As Bruce Springsteen put it “’Cause down the shore everything’s all right, You and your baby on a Saturday night…Nothing matters in this whole wide world, When you’re in love with a Jersey girl.” Even Billy Joel referred to people who “Spent their weekends on the Jersey Shore.” Despite the common misconception that the Jersey Shore is disgusting – dirty water, unclean beaches, etc., people that live at the “shore” know better. And yes, to us locals, it is not the “beach” or the “ocean,” it is the shore.
Yes, the shore may not be as pristine as the Bahamas or Florida, but in recent years, it has been revitalized to a pre-New York pollution scene (in 1987, waste from the Fresh Kills Landfill in NYC floated down to our beloved shore). However, Long Branch (more specifically, Pier Village as shown above), is a perfect example of the beautification projects at the shore. Once a place with average beaches, Long Branch is now home to some of the most admired beaches. Situated next to the boardwalk, these beaches are home to many beach clubs, lifeguard competitions, special occasions including weddings, and a nightlife comparable to Atlantic City. Special events are always occurring, whether with the restaurants located on the beaches or at the different beach clubs. In particular, the 4th of July is home to Oceanfest, a festival attracting thousands, ending with fireworks on the beach. It is the perfect family-oriented atmosphere that attracts people from all over the state and even the surrounding states. Oh, and Bruce Springsteen (who grew up in Long Branch) can always be found running on the boardwalk, at the local restaurants, or at the beach with his family.
It is commonly thought that when you walk on a Jersey beach, you will be stepping around people’s trash and swimming in green water. I can honestly say that I have never been in that position. The majority of people only know New Jersey because of Newark Airport or the New Jersey Turnpike, which are not the best representations of a state full of beautiful attractions. Also, people from out of town commonly think that the Jersey Shore locals have this thick accent, when really the accent comes from the New Yorkers who come down to the Shore for the summer. These people are frequently referred to as BENNYs, an acronym for Brooklyn, Elizabeth, Newark, New York, the 4 places that are known as the hometown to people who travel down to the Shore for the entire summer. But their story is a story for another blog post.
To me, the Jersey Shore is the place I grew up. It is the place where I played at my grandparent’s beach club as a child, the place I went to camp growing up, the place I lifeguarded at in high school, and the place I always went to when I needed a break from life – just to relax. It is the place I return to as a college student and truly miss when I am away from home. It is the place where I have more memories than you could imagine, and the place I will always have a connection with.