The New Jersey Native's Guide to Summer, Part I

Now that Memorial Day 2014 {#MDW2104} has arrived, our New Jersey summer can officially start.

No matter where in the country {or the world, maybe?} you are, you likely have some impressions about New Jersey, and specifically about the Jersey Shore, thanks to these people.

No, this is as large as they get. No need to share more
of my blog space with these {PROBABLY PERFECTLY NICE} people
who have perpetuated much NJ hate.
I'm not going to get ranty, but I am here to clear something up real quick: The Situation and Snooki are not from NJ. They are not representative of the Jersey Shore or people from NJ at large. Sure, plenty of us here have big hair, tattoos, and deep tans. We work out, we party like we invented it, and we live and die for summer nights.

But there's so much more to a Jersey summer than Karma and bar brawls. Which is why I'm kicking off the season with a little summer session education and bringing you:

Session One: Definitions

Jersey shore — A coastal region of New Jersey encompassing 127 miles of diverse and kick-ass white sand beaches. Includes everything from the super-klassy Home of Sunnin' & Funnin', Seaside Heights to the beautiful and relaxing LBI to "God's Square Mile at the Jersey Shore," Ocean Grove to the arty, grungy, music-loving, pride-filled home of the Stone Pony, Asbury Park.

Down the shore — a) A direction in which a person travels {"I'm on my way down the shore."}; b) a term to describe the general beach region of NJ {see above!} {"I'm down the shore for the weekend."}; c) a term hotly debated for its accuracy, which New Jerseyans actually don't give a shit about. Don't bother me with these things while I'm down the shore; d) abbreviated in text to "dts"

Parkway — A main highway that extends from the NY/NJ border and along the coast down to Cape May at the southern tip of NJ which delivers drivers at their shore {and other} destinations. {Note: Many New Jerseyans identify their location to others utilizing parkway exit numbers. Ex. 1: "I live at Exit 145." Ex. 2: "I'm on my way down now, stuck in traffic at 109."
Parkway North — Absolute hell on a Sunday evening
Parkway South — Absolute hell on a Friday evening

Benny — A visitor to the Jersey Shore who does not live year-round in the shore region. Originally meant to indicate that a person was from Bayonne/Brooklyn, Elizabeth, Newark, or New York; now simply non-shore native. {Note: me, technically.} {Note #2: Some locals hate on bennies pretty hardcore. Just like some NYers hate on tourists, commuters, and weekend day-trippers. CLAM DOWN everybody. We're giving your local economy obscene amounts of money. Although I am appalled that we felt the need to take Steaks up north into Hoboken. That's just stupid. #ItsAShoreThing.}

EJ's knows what's up.
No shower happy hour — When you take that azz straight from the beach to the bar, maybe having thrown shorts over your bathing suit bottom, maybe not. See: DJais, Seaside Heights boardwalk bars, Jenks, etc. Also a Saturday event at The Ocean Drive (The OD) in Sea Isle City.

Jersey slide — The act of swiftly gliding across two or more lanes of traffic in one fell swoop, usually in a move to reach your exit or migrate into the left {fast} lane.

Speed limit — A mere suggestion of minimum acceptable speed at which to travel while on a New Jersey highway. If you're going the speed limit, you're going too slow and belong in the right lane. If you're going the speed limit in the left lane, you're probably from Pennsylvania and everyone behind you definitely hates you. We have places to be. You can mosey on down the shore in the right lane.

Bar A — Bar Anticipation, a beach bar in Belmar with multiple indoor and outdoor bars, live music, the best bartenders around and the ever-popular Tuesday night Beat the Clock, where beers start at $.50 and increase by $.50 by the hour.

AC — Atlantic City, where anything I could write here would certainly forget to outline something about this dirty, raunchy, sexy, troublemaking town. Come to play, and don't forget to hydrate.

Jersey Strong — An expression/slogan popularized after Hurricane Sandy, which wiped out the Jersey Shore in 2012. Parts of the shore are still rebuilding after the storm as well as the 2013 Seaside Heights boardwalk fire. The Jersey Strong Foundation is an organization that continues to work day after day to bring relief and support to people who have lost their homes, their businesses, and their livelihoods in the storm and other natural disasters; learn more about the efforts & how to help here. {Note: Jersey Strong is also the name of the gym this organization was born out of. Yeah, I'm serious.} See also: "Stronger than the storm."

Mem Day/MDW/Memorial Day Weekend — The official beginning to the season of all of the above.

Labor Day/LDW — The last hurrah for summer, which is both begrudging and a relief, because we can't keep doing this shit forever. See also: The start of the recovery season.

I'll be coming back to share some NJ summer Must Dos & Must Sees, but I've got a yukka to shake and some impatient Italians waiting for me right now. Turn up the tunes and get your summer on, Jersey-style, until we meet again:

Alyssa's Identity-Disordered Summer Soundtrack
{Seriously, who else puts country, house, jam bands, and throwbacks on the same playlist?}

1. Summer by Calvin Harris — because duh, it's in the title
2. Given the Chance by The Starting Line — because HI this song is about playing in Jersey at the Bamboozle

Doing Bamboozle right the first year it moved to Asbury Park 
3. #SELFIE by the Chainsmokers — because whether you #FISTPUMP in earnest or ironically, you will do it to this song
4. Wildfire by John Mayer — because a little bit of summer makes a lot of history. Especially if Johnny Boy brings his rear end back to our neck of the woods this summer for a show on the lawn {we'll get to that next time}
5. Summer of '69 by Bryan Adams — because oh, if summer could only last forever...
6. Chicken Fried by Zac Brown Band — because there's nothin' like a cold beer on a Friday night
7. Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen — because tramps like us, baby... you know the rest. Bruce forever.
8. Boys of Summer by The Ataris/Don Henley — because whether it's a Black Flag or a Deadhead sticker on the Cadillac, you're belting this one out while you drive down the shore with the windows down and you have basically no say in the matter
9. Two Step (in the Rain) by Dave Matthew Band — because any self-respecting DMB fan knows that this performance of Two Step is not only the best that there ever was, but also that it occurred right here in NJ at Giants Stadium in 2001.
10. Drunk on You by Luke Bryan — because it's all about getting a little drunk on someone you dig and getting high on summertime

{NOTE: We absolutely do NOT forget the real purpose of Memorial Day around these parts either. We all know a veteran or two {at least} and remember and honor the sacrifice our loved ones and other men and women in uniform have given for our country and our freedom. I give thanks to my very favorite veterans and military personnel: my big brother, my grandfathers, my good friends Kyle and Matt who are still actively serving, my stepfather, my uncle, friends Steve and Matty, and so many more strong and courageous people to whom we all owe so very much. If you're so inclined to show your thanks as well, consider joining me in making a donation to the Wounded Warrior Project this Memorial Day.}

What's the best part of summer where you live? What songs belong on your summer playlist?

Happy Memorial Day! Happy Summer!

Psst — See Part Two Here!


  1. Happy Memorial Day hun! I knew all of Jersey couldnt be like that, I actually have two high school friends living there now and they say the same thing. I get so many misconceptions abt life in the Caribbean so I totally get it. I laughed reading the definitions and girl a Jersey summer sounds like a blast!

  2. There are no words for how much I LOVE this post. Can't wait for the next one! And that playlist? EPIC!

  3. i love this post so much. i will say i knew nothing of NJ or 'the shore' except for that stupid show (that i never watched) but now i want to go. next summer maybe!

  4. My lived in NJ for years and I always looooved visiting her!
    Best thing about MI in the summer... hmmm... all the water! :)

  5. The only thing I know about the jersey shore is what I learned watching MTV. Your version sounds much better!

  6. Absolutely in LOVE with this playlist. Your summer soundtrack is probably 99% like mine. We will have to meet up for a drink if you make it to West Harwich this summer!

  7. Your playlist is freaking amazing and I am totally sending this post to my sister who lives in Jersey and heads to the shore all the time ;-)

  8. Not sure how I missed this post- LOVE! Also, I had no idea what "Benny" stood for nor had I heard of the Jersey slide- but definitely agree with the definitions! Also, that playlist? Nailed it!

  9. I LOVE THIS POST!!!!!!!!!!! i'm a fellow jersey girl (i live DTS) and this is just PERFECT. great playlist too!! ;)


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