I grew up in Kearny, New Jersey, and couldn’t wait to get out — Kearny’s big claim to fame was that it’s a half hour from Manhattan on the bus and later, that the HBO hit series The Sopranos was filmed there. Mob boss Tony’s family lived in more chi chi West Caldwell, but the mob did business out of Satriale’s Meat Market in Kearny. My grandmother’s real house was next to the fictional Satriale’s on Kearny Avenue, and I always liked it when the camera panned wide enough to look up Kearny’s main street so I could see the three family structure, the fire station, and St. Cecelia’s church.
I have no desire to move home, although I love the Jersey shore — about an hour away down the Garden State Parkway. The state of New Jersey is a financial wreck, the climate isn’t that great, and Kearny’s appeal is still its proximity to the Big Apple.
J.D. Vance, he of Hillbilly Elegy fame, is moving back to Ohio. He thinks the hollowed out heartland needs not only investment of dollars, but an inflow of the talented people who left for greener pastures a long time ago. I also suspect that Vance has political office on his mind, and he’ll do better running from his home state than he would running as a Republican conservative from Silicon Valley where he now lives.
How about you? Where do you live now, and is it close to where you grew up? If not, do you have any desire to go back where you came from? Why or why not?