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Welcome to New Jersey – A guide to what Newcastle United fans can enjoy on their visit for Brighton game

7 months ago

If you are going to the Newcastle v Brighton match on July 28 at the Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, you may be looking for activities before and after the match.

I’m not a New Jersey native but everyone in the Philly area has a buddy in Jersey.

My buddy, who I affectionately refer to as “Tony Bananas”, could have been cast in any 70s or 80s mob movie (Look up the fate of the original Tony Bananas if you are so inclined. Classic Philly mob story).

Harrison, New Jersey is occasionally referred to as the first Silicon Valley by people from Harrison, New Jersey. For the rest of us, Harrison feels remarkably similar to every other tired town in the Northeastern US and is slowly replacing the industrial jobs that left our region 50 years ago. For a moment in history, during the heyday of the former Radio Corporation of America (RCA), Harrison was the world’s leading producer of tubes for radios and televisions. Today, Harrison is best known as an up-and-coming town with easy mass transit access to NYC and the home of the MLS New York Red Bulls.

Given the proximity to NYC, there is a very long list of activities that are a PATH ride away before or after the match.

If you do venture to New York, you will have only the 1000s of online travel guides to rely on, as my favorite activity in New York is boarding the train to Philly.

If you are looking for ideas in New Jersey around Harrison, Tony Bananas recommends the following:

1. Newark Museum: (Newark, NJ) The largest museum in the state features extensive collections of American art, decorative arts, contemporary art, and arts of Asia, Africa, the Americas, and the ancient world. (Visit now because we will eventually be returning everything to its rightful owners).

2. Turtle Back Zoo: (West Orange, NJ) features over 1,000 exotic species from around the world in recreated natural habitats. If you are into zoos, this one offers a range of interactive experiences, including a petting zoo, a train ride, an aerial adventure course, and a variety of educational programs.

3. American Dream Mall: (East Rutherford, NJ) is one of the largest shopping and entertainment complexes in North America, spanning approximately 3 million square feet. It features a unique blend of retail, dining, and indoor amusement parks including a ski slope, ice, rink, water park, and a Nickelodeon-themed amusement park.

4. Six Flags Great Adventure: (Jackson, NJ): is one of the biggest theme parks in the world, featuring world class roller coasters, including the world’s tallest, and a safari park with over 1,200 animals.

5. Thomas Edison National Historical Park: (West Orange, NJ) Explore the home and laboratory of Thomas Edison, where you can discover the inventions that shaped the modern world

6. Jersey City Waterfront: (Jersey City, NJ) Offering panoramic views of Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty, it’s a great place for a stroll

7. Liberty State Park: (Jersey City, NJ) A green oasis in the heart of Metropolitan northern New Jersey, with breathtaking views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

8. New Jersey Performing Arts Centre: Known as one of the largest performing arts centers in the US, catch a show here if you can

9. Liberty Science Center: (Newark, NJ) Features unique interactive exhibits, including the largest planetarium in the Western Hemisphere, making it a great spot for families.

10. New York City Tour: In spite of my objections, Tony Bananas and 1000s of others on Trip Advisor recommend this one-day, action packed tour HERE.

If you are worried about getting in and out of New York, another classic option is the Circleline Boat tours. These guys have been providing tours around Manhattan for 75 years and should not be confused with duck boat operators that are responsible for numerous drownings in multiple American cities over the last 10 years. This is the only way I would “tour” New York.

You can’t go to New Jersey without having some decent Italian American food or, as it’s called in Tony Bananas’ house, Sunday dinner:

1. Italian Affair Pizza & Pasta: (East Newark, NJ) authentic, family-style Italian cuisine and a range of excellent pizzas.
2. La Fiamma Italian Grill & Bar: (Kearny, NJ) cosy setting with classic pasta dishes along with plenty of meat and fish entrees.
3. Michael’s Salumeria: (Lyndhurst, NJ) Excellent place for lunch. Top shelf Italian subs.
4. Belmont Tavern: (Bellville, NJ) great home-style Italian-American neighborhood restaurant.
5. D’Italia Restaurant: (Avenel, NJ) upscale dining. Excellent homemade pasta.

Once you’ve had your fill of pasta, here are a few non-Italian places to consider:

1. Tops Diner: (East Newark, NJ) An iconic eatery in East Newark known for its American diner fare and homey atmosphere.
2. Spanish Tavern: (Newark, NJ) A family-owned upscale restaurant serving traditional Spanish cuisine since 1932.
3. Hugo’s Restaurant: (Rahway, NJ) Known for its Peruvian cuisine and famous margaritas.
4. Manu’s Sushi Lounge: (Newark, NJ) Cool place. Mediterranean and Japanese fusion.
5. Nasto’s Ice Cream: (Newark, NJ) An old-school ice cream shop that’s been serving desserts since 1939.

For those of you traveling to the States for the first time, I hope you find that Americans are much more diverse than the European stereotype. That said, you will also enjoy a heavy dose of stereotypical New Yorkers, Southerners, and Philly Guys that, at a minimum, will make for excellent people watching.

My advice is to strike up conversations and decide for yourself what you think of Americans.

Keep in mind, if you are a Geordie, you will be royalty to any American wearing a Newcastle jersey.


(ED: Frank earlier did a guide for anybody heading to Philadelphia for the Villa match (read here), whilst with the help of a friend, he also sent us this for any supporters heading to see the Magpies pre-season match against Chelsea in Atlanta.)


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