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"This is the most exciting day of my life...and I was pulled on stage once to dance at a Bruce Springsteen concert."
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Friday, July 29, 2005

Where The Streets Have No New Names

New Jersey is infamous for a few things, most of them heckleworthy. For instance, New Jerseyans apparently have definitive proof that Bruce Springsteen is indeed, God. The only heir to Springsteen's throne is, of course Bon Jovi. Despite belief to the contrary, not everyone from NJ watches The Sopranos. Then there's big hair and acid wash, which are like urban legends. They are rarely seen anymore, but they are worth it when you do.

Another classic is the whole "Oh you're from Jersey, what exit?" That's why I'm here to set the record straight once and for all. Not everyone in NJ talks in exit speak. In fact, truth be told, I don't even know what exit I'm off the turnpike or the parkway or whatever. Hell, I even still confuse the two roads. All I know is they are both congested as hell with aggressive drivers who are in a hurry to get nowhere. The only exit I DO know is Great Adventure, which is 7A, and that's only because it has been drummed into my head by tv and radio since I was *this* high.

Although NJ is a tiny little state, we are definitely one of the most overpopulated. Why so many people want to live here is beyond me. Everything is more in NJ and it's only getting worse. So why am I here, you ask? Well it's all I've ever known. Perhaps one day when I grow up, I'll move to greener pastures. A state like North Carolina sounds nice. You know, where I can get three houses for the price of one here.

One of the funniest things about NJ, and probably any state, is the overlapping of names. For instance, there are at least three Washington Townships scattered across NJ. Why, I don't know. I mean there are plenty of words in the English language to choose from. Then there are what I like to call the north, south, east, west towns. They are a hoot because very few of them have all four. Oh sure, we have an East Brunswick, a North Brunswick, and a South Brunswick. But there's no West Brunswick to speak of. None.

Recently a local town decided to change it's name. You would think it was one of these towns like the Brunswicks that woke up one day and realized the error of their ways, but no, this is just not the case. Instead the town that changed is a segment of Belmar.

Now I would understand if the change was because Belmar was sick of being confused with Bellmawr, another Jersey town, but it's not, at least not according to this article. No, South Belmarians woke up one day and decided they'd like to be known as Lake Como. The reason? Well, according to the article, "Mayor Chiaravallo said the town did not have anything against its neighbor to the north, Belmar, or the name of South Belmar, but he said the name Lake Como gives the town its own identity."


Here's the thing about random town changes such as these. It's all well and good that you changed your name. It's also well and good that you say you have your "reasons" that are really no reasons at all. But let's be honest here. You were, are and will always be Belmar, buddy. No two ways about it. This is the same sort of thinking that had Prince change his name to that funky symbol or when Puff Daddy decided he wanted to be P. Diddy. What? Those changes didn't stick for you? Yeah, me either.

Case in point, an email I got from a friend the other day, and thus the inspiration for this post. It was an invite out to a bar in Belmar, excuse me Lake Como. When you go to the website to check the exact address, they actually say, it's in Lake Como and in parentheses it says, formerly South Belmar.

Then I went to Map Quest it. I was a good little Jersey girl and put in the exact address, with Lake Como as the town. This is what I got back:

"MapQuest found a similar location... Please select "Get Directions" or revise your search."

The change Map Quest made?

Switching the town name to B-E-L-M-A-R.

Apparently you can lead New Jerseyans to the Jersey shore, but you simply cannot make them swim.

This post also appears in this week's NJ Carnival #11.



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