The Garden State is rarely thought as such by visitors traveling the northern section of the New Jersey Turnpike that sits amid an industrial wasteland, so a measure of disbelief may be appropriate upon learning that New Jersey ranked No. 1 in the Quality Of Life category of America's Top States For Businessfor the second year running.
New Jersey scored 192 points out of a possible 250, based on such factors as local attractions, crime and health care.
New Hampshire (186), New York(168), California (167) and Minnesota (166) fill out the top five. Picturesque and idyllic Hawaii (161) and Vermont (156) ranked 8and 20, respectively.
Equally hard to believe is that Louisiana ranked last (21). Texas, the overall winner, came in at 22 (130).
So, what is it about New Jersey, which finished third in Cost Of Living and tied for 18 overall?
True, the state does have a wealth of pharmaceutical and health care companies (Merck, Wyeth, Merck), and a relatively high per capita GDP ($49,038), suggesting there’s more money than usual to pay for health care.
Secondly, given its largely suburban landscape (and lack of a big city), criminals may not stalk the streets. (In both cases, sorry Newark.)
Finally, as far as attractions go, New Jersey happens to be the headquarters of CNBC and a number of other NBC Universal units, but we’re pretty sure that had little to do with it.
Otherwise, there’s the nearby and ever-entertaining New York City, a hundred-plus miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline, a smallish mountain range or two, a major amusement park, a half dozen professional sports teams (most of them mediocre at best), small-time skiing, a pretty Ivy League campus by the name of Princeton University, a wealth of black bear in exclusive suburban communities, the early homes of such celebrity types as Martha Stewart, Jack Nicholson and Bruce Springsteen, the site of the Hindenburg disaster, and (for visionary types) the ghosts of Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison, who lived and worked in the state for awhile.
Maybe even he Turnpike qualifies. It did a starring role in the TV show “The Sopranos", .
You know what? Forgeddaboudit.