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This article by Barbara Fox was prepared for the August 7, 2002 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
`Big’ on the Garden State
The New Jersey tourist bureau has its glossy leaflets.
New Jersey’s chambers of commerce have their carefully worded
Bookstores sell coffee table picture volumes of New Jersey. Any of
these are inadequate tools for recruiting executives to join New
companies because they lack credibility. Without it, lustrous photos
of historic houses and the Jersey shore cannot quell the stereotype
that this state consists of turnpikes and oil tanks.
A Manhattan-based publishing company may have filled this gap by
one issue of its magazine, named Big, to New Jersey. It addresses
the curse of stereotypes with 1,500 to 2,000-word essays on turnpikes
and art photos of oil tanks. It takes care of the credibility problem
by engaging well-known writers to provide commentary on subjects like
housing, suburban sprawl, and towns at the Jersey shore. And it
all this in a big, 9 by 12-inch format with superb production values.
This half-inch thick issue of Big is available at Barnes & Noble and
Borders bookstores for $15 for the next couple of weeks. At the end
of August, when the next issue (called "Surf") comes out,
the New Jersey issue will be relegated to the archives and the price
will double. The magazine can also be ordered on the website at
At the newsstand price, it makes a superb recruiting tool.
Until now, the 10-year-old magazine had taken a international stance
by focusing each issue on one city (Tokyo) or one country (Brazil).
This issue is the pilot for an All-American series in 2003 that will
feature, for instance, Detroit as the auto city and Boston as a
town. "Big is an insider trade publication for the creative
fashion, and advertising, but we think it has potential to speak to
a larger audience," says Carla Iny, assistant to the publisher,
New Jersey was the chosen focus for the pilot because a freelance
editor, Phil Bricker, pitched it as the USA’s "most typical
The literary editor, David Cashion, used an excerpt from a book by
John McPhee and commissioned essays from Don Linky (of the Carnegie
Center) and Angus Kress Gillespie and Michael Aaron Rockland (both
of Rutgers). Laura McPhee and Virginia Behan contributed a photo
as did children from Trenton who learned their craft in a program
sponsored by the Young Audiences of New Jersey.
Every issue of Big is conceived and designed differently, from
"We change contributors, direction, and design with every
says founder Junemann. "It keeps ideas very fresh. People put
100 percent of their energy into it because they know it is the only
issue, and that’s it. We don’t care about fashion, we care about
The next issue, for instance, will be insider’s look at surf culture
and will be radically different in tone and content. Such ruthless
reinvention of the wheel lets the magazine get along with just five
full-time staff members, including Junemann. The self-educated
son of a landowner and an artist, he started a printing business in
Spain but despised the usual business of tawdry brochures and yearned
to produce something beautiful.
Ten years later the magazine has a circulation of 50,000 worldwide,
including 35,000 copies in the United States, and all but five percent
of the press run is sold by subscription. Under this business model,
the photography and literary contributors get their work showcased
beautifully but their honorarium is limited to $200 plus several
copies. "They really have to want to be a part of this," says
"Junemann prides himself on sourcing talent to push the
not just for fashion, but of photographic imagery in general,"
said a reviewer in London’s Sunday Review. Big "is considered
to be the most stingingly hip of all coffee-table bibles."
The editor of the New Jersey issue, Bricker, is British and has worked
for the British magazines noted for their cheeky, hip attitude, but
that did not carry over for the New Jersey issue. "He has such
a profound love of New Jersey," says Iny, "that he did not
work tongue in cheek, and the end result is so sincere."
Among the photo features are aerial shots by John Majoris, an essay
on Newark’s attempts at urban renewal by Camilo Jos Vergara, a
of Mendham as a suburban community by Juliana Sohn (who is married
to Bricker), an essay on backyard family life by Margaret Salmon and
Dean Wiand, and interior shots of the Merrill Lynch Hopewell campus,
part of a series called "New Jersey Inc.: a private look into
the wall-to-wall carpeted corridors of power."
Michael Aaron Rockland discussed the image problem in
a keynote essay:
New Jersey. While it is considerably agricultural, the Garden State
is actually the most highway-intensive and most densely populated
of the fifty members of the union. It is by some reckonings the most
affluent state, yet its cities are among the most degraded in the
nation. It has handsome hills and stunning beaches, yet it is heavily
industrialized and known for its toxic waste dumps. Most states have
something characteristic about them? New Jersey is not as lucky."
the balance between man & animal," Gillespie (the Rutgers
and the author of the book on the construction of the World Trade
Center) tells about towns at the Jersey shore, and McPhee is
by an excerpt from his book "The Pine Barrens." An essay on
sprawl by Owen D. Gutfreund contrasts with the 1992 position, taken
by futurist Joel Garreau, that New Jersey consists of "Edge
There are 10 fabulous portraits of athletes in Hamilton and Hightstown
by Nancianne Vizzini, an essay on how immigration affected New Jersey
by Linky, and a McPhee/Behan photo of the Trenton Makes bridge. The
big surprise, however, is a photo of a building on Cranbury-South
River Road. It is not labeled as such; it is merely identified as
being in South Brunswick.
But the street number shown on the building reveals that the occupying
company is Genesis Group Inc. Based in Chicago, it tripled its space
four years ago with a move from Edison and now employs 35 people, says
Michele A. Guariglia, the terminal manager (www.genesislogistics.com).
Among its clients for trucking and warehousing are American Express,
W.W. Grainger, and a host of pharmaceutical firms, such as Schering
This unusual 250,000 square-foot building, designed by Samuel
Alexander Klatskin, is curved and comes to a point at one end. It
serves as the entrance to the Forsgate Corporate Center, the kind of
corporate park that futurist Garreau writes about. An excerpt from his
1992 book, "Edge City: Life on the New Frontier," is reprinted
in this issue of Big. Among his observations:
as well as thousands of entrepreneurial startups. This is also the
state that gave birth to fiber optics, the transistor, the solar cell,
sound movies, the communications satellite, and evidentiary proof
of the Big Bang hypothesis of the origin of the universe. Yet all
this economic prowess, technological advancement, and urbanity has
been achieved without New Jersey’s having within its boundaries what
most people would consider even one major city. All this proves,
is that most Americans’ idea of what makes up a city no longer matches
reality, because it doesn’t encompass the central reality of New
"An old-fashioned downtown is only one way to think of a city.
In fact, it is only the 19th century vision. The edge cities of New
Jersey, instead, represent our new standard and are being copied all
over the world. Buildings rarely rise shoulder to shoulder. Instead,
their broad low outlines dot the landscape like mushrooms, separated
by greensward and parking lots. Their characteristic monument is not
a horse-mounted hero, but the atria reaching for the sun and shielding
trees perpetually in leaf at the cores of corporate headquarters,
fitness centers, and shopping plazas. Their landmark structure is
the celebrated single family detached dwelling, the suburban home
with grass all around that made America the best-housed civilization
the world has ever known.
"In the late 20th century, New Jersey’s edge cities grew more
rapidly and generated more jobs than the entire state of New York.
These edge cities now rise as their own commonwealth, from the one
in the Route 1-Princeton area to the office tower forest emerging
along interstates 80 and 287. New Jersey’s edge cities exemplify the
new mix of urbanity, demonstrating what people want, can afford, and
can stand. These edge cities, in fact, are the fruit of our attempt
to strike a delicate balance between the advantages and disadvantages
of 19th century cities and the opportunities and challenges of the
a collection of photographs by Trenton students in Young Audiences’
Ennis Beley project. "It was a thrill for these students to know
that someone had bothered to find out about their work," says
Christa Conklin of the Roszel Road-based Young Audiences of New
"They saw their work compared to that of other professional
and had their photos in a publication more far reaching than a local
— Barbara Fox
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