Friday, June 24, 2005

'Cause Down The Shore Everything's Alright 

Growing up an Italian-American boy in New Jersey in the '80s, I had to take careful precautions to avoid the dreaded Guido tag: don't grease your hair, don't listen to techno, don't drive a Camaro. Thankfully, I had no desire to do any of this, so I was never in any real danger of being lumped in with a crowd that I felt no connection to. A decade and a half ago, a site like NJGuido.com would have horrified me.

My feelings now are more complicated, or maybe just convoluted. Are these my kinda people listening to my kinda music? Probably not. I don't hang out at those places. Hell, I'm a Jersey loyalist who grew up going to Long Beach Island and Seaside Heights, but since the late '90s most of my summer house and beach time has been logged in Fire Island and The Hamptons.

That's mostly because the Strong Island beach destinations are where my New York friends go, and their gravitational pull has sucked me in. And as loyal as I try to be to Jersey, I've found a lot to like out there. In the Hamptons, every house worth renting has a pool (and if you're not too stupid, a hot tub). Fire Island has no cars and virtually no crime. Some people who've never been to these places like to make preposterous assumptions about them—idiotic thoughts like "everyone who goes to the Hamptons is a rich snob" or "Fire Island is all gay." I am living proof of the falseness of these sweeping generalizations, which are no less erroneous than any of the typical Jersey-bashing comments that most of the rest of the world seems to get a big kick out of making.

So even if the NJGuido.com scene perpetuates some stereotypes about our state, they're also celebrating their Jerseyness. For that, I stand and applaud them. Guidos, let your Jersey freak flag fly.

With a scorcher of a Jersey shore weekend on tap, now's a good time to revisit Ken Goldstein's landmark interview with NJGuido.com founder Anthony "The Moo" Moussa. Ken recently retired from The Illuminated Donkey, the Jersey City-based blog he wrote for the past three and a half years, and the web is all the worse for it.

Though it comes from a totally different angle, the presence of a promising new Jersey City blog called New York's Sixth makes it easier to let Goldstein off the hook. Sort of a Hudson County version of everybody's favorite NYC snark-a-thon Gawker, Sixth looks like it'll be a blog worth keeping tabs on.

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