New Jersey to New Yorkers: Get out in time

With Main Street fuming at Wall Street, a New Jersey development across the Hudson River has one word for New Yorkers: Leave.

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    Newport, a New Jersey development across the Hudson River from Manhattan, is trying to lure New Yorkers away from the Big Apple with an ad creatively asking them to vamoose.
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A New Jersey development called Newport has a warning for New Yorkers: Get out while there's time.

In an online advertisement styled as a newspaper front page in the style of Gotham's Gray Lady, Newport spoofs wealthy New Yorkers like Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to make its point that life is cheaper in New Jersey.

"My solution to every problem the state has is to tax the holy bejeesus out of everyone in New York City, especially anyone with two nickels to rub together," a nameless mayor says in one piece. Later, he adds: "I hate success."

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Mr. Cuomo, for his part, plays the role of the "tanned and coifed" civil servant, breaking from prosecuting Wall Streets to sip champaign and admit, "I love the camera. And it sure does love me. This all part of my ‘War on anyone with an education and a job,’ and I’m winning.”

Clicking through the advertisement takes you to Newport's slick homepage. Boasting Manhattan-esque office and apartment buildings along with a short subway ride into the belly of the Big Apple, Newport, a part of Jersey City, says it is home to 30,000 "happy, productive, and appreciated residents, professionals and companies."

So should rich New Yorkers spread their high-thread count sheets in the Garden State? It's not as if surrounding areas haven't profited from New York's riches before. Swaths of New Jersey and Connecticut have seen terraced gardens and double-digit bedroom mansions bloom with dollars earned in the world's financial capital.

But Jersey City's got a long way to go as a destination for the wealthy. In 2009, Forbes ranked New York City 124 on its list of the best metro areas for business and careers. Newark, the metro area encompassing Newport, came in at 178. In Inc.com's 2008 ranking of the best cities to do business, New York came in at 130. Newark-Union lagged at 279.

In 2007, Forbes ranked New York America's fifth best city for the wealthy. No New Jersey locale could crack the Top 10 list.

While Newport officials didn't return an e-mail message asking for comment, the New York University graduate student who took the photo running "above the fold" in their advertisement did. Christy Thornton didn't know that her image, taken from her Flikr account, was being used for the ad. And while she wouldn't advocate heading through the Holland Tunnel for solace, perhaps some New Yorkers should take Newport up on its offer, she says.

"If they are the types who are afraid we might eat them," Ms. Thornton wrote, "then perhaps we'd all be better off if they decamped for the other side of the Hudson."

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David Grant is a Monitor contributor. You still have time, however, to follow us on Twitter.

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