The perfect breakfast sandwich looks pretty similar throughout our great land. Some combination of eggs, cheese, bread, and bacon is required. Bacon has been passed down to us directly from heaven to reward us for being Americans. But I'm not here to praise bacon. Bacon needs no praise. Many religions forbid bacon—that is how good it is and how little new praise it needs. I have come to praise—wait for it—New Jersey.

Ben and I were younger men when we decided to move to New Jersey. Ben in his late 60s, I just nibbling into my 40s. We had come from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, land of artisanal sausage and fancy brunches, looking for a simpler way of life. We had heard tales of a magical PATH train that ushered people into New York with stops in places like Grove St. and Exchange Place. They sounded like parts of Narnia to me, a Brooklyn-wearied soul. My ten-plus years in Brooklyn had been a never-ending journey of being priced out of neighborhoods. As a gentrifier, I had never anticipated the green wave. All the empty storefronts on my block became wine bars overnight, and I was quietly shown the door. We decided, being broke, we would look for lodging where even the brave dared not follow. I said, "Staten Island!" Ben said, "Jersey City!"

No one names their son or daughter Jersey City. Unlike the word Brooklyn it does not adorn the signs of Parisian skateshops as a conch call to the young and cool. Jersey City was named Jersey City because people here were working too hard to even come up with a cool name for it. It was called Bergen back when Peter Stuyvesant roamed the fair shores of the Hackensack, peg-legging up and down its greenish sloping fields. Near our house in the currently gentrifying Journal Square area, Lafayette once ate breakfast on Stuyvesant land beneath an apple tree with George Washington himself. They chatted wildly, arms waving about. They spoke of revolution and the Revolutionary War. They spoke of the desires of all people to live free. And they ate Taylor Ham sandwiches.