New Jersey Monthly’s Book of Records

The Garden State's biggest, boldest and one-of-a-kind feats and wonders

Illustration of man holding giant weight above his head

Illustration by John S. Dykes

New Jersey’s tallest building, biggest restaurant appetizer, youngest member of the high-IQ society Mensa—New Jersey Monthly’s new Book of Records, which we are excited to present to you, has all of that and so much more.

To create this comprehensive list, the editors at NJM scoured the state for the biggest, boldest and one-of-a-kind wonders and feats among our state’s people and places.

We hope you enjoy reading our Book of Records as much as we enjoyed putting it together!



The giant mozzarella stick at the Brookdale in Bloomfield

At the Brookdale in Bloomfield, the staggering mozzarella stick weighs one full pound. Photo by Georgia Kral

The Big Cheese isn’t your diner standby. This mozzarella stick is more like a log, weighing in at 1 pound and requiring a fork and knife to eat. But when you encounter the crispy, cheesy, hilariously out-of-proportion item on the menu at the Brookdale in Bloomfield, order it—health concerns be damned. More than anything, it’s fun and intended to garner gasps and social media shares. The bonus, of course, is that it’s delicious. Then again, how could a pound of fried cheese not be? —Georgia Kral


When he worked on the Ligurian coast of Italy, chef Joseph Voller learned to make mugnaia, a single strand of sauced pasta curled into a mound weighing about half a pound. “I use a mix of three flours, from soft to hard wheat, so it’s stretchable but keeps its bite,” he says. “It’s handmade, time-consuming, tough on the hands and forearms, but sauced with different peppers, it’s delicious.” Voller is making the dish at his new post at the Jasper Stone Italian Steakhouse in Monroe. —Eric Levin


The subterranean wine-storage area at Restaurant Latour

The subterranean wine-storage area at Restaurant Latour measures almost a square acre. Photo courtesy of Restaurant Latour

Serving NJM Top 30-listed Restaurant Latour and the rest of the sprawling Crystal Springs Resort in Hamburg, a subterranean wine-storage area measures almost a square acre and contains about 45,000 bottles. “Our list is known for French—white and red Burgundy, Bordeaux, the Rhone, the Loire and champagne,” says wine director Susanne Wagner, who conducts lively tastings for guests. “But we’re also excellent in Italian and domestic, the Finger Lakes, and New Jersey. Ventimiglia in Wantage makes an excellent cabernet franc—balanced, elegant, classic.” The most expensive bottle is an $82,500 magnum of red Château Latour from 1900 (a magnum equals two standard bottles). The oldest bottle, meanwhile, is a Château Latour from 1888, which costs $15,000 for a standard bottle. —EL


It’s not hard to find a good bar in Hoboken. The Mile Square City, as it has been nicknamed, actually occupies 1.25 square miles and is home to more than 120 drinking establishments. From Irish pubs like Finnegan’s and Mulligan’s to sophisticated cocktail bars like the Sinatra Room Speakeasy and the Stingray Lounge, there’s a drinking establishment for everyone. —Shelby Vittek


In 1742, when Ebenezer Byram built Mendham’s Black Horse Tavern & Pub, the tavern served the likes of George Washington, while what is now the pub was used as stables. These days, cars have replaced horses, but good service and reliable chow remain for the state’s oldest continuously-serving restaurant. (The upscale tavern is currently only open for private events, while the family-friendly pub serves everything from burgers to fried chicken.) “Being a small town, you look for something significant or unique that puts you on the map,” says Mayor Christine Serrano Glassner. “So to have this building still in existence continues to tell…that historic story for Mendham.” —Julie Gordon


Somewhere in Ridgefield, Bergen County—that’s your only clue to where the state’s most exclusive dining experience, Sushi By Sea, is. Only 12 people are invited to each seating of this 16-course omakase dinner. Those wanting to enter the secret sushi club can register online at (and cross their fingers for an invite!). Once selected, you will be given the exact address of the dinner. But remember, no one likes a tattletale. —Maggie Leenas

March 2023 cover of New Jersey Monthly

Buy our March 2023 issue here. Cover illustration by Mary Kate McDevitt


For the biggest and booziest, find your way to Cellar 335 in Jersey City—and bring a few friends. Full of rum, absinthe, cinnamon and Angostura bitters, the Zombie Priest Punch (serves 2-3, $40) is elaborately garnished with a pineapple top and comes in a bowl, not a glass. And that’s not the only multiple-straw concoction the modern tiki bar offers. There’s also the Oaxacan Tiki Hut, served in a conch shell-shaped glass and featuring mezcal, rum and amaro, as well as the rum- and Cognac-ridden Scorpion’s Tail—each designed to be shared. —SV


The Jersey mini-chain Cookie Connect concocts some intense cookies—cinnamon roll (topped with Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal), salted caramel pretzel, apple pie—but the most inspired is the stuffed peanut butter cup. Yes, a Reese’s is stuffed inside cookie dough, and it’s as gooey, delicious and over-the-top as it sounds. —GK


With its closest neighbor a pet cemetery about a half-mile east, Lucille’s Luncheonette in Warren Grove, deep in the Pine Barrens, has been serving hearty breakfasts and lunches since 1975. After founder Lucille Bates died in 2016, her daughter, Karen Flynn, took over with her sister, Diane Brown. “We’ve had a lot of retirees, truckers and widowers who meet here every day for brunch,” says Brown. “We lost a number of them over Covid, but we’re hanging in there.” —Jill P. Capuzzo



Telina Cuppari among some of her pizza memorabilia

Telina Cuppari’s pizza-centric collection includes books, toys, mugs, jewelry, clothing, dolls and much, much more. Photo by Chris Buck

To say that Telina Cuppari of Kenilworth loves pizza is an understatement. Cuppari is so into slices that she has filled her home with more than 800 pizza collectibles—and even holds the Guinness World Record for the most pizza-related items. “My husband said, ‘I lost my garage, I lost my attic; our dining room is a pizza-themed dining room,’” the mom of two says with a laugh. Some of her favorite pieces include a gown by Union designer ModMara by Faraj Couture, a pizza-shaped eyeshadow palette, and a shower curtain that features a sloth, dinosaur and pizza. Read more about Cuppari here—JG


At 7 years old, Amogh Banagere of Millburn is the youngest member of Mensa in New Jersey. But the youngster is an old pro in the lauded high-IQ society, having joined at age 5 with an IQ of 148. His mother, Swathi Jayanth, says Mensa allows him to “harness his high intelligence for the betterment of society” and meet like-minded peers. Some of Bangere’s hobbies are chess, guitar and reading. He read 135 books last year alone! —Thomas Neira


Carl Lewis, 61, is arguably the greatest track-and-field athlete to ever grace the Olympic stage, but many seem to forget about his Garden State origins. The “Olympian of the Century” first competed for Willingboro High School, and his nine gold medals and one silver medal in the ’90s make him the most decorated Olympian in Jersey history. —TN


A young Marley Dias stands surrounded by piles of books

In 2015, Marley Dias campaigned to collect 1,000 books with a Black girl as the protagonist. Today, Marley has collected nearly 14,000 books. Photo by Erin O’Brien

Kudos for the longest book drive ever go to Marley Dias. In November 2015, as a pre-teen, this West Orange resident made an offhand remark to her mom about how few books she read in school that featured Black girls as the protagonist. In response to Marley’s  frequently quoted remark, “I’m tired of reading books about white boys and their dogs,” Marley’s mom, Janice Johnson Dias, who runs a public health and social action nonprofit, challenged her with, “What are you going to do about it?” What she did was set an ambitious goal to collect 1,000 books featuring Black girls by February 2016. Marley’s efforts went viral, and she neatly exceeded her goal. Today, thanks to her website, the initiative has collected more than 14,000 books. Read more about Dias here. —Deborah P. Carter


Frank Vacca has the sharpest tongue in Jersey. He broke the Guinness World Record for tongue piercings in 2012 with a whopping 16 piercings, then beat that record by increasing his tally to 20 in 2017. Vacca plans to break his record yet again this year at Invisibleself Body Art in Lyndhurst. “From time to time, I like to test the boundaries on how many I can fit,” he says. —TN 


As the saying goes, it’s an honor just to be nominated for an Oscar. For Meryl Streep, that’s been true—21 times. America’s most celebrated actress caught the bug playing a robot in a fifth-grade play, then starred in musicals at Bernardsville’s Bernards High School. Fast-forward 50 years, and this Jersey girl has earned the most Oscar noms of any actor ever. She’s won three times, as has New Jersey native Jack Nicholson of Neptune City; Katharine Hepburn holds the record for most acting Oscars with four. —JG


World War II veteran Vito Perillo, 98, who was reelected mayor of Tinton Falls in 2021, is thought to be the oldest person in Jersey history ever to hold the position of mayor. And when he turns 100 in September 2024, he’ll break the same record for U.S. history. Perillo has said that his current four-year term will be his final one. —Jennifer Finn



Membership in Pine Valley, in the sandy pine barrens southeast of Collingswood, is by invitation only. Only members (including women, since late 2021) and their guests can play. Be careful what you wish for. Pine Valley is considered one of the most difficult courses in the world: gaping bunkers everywhere, fiendish greens, and no carts. You’re walking, mostly up and down hills. Have a nice day. —EL


RPM Raceway in Jersey City

Jersey City’s RPM Raceway recently unveiled a multimillion-dollar renovation. Photo courtesy of RPM Raceway

Race over to Jersey City’s RPM Raceway, where the longest go-kart track in the world is ready after a six-month, multimillion-dollar renovation. Unveiled in January, the multilevel, 2,200-foot track features a 72-second lap time that speed demons will love. Once drivers are done tearing up the track, they can check out the venue’s virtual reality experiences, bowling and more. There’s also the RPM Bar & Grill—just don’t drink and drive! —Gary Phillips


The Mall at Short Hills

Shop until you drop in Short Hills. Photo courtesy of the Mall at Short Hills

The Mall at Short Hills is home to a seemingly endless row of high-end department stores and designer boutiques, including Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Gucci and Chanel. Even the food court is gourmet (called Primo Mercato, it features Italian artisanal food stations and cocktails). Of course, valet parking is available. The mall is so tony that, in the past, the ATM only gave $50 bills. If the prices are too high, window shop or people watch. —Jacqueline Mroz


Whoever heard of taking a shuttle bus to get from one end of the beach to the ocean? But that’s what some people do in Wildwood—the widest beach in New Jersey at 500 yards (or five football fields). Wildwood is the state’s only beach that isn’t threatened with shoreline retreat, giving beachgoers more room to spread out. That means no jockeying for the perfect spot. —JM


The home of the Jets and Giants since 2010, East Rutherford’s MetLife Stadium is not just the biggest stadium in New Jersey, it’s the biggest of all NFL venues, with capacity for 82,500 people on game days. The 2.1 million-square-foot outdoor stadium, which cost $1.6 billion, can also accommodate 50,000 people for most concerts. No doubt aided by its size, the stadium is a finalist to host soccer matches for the FIFA World Cup 2026; MetLife also hosted the first outdoor, cold-weather Super Bowl in 2014. —GP


Located in Flemington, Northlandz features the world’s largest model railroad, which measures over 8 miles long and occupies a spot in Guinness World Records. With perfectly replicated trains chugging by mini-mountains, forests, tunnels, bridges, towns and more, patrons can immerse themselves in an entire world that’s been scaled down more than a few sizes, yet is realistic and detailed. —GP   


In 2017, the Liberty Science Center entered the big leagues with the addition of the $5 million Jennifer Chalsty Planetarium—not only the largest planetarium in New Jersey, but the biggest in the entire United States. Stargazers experience the state-of-the-art, 89-foot full-dome view of the night sky, distant galaxies and themed laser shows from the Jersey City-based interactive museum (which made NJM’52 Things You Must Do in New Jersey list). —Jacqueline Larcara


Like millions of others, Becky and Frank Gabriele and Sharon and Bob Voelzke discovered a love for pickleball after the pandemic started, playing the mix of tennis, table tennis and badminton in their cul-de-sac almost daily. Last year, the couples opened Mercer Bucks Pickleball Club in Ewing. The 26,000-square-foot space is the Northeast’s largest pickleball facility. It boasts nine courts and hosts open play, tournaments, lessons and more. “Pickleball is not and should not be an intimidating sport,” says Becky. “It’s a very social sport.” —GP



Adventure Aquarium’s Shark Realm exhibit, which mostly features sandbar and sand tiger sharks, holds 550,000 gallons of water. Photo courtesy of Adventure Aquarium

Camden’s Adventure Aquarium boasts more than 15,000 aquatic animals and the largest collection of sharks in New Jersey and the entire Northeast. Multiple exhibits, including the aptly named Shark Realm, feature the creatures. Kids can also get acquainted with small bamboo sharks in the touch tank, while the more daring patrons aged 12 and up can swim with sandbar and sand tiger sharks (and some stingrays) during a $190 encounter. —GP


Located at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, Kingda Ka is the tallest roller coaster in the world. With a maximum height of 456 feet—or 45 stories—plus the ability to go from 0 to 128 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds, as well as a 270-degree spiral, this 3,118-foot-long, 50-second ride has never been for the faint of heart since opening in 2005. And if the king of coasters isn’t enough, Six Flags unveiled the Jersey Devil, the world’s tallest, fastest and longest single-rail coaster, in 2021. Read more about Jersey roller coasters here—GP



At 900 feet, Jersey City’s 99 Hudson Street is the tallest building in New Jersey and one of the tallest in the country. The 79-story luxury high-rise on the waterfront, which began construction in 2016, replaced the 781-foot-tall Goldman Sachs Tower, also in Jersey City, as the Garden State’s tallest. Opulent condos look out at the Manhattan skyline, and the area below features 7,500 square feet of plazas and more. —GP


With the goal of keeping sand out of rail cars and hotel lobbies, construction of the Atlantic City Boardwalk began in 1870. The raised, wood-planked structure became a popular place to see and be seen in the Victorian era. Over the years, the Boardwalk has undergone five reconstructions to address damage and development. Originally, it was 8 feet wide and 1 mile long; now the iconic structure spans just over 4 miles and is 60 feet wide. Walking it scored a spot on our Jersey Shore bucket list.—DPC


Snow and rain are expected parts of life here in New Jersey, but which area gets the most of the white and the wet each year? The Newark region, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Average annual snowfall is 31.5 inches, and average annual precipitation is 46.6 inches. —TN


Clinton’s Red Mill Museum Village, which has graced the cover of New Jersey Monthly, is said to be the most photographed place in New Jersey—and for good reason. The historic building, dating back to 1810, is set on the banks of the Raritan River, with sweeping views of a waterfall, nature and beautiful old buildings providing a picture-perfect backdrop. We’re particularly fond of the area at holiday time, when the Festival of Trees turns it into a winter wonderland. —JG


As we once memorably declared on our cover, “Traffic is endless. Potholes devour tires. Bridges are crumbling. Dollars for repairs are scarce. And that’s just part of why NJ roads suck.” So it is no surprise that Jersey’s worst traffic bottleneck is the country’s worst, per the American Transportation Research Institute. The location? The intersection of I-95 and Route 4 just west of the George Washington Bridge. —JG


Since 1816, Congress Hall in Cape May has been welcoming guests at the block-long resort on Beach Avenue. A favorite getaway of several United States presidents, including Ulysses S. Grant, the original structure burned to the ground in 1878, only to be rebuilt in brick one year later. It still stands and is operating today. —DPC


Asbury Park, known as a music center, is anchored by the legendary Stone Pony. Beyond music, the city by the sea is crawling with culture. Dozens of vibrant murals (one of which appeared on our December 2022 cover!) line the boardwalk. Noteworthy art galleries include rock ‘n’ roll photographer Danny Clinch’s Transparent Clinch Gallery. Festivals like Sea.Hear.Now (which takes place every September) celebrate creativity of all kinds. —JL


Thanks to an act of the New York Assembly and a subsequent lottery, a building with a lantern on top beamed across the southern half of New York Harbor for the first time in 1764. The Sandy Hook Lighthouse, the nation’s oldest in continuous operation, guides ships through the shoals at the northernmost tip of the Jersey Shore, even though it now stands a mile and a half from the ocean’s waves. —RC Staab


Constructed between 1638 and 1643, the C. A. Nothnagle Log House is believed to be the oldest log cabin in the country and the oldest surviving building in New Jersey. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, the Gibbstown house was built by Finnish settlers in what was once the New Sweden colony. No nails were used in the original construction, yet the log house remains to this day. Interested in owning a piece of New Jersey history? The three-bedroom, one-bath cabin is listed for sale at $375,000. —GP  



Grh. Graagh. Mrh? These are actual zombie expressions, and they might come in handy at the next New Jersey Zombie Walk event. Twice in three years, this group took the Guinness World Record for largest gathering of zombies. They had 9,592 people dressed up as walking-dead creatures on the boardwalk in Asbury Park in 2013. Will 2023 see a new record? —JM


The world’s largest hand-blown glass bottle was crafted at WheatonArts in Millville (which is on display there; WheatonArts reopens on April 1), not far from Alloway Creek, where American glassmaking first began in 1739. Steve Tobin, a sculptor with a lot of hot air, led a five-person team to blow the record-breaking, 100-pound, clear-glass bottle, which is almost 8 feet tall. Made in 1992, the impressive creation retains its Guinness World Records status. And its 188-gallon volume can accommodate an awesome quantity of Guinness. —Fred B. Adelson


Last August, New Jersey took the Guinness World Record for the largest parade of canoes and kayaks after 1,105 paddlers filled Toms River in Ocean County, easily surpassing the previous record of 329, which had been set in Poland. The Garden State boaters floated through a one-mile course to break the record. —JM


Anyone who has ever hit the craps table in Atlantic City knows just how wild this record is: New Jerseyan Patricia Demauro had a 4-hour-and-18-minute craps roll at the Borgata back in 2009, during which she threw the dice a record 154 times. The odds of the feat are 1.56 trillion to one. She never revealed her winnings. —JG


The mammoth glass-box exterior of Bell Works in Holmdel is either a vision of our dystopian future—it’s the office featured in Severance on Apple TV+—or a wonder of modernist architecture. Dubbed “the biggest mirror ever” by Architectural Forum magazine, the building is roughly a quarter of a mile long and six stories high. —RCS 



With an influx of studios and location shoots for film and TV, New Jersey is embracing its reputation as Hollywood East. At present, the most popular filming locations are Newark (Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story remake), Jersey City (The Union with Halle Berry and Mark Wahlberg), Montclair (Maybe I Do) and Cranford (Mother’s Instinct), says Steven Gorelick, head of the New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission. —JG and JM 


Most New Jersey high schools have a few or even a handful of famous alumni, but Columbia High School in Maplewood has a whole yearbook’s worth. Celebri-grads of the school, which serves both Maplewood and South Orange, include actor/director Zach Braff (who shot his flicks Garden State and the new A Good Person locally), singers Lauryn Hill and SZA, actors/siblings Elisabeth and Andrew Shue, author Paul Auster, style expert Robert Verdi and more. —JG


From 1999-2007, Jerseyans not only tuned into tuned into The Sopranos each week for compelling story lines and award-winning acting, but also to see which local businesses and backdrops were featured. But which towns got the most airtime? Per the New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission, that distinction goes to North Caldwell, the location of Tony Soprano’s house in the opening credits; Kearny, the home of fictitious Satriale’s Pork Store; and Lodi, where the fictional Bada Bing club was. —JG and JM


The circa-1930 pipe organ at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City is the biggest instrument in the world (dubbed the sonic Mount Rushmore). Fifty-three percent of the organ—which is made up of more than 33,000 pipes—is fully functioning; in 2014, that number was 10 percent. On certain days, visitors are invited to hear an organist play and then take a tour to see the pipes, which are hidden inside the walls. It’s free, but donations are welcome. —GK


The Civil War Drill Hall Theater, built in 1859, has been home to the Players Guild of Leonia since 1919. The Bergen County enclave was once home to a popular artists’ colony. The troupe, a product of the community’s creative spirit, has been offering a continuous repertoire of performances ever since—including online shows during the pandemic. —DPC


Trenton history captured in a painting by master artist N.C. Wyeth became the largest gift ever receieved by Thomas Edison State University. Valued at $4 million, the 17-by-12-foot-wide mural, donated by Wells Fargo, depicts George Washington riding through Jersey’s capital city on his way to be inaugurated in 1789. —DPC


Bruce Springsteen raked in $435 million in 2022, making him the highest-paid Jersey entertainer of the year (and the second-highest-paid entertainer overall, behind director Peter Jackson), according to Forbes. That influx of cash came mostly from Springsteen selling his music catalog to his record label, Sony Music. —JG



The Great Falls in Paterson is the largest waterfall, by volume, in New Jersey and the second largest, by volume, on the East Coast, after Niagara Falls. Located in the Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park, the cascades, which are 77 feet high, are the reason the city of Paterson exists. Alexander Hamilton came upon the falls in the 1700s and had the idea to harness their power and create an industrial center. The views are spectacular. A new visitor’s center is in the works. —JM


With 311 out of 383 miles completed as of mid-January, the NJ State Long Trail is and will remain the longest trail in New Jersey. “We are continuing to make slow forward progress,” says Dave Matek, the NJ Sierra Club’s trails issues coordinator. Already, hikers and explorers can experience every terrain the Garden State has to offer on a trail that will link the north end of the state (High Point) with its sea-level southern end (Cape May Point). The lengthy path intersects with numerous other trails, including the Appalachian Trail. —GP


Cape May Point is the best place in New Jersey to see monarch butterflies migrating each September through November, when thousands use the area to rest and refuel on their long trip from Canada to Mexico. Though these stunning creatures can be seen at other spots in New Jersey during this period (especially at monarch waystations), there is nothing quite like the spectacular sight in Cape May. —JG


High Point, appropriately, is the highest point in the state, with a peak elevation of 1,803 feet. The mountain peak is located within High Point State Park, bordering Wantage Township and Montague Township in Sussex County. This beautiful park is located in the area known as the Skylands and features gorgeous foliage in fall, cross-country skiing in winter and hiking year-round. —JM


As many as 100,000 flowers reach for the sun at the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens in Montclair during blooming season, mid-May through early June. Now in its 96th year, the garden boasts more than 3,000 varieties of rhizomes, bulbs and rooted plants across the garden’s 6.5 acres. Founded in 1927, the 99 original irises have been propagated to produce more and healthier blooms every year. —DPC


Red knot bird searches for food on a Jersey beach

One shorebird species, the red knot, travels 9,000 miles from South America to the Arctic each spring, stopping in Cape May on the way. Photo courtesy of Gregory Gard/Alamy Stock Photo

There is no better place for birding than Cape May, which is known as the birding capital of North America. Between late August and early November, more than a million birds stop in Cape May as they fly south for the winter. Then, at the beginning of each spring season, more than 460 species of birds return to the the Garden State, including hawks, falcons and scoters. —TN


Chalk it up to poor soil. That’s why, even by 1978, Congress was able to carve out more than 1 million acres of largely undeveloped land as a national reserve in the nation’s most densely populated state. The Pinelands is the biggest surviving forest on the Eastern Seaboard south of Maine’s North Woods. The Pinelands stretch almost the state’s entire width. —RCS


While the Shore inevitably comes to mind when most people think about New Jersey’s waters, beauty and fun abound at our lakes, too. The biggest (and one of our favorites) is Lake Hopatcong, located in Hopatcong State Park, at 9 miles long, with 2,500 acres of freshwater. Hang out at the small beach and swim, picnic or take a private boat ride. Area restaurants offer a nice end to a day in the sun. —JG


You may think Washington, DC, has the largest collection of cherry blossom trees in the United States, but it’s actually New Jersey. Each April, more than 5,000 trees bloom in shades of pink at Branch Brook Park in Newark and Belleville, creating a sight like no other. This year’s festivities take place from April 1-16. —JG

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