Perth Amboy is an old town, having been founded in 1693. It is one of the most historic towns in NJ, having once been the capitol of East Jersey prior to the Revolutionary War. Perth Amboy has always been a city of immigrants, with wave after wave of different ethnic groups succeeding and supplanting the ones that came before. Now it's the Dominicans who are the newest group. When I was in school there, it was the Puerto Ricans who were the new group. My mom used to talk about how the Eastern Europeans were looked down on by the Irish; my grandmother used to talk about housecleaning for the wealthy German Jewish ladies when she was 14.
Who knows a decade from now what the majority ethnic group will be? That's one of the best things about Perth Amboy - it's always evolving, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. I've seen Hall Avenue go from a nice street with shops, bakeries, shoe repair shops to a drug-infested rundown dump to a street that's now living again. So it is with other parts of the town. Perth Amboy is a ghetto in the sense that it is the home of a high concentration of one ethnic group, but it's not a ghetto in the sense that people don't take pride in their families and their homes. They do; sometimes though that's not recognizable to those who have fled the urban towns of NJ for bigger homes, bigger property, and only English-speaking neighbors.
One thing about Perth Amboyans: they will fight among themselves, but they have an almost fanatic loyalty about the town when dealing with outsiders. I've never met someone from Perth Amboy with an inferiority complex, and it seems that the worse rep the town gets the prouder we are to be from here. When I was in high school, we took pride in the fact that the more suburban schools were afraid to play here (Woodbridge had cause - we tried to tip over the team bus - with the team inside it) . Reverse snobbism at its best - lol.
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