A satirical map of the state of New Jersey went viral earlier this week, causing a lot of controversy in the process.
The map is being called everything from racist to funny.
"I think the guy that made this map is pretty ignorant," said a man walking the Atlantic City boardwalk.
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Instead of saying they’re from North or South Jersey, residents of New Jersey can now say they are from “Vast Wilderness of Rednecks or Retired Hippies” or “Swamps and Toxic Lakes” thanks to the controversial map.
"It was never meant to be taken seriously," map creator Joe Steinfeld told NBC Philadelphia. "It was meant to be taken as a joke."
“I’ve driven to every corner of the State. Stopped at a lot of towns. Stopped at a lot of Wawas and QuickCheks,” Steinfeld told the Star-Ledger on NJ.com. “I mean it as a joke. It’s tongue-in-cheek. It’s meant to be silly, to be fun.”
Steinfeld, a Rutgers University graduate, posted the map online late Monday night and in less than 24 hours the map received more than 750,000 views.
The map outlines regions of New Jersey based on ethnicity, socio-economic class, and cultural stereotypes.
Some of labels found on the map include:
- The area around and including Camden is referred to as “Worse than Detroit.”
- Southern Burlington County and Northern Camden County are labeled “Happy White Families.”
- Within “Happy White Families” is a small area including Marlton, Medford, Haddonfield and parts of Cherry Hill labeled “Huge Houses and Country Clubs.”
- Atlantic City is labeled as “Sad Black People and Misguided Tourists.”
- Bergen County, in North Jersey, is called “Well-to-do Conservatives ‘Christie Country.’”
- The Cape May area is “Canadians and Philly Trash.”
Steinfeld, who works part time for the state's Department of Environmental Protection, used Adobe Photoshop and a blank map of the state to create his satirical Garden State on his own time, he said.
"I do regret that I did offend a few people however for the most part that feedback that I've gotten has been mostly positive," Steinfeld said.
"It was meant to just be kind of exaggerated images of what some people see in those areas."
But some residents have taken it seriously.
“It’s unfortunate that somebody has enough spare time to do something that is just going to inflame some people and point to the worst possible side of things,” said Elizabeth Mayor J. Christian Bollwage. “I don’t find humor in it.”
Chester Township Mayor William Cogger, from Morris County, or “Executives Living in Mansions Driving Mercedes-Benzes,” feels differently.
“You know, a part of being a lifelong Jerseyite is developing an ability to laugh at yourself, and as long as everyone is laughing together that’s OK by me,” Cogger said. He also said he hopes to get a Mercedes as soon as possible.