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When I was a kid, my dad used to make us listen to Bruce Springsteen records while we pulled weeds in the driveway in the summer. I loved Billy Joel and Jackson Browne and Jim Croce and the Eagles and I hated pulling weeds and Bruce Springsteen. Once, having breakfast at my best friend’s house after a sleepover when we were around ten, her dad—a true-blue New Yorker transplant in suburban Boston—played a song...
It’s become a tradition for me; whenever I leave my hometown to head back to Brooklyn, I listen to “Thunder Road.” I grew up in New Jersey, in an area I like to describe as “the place that Bruce Springsteen sang about leaving.” Every time I drive away, or my train on the New Jersey Transit Central Jersey Coast line pulls out of the station, it feels like another successful escape. Bruce makes it seem...
You probably were expecting Bruce Springsteen's name here, or Frank Sinatra's, or any musician who paid their dues in the Garden State to make it big enough to cross the Hudson. New Jersey is filled with streets named after rock stars, and we tend to mythologize the hometown heroes who sing about surviving the state. I grew up around the interactive Bruce Springsteen museum known as Asbury Park, New Jersey. His tributes to my...
Sometimes on nice days I skip my transfer to the G train. I walk from the 7 train stop at Vernon Jackson over the Pulaski Bridge and do the same on the way home. One night, instead of the usual throngs of bikers, runners and commuters traipsing over the bridge, I found everyone standing still, watching fireworks light up the sky over the city and murmuring to each other about what the occasion might...

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