BENNY Bombardement: Weekend Invasion At The Jersey Shore

Bayonne, Elizabeth, Newark, New York

BENNY.  If you’re from NJ you know the word BENNY.  A BENNY is someone who lives in North Jersey or NY and invades the Jersey Shore on the weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Being a former BENNY myself, I travelled in the wee hours of the night to avoid traffic at all costs.  I was down the shore every weekend.  I would even sleep in the back of my Camaro if I didn’t have a place to stay.  Now that I am a resident of the Jersey Shore I find BENNYs to be a gridlock creating breed of tourists who are good for the economy but bad for my peace and quiet.

I won’t even go near the beach or boardwalk on the weekends.  The crowds are monumental.  A 5 minute in-town drive might take you 35 minutes or more.  It’s insanity.  My husband and I wait until Sunday night after 10 pm to attempt a boardwalk visit.  By that time the crowds have dwindled and the traffic is minimal so the boards are a good bet for a late Sunday night of fun.

This weekend was the kick-off of the summer in NJ.  I always have to work the Friday before and stress about traffic.  I have a 20 minute door to door drive to work that might take 2 hours or more via the GSP.  This Friday was a record for me (in a good way) – I made it home in under 30 minutes thanks to back roads and Route 18 South.  It’s a Godsend.

For the rest of the holiday weekend I usually sequester myself to my property perimeters, venturing to a neighbor’s or to the nearest liquor store for supplies.  I don’t dare travel within a mile of the beach.  Last time I tried to buy bread at Fortunato’s, I got stuck in the “beach” traffic on Mantoloking Road.  Needless to say, I never made it to the bread.

When I was a BENNY from North Jersey I hopped in my car every single weekend, could have sat in traffic for hours and if I left on a Sunday afternoon, it would sometimes take me 4 hours to complete a 1 hour drive.  As I get older I have less tolerance for crowds, traffic and annoying people, so from Memorial Day to Labor Day, I do what many other shore dwellers do.  Stay away from the beach and boardwalk unless absolutely necessary.

I don’t know if I’m turning against my people or I’m just getting crotchety in my old age, but the BENNY Blitz has only just begun.  If you’re my friend, welcome to the Jersey Shore, if you’re obnoxious, invasive and frankly a cavone, stay out of my sector and try Jones Beach.

© 2011 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

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