I'm happy to help you choose a telescope. There are a lot of different scopes out there to choose from.
Choosing a scope can be complicated so this email is kind of long. If you ask 10 astronomers which is the best telescope you'll get 12 different answers however:
The most important rule that all astronomers agree on is: "The best telescope is the one that you'll use".
Some are heavy, some are light. Some require almost no setup, some require major setup. Some are more complicated to use than others. All these factors can effect how much you use the telescope.
One recommendation I would make right away for a first telescope is to get one with what's called an az-alt mount. Sometimes listed as AZ. (or a Dobsonian mount) Stay away from equatorial mounts (EQ). EQ mounts are great for tracking the sky if they are motorized, and you need one for astrophotography (I use one) but they require much more fiddling-around-with to set up.
Reflectors are usually wider and pull in more light and so let you see dimmer objects (fainter galaxies and nebula). However they require a bit more maintenance than refractors (something called collimation).
Reflectors on flat rotating mounts (no tripod) are called Dobsonians.
Reflectors can also be a bit bigger than same-price refractors.
"Generally speaking, refractors are great for views of the solar system and bright deep-sky objects, while reflectors are light guzzlers, so are better placed for capturing faint galaxies and faint nebulas. Refractors are generally the cheaper option, allowing you to pick up an instrument that's affordable and with a decent-sized aperture."
So you need to decide how size, weight, and set-up will effect how often you use the scope, and what you want to look at.
Some of the things you'll see listed on scopes specs will be:
Apeture (usually in mm) the larger the apeture the more light is collected so the brighter the image
Focal Length the longer the focal length the smaller the field of view so things will look bigger in the eyepiece but a longer focal length also means things will be a bit dimmer.
f-ratio. = focal length devided by the apeture. the smaller the f-ratio the brighter the image.
The moon looks great in any scope.
So if you only wanted to look at planets which are small and bright you'd want a long focal length vor the most magnification and the apeture doesn't matter much.
If you wanted to look mainly at faint nebula (hard to see in NJ becuase of light pollution) you'd want the largest apeture you could get and a shorter focal length to get a wide view and bright image.
Most beginners want somewhere in between.
All that being said: Here are a few I could recommend in the $100 - $200 range. I've included a link to the product page so you can read about them and youtube links so you can get a good idea of how big the scopes are and how they move as well as getting opinions on some of them.
Celestron Powerseeker 80AZS $149.95
A slight upgrade to the one above (same basic scope) would be:
POPULAR SCIENCE BY CELESTRON ASTROMASTER 80AZS TELESCOPE WITH SMARTPHONE ADAPTER AND BLUETOOTH REMOTE $199.95
Reflectors - Dobsonians:
This one is s bit over your budget but is a great and very portable scope for visual:
Heritage 130 Tabletop Dobsonian $220.00
Reflectors - Newtonians (on tripods):
STARSENSE EXPLORER LT 114AZ SMARTPHONE APP-ENABLED NEWTONIAN REFLECTOR TELESCOPE $189.95
EXPLORASCOPE 114AZ TELESCOPE $159.95
Here's another good video on choosing a scope:
I think any of these would be good scopes: Take a look at them and get back to me with any questions.
I own a Nexstar 130 SLT Its' a great scope but it's $528 I think you can get a great beginner scope for around $200.
Celestron NexStar 130 SLT Computerized Telescope | Shop Computerized Telescopes Online, Celestron NexStar 130 SLT With Fast Shipping - Eyepieces & Telescope Accessories | High Point Scientific
The Celestron NexStar 130 SLT is a powerful computerized telescope that's great for beginners. View Saturn's rings or Jupiter's cloud belt with this telescope!