We here at Best of NJ are grateful to have the privilege of speaking with some of the world’s most talented people. From authors and architects to singers and game developers, there is no shortage of amazing people with ties to the Garden State. Our Up Close interview series is all about showcasing these people and their abilities, offering our readers a behind-the-scenes look at the lives of some incredible men and women.


Harlan CobenUp Close with Best-Selling Author Harlan Coben

To celebrate the release of his twenty-eighth book, New York Times Best Seller Harlan Coben was center-stage at a meet-and-greet at [words] Bookstore in Maplewood. The turnout was impressive, especially considering it was the middle of a workday. Dedicated fans gathered as Coben spoke briefly…

Anthony HamiltonUp Close with Grammy-Winning R&B Artist Anthony Hamilton

Best of NJ caught up with Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, and producer Anthony Hamilton to talk about his new album, amidst a recent sold-out show at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. The R&B artist is currently promoting his latest album, titled What I’m Feelin’

Renee GittinsUp Close with Game Developer Renee Gittins

The Indie (short for “independent”) game community has exploded over the past decade thanks to advances in technology that have facilitated game development. One great thing about this is it allows anyone with an interest in programming to use the resources available online to become a self-taught programmer…

20160517-Cousins-0549c-e1469279832923-600x600Up Close with The Cousins from HGTV

Reality TV fans, rejoice: HGTV’s America’s Most Desperate Kitchens (AMDK), starring the Jersey born-and-bred cousins John Colaneri and Anthony Carrino, aka “The Cousins”, kicked off its second season with a double-episode premiere on July 16. To celebrate, the cousins held court at Talde, a Filipino-fusion restaurant…

laurieheroUp Close with Olympic Gold Medalist Laurie Hernandez

With the 2016 Rio Olympics in the rear view, many athletes are quickly moving on to new pursuits. For some, that journey starts with a trip back to the gym so they can start prepping for the next competition. For others, like Olympic Gold Medalist – and NJ native – Laurie Hernandez, it means exciting new activities…

cheferichero-1-e1476727063889-500x500Up Close with Award-Winning Chef Eric LeVine

New Jersey often gets overshadowed by its close proximity to New York City. The Big Apple is where many entrepreneurs and celebrities go to open up their businesses and hang their awards. But as you may or may not already know, the Garden State is proudly home to a number of wonderful – and award-winning…


Hero (Top) Feature Image: © Brian Jackson / Adobe Stock