Mystery solved: ‘Welcome to Central Jersey’ sign creator says it was to prove a point to his sisters
Earlier this week, News 12’s Brian Donohue came across a mysterious “Welcome to Central Jersey” road sign while traveling down Route 33 in Millstone.
That sign, which seemingly ends the longtime debate about if Central New Jersey is actually a thing, was eventually removed from Route 33 by crews with the New Jersey Department of Transportation. So, Donohue made it his mission to find out where the sign came from.
Like most good stories, it started in a bar. It was the local “watering hole” of Greg Bellotti, a Jersey City native who now lives in Millstone.
“It’s a terrible thing when people who are not well-traveled believe that North Jersey is the center of the world,” Bellotti says.
Bellotti says that the signs have a very specific target – his two sisters who still live in North Jersey and who say anything south of the Raritan River is “South Jersey.”
“They've grown up there, they live there, they've raised their families there. But they're really not intelligent enough to look at the data and understand that it is pork roll and there is Central Jersey,” Bellotti says.
The Monmouth County man says that he was venting one day about his sisters’ ignorance to his friends at his private whiskey club he built when the idea of road signs came up. Through the miracle of internet shopping, a box of 25 signs $50 apiece- was soon on his doorstep.
“I gave them to a few people who happened to be at the club and I think a lot of them are now in hiding. And it will be interesting to see over the next couple of months, or possibly during the summer, where they pop up,” Bellotti says.
He says that he is not sure who exactly hung the sign up on Route 33, but he says that it was perfectly placed so that his sisters would have to drive past it on their way to his house.
“With two sisters, I may have to put up more money, but I will put up as much as I possibly can to prove the point that Central Jersey exists and there is a north, central and a south,” Bellotti says.
Neither of Bellotti’s sisters agreed to be interviewed for this story. But one sister – Christine Palumbo – did tell Donohue, “My brother is insane.”
Bellotti says he's not sure whether he will reclaim the sign taken down by the state. They have given him 30 days to pick it up. But he says that there are still about 20 more out there that could pop up again somewhere.