A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“There is no “I” in team, but there is in win” (7/26)
“Rappers pretend they have more money than the really do; country singers that they have less” (7/26)
“I’ve been hiding from exercise. I’m in the fitness protection program” (7/26)
“Dirt and bling. It’s a softball thing” (7/26)
“People who exercise live longer, but those extra years are spent at the gym” (7/26)
More new entries...

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Entry from October 15, 2005
“Why are New Yorkers depressed?"/"Because the light at the end of the tunnel is New Jersey!”
Question: Why are New Yorkers so depressed?
Answer: Because the light at the end of the tunnel is New Jersey!


This joke has been spreading around the internet and has been told since at least 1977. A New Yorker cartoon by Jack Ziegler that year read: "DISCOVERING THAT THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL IS NEW JERSEY."

The joke with the opening line of "Q. Why are New Yorkers always depressed?" has been cited in print since at least 1995.


Conde Nast Collection -- The New Yorker
Discovering That The Light At The End Of The Tunnel Is New Jersey - New Yorker Cartoon
By: Jack Ziegler Item #: 8619100
Published December 19, 1977
Discovering That The Light At The End Of The Tunnel Is New Jersey
Man walks in tunnel away from the light

Google Groups: rec.humor.funny
Unhappy New Yorkers
m...@philabs.philips.com
5/22/95
I herd this from my wife who herd it from someone else:

Q. Why are New Yorkers always depressed?
A. The light at the end of the tunnel is New Jersey.

Google Books
Every Time We Say Goodbye
By Jaye Maiman
Tallahassee, FL: Naiad Press
1999
Pg. 8:
Why are New Yorkers so depressed? Because the light at the end of the tunnel is New Jersey! I think my fourteen-year-old nephew gave me that one, and he lives in Staten Island, of all places.

The Village Voice (New York, NY)
NY Mirror
By Michael Musto
TUESDAY, JULY 10, 2001 AT 4 A.M.
(...)
Joan was missing this night, but Conrad was entertainment enough, serving up thoughts like "Why are New Yorkers so depressed? Because the light at the end of the tunnel is New Jersey." (I don't condone this point of view, by the way; Jersey should remain in the union for many reasons, bombastic heavy metal just one of them.)

reddit
Why are New Yorkers so depressed? (self.Jokes)
submitted August 25, 2013 by Dreadmonkey
Because the light at the end of the tunnel is New Jersey

Google Books
The Manhattan Project: A Theory of a City
By David Kishik
Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press
2015
Pg. 214:
The Manhattan cynics who smirk at the mere mention of the state on the other side of the Hudson (Question: Why are New Yorkers so depressed? Answer: Because the light at the end of the tunnel is New Jersey) will surely try to claim that Paterson the poem transcends Paterson the place.

reddit
Why are New Yorkers so depressed?? (self.Jokes)
submitted March 9, 2016 by drDOOM_is_in
Because the light at the end of the tunnel is New Jersey.
Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityNames/Phrases • Saturday, October 15, 2005 • Permalink