New Jersey college student Joe Steinfeld, 22, has created a new map of his home state that divides the Garden State into various cultural and economic stereotypes, such as, "Vast Wilderness of Rednecks and Retired Hippies," and "Well-To-Do Conservatives-- 'Christie Country.' "
The new map has gone viral, with nearly 1,000,000 views. It's also getting some very mixed reaction from state and local officials.
"It's unfortunate that somebody has enough spare time to do something that is just going to inflame some people and point to the worst possible side of things," said Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage, whose town is listed on the edge of Steinfeld's "Russians, Polacks and Toxic Fumes" region. "I don't find humor in it."
However, Chester Township Mayor William Cogger was far less offended. "You know, a part of being a lifelong Jerseyite is developing an ability to laugh at yourself, and as long as everyone is laughing together ,that's okay by me," Cogger said. Though his sense of humor may have been leavened by his location: Cogger lives in what Steinfeld calls the land of "Executives Living in Mansions Driving Mercedes-Benzes."
Maplewood township Mayor Victor DeLuca also enjoyed the attention his region received; Maplewood is highlighted on the map as "The Melting Pot," for its cultural, social and economic diversity. "We have a nice mix of races and ethnicities" DeLuca said. "We are what I think one would think of the United States—a community that welcomes everyone."
"I meant it as a joke. It's tongue-in-cheek. It's meant to be silly, meant to be fun," Steinfeld told the New Jersey Star-Ledger. "I've driven to every corner of the state," Steinfeld said. "Stopped at a lot of towns. Stopped at a lot of Wawas and QuickCheks."
Steinfeld himself heralds from Westfield, New Jersey. Or, as he calls it on the map, "Middle-Class Raritan Valley Line Commuters." Steinfeld said his foray into cartography was inspired by similar online maps he saw for Vancouver and Pittsburgh.
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