I went to high school in South Jersey.
I loved NJ. For being such a small state, it is extremely diverse - geographically and socially. While Newark is pretty gritty, the vast majority of the state is quite green, and there is quite a bit of farming and horticulture in the southern portion of the state. It is called "The Garden State", but unless you travel south and a bit to the west, you'd never know it by what is shown on TV and in the movies.
The thing I loved most about NJ was the fact that you know exactly where you stand because people call it like they see it - at all times.
NYC is very much the same way (parents lived in Manhatten for many years). Direct and to the point.
This shouldn't be mistaken for being rude. Nice people; just direct.
Now I'm in Minnesota (land of Minnesota "nice") where nothing is quite as it seems. I just learned that MN is number 10 in the country for mortgage fraud.