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🎡 Teens, teens, and more teens | Down the Shore

Plus, it’s N.J. vs. Sunset Beach Sportsmen’s Club

The large groups of teens gathered on the beach near 11th Street in Ocean CIty, N.J. on July 27, 2021.
The large groups of teens gathered on the beach near 11th Street in Ocean CIty, N.J. on July 27, 2021.Read moreCHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer

The teens are back at the Shore, and back in the news. As with many things these days, social media has accelerated and intensified things. Not long ago, crowds of teens, dubbed “Shoobie Juvies” by our Philly Daily News headline writers, were turning the Margate Wawa into “Club Wa,” making it hard for people to, say, buy their ice cream and late-night hoagies.

Last summer, towns like Ocean City were contending with nightly crowds of teens on their beaches and Shore police were blaming state laws and regulations they said discouraged them from proactively interfering with the teens’ public drinking and weed smoking.

This summer, Ocean City and other towns say the situation is worse , and they are left basically corralling teens on the beach to keep them off the boardwalk. Residents are complaining about vandalism, fights, urination, and general late-night rowdiness.

Meanwhile, to the north, Point Pleasant Beach and Long Branch are fighting off pop-up parties advertised on social media. Point Pleasant Beach Mayor Paul Kanitra took to social media to talk tough to the promotors, calling them idiots and losers who nonetheless were threatening to cause “chaos and economic disaster” in the beach town. Long Branch went to court seeking economic damages against the promoters, and Point Pleasant Beach said it was prepared to do likewise.

And just like that, a pop up party being promoted for this weekend in Point Pleasant was cancelled by the promotor, who said anyone in attendance “may be prosecuted and answer to the law.”

“I take no responsibility in the event of a gathering, everybody stay home,” the promotor wrote.

“HUGE STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION,” Kanitra answered on Facebook. He is also blaming the state, and its new laws, which they say tie law enforcement’s hands when it comes to juveniles and partiers, by downgrading penalties for underaged drinking and marijuana use and banning most backpack searches. ,These shore towns are long used to aggressively patrolling teens. (Avalon famously rounded up underaged drinkers in a big white bus, until a lawsuit put a stop to that.)

So far, going after unauthorized promotors in civil court and fighting social media with social media, seems an effective tactic in preventing gatherings, but is preventing people, even teens, from gathering in public spaces really what the Shore should be about?

Daysi Calavia-Robertson wrote about the racial dynamics of the pop-up party crackdown in this NJ Advance Media piece about Long Branch and its newly gentrified Pier Village. Why not in Long Branch?

Here’s a story photographer Chip Fox and I did at the height of last summer about those teens on the beach in Ocean City.

And here’s OCNJ Daily reporter Donald Wittkowski’s news piece about Ocean City’s challenges this summer with policing and teens. Ocean City Looks to Stop Rowdy Teens.

📮 Let me know what you think by replying to this email, and I’ll include the most interesting responses. Is the situation getting worse where you are Down the Shore? Are you a parent of a teen (or a teen) with another perspective? Write me here.

🌤️ The weather has been not terrible for so early in the season. Even last Sunday’s rain, which filled Shore movie theaters, cleared by late afternoon, leaving some quiet beach time, if you hadn’t already fled.

— Amy S. Rosenberg (🐦 Tweet me at @amysrosenberg. 📷 Follow me on Insta at @amyrosenberg. 📧 Email me at

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Shore talk

🌅 A walk that began April 2 in Cape May, home of the Harriet Tubman Museum, and traced the South Jersey routes Underground Railroad conductors used to help Black people fleeing from enslavement ended at the riverfront in Burlington City, Valerie Russ reports. 165-mile Walk to Freedom Ends.

🎣 New Jersey is back at the eviction game, as the Department of Environmental Protection seeks to evict the decades-old Sportsmen’s Club from Sunset Beach on the Delaware Bay, Jason Nark reports. Already this summer, the DEP has been involved in evicting Fishheads from Atlantic City’s Gardner’s Basin, and banning people from a newly discovered island near Brigantine.

🐢Turtles, lots of them at the Shore! Be careful and don’t run them over.

😓 Apologies to Ocean City inn keeper John Loeper, whose name I spelled incorrectly in last week’s newsletter while describing the help he gave Pamela Womble and Herbie Allwood opening 701 Mosaic, their now-closed restaurant. Look for my piece later this summer on Loeper’s work at the U.S. Life Saving Station 30 Museum.

What to eat/What to do

🦀 Try something new on LBI: Here’s Mike Klein’s guide to new restaurants on Long Beach Island.

🏳️‍🌈 Celebrate Pride Month: In Atlantic City, the AC Pride Ball, AC is Burning, organized by Seng Bethea, will be June 17 at Anchor Rock Club. In Cape May, Equality Cape May will gather at 5:30 p.m. June 23 outside the Convention Center with a march to Cove Beach at 6 p.m. and an after-party at the Rusty Nail. Party returns to the Boardwalk.

🎤 Go country: Starting tonight, it’s the Barefoot Country Music Festival on the big, wide beaches of Wildwood, with a big lineup, including Eric Church, Jason Aldean, Lily Rose, and Brittney Spencer. Wristband, ticket, and lineup info is here.

🚲 Take an art bike tour in Wildwood: Seven sculptures by artist Seward Johnson have been placed in parks around Wildwood as part of Arts in the Parks. The series of Johnson’s life-size bronze sculptures includes his “Embracing Peace,” inspired by the iconic photo of a sailor and nurse kissing at the end of WWII, at Fox Park. At Holly Beach Park, there’s the very relatable bicyclist taking a breather, “Grabbing Some Peace,” pictured below. Here’s the self-guided bike tour of all seven spots.

🎩 “Spark of an Icon:” Stone Harbor’s Ocean Gallery, meanwhile, offers a behind-the-scenes look at Dr. Seuss’ concept drawings with gallery receptions June 17 and June 18.

Shore lit

🏆 Not to be confused with your typical beach read but highly entertaining nonetheless is The Netanyahus, a novel by Joshua Cohen that won this year’s Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Cohen grew up in Margate! We talked about the Shore and his writing, about Atlantic City and his time as a casino coin cashier, and about how an intellect such as himself can survive a childhood in a beach town.

📚 My beach read recommendation this week is How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones. It’s set in Barbados, but nicely depicts the tension between locals and visitors, and has a fantastic plot. Look for locally-set picks in a future newsletter, and send me your faves.

Your Shore memory

This week’s memory comes from Richard V. Pepino Jr., executive chef at Drexel’s Food and Hospitality Management Department, who said he was moved by the earlier words of memory and longing shared here by Susan Vogel.

I sat down this morning with my coffee and read this lovely memory that was featured, and a tear came to my eye. I too shared a very similar story as the writer and it truly made me think what was most memorable to me. Holding hands with your parents, or being one of the foolish ones who get their name called over the Music Pier’s speakers like myself because I just had to run back inside and play Ms. Pac Man one more time provides you with a rush of memories that last you a lifetime.

I know many others who would go to camp, or travel with family; perhaps they were pool goers and always went to the club, or maybe even had a mountain home they would stay, but in the end family and friends were the most important part. I can still remember when I was 10 when there could be 25-30 of just our family members always waiting for the show to end at 10 at that Music Pier, so we could pick up my grandmother and her sisters when it ended. I was fortunate enough that my grandmother made friends with one of the great families that helped build Ocean City, and their little family restaurant at 10th and West which I worked at for 20 seasons meant a lot to me. And yes, the majority of the time I was there I was working, but it really never felt like work. I met an entire new group of lifelong friends, and some of those friends I feel are like family. So in the end, all of these memories that we collect over our lives in most cases truly are just a reflection of what we hold more dear to our souls.

Send us your Shore memory. Tell us how the Shore taps into something deep for you, and we will publish them in this space.

📮 Send me your Shore memory to be featured here.

See you on bikes at Holly Beach Park!