While most of New Jersey struggles with the dichotomy of being either South Jersey or North Jersey, MyTown of Flemington sits in the center of Central New Jersey, at the heart of heavenly Hunterdon County. We sit pretty much in the center---we’re one hour north of Philadelphia and one hour west of NYC. People here work and travel to both cities everyday. Well, not the same people---that would be silly. But many people do choose to live here because of its proximity to NYC and Philly. One spouse/domestic partner/civil-unionist can work in one city, while the other works in the other. Proudly, we are the center of Central New Jersey. The center of what Ben Franklin called "A keg tapped at both ends".
Fellow comedian Dom Irrera tells a joke about nicknames: “In the old neighborhood, everyone had a nickname. There was Big Petey. There was Little Petey. There was even Medium Petey."
Sometimes, but not always, I feel like we live in the equivalent of ‘Medium Petey’. Not quite northern NJ and not quite southern, either. To my buds in Bergen County, we’re part of South Jersey, and all Philly fans. To my peeps in Gloucester County, we’re strict northerners and all Yankee fans. And at the center of it all is Flemington, MyTown in Central Jersey.
And I can say ‘MyTown’ because while I am not a native NJer [born and raised in NYC, thank you very much---Brooklyn, to be exact, thanks again] I spent twelve years on the Flemington Borough Council dealing with the problems and challenges that any Central Jersey town faces these days. Property taxes. Sprawl. Property taxes. Traffic. Downtown business leaving, coming back, leaving again. And property taxes, of course. So, I can now claim my piece of NJ as MyTown.
Flemington [aside from being MyTown] is really Anytown, USA. We have our Main Street [really called “Main Street”, ---and we even have a North Main and a South Main, too]. We have our history ---the Lindbergh Baby Trial took place here in 1935. And, no, it was not the Lindbergh Baby who was on trial [like we’ve never heard that joke before]—(and yup, I made that joke myself once, when I was living here for about five minutes) ----it was the first “Trial of the Century” and the trial-ee was Bruno Hauptman. We even have a re-enactment of the Trial each year in the actual courthouse where the original trial took place. Some older folks around here (including the current Mayor) still believe that Hauptman was guilty and got what he deserved. Really.
While MyTown has not grown much in years and years and years [pop. according to City-Data.com is “Males: 2,038 (48.5%)Females: 2,162 (51.5%)”, [Check that out, fellas!---that’s 1.06 girls for every boy!]
We’re still just about 4200, on the nose------MyTown is surrounded on all four sides by the ever-growing, ever-changing, ever-pulsating, housing development-building, school-constructing, mall-installing, ‘open space’ buying, super-growing Raritan Township [21,834 residents, increased a staggering 138.9 percent since 1980!] -----RTville, the town without a center.
RTville used to call MyTown ‘the whole in the doughnut’. I prefer [since MyTown is the town-center of RTville] to call MyTown the ‘nucleus of the cell’. After all, this is where everything in Hunterdon happens---all roads in Hunterdon County [well, two roads, actually---31 and 2-oh-2] lead to MyTown. My term has not caught on yet with the local residents, but it is more catchy than ‘the whole in the doughnut’, and it has panache. And EveryTown in NJ needs some panache to distinguish itself from NYC, Philly and [sometimes] the rest of Jersey.
So, I kind’ve grown to like MyTown very much. It’s home and it is getting more panache-ey everyday.