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Despite years of rumor and hoping for the best, Asbury Park is still in recovery.  Lately, these years, there has been concrete steps forward, and a number of derelict buildings have been pulled down, but the alarming thing is that McCondos for Manhattanites are going up in their place.  Yep.  New Yorkers and Northern Jerseyans looking for a place down the shore.  In these parts, those guys are called Bennies.  To be sure, here’s a definition from

To clarify, a benny is not simply a person from Newark. We welcome visitors, whether they be from north Jersey, Canada, or the other side of the world, so long as they are respectful of the local population and the place we call home. The term “benny” is reserved for those who visit and then find it acceptable to spit in the face of their local hosts. They are disrespectful towards the shore itself as well as those who live here. These rude, self-centered, loud, arrogant, and obnoxious summer tourists are bennys.

As for the origin of the pseudonym, there are over a dozen different definitions ranging from the currency tourists used to the types of shoes they wore, and so it is impossible to say how the name actually began. That said, the most accepted definition is that of the anagram (thus our use of ‘bennys’ instead of ‘bennies’). Bayonne, Elizabeth, Newark, and New York. When the name first came into use, just following the second World War, these were the primary departure points of tourists to the Jersey Shore. 

The sad thing is this: every time an old building gets torn down, a part of history goes along with it.  And what does the community get, in the place of these demolition?  Buildings that will only be occupied during the Summer.  Sure, a cash strapped place like Asbury Park needs the money.  And, unfortunately, “Benny go home” is not essentially an easy prescription.  But the last thing that needs to happen is for Asbury Park to end up like Long Branch, where local authorities seized property for the express purpose of making the waterfront an eyesore condominium hell.    Which, by the way, is the source of a lot of frustration in Long Branch, and I suspect that’s the anger behind this bit of graffiti:


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