A 22-year-old Rutgers University graduate says he was trying to be funny when he created a map of New Jersey reimagined with regions such as “Poor Minorities,” “Lawyers Driving Hybrids,” and “Worse Than Detroit.”
But New Jerseyites tell NBC New York they don’t the colorful map so humorous.
"I'm sure it was an attempt at being funny," said Prema David of Jersey City. "It was a little cute but some of it was offensive."
Joe Steinfeld divided up the Garden State into socioeconomic areas, labeling the northwestern corner as a “Vast Wilderness of Rednecks and Retired Hippies.” The northeastern corner – home to “Well-To-Do Conservatives” – was given the title of “Christie Country.”
Steinfeld labeled the area between Hammonton and Mays Landing in southern Jersey as a “Ghetto in the Woods,” and said Trenton and environs had “Sad Black People and Corruption.” He gave a long corridor stretching across the midsection of the state the title “Old People and Asians.”
One stretch of the coast was labeled “Italian Guys in Wife Beathers” (sic), and pockets in central Jersey were called “Indians” and “Jews.”
Stephan Williams, who has lived in Trenton, Bloomfield and Jersey City, finds the map flat-out disrespectful.
"How can you label a community?” he asks. “Some people may say this is an Italian area or Jewish area, but knock on five doors and see if you get five Jewish or five Italian? You'll find five different families."
Some parts of New Jersey got less risky labels, such as “Where They Filmed Clerks” and “Farms and Army Bases.”
Steinfeld, who works as an environmental science research assistant at Rutgers, posted the map online Monday and it quickly went viral. He told The Star-Ledger that he put on his map stereotypes he encountered growing up in Westfield and traveling around New Jersey.
He did not hold back for the amorphous area around New Brunswick – calling it “Drunk Rutgers Students.”
Steinfeld could not be reached for comment by airtime, but told the Star-Ledger, "I meant it as a joke. It’s tongue-in-cheek. It's meant to be silly, meant to be fun."