Police Deal With Crowds As Nightlife Not Without Incident in Seaside Heights

Boardwalk and Boulevard crowded with partygoers ushering in Memorial Day

The sidewalks and crosswalks were thick with crowds sauntering to the bars, the clubs, the boardwalk.

It was 11 p.m. in Seaside Heights, Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. One day was still left to go, until the first big tourist weekend — a three-day weekend — was over, its end marked by an exodus of cars lining Route 37 westbound.

Until then, the crowds were here, in a resort town of Ferris wheels, games of chance, cheese steaks, pitchers of beer, an ocean.

At that time, the Boulevard traffic was at a standstill. Streetside parking was filled from Bay Boulevard to Ocean Terrace. Crowds ignored green light and red light and crosswalk, walking en masse between cars stuck in traffic to their respective destinations.

Others weren’t walking at all, instead waiting in line to have IDs checked at places like Hemingway’s, where spotlights shine into the night sky.

Cars filled with youth inch north and south on the Boulevard. Music blasting from car windows were competing with the music spilling out of open doors of bars and clubs, and competing with the yelled conversation of clusters of pedestrians. They were competing with a car horn or the siren of an emergency response vehicle.

It was 79 degrees at 11:30 p.m. The cover charge at Hemingway’s kicked in 90 minutes earlier. At this hour, there were no families in sight. The Seaside Heights visitor at 11:30 p.m. was twenty-something and out with friends.

The previous weekend, during the Seaside Music Festival, the line was around the block at the Bamboo Bar. But though there were crowds back then, the crowds did not compare to the large number of visitors for Memorial Day weekend, the start of a tourism season that brought in nearly $4 billion last year to all of Ocean County.

The weather for Memorial Day weekend ended with a forecasted 88 degrees, packing beaches and ushering in robust sales for tourism businesses after a mild winter.

Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari has said that Ocean County, which generated $3.957 billion in tourism revenues in 2011, would have reached the $4 billion mark last year had it not been for Hurricane Irene.

In Seaside Heights, the 3,000 residents who live year-round in the borough equal one-tenth of the average 30,000 daily overnight stays in the summer, borough officials have said.

Not that you have to sleep while you’re there. The last drinks are poured at 3 a.m. in Seaside bars in the Fridays and Saturdays of summer, and you have until 4 a.m. to finish drinking them before the bars close. At noon, most bars have already opened for the day. At 7 a.m., Bar Riggers opens.

There’s 22 liquor licenses in the borough. It’s $8 for a pitcher of beer at Captain Hook’s. There’s $2 pints at Bar Riggers. Order a $1.50 lite beer at Beachcomber.

The beats of Pitbull’s latest dance track hang over the tightly packed dance floor of Hemingway’s. Shorty Long and The Jersey Horns finish another rousing set of cover songs at a packed Beachcomber Saturday night, crowds dancing the night away. There’s fun to be had.

But the holiday weekend is not without incident.

Four minutes after midnight Monday, a 21 year-old man police said was intoxicated fell off the roof of a Franklin Avenue home.

Sunday night, police stand on the corner of Boulevard and Hamilton. There's officers patrolling in Seaside Heights police cars or bicycles.

The night before, Saturday, had Seaside Heights police responding to crowds, and calling for additional officers from nearby towns. Mutual aid from Toms River assisted with crowd control, said Toms River Police Chief Michael Mastronardy.

Three officers headed over the bridge from Toms River into Seaside Heights to assist on Saturday, Mastronardy said.

“They assisted just on Saturday night. Sunday, Monday no problems,” Mastronardy said. “They just head over to assist, with crowd assist.”

Large crowds remained on the boardwalk after businesses closed at 3 a.m. At that hour, Seaside Heights ordinance requires businesses to close for the day.

Seaside Heights Detective Steve Korman said that Saturday, around 3 a.m., police responded to a report of an assault but found an intoxicated male who required medical transport for injuries due to a fall.

“The boardwalk begins to shut down at 3 a.m., we did not shut down the boardwalk down due to fights,” Korman said.

The borough has already seen violent crime this tourist season, when , a verbal argument between guests at a Seaside Heights hotel escalated into a physical assault, with one man stabbed in the abdomen.

Memorial Day and the weekend prior that year were also marked by high-profile incidents. A reported large fight on the boardwalk ended with a stabbing victim being airlifted out of Seaside Heights after 8 p.m. on Memorial Day.

The incident was reported at Sheridan Avenue and the Seaside Heights boardwalk, with reports of a large fight, and multiple police units dispatched to a victim stabbed in the chest. On May 20, 2011, a Point Pleasant man was allegedly stabbed in the back after a Seaside Heights man he had a verbal confrontation with threw a knife at him. That incident also occurred on the Boardwalk near Marathon Steaks at the Sheridan Avenue block.

The high profile incidents are out of a borough that has more eyes watching it, thanks to MTV’s Jersey Shore filming multiple seasons in and around Seaside Heights. Mike Loundy, a member of the Seaside Business Improvement District and the MTV liaison for Seaside Heights said Seaside Height’s revenue was up 20 percent after the first season aired.

But is crime increasing on par with the revenue?

The Uniform Crime Report shows 36 assaults reported in 2010, up from 25 in 2009. However it was 2006 when 74 assaults were reported — the largest number between 2001 and 2010 in Seaside Heights.

In addition to assaults, from 2009 to 2010 the categories of burglary, theft, robberies and auto theft also increased. At 244 incidents reported, 2010 had the highest number of thefts among the years of 2001 to 2010.

Though there was an increase in reported crime between 2009 and 2010, it wasn't the year with the most incidents. In particular 2002 had a high number of incidents reported, compared with other years. (Click here for City Data's stats on Seaside Heights crime between 2001 to 2010)

In 2002, there were 228 thefts, four sexual assaults, 16 robberies, 62 assaults, 105 burglaries and 35 auto thefts.

In 2010, there were 244 thefts, one sexual assault, 11 robberies, 36 assaults, 63 burglaries and 15 auto thefts.

Whether crime is up or down, whether the bar has a cover charge or $8 pitchers, or whether it’s Memorial Day or Valentine’s Day, Seaside Heights continues to market itself as a tourist resort offering both “family fun” and “exciting nightlife,” to quote a produced by the Seaside Heights Business Improvement District.

On Monday at 9 p.m., those tourists headed west out of the borough, over a repainted Route 37 bridge, through Toms River, and onto the parkway, stalling traffic in the right lane from Hooper Avenue to the Garden State Parkway entrance.

Be the Change May 30, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Ha! That is a perfect description- honky-tonk town. It needs to be cleaned up.
Pat S. May 30, 2012 at 04:46 PM
Nothing but money talks in Sleazeside; how it is gotten isn't an issue. As long as the revenue is up, everything is good. Allowing bars to be open until 4AM speaks for itself.
Catherine Galioto (Editor) May 30, 2012 at 05:37 PM
I haven't deleted any comments today. If you think a comment deserves attention as a possible TOS violation, you can flag it. Also if you believe there is a technical issue with your comments getting posted, email help@patch.com to investigate.
Eggs-n-Toast May 30, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Catherine, I contacted help@patch.com earlier today about the deleted/disappearing posts.... they instructed me to email you directly. (I did). I'm not specifically blaming you or accusing you of deleting; frankly, I'm beginning to think that either there's some sort of "auto deletion" going on when posts get flagged, (deservedly or not) OR someone is playing havoc with the site in general. And by the way, I also discovered that anyone can change their name at any time and "copy" a name being used already with no problem at all. Takes about 2 seconds to do. Probably why there are a few people screaming about being "hacked" around the Patch lately. They aren't hacked- some troll is just using the same name to cause trouble.
Catherine Galioto (Editor) May 30, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Sorry you are getting directed to email different individuals. We'll keep looking for answers.
Just Saying May 30, 2012 at 06:04 PM
Sometimes when I try to log on to Patch, I get a phishing warning from my pC security .
Jill Wells May 30, 2012 at 06:37 PM
They need to implement the N.J.National Guard during the season..to assist in crowd and riot control and to make any needed arrests just like in New Orleans during Mardi Gras..that would help just there presence alone would be a huge impact..something to consider for next season..sure it would cost the taxpayers but it would help to eliminate a lot of problems..as a member of the Fl. National Guard and a former Ocean County born resident..I do believe this can help!!
So Much to Say May 30, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Blame this on Sleezeside's admin Mr. Camera. He welcomes the filming of "Jersey Shore" there. They act like out of control jerks and tourists think this type of behavior is common and acceptable. Then you have the Sleezeside Chief of Police saying all is fine and being controlled so not to scare off potential tourists (MONEY). I haven't been to that slum in over 20 years and I live only 3 miles from it.
PeopleAnnoyMe May 30, 2012 at 06:39 PM
My commment was taken away for no reason.. If there is a reason then please let me know why!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Shelly May 30, 2012 at 07:07 PM
I'm in my early 50's and I have news for you, Seaside Heights was always sleazy. When I was a kid, we were allowed to go to the beaches in Seaside PARK, but never venture into the Heights. Granted, it's really bad in Seaside Heights now, but it was never a place where any family south of Hudson County would take their kids.
So Much to Say May 30, 2012 at 07:55 PM
I've NEVER seen the National Guard at Mardi Gras. I've been there dozens of times. Maybe your confused with the huricane disasters like Hugo, Katrina , Andrew... That was when the National Guard was there.
1stcav May 30, 2012 at 08:12 PM
I thought only Fox 5 did this, whats going on at Patch ??? Did Mudock buy you also ? Are the local Mayors , Freeholders and council people now running the LOCAL Patch's? Speak up if you HAVE been taken off or your comments have been deleted...YOU have a RIGHT we Fought for to voice your concerns and opinions about ANYTHING , even IF it's not PC or Status Que with the establishment ! All gave some, some gave there ALL !!!!!! Liberty and FREE speech to all !
Nicholas Loffredo May 30, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Folks: Comments can indeed be removed by users abusing the flagging system. We work to restore those. Otherwise, Patch editors will only remove comments that are profane, those that are attacks on other users, or those that otherwise violate our Terms of Service: http://tomsriver.patch.com/terms.
Mattie May 30, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Is there any way the Patch could employ people (even volunteers) who could quickly and efficiently assess the flagging _before_ auto deleting kicks in? Or do away with the auto-deleting thing altogether and just have human eyeballs reviewing the posts for ToS violations? I'm not sure I believe the whole 3-flags you're out auto deleting story, anyway; because I've seen some really, very offensive comments -- that I KNOW had to be repeatedly flagged several times over - and they stay posted. There's gotta be a better way, no?
diane May 30, 2012 at 10:27 PM
southern belle, i feel bad for you...people are people...i know as much white trash as i do minorities....seems to me the young people whatever race or nationality they are just get plain old stupid when they get to the shore....and throw alcohol into the mix and it gets worse...ssh should implement the same thing point pleasant did..close the bars at midnite...or if you really dont like it there just dont go..my last visit to the ssh boardwalk was last wednesday and my next visit will be after labor day...i have more of a problem with rt 37 and the lack of toms river cops patroling it..the cars do 90 down that highway...i didnt notice yet but did they put up the frequent accident sign again on 37 by the burger king...now that makes me laugh...its only there in the summer...well i hope the patch gets their act togeather as far as postings go..and i hope they allow people to speak their minds ...
Miriam May 30, 2012 at 10:40 PM
I love how as the story unfolds it is illustrated in a way that captures Seaside Heights as it once was, but for sure not how it is today.I would love for the day when the Patch does an article/poll,if you will asking residence what they really feel about Ocean County, NJ.
Nicholas Loffredo May 30, 2012 at 10:56 PM
Mattie: Our commenting system was recently updated with new features for our use, and it's otherwise a work in progress. We don't have the ability to eliminate flagging even if we wanted to; such changes would be made Patch-wide.
brick Resdt. May 30, 2012 at 11:04 PM
agreed have 3 teenagers have lived in the area over 10 yrs I think we have been to sleaze-side 3 times in 10 yrs. Now that my kids are teenages I wouldnt go near that place without a penicllian shot Lysol wipes & hand sanitizer
Miriam May 31, 2012 at 12:15 AM
Food for thought.If people are displeased with what has become of Seaside Heights.One sure fire way to dry up it's funds is to focus on the homelessness front! On the off season Seaside Heights as well as other hotels on Rt. 37 in Toms River, NJ are welfare hotels, and when prom season rolls in the homeless are kicked out after millions of dollars are paid to hotel owners to house them by our state and county, so they can stay in business and rennovate in preparation for the summer...BIG MONEY! This is why our county has not applied funds to solve the homelessness issue by creating a one stop shelter to address needs through various programs to get people off the system,instead they waste the money by the method mentioned at the top of my comment to profit a thousand fold! When a county rides off the backs of the poor/oppressed where is the respect,hence there is no respect for what Seaside Heights has become as long as there's money in it?! Truthfully, venting is good,but if people are too busy with their tv's,video games,reality shoes,and hiding behind their computers in their homes,instead of actively banning together as a community to VOICE their concerns not just write about them.The community will continue to be a pawn.Check Mate!
Jay Gee May 31, 2012 at 08:24 AM
Free Speech is gone. Those who operate this forum do not believe in Free Speech. Whether or not it is offensive, it should not be censored. Shame on you.
clamdigger May 31, 2012 at 10:03 AM
gee instead of a 3am last call & 4am closing time change that to 1am last call w/a 2am closing time.
. May 31, 2012 at 10:56 AM
Shelly - You are wrong. I may be a bit older than you, but Seaside Heights was once "the" place to go. It was all families back then. I spent my summers on the beach and boardwalk there until I was into my 20's. I can still remember being able to go to the boardwalk in the late 1990's and while it was crowded, you weren't afraid. It is really in the last 10 years that it has gone so tremendously downhill.
Seaside Harry May 31, 2012 at 12:57 PM
The bars have nothing to do with the "element" on the boardwalk. It's time to create ordinances like shirts on after 8pm, no smoking, etc... Or in force current ordinances like littering or drinking in public... Get rid of the bike parking ticket unit and hire more class 1 and class 2 police. They can write ordinance tickets and parking tickets. We are busy making the experience miserable for the family who gets to their car 5 minutes past their meter time while they have to fear for their family's safety on the boardwalk while animals run wild... Something needs to be done immediately and bars have nothing to do with the issues on the boardwalk...
Jay Gee June 01, 2012 at 01:50 AM
Very true Harry what you say about the "element" on the boardwalk. Put it differently and your in trouble on this forum. I know, I couldn't find so many of the better posts describing exactly what you say, but the powers that be here, chose to delete those posts here, just as the powers that be in seaside heights are taking it to the watery grave it's becoming. Too bad we can't get some of us owners together and do something about it. But, you know how that goes. I'm ready to do something, but what? I'm ready to go to the prosecutor about much of what goes on in town. Electric charges for instance, are off the charts. There's so much wrong. Shame, was so nice at one time. Now you aren't even able to sell if you are unhappy, you'd have to give away if anyone would take it off your hands.
knarfie June 01, 2012 at 07:10 PM
I would not spend a week in that dump of a town if I received it for free. What a freak show.
Ed June 02, 2012 at 10:16 AM
Harry, i agree as well. Spending money at Klees, 2 minutes expired. 3 bike "BOYS" swarmed it, OK i get it but with all the trash..... waiting for my meter is by 3 guys is not money well spent. Ticket paid. Trash still there.
OWC June 03, 2012 at 05:48 PM
YES! --- and get the 'Jersey Shore House' scum bags out of town!!! All they stir up is more slime in SSH!!! Seaside Offials talk about all the revenue the show brings to town. REALLY? ---And tell me, how much tax do the 'CASH BUSINESSES' report that the town benefits from? Doen't not even begin to pay for the extra police, sanitation, etc. that the town has to pay BECAUSE if it was a 'win-win' for the town, us property owners would not be seeing tax hikes each year to pay for these low lives!. -OWC
Shelly June 04, 2012 at 04:32 PM
No Name, I must disagree with you. I don't know how you define "family place", but Seaside Heights has been sleazy for as long as I can remember. When I was in middle school, it was the "hippies" and "drugs" that parents were worried about north of the central boardwalk. The place may have gone really to the dogs with the onset of "Jersey Shore", but by the 1990s, families were heading in droves to Point Pleasant with their kids NOT Seaside. My oldest kids were little in the 1990's and I will tell you that we'd go to Island Beach State Park and south seaside park. We never took our kids to Seaside Heights. We'd go to Funtown now and then, but the Heights? Never.
Karen Ann Campbell June 05, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Seaside was a fun family place when I was growing up. It went way down hill before I was even of drinking age and my parents really did not want me going there. I has been years since I have gone over the bridge between Memorial Day and Labor Day. We do venture over off season to eat, walk on the boardwalk and beach but once the crowds arrive we are done. For years when the girls were small we would go to Point but now that it is so expensive and they are older we often don't make it there even once in the summer. Just no desire.
Mildred Bayes June 09, 2012 at 09:51 PM
I love the place, warts and all!


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