Enough of what's old and venerable. Here's what's new and noteworthy at the Shore's three big boardwalks - Atlantic City, Ocean City and Wildwood - for summer 2011.
CRABFRIES GO HOME. The great Philly Crabfries empire, Chickie's & Pete's, expands its sphere of influence to the Jersey Shore this summer with takeout stands on the Wildwood and Ocean City boardwalks. "With Crabfries, it's only natural to be near the ocean," owner Pete Ciarrocchi explained.
The boardwalk menu has more items than Chickie's & Pete's ballpark stands but fewer than its full-scale sports bars. Along with Crabfries, you can order Crabby Sweets (seasoned sweet potato fries), chicken wings, chicken tenders, fried shrimp and fried clams. Alas, neither of the boardwalk locations has awesome flat-screen TVs. Or beer.
THIS SUMMER'S "IT" RIDE is actually a ride called "it," at Morey's Piers in Wildwood. The colorful, spindly contraption looks like a demented K'Nex project and promises to swing passengers through a 120-degree arc and spin them around at a height of 65 feet.
Morey's has also updated its popular Ghost Ship, bringing patrons closer to some frightful characters known as the "hungry zombies." So maybe save some Crabfries to share?
MORE BOARDWALK SPIRITS. The zombies can take a load off at Capt'n Jack's Island Grill, a sit-down restaurant on the Wildwood Boardwalk with one of four liquor licenses on that boardwalk. (In case you were wondering, the other three are at Jumbo's, Joe's Fish Co. and the Ocean Oasis Waterpark.) Capt'n Jack's opened in the middle of last summer, so it will be new to some vacationers but not all.
OCTOBERFEST IN JUNE. In Atlantic City, Caesars has opened a new Boardwalk Beer Garden, which sounds like way more fun than a boardwalk herb garden. Joe Sixpack has the details on Page 40.
MINUTES TO THE BEACH. The first boardwalk Verizon store is now open, across from the Music Pier in Ocean City.
You can pay your phone bill there or buy a new charger to replace the one you left at home. Manager Shawn Ali and his staff also have special expertise in helping vacationers recover service (and dignity) after they mindlessly wade into the ocean with their cellphones in their trunks.
GOOFIER GOLF. The Wildwood Boardwalk has a groovy new indoor black-light miniature golf course called the Dragon's Lair, with Day-Glo balls to complete that Seventies vibe.
At Ocean City, two established boardwalk mini golf courses return for 2011 with new themes. One of the courses at Playland's Castaway Cove is now all about alligators. The other has gone octopus.
BOARDWALK HOAGIES. This summer, you can finally buy White House Sub Shop hoagies at the Atlantic City Boardwalk instead of trekking to Arctic Avenue for your lunchmeat fix. You'll find them at the first satellite White House Sub Shop location inside the Trump Taj Mahal. It's scheduled to open on Wednesday.
MANILA, SOUTH OF PHILA. For Shoregoers who've been wondering what Mark Soifer could possibly think of next, here it is.
Soifer is Ocean City's longtime publicist and the creative genius behind the Miss Crustacean Hermit-Crab Beauty Contest, among other oddly endearing events. This year, he's added Ocean City's Tribute to the Philippines (July 23-24), with Filipino food, crafts and entertainment. The idea is actually less random than it seems. Soifer said thousands of upwardly mobile Filipino immigrants now live within an easy drive of the Jersey Shore.