There are many benefits to living in New Jersey. I live about 30 minutes from Midtown Manhattan (if there’s no traffic), and yet have a nice backyard for the kids to play in. Our local suburban streets are clean and safe. We know our neighbors. And yet we are spitting distance from the Meadowlands and the new Newark Arena, and our local train will get you to Madison Square Garden in about 35 minutes. Philadelphia is only about a two-hour drive south. We live an hour from the shore.
|Somerville Traffic Circle in New Jersey.
The culture of New Jersey is vibrant and diverse, with people from all over the world, of all faiths, living closely together and in harmony. We are the most population-dense state in the US. Furthermore, we have the most cars per mile of road in the US. And we have world-famous jug-handle and traffic-circle intersections that will truly bewilder out-of-staters. New Jersey has spawned the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Woodrow Wilson. Albert Einstein lived here (though there is no evidence that he could figure out how to navigate the Somerville Traffic Circle, shown at right.). Now with Republican Chris Christie as our governor and a devoutly Democratic Assembly and Legislature, our corrupt politics make for a fascinating spectator sport.
There are two downsides to living here:
- Obscenely high taxes
- The NJ Motor Vehicles Commission
There is perhaps no entity more hated and disrespected in New Jersey than Motor Vehicles. We hate it more than taxes. Lines in Motor Vehicles here can literally take hours, and the dirty and crowded offices seem to resemble what I imagine prisons or customs inspection stations look like in third-world countries.
Whatever you do, bring the right paperwork to meet the strict requirements of our Kafkaesque 6-point identification system. Interestingly, you can get a driver’s license with your birth certificate (4-points primary), a social security card (1-point secondary), and a health insurance card (1-point secondary), none of which have a verifiable signature or photo. (I have to admit that it is somewhat entertaining to watch new residents ruffle through their wallets and pocketbooks, pulling out all sorts of odds and ends to try to meet the Draconian 6-point identification system requirements. “Wait I have a Lottery Ticket? Is that good?” “No, but is that card from your prescription drug plan? That’ll do.”) If you don’t have the right paperwork, then you need to run home and find it, and then get to the back of the line.
Best times to go are at the beginning of the month, and in the morning. You see, when paperwork comes due, pro-active New Jerseyans come at the beginning of the month, in the morning, to get their licenses and registrations. They are invariably turned away for not meeting the requirements. Then they return in the afternoons, and later in the month, and these times get very busy. Never go to MVC at the end of the month or in the afternoon. You’re better off taking the bus until the beginning of the next month.
Well, our Motor Vehicles Commission now has something else in common with third-world-prisons and customs inspection stations. You can buy your way out of there for a price:
It seems that several offices in New Jersey (including my own local MVC office in Lodi, NJ) were selling false-ID drivers licenses. Drivers licenses here (bring your own picture) sell for $2500 to $7000. Pay your local drivers-license broker, make up a name, any name, sign the forms, and they will take care of the rest. I assume you don’t even have to wait in line.
What are your experiences with Motor Vehicles offices?