Sure, I know, Joey Buttafuoco is from Long Island, not the Jersey Shore. And I actually have never seen more than five minutes of the TV reality show Jersey Shore. I did like the movie My Cousin Vinnie.
As a Southerner, this kind of style and lifestyle of the Northeast seems exotic to me. So I wanted to see if for myself. It was October, so the tourist season was over, but the weather was delightful and the wind generally at my back.
I had taken the “ferry” over from Manhattan to Belford harbor, near Sandy Hook, at the southern entrance to the New York harbor. It was a small boat, really. I was proud of myself for not getting seasick, as the waves and wind across the harbor made for a bumpy ride.
This trip was to be, in a roundabout way, a two day ride from Alex and Kristi’s place in Park Slope, Brooklyn; to Betsy and George’s place in Princeton. I rode down the Jersey Shore one day, spent the night in a cheap motel in Seaside Heights, then rode the next day across rural / suburban New Jersey to Princeton.
What was really interesting is that each town, each municipality, had its own character. Each felt like a separate culture of sorts. Bruce’s Asbury Park was the most disappointing town. It had mostly been torn down. The Stone Pony was just a bar, with a Sunday afternoon band playing Marshall Tucker.
This town just north of Seaside Heights had a unique character. It belonged in some kind of movie. Summer weekends here must be a great time. Just jammed together and all.
I spent the night in Seaside Heights, which had a major boardwalk scene, a Bruce Springsteen thing much stronger now than that found in Asbury Park. Sandy, we’ve got to quit this boardwalk scene too. I also grew up with this stuff in Virginia Beach. This place puts Seaside Park in Virginia Beach to shame.
The ride the next day all across the rural slash exurban part of New Jersey, from Seaside Heights to Princeton, was good cycling. This sixty miles across New Jersey looked almost uniformly prosperous.