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Seaside Heights' Troubles Predate MTV Fame

Seaside Heights was in trouble long before Snooki slithered into town

What a difference 51 summers can make.

A faded, pink-tinged  available on YouTube bears little resemblance to the Seaside Heights of today.

The beaches and boardwalks are full of families. Women and teenagers for the most part wore one-piece bathing suits. The more daring wore modest two-piece suits. No sunburned rumps split by thongs, no men who shouldn't be wearing Speedos wearing Speedos. No gold chains.

"Everywhere young people can be seen enjoying each other," the moderator chortles, as the film zeroes in on a wholesome young couple chatting on the beach.

Now fast forward to .

"Seaside Heights| *Stabbing*| Sheridan Ave & Boardwalk| Monoc 1 is transporting a 28 y/o male to jersey shore trauma who has a large stab wound to the left chest. Victim has been intubated."

That terse message from the Breaking News Network flashed across Patch computer screens on that night. Others preceded it. "A large fight... pepper spray...."

But Seaside Heights has had its problems long before into the land of "Sun and Fun," aka Seaside Heights,  and long before the two — count them — two in the last .

Back in the mid-1980s, frantic residents flocked to Borough Council meetings. They would plead with then-Mayor George E. Tompkins and council members to do something about the people urinating out of windows of rented "animal houses," fornicating on front lawns, spilling out of bars onto the Boulevard in the early morning hours and using language unfit for childrens' ears on the boardwalk.

Tompkins would listen patiently, sigh, then pretty much tell them it was the price to pay for living in a .

But that never made much sense. is flanked by and , two tidy towns that look more like Cape Cod than Ocean County.

Granted, Seaside Heights has amusements, rides and games of chance. But it also has something the other two towns don't have. It has 22 places — including nightclubs, bars and package good stores — to buy liquor in a borough little more than one square mile in area.

Current Mayor P. Kenneth Hershey has been mayor since 1990. That's the year he beat Tompkins in the mayoral race, after the state Commission of Investigation issued a scathing report on the borough's financial practices.

Hershey and the council began cracking down on absentee landlords, fining them when police calls to their properties added up. There was a concerted effort to resurrect Seaside's reputation as a family resort.

But given the events of the last few weeks, it apparently . It's not a secret that many boardwalk businesses — not just the bars — hire off-duty cops or security guards for protection.

The Seaside Tourism Bureau is still cranking out public relations announcements that sound like that long-ago 1960s promotional film.

"Seaside Heights is the perfect combination of your childhood memories and your next great family vacation. We're bring Seaside to new Heights."

theresa June 12, 2011 at 08:28 AM
Everyone has such good ideas, but will any of them work. I have lived in Toms River for 26 years. I use to go to seaside in the late 80's when people just cruised the Blvd. listening to music/disco. Music that we could actually understand. Anyway it is a complete mess. You have the Welfare there all winter and summer. Than you have the NY errs. It is a disgrace to see that place now on the weekends. I can't even bring my kids there anymore. I have to go to Point and oh boy my 15 year old just loves the rides there. Not!!! Anyway there needs to be more Security/ Cops walking around, there needs to be more tickets/arrest. If these trouble makers know that they might be fined or thrown in Jail for the night maybe they just might think twice before doing something really stupid. IDK all I could say is with Snookie and her crew there nothing is going to go right. They are trouble them selves. I will go and Volunteer there let me hand out tickets and make Citizens arrest. You will see it get cleaned up real fast. You will be able to take your kids there in no time. Good Luck Seaside!!!! I hope you get cleaned up this Summer :)
Bobbielyn Harrsch August 12, 2011 at 07:47 AM
there are some very good points here, but also some missed construed ones. Welfare is not a problem here in Seaside, each of you say that in the 80's it as so much better, and yes it was. I have some news for you though, Welfare has been in Seaside since the 60-70's. What has caused the downfall has been MTV beach house in the 80's as well as adding all the parolee's and probation people. In the 90's people getting released from jail fought for housing eligibility, and they got added to the Welfare rolls, thus the belief that Welfare came then. You have Pedophiles, sex offenders and gang members all placed into housing in Seaside. Add to that the Party place attitude that started with the first MTV beach house, bringing the 'Spring break " mentality with it and of course the town will go down hill. Most of your Welfare family's used to get jobs for the summer on the boardwalk, thus you did not see them "hanging out', but then the employers found the cheaper labor of foreigners, and what welfare reform there has been has made it harder to get off of assistance, stricter penalties for working , loss of child care if you get a job for minimum wage, part time, not enough to support yourself never mind a family. Add all of this together and you have Seaside Heights of today.
patricia small June 29, 2012 at 02:30 PM
I remember well the summer of 1960, and Seaside Hts was wonderful. But then so was Elizabeth, my birthplace, which horrifies me now. People, wake up, the US culture has changed, and we are looking more like Brazil, central America, Haiti. NY 'ers came then too, but they were a better class with decent manners.. Voting probably won't help anymore, because you need great NUMBERS of people for confrontation to be successful. And who will teach all these invading people any manners and class? Stabbings will progress to beheadings and no uncorrupt police at all.
Jay Gee June 29, 2012 at 07:23 PM
So true all you say, but, The leaders do not care. They are money grubbing pigs, and the owners pay out more and more in electric, water, taxes, etc., but in return they get disgusting mostly weekenders, and welfare all winter long and summer. Nothing going to be done about it either. I stay at a friends place quite a bit in summer and a cousin's also. yup, they've seen it go way down the tubes. NO HOPE...New Mayor, but, who knows if it'll just make it worse. He's probably of the same Regime as the rest of the crew. Too bad. What a nice place it could be. Nope, no more manners, no more class. Just crud, crud, and more crud, drug addicts, welfare deadbeats, and corrupt leadership and police. VERY CORRUPT POLICE...Not all I'm sure, but most.
Jay Gee June 29, 2012 at 07:26 PM
It's not the "Jersey Shore" crew, although they do cause some commotion, they don't bring in what's been coming to the shore on weekends. Not at all. The Drug Dealers with the gold chains bring the disgusting, fighting, screaming, cursing, filthy people to Seaside.


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