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20 Years Strong
Celebrating two decades of South Jersey Magazine

by Staff

It’s hard to believe, but South Jersey Magazine is marking its 20th anniversary this month. It’s quite the accomplishment, and so we are in an overly celebratory mood. For 240 issues, month after month, you have allowed us into your homes and we are forever grateful. It’s because of our loyal readers that we have had the opportunity to grow and evolve as a publication over these many years. Of course, longevity is the reward of hard work and dedication, and that is exactly what our talented staff prides itself on. From our humble beginnings to now, being both creative and consistent has allowed us to stay ahead of the curve and raise the bar.

As we reflect back in this special issue, we take a look at some of the highlights that have stood out over the years. From celebrity interviews to hard-hitting stories that impact our communities, we think you’ll enjoy this trip down memory lane. While we’re not ready to turn the page just yet, you can rest assured we are already envisioning what the next 20 years will look like. We look forward to you continuing to join us on the journey.


Memorable Moments

From thought-provoking pieces to celebrity interviews, a look back at 20 of our favorite stories

November 2004
Remarkable Restaurants
South Jersey gourmands know how much we love covering food and during the magazine’s first year we took a look at some of our favorite restaurants. This culinary celebration would eventually morph to become our yearly Golden Fork awards, recognizing the area’s top fine dining destinations.

July 2005
Best of the Best
A little over a year into the publication’s existence, we unveiled our first-ever Best of the Best list. Spotlighting the best food and drink items, retail shops, beauty treatments and more, our annual guide to the good stuff has become one of the most anticipated issues every year since.

November 2005
Mike Wallace
The late investigative journalist spoke with us ahead of his appearance at the Katz JCC in Cherry Hill. When asked how he’d like to be remembered, Wallace said “Tough—but fair … it seems to me, that any reporter worth his salt would be proud to have that said about him.”

July 2006
Flight 93 
We talked with Medford resident J.J. Johnson about his role in the film United 93. The real-life pilot was approached by directors to audition for the film, something he didn’t believe when he received the random phone call. “I really believed it was all a practical joke,” Johnson said.

August 2006
Bobby Flay
Perhaps the most famous celebrity chef in modern times, Flay donned his chef whites for our cover story about his then-new venture in Atlantic City, Bobby Flay Steak at the Borgata. He would appear in the magazine again a few times over the years, including sharing his favorite burger recipe with readers.

September 2007
Public High School Report Card
For the first time, we examined how our public high schools stack up in key statistical areas, including average SAT score, percentage of graduates attending college and more. Over the years, we’ve expanded this report to include more schools and more information, using data gleaned from the New Jersey Department of Education.

November 2008
Ali Larter
Cherry Hill’s Ali Larter appears on the cover as the star of NBC’s Heroes. Of course, she may still be better remembered for one unforgettable scene in Varsity Blues. In 2019, Larter penned her own piece for the magazine in our Getting Personal section, offering a glimpse into her life away from the spotlight.

March 2010
From Famine to Family
The 2003 case of four boys being starved in their Collingswood home sent shockwaves through the nation and changed child protection services forever. We visited with the boys and their new family and found the kids to be in good health and excelling in school and socially.

November 2010
Taylor Swift
Pop music megastar Taylor Swift was more than willing to share her fond memories of summers spent in Stone Harbor and her experience growing up in the public eye. Since then, Swift’s star has only gotten brighter as she has now sold approximately 280 million records worldwide.

July 2014
The Latin Legend
The late Randy Alexander, a longtime music publicist based in South Jersey, took a deep dive look at the history of the famed Latin Casino. He spoke with some of the artists who performed at the legendary venue, as well as frequent attendees, to relay their memories of the Cherry Hill hotspot that hosted some of the biggest names in entertainment during its nearly two-decade run.

December 2015
Fashion Report
We had an absolute blast with this issue getting some of the most beloved female Philadelphia newscasters together for a winter fashion shoot. Channel 6 meteorologist Cecily Tynan graced our cover, but the shoot also featured Fox 29’s Alex Holley, CBS 3’s Kate Bilo and NBC 10’s Jessica Boyington.

June 2017
The Opioid Crisis
From first-person accounts to medical experts, we explored the dark and dangerous road to opioid addiction and where it all started. Unfortunately, this issue continues to plague the country at an alarming rate thanks to fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.

November 2017
Miles Teller
The Hollywood star chatted with us about his Cape May roots, being a huge Philadelphia sports fan and why he prefers films that challenge audiences. Since our conversation, Teller has become an even bigger box office draw, most notably starring in the highly touted Top Gun: Maverick alongside Tom Cruise.   

April 2020
The world came to a screeching halt in the middle of March 2020. As we began to pick up the pieces and adjust to an uncomfortable new normal, the magazine took a closer look at how the region was responding in a time of crisis. From inspiring tales of togetherness to the dedicated health care professionals who worked around the clock to treat this new disease, South Jersey saw plenty of folks rise to the occasion.

May 2020
Bryce Harper
In the midst of the pandemic and just before what would be one of the stranger baseball seasons in history, we had the chance to speak to Phillies superstar Bryce Harper. The two-time MVP spoke with us about being a first-time father, embracing the Philly sports fans and his love affair with food. Harper has lived up to his billing and then some, propelling the Phillies to the World Series in 2022 and helping the team become one of the best squads in all of baseball.

March 2021
A Burning Desire
On the heels of the state legalizing recreational marijuana for adult use, we spoke to lawmakers, legal minds and other officials to find out how this new marketplace would take shape. While things got off to a slow start, the industry has been gaining steam of late and recently surpassed $2 billion in both medical and recreational sales in the last six years. What’s more, there are now more than 100 dispensaries located in the Garden State.

August 2021
Ready to Take Flight
In this issue we profiled Jalen Hurts as he entered his second season with the Eagles and his first as the starting quarterback. It would wind up being a magical season for the Texas native, as he would lead the team to a 14-1 season and a trip to Super Bowl. Though the team ultimately fell short in the big game, the Eagles continue to have a bright future thanks to Hurts establishing himself as one of the league’s most talented young players. 

October 2021
A Big Loss
When Big Daddy Graham began writing a column for the magazine, we thought it would be well-received, but we had no idea just how much he would connect with readers. Each month, his comedic charm was on full display in his heartfelt columns that often put a smile on your face when you needed it most. Even when he became paralyzed and found himself in the hospital for several months, he never missed a deadline. His passing in 2021 was difficult for his many fans, and certainly our staff. We continue to honor his memory and we encourage you to go online and revisit some of his work.

April 2023
School Safety
With school shootings continuing to be an issue across the country, we dialogued with numerous administrators from across South Jersey to find out what measures were being taken to protect students locally. South Jersey’s school districts have thoughtfully and strategically revisited, revised and reinforced the safety measures and security protocols intended to ensure that a major tragedy doesn’t happen right in our own backyard.

July 2023
Out of Control
In this issue, we tackled the subject of out-of-control parents at youth sporting events. From verbally abusing officials to unthinkable physical confrontations, it’s clear that the negative behavior is having a noticeable impact on youth sports. As a result, several sports programs across South Jersey towns have enacted new rules and regulations for fan behavior, with Deptford Little League going as far as to force unruly parents to either suit up and umpire themselves of face a year-long ban. 


In Their Own Words

Twenty years’ worth of memorable quotes from our pages

“I’m still 25 years old in my head. You just have to avoid mirrors. When we walk on that stage, we’re 16; we’re 22. You get back to that same feeling when you were a kid. That doesn’t change.”

“The people on television every day like myself become close friends. When I’m in the Cherry Hill Mall and people want to say hello or take a selfie, it’s so gratifying when they appreciate what you do. We’ve become members of the family because we are brought into their living room every night.”

“When people come to my show they are going to see my heart on my sleeve. I’m an ordinary guy who lives in this world and gets upset with stuff, I fall in love with stuff. I try my best to make the world a better place for me and my kids and everyone’s grandchildren.”

“I did some school plays, and I always liked to write poetry and songs and stuff when I was a kid, and I really loved music. My mom instilled a love of music in me because she sang around the house all the time and was always listening to music, and I read a lot. I still read a lot; I’m a huge lover of books. I think all those things combined probably unwittingly sort of built my appreciation for the arts.”

“It’s very rewarding for people to associate you with the ballpark. I love the Phillies so much and I’m flattered when people link me to the club and the ballpark and it makes me feel very proud. I just enjoy it so much and I think one of the things that fans appreciate is that enjoyment comes across in my announcing style because one of the things I’m trying to do is convey to the fans how much fun it is for us to be there and watch baseball.”

“From the beginning of my career, everything has been pretty well mapped out. When I would release an album, I pretty much knew what the next two years of my life would look like. To be one of the countless artists sidelined [by the pandemic], every one of us who has been lucky enough to be in front of an audience again, we’re all just coming at this from an enormous amount of shellshocked gratitude.”

“My father, Max Rosenthal, was very funny and I don’t think I would be here if my dad wasn’t funny. My mom, Helen, saw him tell some jokes back when he was a teenager and she fell in love with his sense of humor. It was probably a very old joke that he got from Henny Youngman.”

“Nobody goes into radio thinking they are going to do 33 years on one radio station at one day part. I got really lucky being in the right city with a loyal fan base that kept me in the business a lot longer than I could’ve ever imagined.”

“[The Sopranos] was very cinematic and it was also appointment television, where so many of us got together on Sunday nights to have dinner with family and friends and share the experience. So, that makes it more of a show; it’s a memory of their life when they watched it.”

“To have that bond with the fans is the best part. … When we win, the fans win. When we lose, the fans lose. I love that. The little kids screaming after I make a play, those are the moments that you cherish. You owe them your best. Every time I run onto that field, it’s for my teammates and myself, but it’s also for that little kid in the front row and the whole city. We are in this together. We need them and they need us; it’s all of us as one.”

“As part of my dream of being an actor, I was a member of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals at Harvard. It is a well- known musical theater troupe that gives both a ‘Man of the Year’ and ‘Woman of the Year’ award every year. In my senior year, the man of the year was Robert DeNiro and the woman of the year was Candice Bergen. I met them both and even took Candice to class, which was a top-five day of my life.

“I’m very happy because I’ve been through a lot in Philly and to have a play that helped win a Super Bowl, it was the best feeling. The fans, the real love that they show, you could feel that. The people that I’ve met, the stories I heard, what a Super Bowl meant to certain people, when you see how deep it really is, you have a little more appreciation of the situation. Over the years, I’m thankful to be able to hear some of the stories that came out of this. I know that the Eagles definitely mean something to this city.”

“It was such an idyllic childhood. I have such fond memories of growing up in Jersey. I grew up in Cherry Hill and we grew up in this amazing little home and our dog would walk my sister and me to school and we’d ride our bikes over the covered bridge. My childhood for me was so much about playing sports and my dad coaching those teams and coming home and family dinners and nights out eating pizza. I think South Jersey is such an incredible place to grow up and raise children.”

“I loved growing up with sand in between my toes and tangled saltwater hair. I loved running around Stone Harbor with my little brother, walking up and down 96th Street exploring. We used to go out in the inlet on our boat and find islands to spend the day on. I look back on my childhood in Stone Harbor, and not only do I smile, I burst out laughing.”

“You know, I’ve been all over and the Jersey Shore is the only place in the world where people say they are going ‘down the Shore.’ No one else says that anywhere!”

“We’d drive down [to Ocean City] for the day and go to 34th Street, to the little hamburger stand there, and have lunch on the beach. And then, you know the Weymouth Stream? On the way back we’d stop and take off the sand in this freshwater stream. I have a lot of wonderful memories about being with my grandparents; they’d take me to Steel Pier and to ride the rolling carts on the Boardwalk [in Atlantic City].”

“The time we spent at the Shore, it was great. There was one year, for Nights in Venice, it was my freshman year of college. I was on a float with 16 guys dressed in togas and we had two kegs and we were Mr. Nights in Venice [laughs]. It was one of those crazy moments, but all those memories as a kid growing up, it kind of grows and the memories get better.”

“New Jersey is home. I have had houses in other states, but home is Jersey and that is where I know.”

“In the city you have lights and stop lights. Out here, you have lights and the moon. … Maybe the person behind the register may notice me, or one or two people come in and say, ‘I hear you were [living] back there.’ But I don't think anybody is star struck. They see me in passing and see me as a neighbor.”

“I had every job in Ocean City; my parents bought a house there while I was in high school. I worked at The Chatterbox, a great place to work. I worked at a couple of gas stations, one on 34th Street … I worked at Watson’s, too. My brother and I probably spent more time in New Jersey than Philly. We’d end up staying up all night, go to the dunes until 3 a.m., and then go to work at six, that’s how you lived.”

“I’ve been to places all over the world, and our beaches are some of the most beautiful.”

“There was a singing joint, Frank Sinatra used to perform there [the Latin Casino in Cherry Hill]. I saw Ray Charles there when I was 15. I shouldn’t have gotten in! I wore a brown velvet dress and danced on the table tops.”

“You go into these small towns, and each one has got its farmer’s market and its coffee shop. What I appreciate the most, I love history, and in Philly and South Jersey there is tons of history. You forget living out West how old our country is.”

“I’m proud to see whenever someone from the East Coast makes it, especially from South Jersey.”

“I got to Atlantic City in 1997. It wasn’t about food; it was about money. People started to say they wanted better restaurants. The past 20 years have been amazing there, they are a food destination now. People are demanding better things now. You can’t get away with just a mediocre cheesesteak.”

“In high school I used to go to the Country Club Diner after class almost every day. But I’m told that it’s, sadly, no longer around. We would also hang out in the parking lot of the Wawa in Holly Ravine. I can’t even remember what we did—I think we would all just show up there and then talk about what we should do. Very glamorous!”

“A lot of times for me there’s a subtlety when you hear someone tell a story. I was at a dinner party once and this woman told a story, it was very interesting but it went nowhere.

I told her it was very interesting but asked her if I could tell her how to tell it. You need a great intro to draw everyone in. And then it needs an arc and in my opinion, it has to have one flip of the switch that you didn’t see coming. And more importantly, every story needs an ending. Everyone messes up there, you need [the audience] to know the story is over. I’m not perfect with coming up with endings, I acknowledge it. I chew over it like sunflower seeds nonstop.”

“My favorite songs are ones that speak to the things that we feel in our hearts and that we all have in common—songs that relate to the experiences that we all share together, the greatest one being love. Some of my favorites are ‘Love Is a Many Splendored Thing,’ ‘I Only Have Eyes for You,’ ‘When I Fall in Love’ and especially ‘Till.’”

“It reminds me of when I first saw magic and I lost my parents and just that moment of forgetting all your problems. What else is cool is when you are walking through an airport in a random state and someone says, ‘Hey, it’s not just the magic, it’s what you say and you are a positive influence for me and my kids.’”

“I wake up at 3 a.m. for work. I always think it’s funny that people say someone wakes up “bright and early”... because in all actuality when I wake up it’s STILL dark and early!”

“The first time we played in Camden was the first time we knew ‘Meet Virginia’ had a chance to be a hit. We were playing at a festival and I remember someone saying, don’t call it Philadelphia. This is New Jersey.”

“As an actor, there’s no retirement plan, you hope you can continue working. After being on such well-written shows like Everybody Loves Raymond and The Middle, I thought it was going to be difficult to find something that was fresh and was well written.”

“I don’t think ‘Smooth’ is the best song I’ve ever written or the best song he’s ever done, but it was the right song and the right time. Obviously it was a big help for me and a big help for Carlos to help him connect with a new audience. [The song] is very special for those reasons.”

“Honestly outside of Orlando, the Jersey Shore in the summertime is one of my favorite places. I went to college at Valencia and USF, and especially at USF three quarters of my class were from Philly and Jersey. I always had a close connection to the people up there. I love Jersey.”

“But I like true stories and I actually like doing dramatic roles or doing a dramatic movie and adding a little comedy to it. I actually prefer to do that rather than like a straight-out comedy because, for me, I get my fill of comedy through stand-up. And to do a dramatic piece is a nice change for me because I’m not a real life-of-the-party type of guy. I’m not always trying to make people laugh.”

“It’s awesome being married to Julie, being able to support the people we love doing what they love to do. I’ve seen all the work she does each and every day and I’ve seen all the adversity she’s faced over the past seven years we’ve been together. I’ve seen the injuries. I’ve seen her cry. I’ve seen the blood. I’ve seen the tears. Because she loves the game, I’m so invested in seeing her succeed.”

“I already know I’m living a dream, so the appreciation and gratitude are there, and from that, the energy comes. … Nothing wears you out more than when you become ungrateful and you don’t want to be where you are. You have no energy, and you start to feel kind of low. So I’m just going to keep doing what I love, and it feels so amazing that I could literally go on forever.”

“Marlton Village, my hand was shaking, I thought I signed my life away. It was $30,000 for a little townhouse, just starting my life.”

“When I was in high school, the only place I ever went on vacation was the beach from Asbury Park on down further south. I also babysat for two lovely couples in Long Beach Island; I was an au pair for the summer. I love it there; it’s so beautiful and has really gorgeous beaches. That was a lot of fun. I’ve visited farms all over the state from South Jersey to the north. I’m interested in growing things and New Jersey farmers know how to grow so well, from tomatoes to peas and onions. I also love the Pine Barrens.”

“Eventually knew we would make this our home. Not only from a sports side, but from a people side. We’ve felt there were incredible people in South Jersey. There was a certain feeling of community that we really liked. Our kids went to Eastern High School … the environment created in South Jersey for myself and my family was tremendous, and it served us all well. We knew a long time ago this would be home for us.”

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Published and copyrighted in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 21, Issue 1 (April 2024)

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