America’s favorite pasttime got it’s start right in North Jersey. The first recorded, official baseball game was played on June 19, 1846 in Elysian Fields, Hoboken between Alexander Cartwright's Knickerbockers and the New York Baseball Club. Though many sets of rules were being developed at the time, Cartwright’s rules were the most widely accepted. It wasn’t until 1869 that players were paid for playing. The Cinncinnati Red Stockings were the first professional baseball team, with 10 players being paid for a 8-month contract.
The current North Jersey drive-in movie theatre owes a lot to a man named Richard Hollingshead. Combining his love of autos and movies, Richard Hollingshead tested his early prototype for a drive-in movie theatre in his own driveway. He opened the first drive-in movie theater in Camden, New Jersey in 1933. Fifteen years later, Edward Brown, Jr. decided to one-up that feat by opening the first theater for cars and small planes. Ed Brown's Drive-In and Fly-In theater of Asbury Park, New Jersey was capable of accommodating 500 cars and 25 airplanes.
The world’s first submarine ride was not exactly a blazing success: when Catholic schoolteacher-turned-inventor John P. Holland launched his lead 14-foot sub into the Passaic River in 1875, the vessel was able to dive, but not resurface. Over the years, he continued on a number of patents that eventually led to the Holland No. 6, which the government purchased in 1900. It was the first submarine of the American Navy.
New Jersey’s Holland Tunnel is the first underwater tunnel designed for automobiles under the Hudson River, connecting the island of Manhattan with Jersey City. The biggest challenge for chief engineer Clifford Holland (no relation to the submarine Holland) was how drivers could avoid the toxic fumes caused by automobiles while stuck in traffic. Completion of the tunnel took nearly seven years and claimed the lives of 14 workers. Holland himself died just one day before construction crews from the New York and New Jersey sides met.
Thomas Edison built the first movie studio, called Black Maria in West Orange, New Jersey. Drive-in theaters weren’t Jersey’s only tie to show business. Many NJ natives have achieved fame and fortune in show business. Here are just a few: Jason Alexander, Lou Costello, Tom Cruise, Sandra Dee, Danny DeVito, Michael Douglas, Kirsten Dunst, John Forsythe, James Gandolfini, Janeane Garafolo, Ethan Hawke, Ray Liotta, Bette Midler, Frankie Muniz, Jack Nicholson, Joe Pesci, Christopher Reeve, Susan Sarandon, Kevin Spacey, Meryl Streep, John Travolta, Bruce Willis, Ice-T, Queen Latifah, Nelson Riddle, Frank Sinatra, Joe Piscopo, Nathan Lane, and Kelly Ripa.
North Jersey has the most shopping malls in one area in the world with seven major shopping malls in a 25 sq. mile radius. Despite the fact that Paramus operates under some of the most restrictive blue laws in the U.S., which ban nearly all retail and white-collar businesses from opening on Sundays, the town still generates over $5 billion in annual retail sales. North Jersey loves to shop! With seven major shopping malls in a 25 sq mile radius, North Jersey has the most shopping malls in one area in the world!
Although Jersey City’s White Mana hamburger stand has been awarded local landmark status (its structure was built for the 1939 World’s Fair), when this historic shack went head-to-head with its younger cousin, Hackensack’s White Manna, on TV’s Food Feuds, youth won out in taste tests of their signature sliders.
The first FM radio broadcast was made from Alpine, NJ by its inventor, Major Edwin Howard Armstrong. W2XMN was a mere a 40-kilowatt broadcaster, but nevertheless projected a signal that could be heard over 100 miles away.
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