Poor New Jersey. Already dwarfed in size and prestige by its bigger neighbors, New York and Pennsylvania, the nation's fourth-smallest but most-crowded state needs a slogan. Again.
Unofficially, New Jersey has been called "The Garden State" since the nation's centennial celebration of 1876, when a speaker compared this mid-Atlantic state with what he called "an immense barrel, filled with good things to eat." But there aren't many truck farms left in populous New Jersey, and anyway, gardens aren't much of a tourist attraction.
The state has tried slogans like, "New Jersey and You: Perfect Together" -- not exactly as snappy as "I Love New York." For a while, New Jersey went with, "Get Away, Without Going Far Away," which nobody understood. A year ago, lawmakers voted in, "Come See for Yourself" -- only to find that other states were already using it.
So now there's yet another contest to pick the perfect tag line. Some early suggestions are serious, even lyrical, like "The Ocean, the Motion, the Magic." Others tap into the musical heritage of New Jersey, which has been home to romantic singer Frank Sinatra, jazzman Count Basie, and rocker Bruce Springsteen. Mischievous comedians have leaped upon New Jersey's reputation for mob bosses and toxic waste sites. They've flooded the contest with suggestions like, "New Jersey: It Always Smells Like This." (We're pretty confident that one won't win.)
Here's our nominee for a really descriptive and accurate slogan:
"New Jersey: Where Suburbia Meets the Sea . . . and Pennsylvania, New York, and Delaware -- a State That's Even Smaller Than We Are, So There!"
OK, so it needs a little polishing.