February 3, 2010

Seaside Heights, New Jersey.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jim @ 10:14 pm

Let me say at the outset that, except for about five painful minutes, I have not watched the wretched the “reality” TV program called something like “Jersey Shore,” which is set in Seaside Heights, New Jersey.

When I was a boy, Seaside Heights was the place where our blue collar parents took their “vacation club” money and their kids for vacation. To us kids, it was heaven on earth. It is where I first tasted pizza (called, back then, “tomato pie”) and where learned that placing a nickel on the right square could win you a whole box of Clark Bars! Equally as important, we learned that it was possible to blow a bunch of nickels and win nothing — a valuable lesson they didn’t teach in school.

As we aged, the place still offered excitement and adventure. Exploding hormones, girls, romance and broken hearts. It was all there. If nothing else, it was always great to have dinner “on the boards,” which meant you ate your way from one end of the boardwalk to the other – fries with vinegar, Taylor Ham sandwiches, sausage sandwiches, pizza, caramel popcorn and frozen custard.

Once we became old enough to imbibe, the place really rocked. I am fortunate enough to have played at some of the joints in “Seaside.”

My old pal Paul sent me this rather amazing (albeit corny) video from 1960, in which, for all I know, I may appear.



  1. One of my best friends (former Navy SEAL) grew up there.
    He invited me for Thanksgiving weekend the year Michael died. A beautiful place!

    Comment by Jean — February 3, 2010 @ 11:16 pm

  2. We used to go there once in a while when I was stationed at McGuire from ’86 to ’92. It was only about a 45 minute drive or so from the base. There was also an advertisement for Seaside Heights painted on a railroad bridge where I grew up, in Schenectady.

    Comment by Stan — February 4, 2010 @ 12:05 am

  3. Remember those 15 cent slices of tomato pie that were as big as a quarter of what a large pie is now?
    Every time I smell creosote, which is a rarity these days, it brings me right back to the boardwalk at the Heights.

    Comment by gregor — February 4, 2010 @ 8:24 am

  4. What I remember about Seaside:

    Aunt Margaret, Uncle Bill and my father taking the kids’ Daily Double bets to Monmouth Racetrack, while Uncle Andy stayed home with the kids. Happily, with no complaints.

    Esposito’s market, Uncle Bill’s cigars and Parkway reciepts in his shirt pocket. Card games, Reingold beer, newspaper on the table and all the crabs you could eat.

    The batting cages, miniature golf and the go carts in Toms River. The Casino Pier, Funtown, Skillo and Victor’s candy stand. Maruca’s Pizza, the Chatterbox and the sausage sandwich stand in the middle of the boardwalk.


    Little noisy stones for a driveway.

    I’ve always believed that for my first night passed the pearly gates, we will all be back at Seaside telling stories, drinking cold beer and listening to Uncle Billy laugh. See you all when we get there.

    Comment by cousin gary — February 4, 2010 @ 8:28 am

  5. Most folks outside of NJ don’t even know what Taylor Ham IS!

    Comment by Karen — February 4, 2010 @ 9:44 am

  6. Gary, Gregor,

    Great memories, indeed.


    Comment by Jim — February 4, 2010 @ 10:41 am

  7. I, too, have many fond “growing up” memories of Seaside Heights. Mine are centered more in the 70’s than the 60’s (which means I’m not QUITE as ancient as Jimbo). There are a few songs that will instantly put me on the boardwalk. Spill the Wine [Eric Burdon] and Chick-A-Boom [Daddy Dewdrop] come immediately to mind.

    And I haven’t thought about Rheingold (Extra Dry) beer in forever! Thanks for the memories.

    Comment by MorningGlory — February 4, 2010 @ 11:01 am

  8. For the oast few years we have rented a condo in Ortley about 1/4 mile north of the boardwalk. While there are some stange characters there and some seedy places, it is still great to bring the grandkids to the boardwalk as well as “eat your way from one end to the other.” The bars are still good also although I prefer the Ortley ones for a more “age appropriate” crowd.

    Comment by Joseph — February 4, 2010 @ 6:08 pm

  9. I still live right across the bay from Seaside and I can say 2 generations of my family have worked the Seaside ‘boards. I worked there from 1978-1984 and my son has been there for the last 2 seasons.
    My son told some great stories of the chuckleheads from “Jersey Shore”. Some are a little off color and not for public consumption yet funny none the less.
    I still get my weekly Midway cheesesteak during the season and my wife LOVES zeppoles.
    The best pizza for size of slice and quality of pie is the little stand on the boardwalk side of Casino Pier.
    Seaside is still for the most part a fun place.

    Comment by RobbieRob — February 4, 2010 @ 6:47 pm

  10. Well I did not see a younger Jimbo in the video but I was startled to see a younger Nancy Pelosi but it just turned out to be an animated puppet with a purse laughing.
    Seriously though , this brought back memories of our own local amusement park “WALDEMEER” appropriately situated on the shores of Lake Erie adjacent to 7 &1/2 miles of beach`s on Presque Isle Peninsula. Fresh water & no sharks can`t be all bad.

    Comment by dudley1 — February 5, 2010 @ 9:03 pm

  11. Anyone remember the shooting gallery near the middle of the boardwalk? There was a guy playing a piano, a big bird, tin cans, street lights, and you would fire a little light at a bullseye to try and hit them. 15 shots for a quarter.

    Comment by Terry — March 29, 2011 @ 5:31 am

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