Jesse Fried • Apr 12, 2019

I was raised to value the American ideas of equality before the law, equal opportunity, etc. so the realization that the town I grew up in is an enclave of concentrated wealth and power that serves to perpetuate and expand that influence is a bitter pill to swallow.

Bear with me if this article comes into form slowly, or not at all. It's hard to write about the place you grew up. To indulge in some self-analysis for a minute, I believe that part of why I have come to care about New Jersey so much is that beyond my family and friends and the natural landscape, I found insufficient material for loving and treasuring in my immediate surroundings growing up, so I continued to look a little bit further outwards.

No Place Like Home
July 1, 2019, 1:25 p.m.

What's to say about a place like Millburn? Scattered across this website are articles giving fragmented windows into this website's creator's complicated feelings towards this place of our birth. It may take years or decades for these feelings to fully mature into the treatise they deserve.

He and I traveled back to the homeland this weekend for a childhood friend's engagement party. A trip like this tends to spur nostalgic feelings, memories to be remembered and reevaluated.

Instead of taking an Uber from the train station to the Deerfield section of Short Hills, we decided to traipse through the South Mountain Reservation, truly a gem of Essex County. Our first stop was filling our water bottles from the natural fountain by the Locust Grove entrance, which has been fenced off since 2009 due to an E. Coli detection event. Upon seeing us go around the fence and drink, a kind-hearted teenager ran over to us and warned us not to drink the water. We thanked him and drank anyway.

He and five or so friends, who happened to be Millburn High students, were sitting at a picnic table, enjoying the sunshine and nature. Just by virtue of doing this, they seemed much cooler than any of my friends and I had been in high school. We briefly chatted about the current state of affairs at MHS which, according to them, has added 5 security guards and a widespread culture of snitching.

Wandering through the Reservation on the hot and sunny day was wonderful. I can't speak too much to the quality of the nature but I certainly enjoyed it. We spotted multiple swimming holes occupied by children and families much less white than Millburn as a whole. In general the Reservation was fairly well populated on a Saturday afternoon, as you hope it would be.

We exited the Reservation through Old Short Hills Park, a beautiful but underutilized park probably located on an old estate from the 19th or 20th century. We then walked along Old Short Hills Road for half a mile or so, a road clearly not designed for walking. The engagement party, a backyard catered BBQ, was nothing particularly noteworthy, but the contrast between the families swimming in the ponds of the Rahway River and the families of the two New York City high-powered lawyers celebrating their union in marriage is always striking.