The Changing of the Jersey Shoreline

Tuesday, July 4, 2006 12:46 PM
After reading the Asbury Park Press about Funtown Pier wanting to build Condos on the site,

plus the constant sales of hotels in Wildwood for Condos, I am wondering what will become of the Jersey Shore.

Asbury Park was already closed so that was no shocker but how much more will become Condos versus Recreation Areas? Reading the article, the Town loves it for the tax ratables, so it does not look like any town will be looking to keep the Piers.

Thinking about the Jersey Shore becomming a memory is just too sad.

Ed *** Edited 7/4/2006 4:51:35 PM UTC by chillforce5X***

An Old Coaster fart that refuses to grow old, I just wish many of my friends could have as well!

Tuesday, July 4, 2006 1:00 PM
I agree, this is very sad indeed. Not to sound overly-sensative, but when I first saw all of the construction going on and got my first glimpse of the condos and remembered what used to be there, I literally just about cried, and there were tears.

I remember going to Wildwood every summer since I was little, around 5 or 6, and loving it, just tons of memories. In the last couple of years its been tarnished by high-end condos and demolition of many 50s style motels. I really hate to see wildwood go this way. It seems as if they are really trying to hold onto some of the "doo wop" style and culture (like the new light posts and wawa on rio grand, the new starlux motel), but its somewhat ruined next to the dozens and donzens of condo buildings that all look the same and have NO style what-so-ever. It's such a shame, I grew up going to wildwood, and while the piers and boardwalk seem to be doing well, the style and town just isn't the same and won't get any better. I guess it's just progress. Someday I see myself never being able to go back there for an overnight or a weekend because I can't afford a condo or appartment there. :( *** Edited 7/4/2006 5:02:32 PM UTC by P18***

Tuesday, July 4, 2006 2:10 PM
It's sadly interesting in a bizzare sort of way.

You build and you build and you build and then you realize that the reason you built in this location is gone.

The co-ops becomes over-crowded, gated and sections of the "free" beach disappear.

The people living there expect and get federal money to maintin and preserve the coastline that only a priliged few will have access to.

The Jersey Shore and its sea-side amusement area needs to remain intact.

Where is Bruce Springstein now when we really need him?

Here's To Shorter Lines & Longer Trip Reports!

Wednesday, July 5, 2006 9:40 AM
I agree with you 200%, P18. It is absolutely gut-wrenching to see what's going on.

Wildwood has been a part of me since before I could walk or talk and it pains me to see what is happening to the place. At first it seemed natural- a few old motels being replaced by condos wasn't weird, it was more or less expected. But now that dozens of places are sold and bulldozed for condos each year, I am really starting to panic.

Sure, it's natural for people to want to move to a place like Wildwood, but people don't seem to realize that the fact they're buying condos at a place they loved is going to change the place for the worse. Sure, the boardwalk is doing fine now, but what happens when the tourists that spent a load of money over a period of a week are replaced by summer residents that are more careful with their wallets? Restaurants are going to suffer, amusements are going to suffer and the thousands of other businesses on the island that aren't gas stations or grocery stores are going to suffer. By getting rid of the motels, you're not just getting rid of historic buildings, you're witnessing a huge change in the local economy. A change that is devestating to what Wildwood has been for more than a century.

I think the city sees this but it's too late. A few years ago the new convention center opened and became an immediate hit. But when you remove about 1/3 of the motel/hotel rooms from the island, you suddenly have no place to put all those people. This was realized when a fireman's convention was moved from Atlantic City to Wildwood- there weren't enough rooms on the island and people had to stay as far away as Atlantic City. The big question was, "Why not have just kept the convention in AC?" Now the solution is a bunch of "doo wop"-style hotel towers on the boardwalk. Goodbye Wildwood skyline, hello Atlantic City skyline.

Progress? Definitely. But it sucks nonetheless. Not only are seaside amusement parks a dying breed but so are seaside resorts. Sad.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006 10:58 AM
Springsteen couldn't do anything to save his home turf in Asbury Park, so why would he do anything to help Seaside or Wildwood. I don't make it to Wildwood too often, but I'm in Seaside once a week in the summer - so I have a few ideas about that.

If the Funtime Peir is for sale and Jenk's [who pretty much own all of Point Pleasant and now are dumping big money into Seaside] are not interested, it must be a financial dog. While you hate to see any amusement area go down - it will be interesting to see what happens down on the south end of the boardwalk if they go the way of highend condos. The north end saw the same thing in a much much more limited way when the "Wine Celler" was sold for condos.

A couple of things I'd be willing to predict. Jenk's would try to addon in a major way if Funtime ends and they will continue to focus all their money around the Casino Pier. They know from the money they rake in that you need a destination or at least own the entire destination to make big money. I also think you will see the Boardwalk go up as higher end restuarant and clubs are built on the roof level of the existing structures - al a Saw Mill's Green Room and Spicy. Wonder how excite the condo owners will be with the new concert schedule at the Saw Mill.

On a different note - what ever happened to the huge log flume that was located on the Funtime Peir during the `80s? That thing was massive. *** Edited 7/5/2006 3:01:29 PM UTC by njmax***

Wednesday, July 5, 2006 11:13 AM
I don't think this is a case of Funtown Pier not making any money- it's a case of the land being too valuable. The owners could probably make more money selling to a condo developer than they could by operating the pier for another two centuries.

If Funtown disappears, it would truly be a shame. Seaside Heights is the only place in the world where you can ride an old Miler mouse AND a new Miler mouse! And I wouldn't expect Casino Pier to do anything drastic. Why would they? Without any competition, it would give them more of an excuse to sit back and do nothing while the crowds roll in.

I hate to say it, but in ten years I expect four amusement parks on the Jersey Shore: Jenk's (Point Pleasant), Casino Pier, Gillian's (Ocean City) and Morey's (Wildwood). I'm sure Keansburg, Fantasy Island (LBI) and Playland (Ocean City) aren't long for this world.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006 1:24 PM
there is still hope for wildwood. I don't have a problem w/ more condos, but i have a problem w/ more removal of motels. Hotel Towers IMO, aren't a bad idea, as long as they don't become a fad like the condos did/are. The beauty of the motels though, is driving down, seeing a vacancy sign & staying for a few nights. Morey's has planty a room to move, they own four piers & operate amusements of three of them. Some new motels wouldn't hurt either
Wednesday, July 5, 2006 2:01 PM
At some point, the luxury condo market is destined to collapse. The condo construction frenzy has been going on for quite some time all over the US, with many hundreds of thousands if not millions more units planned. Many of the major condo towers planned for Las Vegas have already been cancelled.

Many of these units are bought with the intent to "flip" them for profit, the buyers having no intention to actually live in them. The housing boom in California for example is inflated by investors and flippers, with a significant number of homes being left vacant all over the place as they are held for investment. A relative of mine bought in a new development 2 years ago, and only 3 of the 7 homes on his street have ever been occupied, the rest are investments. Overbuilding is already happening, so many of these ballyhooed condo projects will most likely never be built. As the housing market cools, it will take years for the actual demand to catch up with what has already been constructed. So it's possible some parks may end up getting a reprieve as the developers who don't jump fast enough end up taking a bath.

Just an observation from someone who has been watching the real estate frenzy up close from ground zero out here in the Southwest.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006 2:43 PM
I'm hoping there is still hope for Wildwood. From what I've been hearing, a lot of the planned condos are not sold and perhaps that will convince developers to stop paying outrageous amounts of money for motels so they can knock them down and build. And there's also the idea of "condo-tels", which are motels where the owners decide to sell the individual units as condos. Once all the units are sold, a management company takes over (or in some cases, the original owners) and the rooms are rented just as they would be if the building were still an older motel. The unit owners have to request ahead of time which weeks they want to use their rooms, otherwise they are rented and the owners get to keep most of the money made from renting the room out. And there are strict limits on leaving the rooms just as they are (furniture, paint, etc.) so they still look like the motel rooms that people are familiar with.

Still, too many motels have been demolished- classics like the Ebb Tide and the Satellite. And I don't think towers are the answer- they are a quick fix. I love driving over the Rio Grande bridge and seeing the boardwalk in the distance- seeing a bunch of towers blocking the rides and the beach would make it look like Atlantic City.

Part of the charm of a Wildwood motel is hanging your wet beach clothes over the balcony railing to dry. A Marriott hotel tower surely won't allow you to do that, even if there was a balcony railing!

Wednesday, July 5, 2006 2:47 PM
I completely agree Rob, even though it seems simple, thats part of what I remember the most is that kind of charm you just mentioned there. Coming back from the beach covered in sand and rinsing at the motel shower, then sitting out on the balcony til dark looking over the pool with all of our towels and banthing suits and stuff hanging out to dry over the balcony railing before heading a couple blocks to the boardwalk. It was great, and nice to know other people recognize that kind of stuff. Another classic motel that was lost sadly was the Thunderbird in North Wildwood. *** Edited 7/5/2006 6:48:54 PM UTC by P18***
Wednesday, July 5, 2006 3:20 PM
I heard the Thunderbird is gone, as well as the Flame Inn. Since we always stay in the Crest we hardly ever make it to North Wildwood so I think a drive through the area will be called for this year, even though it will probably break my heart.

I think what makes Wildwood so great is the fact that it's so casual. I love leaving the boardwalk around 11:00, grabbing ice cream at Duffer's or Sea Shell and enjoying it while sitting on the balcony with the cool ocean breeze in the air. It's honky-tonk (although not Coney Island honky-tonk) but it's still a great family place and I don't think I could ever get tired of going... as long as the current trend doesn't continue forever!

Wednesday, July 5, 2006 3:45 PM
We usually stayed around central, The Bonito is where my family stayed when I was younger for so many years, then it was just some random ones here and there. Also another sad part is that pedestrian street (I forget where that is) that used to have many shops on it, but now sadly most are vacant and empty. Wildwood has it's own atmosphere to it, which I could never tire of unless as you said, the current trend continues on. These new buildings have no style to them like the retro motels do, they look like all of the other of millions and millions of houseing developments that are shooting up everywhere you look.

Every time I go through NW it's hard not to feel the sadness of what was once there and what it is now becoming.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006 4:01 PM
The pedestrian street you speak of was a failure since the get-go. It was called Holly Beach and it created a huge inconvenience because it shut down a major road that connects Wildwood Crest to North Wildwood. Parking was a problem and that's probably one of the reasons no one went there. I was there a few times to visit the George F. Boyer Historical Museum (a great place to go, especially on a rainy day) but that was it.

A few years ago the street was reopened and some parking spaces were created. A nice sidewalk, pavers in the street and lights were installed to make it look a lot more warm and friendly. I'm not sure if it brought people to the area but maybe the fact that you can drive through and actually see what's there will help. I always thought it would make a great spot for fancy restaurants and nightclubs- away from everything else and in a section of town that could use a shot in the arm.

*** Edited 7/5/2006 8:01:45 PM UTC by Rob Ascough***

Wednesday, July 5, 2006 6:42 PM
Oh ok, thanks, I couldn't remember the name or where it was. I just remember walking there last year and thinking it looked pretty nice but there just wasn't anything there. I think it could have potential just as you said, with some nice restaurants and nightclubs, and/or maybe a Citywalk type of atmosphere to breath some life into it.
Wednesday, July 5, 2006 8:51 PM
What I think about with Funtown Pier is the building of Condos just about on the beach. There will be a viscious storm on the East Coast, when is the question. The barrier islands are there to deflect the strength of storms from the mainland, the barrier islands though have become mainlands.

Seaside, Lavallette, Seaside Park, Ortley, etc are on a sandbar that was created by a hurricane, it can easily be wiped out by one as well. Someone will have to answer for the decision to allow all this building on barrier islands.

An Old Coaster fart that refuses to grow old, I just wish many of my friends could have as well!

Wednesday, July 5, 2006 9:22 PM
When I was a kid, we used go to Wildwood as a family, along with my cousins and their parents. We stayed in the "upper class" Stone Harbor (my grandparents rented out a place there every summer), which is right across the bridge. One thing that sticks out in my head was what a bad reputation that Wildwood had back in the 70's. I don't know if things got better in the 80's and 90's or not. The last time I went there was in 93'. *** Edited 7/7/2006 4:54:03 AM UTC by Intamin Fan***
Wednesday, July 5, 2006 10:58 PM
Wildwood had a dark period at some point during the past two decades (when it started and when it ended is up for debate) and that chased a lot of people away, but I think things have been very good on the island during the past decade. Even then, it never had the seedy reputation that Seaside Heights had (and probably still has today to some extent).

I agree that certain parts of the Jersey shore are just disasters waiting to happen. You're right- Seaside, Lavallette, Ortley are really just a gigantic sandbar (Long Beach Island too, for that matter)- and one major storm could be devestating. The view would be spectacular but I wouldn't want to live somewhere knowing that it could all sink into the ocean in the blink of an eye.

Thursday, July 6, 2006 8:37 PM
there are two things that give me hope for the jersey shore... One, the amount of people who care for t charm. & Two ... a decline in the condo trend. Hope fully!

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