Archive for the 'New Jersey' Category

Some Maps of How Educated America is

Here’s an interesting new interactive map to look through. The US Census Bureau has mapped the United States on a county by county basis based on education level. This is a map of every county in America sorted by high school graduation rate (a darker color indicates a higher percentage):

Here’s one for the percentage of adults with a bachelor’s degree (again, a darker color indicates a higher percentage):

Here’s a better way to look at college graduates per county. in terms of raw numbers:

The message these maps show us is that it’s the Amtrak corridor (Washington DC, New York City, and Boston), the Great Lakes and California that really dominate the battle for the most educated areas of the country. I love it when people take raw boring statistical data and translate into something visually interesting to look at. This is just another interesting way to look at the various regions of America.

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A Map of the Rudest and Most Polite States

Some places just have nicer people than others and now we have some hard data to back that up. The data firm Marchex analyzed thousands of recorded phone calls to call centers with customers from all 50 states and recorded the frequency of callers using curse words as well as “please” and “thank you”. The results were interesting too. The states with the filthiest mouths were Ohio, Maryland, New Jersey , Louisiana, and Illinois while Washington, Massachusetts, Arizona, Texas, and Virginia had the people least likely to use profanity. As far as our pleases and thank yous go South Carolina, North Carolina, Maryland, Louisiana, and Georgia ranked as our most polite states while Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Indiana, Tennessee, and Ohio rank as the least polite.

A few interesting notes about the profanity usage were that men were far more likely to curse than women and that a call was far more likely to contain curse words the longer the call lasted. Also New Jersey, Maryland, and Louisiana were ranked very highly in both cursing frequency and usage of the words “please” and “thank you”. As a New Jersey native, that fits me perfectly. Ohio on the other hand was ranked both as one of the least polite and most profane states in the country. However, I don’t think that is something that the great state of Ohio should be ashamed of. We have a broad language with hundreds of thousands of words all of which are appropriate for certain situations and they should be proud of using the words that they do. Besides, who among us hasn’t been tempted to curse while frustrated on a call with a call center?

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Ellis Island is Finally Reopening

Starting next week, Ellis Island will finally be open to the public again. A short distance away from the Statue of Liberty, from 1892 to 1954 the island was the place where around 10.5 million immigrants first stepped foot in America. It was there that new immigrants from the Old World would land and go through the necessary legal process of getting American citizenship which back then only took a few hours. The immigration station closed in 1954, was made part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument in 1966, and is now a museum dedicated to the important role immigration played in America’s history.

Ellis Island was closed off to the general public last year after Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc in New York Harbor. Of all of the historical places in the area Ellis Island probably got the worst of Sandy’s wrath. For comparison, Liberty Island was able to reopen in time for the Fourth of July this year. Thankfully many of the museum’s artifacts were removed and safely stored prior to the hurricane hitting but even a year later the damage has not been fully repaired yet. Why then is the island reopening? I think it has to do with timing and money. Next week will be both the one-year anniversary of Sandy hitting and the 127th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty being dedicated which would make it a good time to coordinate the reopening. The financial reason is that both the park and the ferries have had a brutal year financially. The number of people visiting Liberty and Ellis Islands are less than half of the number of people that visited in 2012. For all of those reasons Ellis Island is now back up and running and ready to accept more people to its shores again.

Notice how they’re both on the New Jersey side of the river though.

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available in New York and Nationwide. For more information please contact us at 866-255-0593 or

A Map All About Pizza

I wish I could go back in time to 17th century Naples and personally thank the unknown Italian who first came up with the idea of baking a flatbread crust with tomato and cheese on top. This staple of poor Neapolitans was introduced to America in 1905 in New York’s Little Italy and its popularity has exploded from there. Fast forward to today and there are now several pizza chains worth hundreds of millions of dollars all over the country competing against one another to offer the best pizza possible. Pizza has come a long way in America in 108 years.

Gizmodo has now quantified the spread of pizza in America with this cool new map. Specifically it will tell you where the closest pizza chain is in any 10 mile radius. The heaviest nationwide hitters are the ones you would probably expect like Pizza Hut, Domino’s, and Papa John’s but there are some very strong regional players as well. Even more interesting is that they actually have a chart comparing the distribution of one chain versus another which gives you a much clearer indication as to who has a stronger presence where. Also on a depressing note, there are large swaths of pizza deserts in sparsely populated areas in places like Montana, South Dakota, and Nevada where no chains have opened up shop. Of course this map excludes the presence of small independent pizza places which often produce a better tasting pizza than the chains (at least in New York and New Jersey) so this is not a comprehensive map of all areas where one can get pizza. While I may prefer my local, independently owned pizza shop in New Jersey, it is still really cool to see just how much the pizza business has come to blanket the country.

Apologies to Alaska and Hawaii.

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available Nationwide. Please contact us at 866-255-0593 or for more information.

Steampunk Convention Comes to New Jersey

One of the most important inventions in terms of how we communicate was invented in Morristown, New Jersey, the telegraph. That was the first invention that allowed people to instantly communicate with one another over long distances in real time albeit in a language of dots and dashes. It is also one of the quintessential things that is reminiscent of the era steampunk hearkens back to. Well this weekend Morristown will be hosting its own steampunk convention and some unusually dressed people will be filling the streets.

If you don’t know what steampunk is, imagine Abraham Lincoln holding a futuristic ray gun. It’s a style that imagines an alternate future where Victorian culture lived on and technology advanced but maintained the same look and feel as the early Industrial Revolution. Instead of the sleek design of today’s innovations steampunk technology is bigger with all of its moving parts exposed. No one knows exactly how this movement started or even has a precise definition of it but you’ll know it when you see it. The people who do it seem to like the nebulous guidelines because it leaves them with a great deal of latitude to come up with some incredibly creative and cool looking designs and costumes. Halloween isn’t coming early in Morristown but if you’re in the area you can see some pretty cool things this weekend.

Yeah it’s kind of like that.

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available in New Jersey and Nationwide. For more information please contact us at 866-255-0593 or

Why People Are Giving Up Cars

We’ve been experiencing a large-scale transformation in how we get around. Once the ownership of cars became sufficiently widespread in the 1950s we’ve seen explosive growth in urban sprawl and suburbs because car ownership allowed people to live much further away from where they worked. As an example, the town of Wayne, New Jersey is now a big suburb 20-30 minutes outside New York City with a population of about 54,000 people. Between 1940 and 1960 Wayne’s population exploded from 6,868 people to 29,353 people (that’s a growth rate of 427%) and that trend has repeated itself all over the country.

Now we’re seeing evidence that that trend is reversing itself. Right now the percentage of American households that don’t own a car is at 9.3 percent which is up from 8.7 percent where it bottomed out in 2007. Forbes has a fascinating article about what the contributing factors are to this trend.

Lack of a driver’s license – Believe it or not there is much less interest in getting a driver’s license compared to a decade ago. Young people who grow up in cities where car ownership is unnecessary are less likely seek a driver’s license when they’re old enough to get one because they don’t see a need for one. However, the biggest adult demographic of people without a driver’s license are people between the ages of 30 and 55.

Access to other transportation
– Mass transit, especially around urban areas has expanded to the point where it provides a viable alternative to commuters. Commuter bus and rail lines have expanded to much more areas and have allowed young commuters to be able to put off buying a car.

Cars aren’t available – Increasing population density decreases access to cars. Around 30 percent of people who live in areas with 10,000 people or more per square mile report they do not have access to a car. The further out you get into the countryside, the more that number decreases.

It’s easier to walk places – Walkable communities are hot real estate right now and there is great demand to not have to use a car to do routine errands like grocery shopping. Living in a walkable area decreases the need to own a car and some people are able to ditch it entirely as a result. Also there has been a rise in telecommuting and working from home which further decreases the use of cars.

All of that being said, we’re still a culture very much in love with our cars. Over 90 percent of American households own at least one car and 80 percent of commuters use a car at some point in their commute. But that is changing slowly but surely.

I don’t think anyone enjoys going through that every day.

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available in New Jersey, New York, and Nationwide. For more information please contact us at 866-255-0593 or

The Cheapest Beer in the NFL

The NFL is one of the most valuable sports leagues on Earth and it’s popularity has made it expensive for fans. Since there are only eight regular season home games for each team and only so many seats in a stadium, ticket prices and concessions can be exorbitantly expensive. So much so that if you’re a Giants fan that wants season tickets, you have to go on a waiting list where you can expect to wait about 40 years. If you want to have a few rounds beers of beer and snacks at the game you’ll probably end up spending as much as you paid for your ticket. Now there is a very good social incentive for beer to be expensive at football games especially when the game is between bitter rivals. Fortunately, The Street recently put together a list of the cheapest per ounce pricing of beer in every NFL stadium this year. If you just want to watch a game with a reasonably priced beer and not get into a drunken fight with a fan of the other team, these are the best teams to go see at home to get the most beer for your buck:

Tie 6: Denver Broncos/New York Giants/New York Jets/Houston Texans/San Diego Chargers/Tennessee Titans/Cincinnati Bengals/Cleveland Browns $0.42 per ounce
5: Minnesota Vikings $0.39 per ounce
Tie 4: New England Patriots and Arizona Cardinals $0.38 per ounce
3: Carolina Panthers $0.375 per ounce
2: Tampa Bay Buccaneers $0.36 per ounce
Tie 1: Miami Dolphins and New Orleans Saints $0.35 per ounce

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available Nationwide. Please contact us at 866-255-0593 or for more information.

New York Highways Now Featuring Text Stops

Texting and driving is a real problem that causes thousands of car accidents every year and has tragically cost people their very lives. In response to this public safety concern, some state and local governments are coming up with some creative solutions beyond upping the legal penalty to doing it and repeatedly telling everyone “DON”T TEXT AND DRIVE”. New Jersey recently passed a law that would allow police to search through drivers’ cell phones at the scene of an accident which seems destined to be fought all the way to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, New York is taking a more interesting approach. The New York State Police are investing in police vehicles where the cabin is elevated well above that of a normal car so police can see if other drivers have phones in their laps.

New York State also recently unveiled some new highway signs. They are rebranding existing park and ride stops and rest areas on their public highways as places where you can pull over and safely text people. This is kind of a brilliant idea when you think about it. When driving long distances seeing a sign that a rest area is coming up provides one with a level of psychological satisfaction. You know that in a few miles you can have access to something to eat and bathroom facilities. Governor Andrew Cuomo is hoping that same principle will apply to motorists who are tempted to text on the road. Best of all is that it costs the state very little money to make a few new highway signs. Better yet all of the rest areas on the Thruway already have free wi-fi so you don’t even have to use up your precious data if you want the internet at a rest area. This is an incredibly simple, cheap, and creative solution to solving a very real problem our society faces.

Text stops, not rest stops will soon dominate New York highways.

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available in New York and Nationwide. For more information please contact us at 866-255-0593 or

Using Sand To Save Us From Another Sandy

You may not know it by looking at the weather forecasts but the North Atlantic is right in the middle of hurricane season. While places like Florida are very aware of this and have been for decades, residents of New York and New Jersey have new found reasons for concern during hurricane season. Prior to Irene in 2011 the last hurricane to come within 150 miles of New York City was all the way back in 1986. Now that we’re almost a year away from the wrath of Sandy questions are arising about what can be done to make any future hurricanes less destructive. There have been proposals for dams blocking off all of New York harbor, but the easiest and cheapest solution to be implemented has been sand dunes, and they have worked incredibly well.

The town of Ortley Beach on the Jersey Shore was one of the worst hit areas from Sandy. Many of the residences there were damaged beyond repair and still to this day most of the damage done still hasn’t been repaired. However, if you go a few miles south on Route 35 you will be in the town of Midland Beach which escaped Sandy mostly unscathed. Only one home saw any significant water damage there. The difference between the widespread destruction in Ortley Beach and the lack there of in Midway Beach can be attributed to sand dunes. Midway Beach’s sand dunes were started decades ago to avoid what residents considered a nuisance. Sand from the beach was being blown into the streets and residents were tired of having to clean it up. The 25 foot dunes were built up to keep the streets clean but decades later they ended up saving the homes of almost everyone.

So how does one build up such a defense on the shore? For a dune to form it needs to have some kind of anchor for the sand. That role is being filled by picket fencing and discarded Christmas trees. What is also needed are plants for the top of the dunes to keep them in place. The interesting thing for species of beach grass is that they will grow higher as the dunes grow. planting them now when the dunes are small will ensure that they have deeper roots to keep more sand where it is supposed to be. The biggest thing that a strong dune system needs though is time. They work best when the ocean wind builds them up naturally instead of just dumping a big pile of sand at the beach and calling it a day. I sincerely hope that we don’t get another storm like Sandy ever again but we shouldn’t be naive enough to forget the lessons it taught us. Through intelligent long-term planning and investments in things like dunes, we can prevent a great deal of destruction the next time we’re in the path of a hurricane.

I don’t want the Jersey Shore looking like this ever again.

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available in New Jersey, New York, and Nationwide. For more information please contact us at 866-255-0593 or

Hurricane Sandy and the Death of the Landline

One of the many lessons that Hurricane sandy taught New York and New Jersey is that much of its public infrastructure is very old and outdated. One of the reasons why Sandy caused so many power outages for example was because falling trees knocked down power lines which would not have been a problem if our power lines were underground. This weekend we learned of yet another development in the rebuilding after Sandy. In many of the hardest hit areas copper-based landline service isn’t returning. The reason is more a lack of supply rather than a lack of demand. Companies that used to specialize in manufacturing the necessary infrastructure for landlines have since gone out of business or have been bought out and exited the landline market. In many cases many of the most important pieces that service providers need to rebuild are only available on eBay.

This goes to show you that the wider markets are favoring wireless over wired communications. About 36 percent of Americans now live in cell-phone only households ditching landline service altogether. Verizion, which is the largest telecom provider in the Sandy affected areas, has reported a 67 percent drop in the number of landline customers they have had since 2000. The solution that they have come up for these areas is a service called VoiceLink which is a box that customers can install in their homes and provides basic phone service. However, that box connects to Verizon’s wireless network instead of any copper landline. While this is a workable solution for phone service it’s important to keep in mind that it only provides phone service and not internet access. I think a story like this underscores the speed at which our communications technology is changing and how communications infrastructure that for decades was considered absolutely critical has reached a point where it can’t even be replaced when natural disasters destroy it.

Fire Island, NY will likely never have a real landline ever again.

Churchill has short-term corporate housing available in New Jersey, New York, and Nationwide. For more information please contact us at 866-255-0593 or