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Sixth Best Or Fourth Worst?

To me all these media stories about which are the best beaches and which are the worst are just  part of the back round noise.  To the extent that I do pay any attention to what organizations like Gannett or any university or the State of New Jersey have to say it would be mostly to use as a contrarian indicator.  Busy hurricane season predicted?  No worries.  Economy recovering?  Hard times ahead!

So it basically means nothing to me that Belmar was rated 6th best by New Jersey Tourism, the NJ Sea Grant Consortium and the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey Coastal Research Center.

Yeah, whatever.

But it meant a lot to our public officials who were very happy to take credit for the good showing:

Belmar cleans and grooms the beach every morning, and starting this year, smoking is completely prohibited on the entire beach and boardwalk, according to Belmar officials.

Belmar’s beaches have playgrounds at 3rd, 8th, 12th and 16th Avenue Beaches. Activities for children include boogie boarding, kayaking and surfing.

In a release, Belmar officials noted the town “prides itself on the accessibility of our beach. Every beach entrance is ADA compliant and features Mobi-Mats that provide a hard surface to operate a wheel chair, pair of crutches, or baby stroller. Our boardwalk features a 6 foot center strip for smooth operation of a wheel chair.”

“Our beach season never ends but our official kick-off starts Memorial Day Weekend on Friday, May 23rd and runs through Monday, September 1st, Labor Day Weekend. We have traditional food and beverage outlets on our boardwalk with plenty of parking available,” according to the release.

It also means nothing to me that the @Issue section of yesterday’s Asbury Park Press rated Belmar 4th worst:

People either seem to love it or hate it. In general, those who love it are young, single and like to party. Those who hate it dislike hanging at beaches where people are young, single and like to party. Or are rude.

Belmar has been typecast as a haven for so-called Bennies — day trippers from North Jersey and Staten Island. Belmar has worked at changing its image in recent years, and has, to some extent, succeeded. But it continues to have a perception problem. And a parking problem. Too many people; too few spaces.

Here is what some of its detractors had to say: “The people are rude.” “It’s crazy, frantic and loud.” “There are too many rowdy bars and there are drugs everywhere.” “It’s too crowded with college and high school students.”

I really don’t care but I am certain that if we had done well in this survey we would be hearing all about it.  So at Wednesday’s (Yes, Wednesday’s) council meeting I expect to see some contrition and repentance at this terrible showing.

By the way, the article is choked full of all the criteria that were used.  All sorts of likes and dislikes.  Use the “find” tool on your browser and you can find words like “loud”, “quiet”, “party”, “crowded”, “rude” and “parking”.  Three words you won’t find are “smoke”, “ADA” or “pavilions”.


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