Undiscovered New York: New Jersey dreamin’

This week, Undiscovered New York is going to tell you about something outrageous. A topic controversial enough to flare the passions of locals and visitors alike. That’s because we’ve decided to leave New York – we’re actually crossing over to – dare I say it? – New Jersey.

New Jersey is a place that has long aroused a strong reaction among New York and New Jersey residents alike. New Yorkers mock their nearby neighbors as the state of heavy industry, Tony Soprano and the “Jersey accent,” while New Jersey accuses New Yorkers of being snooty and de-fouling their beaches and sports stadiums.

Can’t we all just get along? If you really want to get down to it, New Jersey is actually the New York visitor’s best kept secret. Within spitting distance of New York City lies a state of scenic parks with skyline views, unspoiled summertime beaches, fascinating history and unique culture. Enough attractions in fact, that we’re willing to bet it will have even the most battle-hardened Jersey-haters singing its praises.

Ready to revisit the site of Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton’s famous duel to the death? Looking to get back to nature on a sandy beach or picturesque waterfront park? Perhaps a taste of some authentic and delicious Cuban and Japanese food is more your style? Leave your misconceptions at the door – this week, Undiscovered New York is dreaming about New Jersey. Click below to see why.
Outdoors on the Jersey Shore
Do you feel worn out by the hustle and bustle of New York City? Looking to escape to some uncluttered spaces? New Jersey’s got just the spot – and close enough to come back in time for dinner.

Just across New York Harbor, within 2,000 feet of the Statue of Liberty and a view of the New York City skyline sits Liberty State Park. In addition to some great views of New York, Liberty State Park is a great place to throw around a frisbee, have a barbecue or run around with the dog. And getting there, whether by public transportation or water taxi is pretty painless. Music fans take note, Liberty State Park is also the site of All Points West, one of New York’s biggest music festivals.

Come summertime, beach bums will want to check out Sandy Hook, one of the more beautiful (and easy to reach) beaches in all of New Jersey. It’s got all the trappings that make for a great east coast beach: wispy beach grasses, nice soft sand and good swimming. Before spending all day working on your tan though, make sure to check out the remains of Fort Hancock, a coastal artillery base that once protected New York Harbor from German U-boats during World War II.

New Jersey’s Fine Cuisine
Believe it or not, but New Jersey’s got a lot more to offer than pork sandwiches. Whatever your taste buds desire, you can bet it’s probably available (and just as good) as much of what you’ll get in that “town” across the river. In fact, if you’re looking for some of the most authentic Japanese food this side of the Pacfiic, you’ve come to the right place. Located in Edgewater, New Jersey is Mitsuwa, the regional Japanese clearinghouse for authentic Far East foodstuffs from sushi-grade tuna to delicious ramen. Gadling’s own Mike Barish stopped by for an in-depth visit last year. If you like what you read, grab a cheap shuttle bus from Manhattan and check it out for yourself.

If your tastes happen to run more “south of the border,” get thee to Union City, New Jersey. There you’ll find Bergenline Avenue, the city’s longest street and home to a diverse range of Latin cuisine ranging from Cuban Sandwiches to cheesy Pupusas to flaky empanadas. Whatever foodstuff you find in New Jersey, one thing’s for certain: you’re going to leave stuffed.

Years of History
Though it might seem as though partisan political conflict is a recent symptom of Washington, it’s nothing compared to the days of old. Just ask the once Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton and sitting Vice President Aaron Burr. These two famous figures did not see eye to eye and decided to settle matters with pistols drawn in Weehawken, NJ in July, 1804. Hamilton was fatally wounded in the ensuing duel, dying the next day.

The Weehawken duel site is now a monument commemorating the infamous incident. Although long subjected to vandalism, the site was rehabbed in 2004 in honor of the 200th Anniversary of the event and is worth a visit for U.S. history buffs.

Those interested in the Revolutionary War will also find much to discover in New Jersey. The northern part of the state is home to a number of important Revolutionary-era battlefields, including those at Fort Lee and Monmouth.