Special Ed Returns To New Jersey

I made the decision recently to return to New Jersey. It has been a long time coming and the time seemed right. Things are manageable at work and I miss having the cool fall weather. My mind was made up and I was able to travel from October 18th through the 22nd.

I arrived at La Guardia late on the 18th. I was whisked to the rental car agency. I had chosen to rent the smallest possible car to maximize my travels. I was elated to find out that they were giving me an upgrade. That upgrade happened to be a PT Cruiser. I was very disappointed. I took the rental and drove to Point Pleasant, New Jersey. I arrived at my uncle's house at just past 10 pm. We stayed up for a few hours catching up on all of the family business. I crashed around midnight.

I was up bright and early on Friday. I made a quick stop for work and then drove to Kearny. Kearny is where I lived until I was 9 and holds many memories, both good and bad. I cruised around the town for a bit, revisiting key places in my childhood. The town has changed quite a bit. I spent a few hours taking pictures and catching up and then jumped on the Turnpike to head to Old Bridge.

I got into Old Bridge and got to drive in the rain for a while. It is not often that it happens, so I enjoyed it. From there, I headed to Veteran's Park. My sister and I would ride our bikes there all of the time to play. I took many pictures and bathed in the nostalgia and good memories that it brought back. I then met up with my old neighbors to see how things had been since my visit in February. We spoke for a few hours, telling stories and catching up on all of the good neighborhood gossip. It was time to be on my way. I made a few stops to see all of the areas and places that shaped my life.

I was on my way to Brooklyn. I made the commute and arrived there around 6:30 pm. My first stop was at Atom's house. I had not seen him since the The Honorary Title was in town with Cartel. We spent the better part 2 hours going over what had been going on and the recent events in our lives. I then met up with The Ergs at a party a few blocks down the street. I stayed for a bit, but missed their show.

I woke up to a clean and crisp Saturday morning. I got ready and drove to my grandmother's house. It has been 12 years since we saw each other and it was great to see that nothing had changed. We spent a few hours catching up and trading stories of the fun things that we have done. I departed and headed back to Old Bridge. I got some of the best pizza ever and then made my way to the Starland Ballroom. Bad Religion was playing that night and I figured I would hang with them for a while. I showed up, said hello to everyone, and got my pass. I heard rumors of a surprise guest being in the crowd that night.

I met up with some cousins and my uncle, getting dinner up the road. We spent some time reliving some of the old funny moments and sharing stories of things that had happened in our collective absence. We parted ways and I headed back to the show. I filled everyone in on what has been happening in the World of Ed and made a new Philadelphia friend as well. I watched the show from the side of the stage. They mixed in a healthy dose of the older stuff while playing new songs from New Maps of Hell. They launched into Born In The USA during the first slow part in Generator. I headed upstairs when it was done. The mystery guest was there. Bruce Springsteen's son is a fan so both father and son were at the show. He hung out for a while and told stories of playing in Jersey. The clock struck midnight and I called it a day.

Sunday was a chill day. I literally spent all day with my mom's side of the family, catching up. We went out that evening and had a few beers. I called it an early night as I left in the morning.

I got up late on Monday and collected my things. I cruised into Manhattan, bypassing the Statue of Liberty. I found a great pizza place and got some New York style pizza while in New York. Getting up late caused me to miss going to the top of the Empire State Building. I was able to drive past it though, on the way back to La Guardia. I had a layover on Chicago and was able to get some pizza there as well. This accomplished my goal of getting New York style pizza in New York and Chicago style pizza in Chicago on the same day. I landed safely in Phoenix and got back to normal life.

I shot some video of the show. You can find it here.

Special Ed's childhood home on Arlington Avenue.
12 Arlington Avenue. Where it all began.
The exterior of a New Jersey deli.
Walter's Deli. The first place I could walk to alone.
A Kearney Little League sign.
I was a terrible baseball player.
A PT Cruiser car parked in a parking lot.
My wonderful PT Cruiser in Veteran's Park.
Special Ed's childhood home on Gordon Avenue.
7 Gordon Ave. It was way cooler when it was not paved over.
The exterior of Nicolo's Pizzeria.
The best pizza ever.
The marquee on the Starland Ballroom.
Welcome to the Starland Ballroom.
Special Ed standing with Bruce Springsteen.
Bruce Springsteen backs the World of Ed.
A New York City subway sign.
New York Subway.
The World Trade Center being rebuilt.
Rebuilding the World Trade Center.
A New York City street sign.
World Trade Center cross streets.
Lookin In