New Jersey = Ohio

Filed under living in new york is neat

I learned this weekend that the difference between having a car and not having a car means having Cheesecake Factory or not having Cheesecake Factory. My car-owning friend Beth has been inviting me to ride to Jersey with her to go shopping for months now, but something has always stood in the way of me going. This weekend, though, the stars aligned, and she picked me up at 4 p.m. with the promise that she and her friend Sylvan would wear out my Sauconys.

I sort of expected the same kind of shopping experience I used to have in Ohio, when my best friend, Tracey, and I used to spend the day shopping at DEB, Claire’s, and Maurice’s. It was a major thing when a Hot Topic went in, though we were already past our wallet-chain-and-skater-jeans phase by the time that happened. (Okay, so maybe I was the only one of the two of us who went through that phase.)

But no! This mall had a Gucci store and a Louis Vuitton, and instead of shopping for silver holographic Converse flip-flops like Tracey and I used to do, Beth was shopping for a pair of Yves Saint Laurent stilettos. The food court had a Wendy’s, which there are only, like, two of in Manhattan, and everyone there looked like a cast member from “Jersey Shore”. What fun!

When we got hungry later in the evening, Beth mentioned that another mall nearby had a Cheesecake Factory. I was like, “Excuse me?” Because, um, I would’ve pretty much given up every other activity and risked my neck on the snow all of those times before had I known that was part of the deal. Our meal was delicious, of course, and hugely-portioned and super-cheap and everything else that restaurants in Manhattan aren’t, but it felt so wrong, because

everyone in the place looked like they could’ve been from Ohio. The only time I see people who look like they could be from Ohio here is when my friends and I go bowling at Port Authority and have to pass through Times Square, but I had to sit amongst these people and digest food while looking at them. You can imagine how hard that is.

No, I’m kidding, but it was weird. It’s like I can’t bear for things to feel too familiar.


  1. Kim says:

    I only understood like 9 words in this entire post.
    Which means I’m obviously now even more insufferably snob-proud about how my non-metropolitan roots are still lightyears from suburban.
    But for real: What is “DEB”? And Hot Topic is where Edward Cullen lives, right?
    I have been to a Cheescake Factory twice, though. In weird places like southern New Hampshire and that part of Massachusetts where Danny from the Real World would live. It was pretty good except I don’t like cheesecake.

  2. kimz says:

    You know, when you mentioned Louis Vuitton and Gucci, I could have sworn you were talking about my mall. But then you said “food court” and it all went in the toilet. The Mall at Short Hills does not have a …. ugh … food court.

    (Was that snobby enough?)

    • You know, some of my Jersey-livin’ friends informed me that Short Hills used to be nice but is now ghetto. Although they’re boys, so I’m not sure they have any idea how to gauge a mall.

      • kimz says:

        Haha, I think hell will freeze over before Short Hills goes ghetto. Maybe they’re thinking Springfield.

        Of course, I don’t live there anymore, so obviously the quality of that down has since gone down the drain.

  3. I want to go shopping with you and Tracey.

    P.S. Damask FTW!

  4. Julie says:

    You know what I love about Ohio Malls? When the asian guy in the food court tries to stab you with a toothpick that has some sort of chicken product on in: sample? sample?

  5. Tracey says:

    It’s funny how you think people look like Ohio people every time you leave the city. I think NYC and maybe L.A. are the only places in America where the people actually look different. Everywhere there are more drivers than walkers, the people start looking a little plumper and slightly more midwestern-looking.

    Or maybe the mere presence of a Cheesecake Factory in your city = OHIO.

  6. BaritoneplayingJoel says:

    I just wanna say that every so often I see you on the interweb and am reminded how awesome you are. I miss you Katie Ett and if I ever get out of this crazy hicktown in Ohio I will dress very unlike a person from Ohio and take you to the Cheesecake factory myself just because you’re you!

    • I enjoy that you called yourself BaritoneplayingJoel, as if I wouldn’t see your e-mail address and know exactly who you are.

      You are the Ohio-dressingest person I know, and that’s what I like about you. I happened to be stalking you on Facebook the other day, actually, and it appears that you’re doing quite well in your crazy hicktown. Send me some of your band’s stuff if you have anything recorded!

  7. Mike Lowrey says:

    Sooo…. I pretty much stop paying attention to this post after you mentioned Beth wanted some Yves St. stilettos.
    After that the rest of your post in my mind sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher.

    Where are the pics of Beth in her new stilettos???

    Beth holla at your boy!!! ;-)

  8. Alfagirl says:

    Dear Mr. Lowrey, I didn’t end up getting them…. yet. I am waiting for a certain style to arrive in a better color and then I will most likely break the bank (or my Neiman’s card) and buy them. This card is only for fashion emergencies, but I find those emergencies are much more frequent than they used to be.

    And, yes, it’s true – the Mall at Short Hills is indeed so fancy that they do not have a food court. I believe the Riverside Mall (with said Cheesecake Factory) also does not have a food court.

    I have to point out that although this 2nd mall we visited does have a Cheesecake Factory (and a PF Changs), it also has a Maggianos, Houstons, McCormick & Schmicks, some fancy thai place and a Rosa Mexicano. I think more people go to eat than to shop, which I guess sort-of is like Ohio now that I think about it?

  9. Tinidancer says:

    OMG…I must go to this Jersey mall with the Cheesecake Factory! They absolutely have the best avocado spring rolls and I only get to eat them when I visit suburbia land.

    • I was going to say that we should make Beth take us next time she needs to shop for outlandishly expensive shoes, but then I remembered that her car only fits two! We need friends with bigger cars or better public transportation in Jersey.