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Inside This Edition: The Jersey Hot Dog; The Great Falls in Paterson, New Jersey; Movie Review - BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM; South City Grill in Mountain Lakes, NJ and Feature - New Jersey - The Birthplace Of Filmmaking | February 2004  

Jersey Food - February, 2004

The Jersey Hot Dog is famous to just about anyone in New Jersey or from New Jersey.  The best Jersey Hot Dog's can be found in North Jersey at places that have been around for years and some since the 1930's.  Pal's Cabin in West Orange, New Jersey, has been around since then, serving up some very tasty dogs with their world famous mushroom soup.  The walk-up window at Pal's is long-since gone, but the counter is still there for quick dining.  If you are over in Clifton, then Rutt's Hutt is the place to check out for lunch.  Two of their deep fried dogs with the works aren't much to look at, but one bite and you will know why this place too has been around since the 1930's.  Rutt's has great walk-up service and dine-in as well for those with more time to stay. 

The 1930's saw much growth in New Jersey, and during this time a great hot dog legend named Jimmy Buff's set up shop in North Jersey.  On a recent visit to their old Irvington location, I treated myself to a "double" cooked to perfection with potatoes and onions in oil-soaked Italian pizza bread with mustard on the bottom and ketchup on the top.  Actually, everything is cooked in oil; hey health food it's not, but rather comfort food at it's finest. 

Over in Branch Brook Park resides the king of the hot dog trucks called "Tony's." Tony's hot onions are simply the best in these parts.  The line at Tony's truck looks like the United Nations and a who's who of locals from work trucks, limos, phone trucks, police cars and even guys riding up on bicycles for a great lunch.  

The Jersey Hot Dog - New Jersey 

Jersey Treasure - February, 2004

The Great Falls in Paterson, New Jersey, is an example of the diverse natural beauty found here in Jersey.  The mighty Passaic river often maligned for its uselessness and frequently a brunt of New Jersey jokes, spills over a cliff more than 75 feet high to create one of the largest waterfalls by volume east of the Mississippi, second only to Niagara.  Paterson also known as the "silk city" produced textiles for nearly 200 years on a large site now owned by the city.

New Jersey is the land of firsts and the Samuel Colt company set up shop in a building on a site by the Falls to create the company's first production revolvers called simply: the "Colt Paterson."  The whole area around the Falls is poised to either be part of an amazing future full of historic significance and vitality or simply waste away in urban decay.  Grass roots efforts halted an effort to convert the area around the Colt factory to residential housing which would have compromised a large portion of the site below the Falls.

The Great Falls were part of the most significant power system of it's day and the people of "Silk City" and New Jersey deserve to have the opportunity to enjoy a small chunk of yesteryear.  

Exploring the Great Falls is a thought- provoking adventure steeped in history.  We hope to be back at the Great Falls soon and to be able to one day report that mills and factories are preserved and restored forever as one of New Jersey's greatest treasures.

 Great Falls - Silk City - Paterson, New Jersey 

 

Jersey Feature - February, 2004                 

New Jersey - The Birthplace of Moviemaking:  Thomas Edison gave birth to the industry of moviemaking by creating the world's first movie studio at his lab in West Orange, New Jersey.  This restless industrial child quickly moved from its New Jersey roots to the warmth of California and all its sunshine.  To rework an old saying just a little bit, you can take the movie studio out of New Jersey, but you can't take New Jersey out of the movie studio.  New Jersey will forever be the birthplace of moviemaking and all the Hollywood glitz and glamour can never change that.  Few in "La La" land except a precious minority ever speak of New Jersey as the birthplace of filmmaking or of New Jersey in a positive light, but that business as usual policy may be changing.  Many children run away from their roots for "greener pastures" and Jersey's industrial child of moviemaking sure did just that; but guess what, the child is coming home slowly but surely.

New Jersey is probably the most diverse and interesting "movie set" in the world, rich in culture and intellectual and industrial prowess, so it's no surprise that the movie studio was invented here.  Walk down just about any street or drive through any neighborhood,  and it looks like a movie set complete with Jersey people, accents and all.  It's no wonder many Hollywood scripts feature stories that take place in New Jersey, because people from New Jersey are real and the stories are rich and full of life.

In an age of reality TV, the playing field is becoming increasingly competitive and rather than trying to create a Jersey scene on some sound stage out in California, the trend is shifting to just come home and produce it here.  If all goes well, a decommissioned military base along the Hudson river in Bayonne will have the capability to produce movies and television shows from concept to finished product.  In the formerly, and soon to be again industrial city of Trenton, plans are for Mannex studios  to churn out movies instead of steel cable as it once did for the Brooklyn bridge in the old Roebling Steel Mill.

New Jersey produced a large majority of films made in America.  Nine out of Ten movies for America were made here in the early 1900's, and New Jersey is slowly climbing the charts once again as the place to make movies as hopefully this child comes home, for good. 

Jersey Clubs and Nightlife - February, 2004

South City Grill in Mountain Lakes offers some great people-watching in a nice, upscale and relaxed setting.  We checked this place out on what may turn out to be the coldest night of the year but that didn't scare many off.  The bar was crowded, but not overly so, with a mostly 30's crowd but the 20's and 40's age group were represented as well.

Valet parking is always a nice touch especially on a night as cold as the one when we were there, and a free coat check was also nice to see.  Inside there is a very pleasant upscale look, complete with state-of-the art television screens for excellent viewing.  Sidle up to the bar here and order your favorite beverage and get ready to relax as we did.

Once dinner is over in the restaurant portion of "the grill," tables are cleared to make way for dancing.  The music is good without being overly loud (by no means nightclub levels) and the DJ is friendly and approachable for requests.  The South City Grill is one to put on the list of places to see and be seen in Northern New Jersey.

South City Grill - Mountain Lakes, New Jersey

Movie Review - February, 2004

Video Rental Pick:

BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM - PG-13 - 2003 - Most Americans know football as football and soccer as soccer but mention the word "football" outside of the USA and soccer is the game and a highly competitive one at that.  This charming film shot in the United Kingdom offers viewers a peak into America from the outside looking in.  It's refreshing to watch a film with actors as yet to be famous and a script written which has a positive message about the American dream.

Amidst the powerful message of self determination and love are some very funny scenes and a nice laid-back look at modern English life.  A pair of English teens break free of tradition to follow their dream of playing "football" in America.  Along the way parents grow as they learn from their children.  Protecting them by judging gives way to trusting them as they fly from the nest in pursuit of their dreams.

BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM is a must-see for moviegoers who like heartwarming character driven films.

 


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