” Indeed, over the past decade or so, New Jersey has started to earn belated props in the public imagination, with television shows such as The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, and even Jersey Shore using the state as a backdrop for meditations on the American Dream. The recent and quick rise of Gov. Christie himself speaks to what might even be considered a New Jersey cultural bubble. He’s the first serious presidential contender to come out of New Jersey since Woodrow Wilson.
Yet the Garden State — insert a not-inaccurate joke about the entire place being a Superfund toxic waste dump here — has been a national punchline at least since Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton rowed across the Hudson River from New York to shoot it out in Weehawken. (Needless to say, Burr, a native of Newark who happened to be U.S. vice president at the time, won.) “