Hot dogs to historic parks: 1st Look episode reveals New Jersey’s hidden gems

From hidden gems to major industry hubs, the “Choose New Jersey” episode of 1st Look offers a peek into what makes our state a great place to live, work, and play. The episode features guest host and New Jersey native Paul Costabile exploring some of the most unique locations New Jersey has to offer. Choose New Jersey worked with 1st Look to pick a few towns that represent what makes New Jersey so special. This isn’t the place you think you know! This is New Jersey. 

1st Look’s tour of New Jersey includes stops at:

West Orange 

A fantastic place to raise a family, West Orange has a unique charm and thriving arts scene that has delighted its diverse residents for generations. The town is home to an important part of New Jersey’s history: the Thomas Edison National Historical Park, which houses various artifacts from one of the world’s most renowned inventors, including the phonograph. In West Orange, you’ll also find the famous Jimmy Buff’s Italian Hot Dogs, a culinary staple of New Jersey. 


Maplewood is a vibrant and inviting town with attractions to suit all tastes and a great place to raise your family. It’s a destination known for its cultural diversity, literary heritage, and unique charm. Visitors can explore an array of independent boutiques, trendy cafes, eateries, small art galleries, and more in the downtown area — including Words Bookstore, an award-winning independent bookstore. 

Atlantic City 

Atlantic City may be best known for its thrilling nightlife and casinos, but it offers much more. The city is home to major tech companies, eSports innovations, and is the epicenter of offshore wind in the state. The Atlantic City boardwalk, which includes iconic venues like Boardwalk Hall, is ranked #1 in the country. FAA William J. Hughes Technical Center, the #1 ranked aviation research facility in the U.S., is also in Atlantic City. 

New Brunswick 

In New Brunswick, you’ll find the world headquarters of major companies like Johnson & Johnson, innovative spaces like the HELIX, and the higher education powerhouse that is Rutgers University. The Rutgers University football stadium, which hosted the country’s first-ever intercollegiate football game, is located here, as is the Crossroads Theatre Company, the first and only Black theater to receive a Tony Award. Plus, New Brunswick’s bustling downtown is a great place to shop and dine. 


Lambertville is a small, vibrant town set alongside the Delaware River. It’s known for its old-world charm and quaint downtown, which has become a renowned arts and antique scene. Lambertville was even named the “Antiques Capital of New Jersey” and named Destination of the Year for 2023 by Jersey’s Best Magazine. In Lambertville, you can find unique shops with hand-crafted items by local artists and RAGO, the largest auction house in New Jersey. 

Check out the most recent 1st Look episode here:

Previous 1st Look Episode

In 2021, “1st Look” featured New Jersey in another episode. In it, host Johnny Bananas visits a nonprofit educational institution that provides students with an International Baccalaureate English-Chinese immersion curriculum, grabs a cup of coffee with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, relaxes with local Cape May locals, and more. 

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