Having spent most of my life in central NJ, I can give you some insight.
Why new brunswick? If you have a job there, forgetaboutit. Everybody commutes one way or another. New brunswick is not a particularily nice area to live in. East brunswick which is fairly close is much nicer.
There are a bunch of decent areas within a 30-40min commute, but it all depends on how much money you have. PM me if you want and I can give you an idea of where you can go, but don't expect to touch anything for less than 400k.

Horses for courses but I certainly don't regret leaving there.