Thursday, April 10, 2008

Spring is in the air

It's been a gloomy start to the morning: foggy...humid...dark... but I can see that the sun is burning off the fog and it's brightening up the little green buds on the trees...illuminating the blossoming fruit trees, warming up the ground and putting a spark into the daffodils and sending a message of an impending doom.

The delightful yet devious Dive over at a Small Glass Planet reminded me that soon...tourist season will be upon us. It is as dreaded over there as it is here.

Now...I know that New Jersey has a bad reputation. Unfortunately, most people flying into NJ fly to Newark airport which is in the middle of industrial NJ. It's surrounded by landfills, oil refineries and chemical plants.

Your senses are attacked by noise, ugliness and a smell...that I just can't describe.

Not great for first impressions.

But - being the "Jersey girl" that I am...I find there are parts of this state that are still absolutely beautiful. They are getting harder and harder to find with the onslaught of urban sprawl, but they are still there. (an I'm keeping them to myself thank you very much)

We're this tiny state packed with people. And for as small as we are...we are the 11th most populous state in the U.S. and have 1,174 people per square mile. We are the most densely populated.

In the summer time...that number must quadruple with New Yorkers and Pennsylvanians and assorted other tourists flocking to our beaches for a little fun in the sun.

Depending on where you live in the state tourists are either called a Benny or a Shoobie

Benny is actually an acronym for the train stations along the Jersey coast that the tourists came from:



(N)ew (Y)ork

If you lived anywhere from Seaside north, you most likely used this term.

I found a very good description of a Benny on the Urban Dictionary:

"Locals can spot a BENNY from miles away. They're usually of Italian decent, mostly from New York, they ask the dumbest things like "Which way is the beach?" and "What do you guys do during the winter?", they can't drive for shit, they think they're sweet, they crowd out beaches, malls, and basically our entire lives. They know only the major roads to get to the shore + home, they think it's cool to come down for the weekend, go to one of the 50 clubs on Ocean Av., trash the state and leave on Sunday. The cops all come out after Memorial day and hunt for the New York plates until Labor day, they pay WAY to much for a shack a block away from the beach, they can't handle a Jeresy Girl nor do they know just how good of a state New Jersey is."

South Jersey folks, which was anywhere south of Seaside where the GOOD beaches are...we called the tourists: Shoobies.

Shoobies was a termed coined for the flock of day or weekend travelers carrying their lunches in shoe boxes to the beach wearing big floppy sun hats, black socks and sandals, nose coated with zinc oxide, feeding the seagulls and generally being a nuisance.

They are usually from Pennsylvania...generally the Philadelphia area and they fit the same general description as a Benny pretty much.

Locals dread this time of year, and we've acquired rare survival tricks to cope with the 3 months of tourism:
  • Hit the beach before 10:00 AM to get good parking

  • spread out as many towels and chairs as you possible can to claim your spot on the beach before they arrive

  • avoid the "popular beaches" that are filled with hormone raging teenagers...go toward the inlets and more isolated areas.

  • to avoid being stuck in traffic...get all of your necessity shopping before 10:00 am otherwise it takes 20 minutes to travel 1 block

  • if someone asks you how to get "to the shore", send them the opposite way. It will take them at least 30 minutes to figure out they are going the wrong way and by that time, they'll get stuck in traffic and will never make it back before sundown.

  • Locals call it the beach...tourists call it "the shore".

  • Avoid the Garden State Parkway if at all possible on the weekends. True Jersey folks always have alternative routes to go anywhere in the state.


Well...we may hate the tourists, but we LOVE their money!


the only daughter said...

Kinda like downtown Chicago in the summertime. Oy.

Shazza said...

I guess all tourists pretty much act the same no matter where they go!