Monday, December 13, 2010

New Brunswick, the place

A Travel Story: New Brunswick, NJ

Nearly equidistant between Philadelphia and Manhattan, New Jersey's 'hub city' demands to not be overshadowed. Nearly a modest six square-miles in size, New Brunswick is packed with a culture all of it's own.

This uniqueness in style is reflected by the multiple, large demographics that populate the city.

Since much of the city thrives on the health care industry and Rutgers University, the city itself is hence, largely influenced by the transient person's lifestyle. This means pulsing work hours and a calmer night time.

With that, the city nearly separates itself: the Rutgers-centric, college-minded part of town; the ritzier 'down town' area near the more expensive restaurants and law firms; and the 'locals' side, dominated greatly nowadays, by the blue-collared Hispanic community.

Each faceted section offers it's own type of food, entertainment and characters.

Rah- rah! Go R U!

The school itself, is a sight to be seen. Last year marked the 200th anniversary of the still in-use Old Queens building, a relic and a central point on campus.

Nearby on College Avenue, the huge open grass field in Voorhees Mall displays additional old-style school buildings around it's perimeter and serves as a fantastic spot for a shady summer picnic.

"Every year, student organizations set-up a week-long camping celebration on this field," says Rutgers alum, Alvin Lee. "It's called Tent State and I've seen great art and live bands in previous years there."

The Zimmerli Art Museum is also located at Voorhees Mall.

If sports are your more thing, you are in luck. For one, the football culture seems to become bigger and more loyal with every new school year. You can catch the 'scarlet fever' with a quick shuttle ride to the stadium, minutes north on Route 18.

The Rutgers University campus is actually the recognized birthplace of intercollegiate football, hosting the first game versus Princeton in November of 1869. (And winning that game, might I add.)

For lunch, or for breakfast, lunch and dinner rather, try a Food TV-acclaimed 'fat sandwich.' Located in an adjacent Rutgers parking lot, "the grease trucks" will fry you up a cornucopia of junk food on a submarine roll, for under six bucks.

George Street: the talk of the town and the best place to paint it red

"The arts and theater district is a big part of this area- in New Brunswick, in general," explains Alexandra Lawler, a citizen of seven years and Rutgers alum.

The State Theater and the George Street Playhouse have a rotating list of intriguing, world-class theatrical performances. Most recently, the Marvelettes rocked the city.

Leave in stitches from George Street's famous comedy club, the Stress Factory. With serious drink specials, you'll sit feet from famous comics like Damon Wayans and Jim Florentine.

After a show or gig, impress your date by bringing them to one of down-town's up-scale restaurants.

Hotoke, on George, is the spot for a creative sashimi roll and some tropical cocktails. Down the block is the Harvest Moon brewery and restaurant; slightly creative American food with a rotating delicious beer list, brewed on the premises.

For extremely lavish dining, dress to impress at Daryl Wine Bar and Restaurant, where Chef Chuck pairs fine cuisine with over 60 different types of wines.

Another option is the four-star rated The Frog and the Peach restaurant. It is located within a short walk from the Hyatt hotel, the city's most luxurious place to stay.

However, if you're on a budget, you'd probably want to walk to the other side of town...

A ten minute walk to French street and you're in a gourmand's heaven

This area is where the majority of the local people live. Heavily influenced by the hispanic community, you'll most undoubtedly find better mexican cuisine anywhere.

A local favorite, right off French street is Cinco de Mayo, where a $4.99 burrito can serve as two meals-especially, if you indulge in the complementary fresh tortilla chips coupled with various traditional home-made mexican salsas.

"This is the best mexican food in the world," says Chris Fahris, a freelancing journalist and Rutgers alum. "A notebook and a 'Cinco' burrito is how I get most of my writing done. Even at like two A.M.!"

Similarly, Costa Chica, Noa Noa and Quisaqueya are other popular nearby authentic Mexican restaurants. To say which is better is up for debate. Each one does it with a hint of their own style and flavors.

An additional benefit is that, on this side of town, most restaurants are B.Y.O.B. So pair up your tasty dish with a glass of wine or perhaps, a Negra Modelo.

Stock up on booze at the Hub Liquors, located at the corner of Harvey and French. A staple in the city for decades, this little bar has a package good section that will fill all of your tipsy-inducing needs. Plus, it's open most nights until 2 A.M.

"Eat. Drink. Dance. Laugh. Stay."- The slogan of

And quite an accurate slogan it is. It truly is all here. Regardless of what brings you into town, harmoniously, the diverse populace would agree; it's an excellent stop for a one-off night's out and a wonderful place to call home.

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