upgrade fee. Again, nothing changed.

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2008 Travel Movie Awards

2008 Travel Movie Awards Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist

The Oscars are looming, and in keeping with the season I’m thrilled to announce my second annual Travel Movie Awards. As I noted last year, these picks rate high on the arbitrary scale and are not intended to be comprehensive: this is just a collection of movies (and movie moments) from the past year that got me thinking about travel, and about places new and familiar.

Most Adorable/Unusual Tale of Indie Love in New York
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist
There is never any shortage of romantic comedies set in the Big Apple, but most directors opt to focus on the entanglements of young professionals (bewildered new-to-the-city female journalists, more often than not), and to set the action in or near Central Park. “Nick and Norah,” in contrast, follows a pair of suburban, straight-edge teenagers through the live music venues of lower Manhattan—and captures my heart in the process.

Slate’s Dana Stevens said it better than I can: “Some people really were made for each other ... and New York does look beautiful by night. You got a problem with that?”

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Your Friendly Neighborhood Airport Bookstore?

Your Friendly Neighborhood Airport Bookstore? Photo by gahdjun via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by gahdjun via Flickr (Creative Commons)

I spent a good portion of my Friday night at Newark International this weekend, waiting on a friend’s delayed flight from Canada. As a result, I had plenty of time to conduct an in-depth study of the titles on offer at the airport’s Relay store.

The project started out innocently enough. I’ve never paid much attention to airport bookstores—long layovers generally find me sound asleep on the floor at a quiet gate, or roaming the halls in search of an unsecured wireless signal. But this time I decided to browse the magazine selection, and then (while I struggled to reconcile my love for both “Cosmopolitan” and “The Atlantic”) a section heading in the books section caught my eye: Travel and Pictorial. The heading seemed odd, because—I could see from 10 feet away—half the books in the section had been written by Candace Bushnell. Had I somehow missed Bushnell’s transition to narrative travelogue author? Curious, I moved closer. And found that the Travel and Pictorial section was filled top to bottom with Manhattan-based chick lit. Multiple copies of “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Confessions of a Shopaholic” and “Shopaholic Takes Manhattan,” and no less than four Bushnell titles (“Sex and the City” chief among them, of course) covered the shelves in a blur of chirpy, bright, pink-heavy covers.

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What We Loved This Week: London, New Jersey, ‘Heima’ and More

What We Loved This Week: London, New Jersey, ‘Heima’ and More Photo by Rob Verger.

World Hum contributors share a favorite travel-related experience from the past seven days.

Rob Verger
I love my new Canon G10 camera. Hello, 14.7 megapixels. It gave me an excuse to roam around my neighborhood over the weekend, taking pictures. Here’s the 125th Street subway stop in New York City:

Ooh Ooh, That Smell!

Periodically over the last few years, New Yorkers have had the sudden urge to eat pancakes. That’s because a mysterious maple syrup smell occasionally materialized in Manhattan, engulfing the island with a sweet and pleasant aroma and making everyone’s tummy grumble for pancakes. It also made people wonder if the smell was terrorist-related—and if the terrorists were trying to slowly turn Americans into obese eating beasts (unfortunately we’re doing that without any outside help).

Well, the mystery has been solved. It turns out, the smell was actually food-related. The culprit was a food processing plant in New Jersey that was omitting the scent of fenugreek.

It could be worse. There’s been a mysterious aroma in Tacoma (“the Aroma of Tacoma” they call it). That scent, however, had the opposite effect of the maple syrup mystery of Manhattan.

U.S. Airways Plane Draws Onlookers Again

The plane from U.S. Airways Flight 1549 that splashed down in the Hudson on January 15 drew quite the crowd of onlookers (including me) when it was moored at a pier in Battery Park City in the days afterwards. Over the weekend, it became another source of attention as the fuselage was moved to a salvage yard in New Jersey, The New York Times reports. The Times article also links to this great series of pictures, and brief video, of the torpedo-like fuselage being hauled down the street and passing through an intersection (you’ll need to scroll down the page just a little bit). It’s worth watching.

Because Underdogs Rock

Sussex County, New Jersey Photo of Sussex County, New Jersey by Nicolas_T, via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Growing up in New Jersey, you, quickly, understand what it’s like to live as the underdog. My poor home state. Its wonders are frequently overlooked. Isn’t that just a place where people who commute to NYC live? It’s an easy punchline for most outsiders. New Jersey. Heh heh. Snicker snicker.

Yes, I’ll admit that, once I went off to college (Boston—another underdog place), I made Jersey jokes and laughed along the millionth tired time somebody asked me what exit? I made it clear that I hated Springsteen, that hair bands were evil and that my aesthetic leanings were more Manhattan than Jersey. I vowed never to return (permanently) to the Garden State. But graduating into the lovely economic climate of 1992, well, plans changed. I ended up back at my parents’ house in Teaneck, commuting into Manhattan via NJ Transit’s 167 bus.

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Jason Wilson: One Traveler, Three Dishes Named ‘Jason’

Never mind his travel-writing accomplishments. Jason Wilson has a breakfast sandwich, a pizza and a dessert named after him in three countries. Go ahead: Be stunned. Jim Benning gets the inside scoop on this rarest of travel feats.

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