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17 July 2008

>Posted by recession on 07/17/08 at 7:14AM
>Canadian Geese also is a referral to an element of
>people they might not like on the shore - not
>necessarily meaning those rather annoying pooping birds.
>And the "Canadians" do not necessarily come from Canada,
>nor are they Canadians from Canada -

Things that make you go hmmm...
posted by Skwirl 18 July | 04:46
Posted by poppapiz on 07/17/08 at 9:48AM
The mayor of whoville is a complete LOSER! He would have no town with out SI AND NYC...Anyway whos going to xmas in July 2night?!


The 2006 120 BURG TEAM would never work for a joke of a mayor like that!

I'm going to hire poppapiz as my legal representation the next time I need some. He can make an airtight case and follow it through.
posted by cmonkey 18 July | 05:28
Hey, Waddafuck?

How many doordahs does she have?

posted by chillmost 18 July | 09:22
This is a magnificent, awesome, Jersey Shore story. I grew up not too far from Belmar. The mayor is certainly way, way out of line in writing this "snarky" newsletter and in disparaging specific groups. I don't defend his decision to use public funds to say cruel things about people. But there's not a single episode or characterization within the story which I can honestly say is not believable. This article is describing a very, very recognizable set of tensions and group identities that are easy to find on the Jersey Shore during the summer, and have been, as long as I've lived. I think my sense of what's happening is borne out by this sentence:

That's not to say that all Staten Islanders disagreed with the mayor.

Some observations:

Belmar is a shore scene for middle-to-lower-class people in their 20s and early 30s. They aren't from the Shore; they come there from the surrounding areas - Southern NJ, Northern NJ, Philly, NY, and yeah, Staten Island (it's close). A lot of college-age people and people just a bit older than that. Big bar scene, big pickup scene, big hair scene.

There is a fair amount of violence there in the form of drunken bar fights, as well as sleazy street activity and pickup action and morning walks of shame.

The house rentals are notoriously deee-sgusting; a pile of trash in the backyard sounds reasonable. A drive along the streets of Belmar any day will reveal stacks of stanky beer and booze bottles, redolent in the sun; piles of broken and beat beach and porch furniture; and scattered bits of clothing. When you're 22, a partyer, and renting a crappy house for a week for thirteen of your closest friends and whoever they picked up that night, it's true that you don't feel a tremendous sense of ownership, nor do you need to maintain high standards for cleanliness or home care. The landlords in Belmar are in this business to make money off the summer and don't invest in property upkeep. They know the homes are going to be trashed. This is how the system has evolved.

Calling people Guidos can be seen as a slur, but there's also an argument that it's a legitimate and identifiable subculture. I've treasured for years this WaPo article about Guidos in another Jersey Shore summer town.

When I was growing up, Belmar was noted more for being racist (toward blacks) than for being anti-Staten-Island-ist. This just sounds like the next generation of that combative sensibility -"they're" coming in and ruining "our" beach. SI girls are crazy, Jersey girls are sluts, SI men are hot, Jersey men are jerks.

This also fits into a deeply cherished and time-honored tradition of Jerseyans complaining about the "bennies" who descend upon the shore area in insane numbers from Memorial Day to Labor Day. That's a part of life on the shore, but the sudden massive influx and concomitant frequent culture conflict has always made Jerseyans see summer as a mixed blessing.

Anyway, thanks for a nice shot of Jersey Shore energy. It reminds me pleasantly of home, and summer on the Shore, something I do dearly miss.

posted by Miko 18 July | 10:33
Where on the shore ya from, Miko? I'm Ocean, grandma from Asbury, her parents owned a department store on Springwood.
posted by birdie 18 July | 11:14
Howbout that? I'm from Red Bank, where my mom also grew up; lived in Long Branch and Ocean Grove before that (as a kid). Grandparents worked at Fort Monmouth. Redvixen of this site is also a RB girl.
posted by Miko 18 July | 11:23
I was in Red Bank a few weeks ago; I was visiting a friend in Atlantic Highlands and we drove to RB for brunch. Nice place.

We went to a cool little secondhand store there, but I really have no idea where I was.

Now that I look at a map, I see "Nut Swamp Road" and "Poncy Pond." Beautiful.

Jeez, that wasn't even two cents' worth.
posted by Hugh Janus 18 July | 11:30
My ol' stompin' grounds, Hugh. It was actually noticeably less developed 20 years ago - Nut Swamp road was really woodsy/rural. Today not so much.

Red Bank was a great town to grow up in, though nothing like the hoity-toity boutiquey town it is today. There was a Woolworth's, some pharmacies and stationery stores, your basic downtown. Jack's Records is still there, hanging on, as is an old standby Mr. Pizza Slice. I worked for a while at an Irish pub there, but it's changed hands and is really different these days. The river was always nice to have right in our own backyard, and you could bike to the beach at Sandy Hook in under an hour. Good place to grow up.
posted by Miko 18 July | 11:40
The area reminds me a little of Salisbury, MD, where I spent time with family friends for a few summers and one winter as a teenager. Not much to do there, but most things were fun anyway. I haven't been back in twenty years, and I bet the place has become cutesy like Red Bank (though who knows? Maybe all the nearby chicken farms kept it more rural), but I get a similar free feeling driving around that area. (Disclaimer: the friend I was visiting in Atlantic Highlands just got a '68 Camaro convertible, so maybe that feeling was the thrill of youth and supercharged engines).

And Sandy Hook is beautiful, and so easy to get to from NYC (via ferry, filled with bicyclists on Summer weekends) it's just silly.

I'd like to find out if the Park Service or whoever owns the old military base on Sandy Hook ever rent out the barracks and other buildings to, say, theater companies for their summer retreats, or other such organizations. It would be absolutely perfect, and with minimal effort and investment, they could book all summer long.
posted by Hugh Janus 18 July | 12:11
I should say, the thrill of recaptured youth.
posted by Hugh Janus 18 July | 12:12
I'd like to find out if the Park Service or whoever owns the old military base on Sandy Hook ever rent out the barracks and other buildings to, say, theater companies for their summer retreats, or other such organizations. It would be absolutely perfect, and with minimal effort and investment, they could book all summer long.

GIANT can o'worms.

When I was growing up, the Fort was demilitarized and opened up for use by local nonprofits. Clearwater had an office out there, Clean Ocean Action did, a few others. There's a Coast Guard station. There was (is?) a school out there for high schoolers called the Marine Academy for Science and Technology, and the Oceanography labs for Brookdale Community College were also out there. I took Oceanography there - awesome.

But the buildings are expensive to maintain and have been decaying gradually for 100 years in the sea air. But you're right, the setting is beautiful, and tends to make people wish there were inns or nonprofit educational programs out there or something. The buildings seem so full of potential. BUT.

The Park Service, in its efforts under the Bush Administration to privatize and monetize almost everything they can from the Parks, saw fit to offer the buildings out for development bids several years ago. Everything about the process has been shady, from the fact that they didn't disclose how many bids they got nor what they proposed - then they awarded a development contract to James Wassel, a developer whose previous portfolio concentrates on shopping malls. He claimed to have experience in historic restoration, but he doesn't have any real knowledge of that field - his resume was trumped-up in that department.

Wassel developed a plan which is extremely suspect. It emphasizes commercial usage like restaurants and clubs, event rentals, offices. Full details of the plan have never been released. One problem (aside from the problem of taking land that belongs to us, the taxpayers, and handing it over to a for-profit company for 60 years, and aside from the fact that what details are available indicate reduced access to the parking and beach resources now available to the public) is that in peak summer, you can't freaking get out there in the morning or off in the evening. Daily beach congestion is already one of the most pressing problems in the county.

There have been a lot of problems with the contract itself. There were several dates that Wassel was required to demonstrate he had the investor funding for his plan (or the contract would be void) and he has not yet ever been able to show he has the money, yet the NPS keeps granting him extensions.

Meanwhile, a citizens group has been fighting the development tooth and nail since the contract process began. Save Sandy Hook has some good money and legal power behind it, and they have an excellent critique of the plan and its problems here.

I follow this issue even though I don't live down there through the local paper. It's actually a very interesting petri dish in which to examine the operations of the NPS in recent years. Americans should be kind of angry about a lot of it - the public trust is having a hard time.

I'm a preservationist, but one of the biggest arguments the NPS and Wassel are employing is how important it will be to preserve these "historic" buildings. The thing is, they're old, and they're really neat-looking, but as things go they aren't all that historic. They're not really a national treasure. Some of the things that happened at Fort Hancock were significant in military history (it was a NIke missle site, and it just came out that early RADAR was developed there), but not significant in the way preservationists usually mean. After watching this nasty fight roll on for a couple years, I'm with those who say that the Hook as a natural resource, an exceedingly rare spot of undeveloped land right smack in the center of the most densely populated metro area in the United States, is much more important than the preservation of the buildings. To see the people of NY/NJ and surrounding areas lose access and be crowded out by private for-profit activity yet to be detailed would be a terrible loss.
posted by Miko 18 July | 13:06
I remember Woolworth's! My cousin works at the fancypants jewelry store part-time. And my grandma worked at Fort Monmouth also, where I got to try night vision goggles on kid day (which was, like, the awesomest ever to my kid self!). We always did the 4th in Red Bank too.

Mr. Pizza Slice! I used to go there with my boyfriend, aww.

Did you ever drive out to Colts Neck for Delicious Orchards? I miss that place like crazy, especially their apple cider doughnuts that would turn sweaty and mushy if you didn't eat them within 2 hours. What I wouldn't do for one of those doughnuts.

posted by birdie 18 July | 13:10
Did you ever drive out to Colts Neck for Delicious Orchards?

Totally! My SIL worked there for one fall/Christmas season, too. Love that place - the pies are awesome as well. They're quite gourmet these days!

If you ever get a chance, Battleview Orchards has great cider donuts just like Delicious', too. They make them right in front of you. Yum.
posted by Miko 18 July | 13:21
the pies are awesome as well.

Oh man, seriously. I didn't know key lime pies weren't normally chiffon until I was an adult. So air bubbley and delicious. I should find a recipe for it that way. (I used to get in trouble for always sticking my foot in the pie by accident on the drive home, 'cos I'd sit in the back seat, in the middle on the arm rest with my feet on the regular seats.)
posted by birdie 18 July | 13:28
Anyway, thanks for a nice shot of Jersey Shore energy.

You're welcome! For my own part, I'm glad that this goofy news story has summoned so many warm Jersey memories.

posted by jason's_planet 19 July | 11:11
End of week 3 point updates || Rolling Stones -- Cocksucker Blues, part 1