Tag: Andrew Wood

“What Exit?” by Meredith L Pymer

What exit are you from?” If you are from New Jersey, I don’t have to specify that I’m looking for the exit you take on the New Jersey Turnpike. Being from Pennsylvania, this obsession with exits made me furrow my brow and wrinkle my nose. I’m not even sure what exit I take to get off at home. However, having dinner with my friend’s family, in which exit 98 merchandise was distributed, I knew that the exit you took in Jersey was apart of your identity as a resident.

Living in New Jersey, you constantly get tourists and vacationers traveling through your state to get to ‘the shore’. Hence the lingo of ‘Shoebe’ and phrase, ‘Benny, go home!’ New Jersey natives struggle with their own identity in the midst of being a popular summertime destination. Other than calling the next New Yorker you see as a Benny, the use of “What exist?” also tries to distinguish a native from a tourist, promoting community.

Unlike New Jersey and their use of exits, Route 66 has gone from being the means of travel to the destination itself. Andrew Wood writes in Two Roads Diverge “After all, this notion of seeking the ‘real’ through travel, and the presumed inauthenticity of tourism whether related to the American roadside or to the broader process of global tourism” (Wood, 70). Wood discusses how Route 66 has become its own tourist attraction where the ‘authentic experience’ is being replicated by the businesses that inhabit the area, and the people themselves who work there. Wood speaks of finding the “efforts to recreate the road by simulation and simulacra that call to question the very authenticity that Route 66 represents”  (Wood, 70). In a sense, the tourists have taken over the once traveled road, that itself was not a destination but a means of getting there.

In contrast Route 66, tourist attraction, thinking about the use of exists in New Jersey residents’ identities can mirror the use of roads to the authenticity of New Jersey. The claim of being from Jersey can easily be supported by proudly proclaiming what exit you take. The road signifies a sense of authentic nature for New Jersey; one may use the turnpike to get to the beach. Tourists are not able to claim their stake of the road, for the exit they take is not inherently relevant to them. In this sense the use of the road aims to limit and reject tourism in New Jersey unlike Route 66, the destination itself.

Historical Website on New Jersey and its Turnpike: http://www.jerseyhistory.org/what_exit/index.html


Wood, Andrew. “Two Roads Diverge: “Route 66″ and the Mediation of American Ruin.” Critical Studies in Media Communication 27:1. (2010). 67-83.