The real places are real…

There’s one comment I’ve heard on occasion from readers: they love the locations I created in Last Exit In New Jersey. Most of these remarks are from beyond the Garden State borders, though even a few natives think I’ve made up some of these towns and places. I’ve even been asked how do I come up with this stuff. I mean, seriously… Bivalve? Cheesequake? Really?

Yes, really. Every location in my story actually exists, pretty much as described. There is in fact a Bivalve, New Jersey, a Maurice River, a place called Cheesequake. There is indeed a Holy Sepulcher Cemetery and it is in fact divided in two by the Parkway. The numbers in the chapter headings are the actual latitude and longitude for each specific location; if you plug them into Google Earth or any GPS navigation you’ll find yourself at the Route 9 White Castle or an empty stretch of beach… or twenty-three miles offshore. Or one of these places:

Bivalve NJ
Brielle NJ
Point Pleasant NJ
Piermont NY
Paramus NJ
Parlin NJ
Millville NJ
Trenton NJ
Rumson NJ
Elizabeth NJ
Camden NJ
Little Ferry NJ
Hillsdale NJ
Maurice River
Hudson River
Harlem River
Spuyten Duyvil Creek Bridge
East River
Hackensack River
Cheesequake Creek
The Pinelands
The Meadowlands
Sandy Hook
Vince Lombardi Service Area
Cheesequake Service Area
Montvale Service Area
White Castle
Great Adventure
Newark Airport (Okay, now they call it Liberty.)
Teterboro Airport
Raceway Park
Route 9
Route 46
Route 4
Route 17
Route 80
Route 9W
Route 1 and 9 (NOT Route 19!)
New Jersey Turnpike
Garden State Parkway
Holy Sepulcher Cemetery
Nike Missile Base (located on Sandy Hook)
Paramus Park Mall
Garden State Plaza
…and so much more.

Yes, I may have added a dock here, a building there, I may have fictionalized specific boatyards and homes, but other than that every town, highway, tackle shop and shopping mall I featured exists as described, both in appearance and any history mentioned. Even the nautical headings, speed and distance are correct and accurate and the specific buoys are the very ones currently rocking and gonging away along the coastline. There’s only one geographic detail I took a writer’s liberty with: the water depth in Piermont, New York. Sadly, Piermont has shoaled in further and further over the years, so docking a boat with any significant draft at anything other a high moon-tide is nerve-wracking at best.

In the coming weeks I plan to post details, pictures and the history of some of these places, as well as some of the locations I’ll be featuring in No Wake Zone. Get ready… you’re going on a tour of the REAL New Jersey! (And it’s not what you see on MTV.)

UPDATE 1/26/11: Check out Highlands Blog; it’s a highly enjoyable hyperlocal blog about Highlands, NJ and its surrounding areas.

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One response to “The real places are real…

  1. It’s now what we see on MTV? Wait, I don’t watch MTV…

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