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Broken heroes
July 11, 2009 5:16 PM   Subscribe

Let's go back in time, to Wildwood, New Jersey. (SLYT)
posted by davebush (56 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
It's different.
posted by null terminated at 5:22 PM on July 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


Reminds me of the '96 Romeo + Juliet
posted by nervousfritz at 5:24 PM on July 11, 2009


Ah, the fatherland, the mother tongue. How I long to gaze upon your neon shores again, to hear the soft slur of your consonants!
posted by steef at 5:38 PM on July 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'm going to cut the shoulders out of all my dress shirts now.
posted by longsleeves at 5:42 PM on July 11, 2009


DAVE!
posted by steef at 5:43 PM on July 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


Damn, I was gonna post this.

Great film, very true to life.
posted by Miko at 5:46 PM on July 11, 2009


Then I got Mary pregnant
and man that was all she wrote
And for my nineteenth birthday I got a union card and a wedding coat
We went down to the courthouse
and the judge put it all to rest
No wedding day smiles no walk down the aisle
No flowers no wedding dress

That night we went down to the river
And into the river we'd dive
Oh down to the river we did ride

I got a job working construction for the Johnstown Company
But lately there ain't been much work on account of the economy
Now all them things that seemed so important
Well mister they vanished right into the air
Now I just act like I don't remember
Mary acts like she don't care ...


-B
posted by R. Mutt at 5:56 PM on July 11, 2009 [4 favorites]


calling jerseygirl!
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 5:58 PM on July 11, 2009


And to think, when I went to sleepaway camp in the "Ford to NY: Drop Dead" '70's, Wildwood and other NJ kids actually asked me how many times I got mugged on the way to school. None, although my brother did get his sled stolen in Riverside Park, and some big kids got their buspasses taken away at the same spot where Duke Ellington used to talk to all of us while we waited for school to open at 95th and CPW. I am not kidding. We didn't believe him.We thought
he was just another old black guy teasing us. Leyla knew he was for real, because her dad was friends with Ahmet Ertegun and she got to meet Cat Stevens when we were in 5th grade.


In honor of my husband I will add, "Such nice blonde hair; it's a shame she dyes her roots black" -- but seriously, some of my best and oldest friends live in New Jersey, they're not old, just best.
And don't forget Stewart and Colbert. Both of them live in Montclair, along with just about everyone I grew up with who didn't migrate to either Boston or Hollywood.

It's kind of weird where people who can choose choose to live.

I do not miss the East Coast, ever. Sorry for the ramble. It's that time for me.
posted by emhutchinson at 6:01 PM on July 11, 2009 [5 favorites]


Oh man, I loved this. It made me feel about four years old. What are these grown-ups wearing?!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:04 PM on July 11, 2009


Awesome. I went to high school in Howell, only, um, later than this.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:16 PM on July 11, 2009


It just goes to show, you can never be too careful.
posted by hypersloth at 6:19 PM on July 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wildwood and other NJ kids actually asked me how many times I got mugged on the way to school.

Not specific to NJ, though. When I travelled around the US in the summer of 1998, I was asked a few times if I wasn't scared when I went to NY.

I'm a kid from Red Bank. NJ is a great place, but I no longer waste my breath telling people that, because I don't want any more people to move there. It's crowded enough already and the influx shows no signs of slowing. Looking forward to my boardwalk vacation at the end of the summer.
posted by Miko at 6:30 PM on July 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ahhh, DOWN THE SHORE!!!
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:32 PM on July 11, 2009


Wait, 1994?? Not 1986? But it's so Top Gun.
posted by tula at 6:35 PM on July 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was thinking that too tula. I remember 1994 being all, you know...generation x and shit. These kids are still stuck in the 80s.
posted by cazoo at 6:38 PM on July 11, 2009


Never been more homesick than I am right now.

I'll get my wife to watch it and learn how she needs to dress.

God bless you and your wonderful work, Metafilter.
posted by codswallop at 6:46 PM on July 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


It was the great achievement of Bruce Springsteen to find the poetry in these people, I sure woulda missed it.
posted by Faze at 7:01 PM on July 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


Holy crap -- a friend of mine made that movie! Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

Here's a link to her website if you want to check out some of her other stuff. Its all good.
posted by spilon at 7:21 PM on July 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


"And the poets down here don't write nothing at all, they just stand back and let it all be."

I find myself in the peculiar position of agreeing with Faze on something.
posted by jokeefe at 7:32 PM on July 11, 2009


as they once were so some day so will we
posted by Postroad at 7:38 PM on July 11, 2009


I'm a kid from Red Bank.

Did you go to school with Kevin Smith? Because I am totally going to freak if you did.

/fanboy
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:41 PM on July 11, 2009


Holy crap -- a friend of mine made that movie!

Did Ruth used to be part of running IMAGE Film and Video Center in Atlanta? Because I think that's how I remember her. I recall when she quit Image and started making movies, and how the premiere of this (Wildwood) and her next movie (Alma) were kind of a big deal here in this two bit town.

Someone should take care of adding this to IMDB.

I grew up in central NJ and we used to vacation down at the shore. But we went to Sea Isle City, a few miles north of Wildwood, because of my mother's ... distaste for those other places. Sea Isle City required you to pay a little fee to use their beach, whereas Wildwood was free, so I imagine that was a way to encourage the riff raff to keep driving. Goooorrrrgeous broad white beaches. Skanky white broads. Ha!

I remember my (more white trashy) friends would come back from their vacations talking of the wonders of Wildwood, and how jealous I was.

Now I'm snobbier than ever, and nothing less than Cumberland Island satisfies me.

Thanks davebush!
posted by intermod at 7:57 PM on July 11, 2009


This is such a true representation of that time, and it is not all that much different now, except the hair and stuff. Jersey can be quite the odd place.

People will want to make fund of them, but that is prety lame. Let them walk a few days in their shoes first. We had a pretty bad incident earlier this year where one of the beach town mayors really laid into these working class city kids who invade the beaches. That was pretty ugly.
posted by caddis at 7:58 PM on July 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


d
posted by caddis at 7:59 PM on July 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


1994? Are they sure?
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:00 PM on July 11, 2009


I would call bullshit on the 1994 thing too, but I've seen yearbooks from friends of mine who grew up on Long Island (yes, I know, not Jersey) around that time. What some people think of as the '90s is different from what other people think of as the '90s. For a surprising number of people, the huge flip was an acceptable woman's hairstyle well into the '90s.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:13 PM on July 11, 2009


LBI FTW
posted by rbf1138 at 8:18 PM on July 11, 2009


1994 is "back in time"? Christ I'm old.
posted by octothorpe at 8:27 PM on July 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wildwood is and was and will forever be the place I was never allowed to go to for some weird reason my mom cooked up.
posted by The Whelk at 8:52 PM on July 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, I'm now homesick. Oh New Jersey. Keep on being your own house blend of 100% dark-roasted strange.
posted by The Whelk at 8:53 PM on July 11, 2009


NJ is a great place, but I no longer waste my breath telling people that, because I don't want any more people to move there.

One of the judges I clerked for overheard me telling another clerk that I really did love New Jersey, and that nobody believed me when I told them. He made a beeline over to us and said, "You knock that off. You hear me? You quit telling people you like New Jersey NOW. Toxic waste dumps and mobsters. That's all we've got. Okay? We do not need more people here!"

So you aren't the only one Miko!
posted by greekphilosophy at 8:54 PM on July 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


People will want to make fund of them, but that is prety lame. Let them walk a few days in their shoes first.

Let he who is without class cast the first stone.
posted by PlusDistance at 8:57 PM on July 11, 2009


Did you go to school with Kevin Smith? Because I am totally going to freak if you did.

No. He didn't grow up in Red Bank. I'm pretty sure he went to Middletown North. Or maybe Henry Hudson Regional. He has an office in RB now (and maybe lives there?) but wasn't in town when we were growing up. However, we're about the same age, and knew and hung out with some of the same people in some of the same places. He has done a pretty good job, in many ways, of capturing the unique experience that is a NJ adolescence.

One thing I really enjoy is finely dicing the nuances of Jersey Shore towns. Each has its very own character and ambience. Wildwood's name fits it. It's the craziest. It has been for a long time - in my mom's day, Wildwood was one of the centers of the music scene that was booming right before the British Invasion - the Frankie Valli, American Bandstand, Philly R&B sort of scene. Teenagers flocked to the place from all over to go to shows and hang out. That hasn't changed. But let's remember that a lot of what makes Wildwood Wildwood is out-of-state tourism: the town is basically a summer camp of outer Philadelphia, and another strong visitor contingent comes from Quebec...seriously. Quebecois all seem to know about Wildwood. So it's not quite accurate to look at Wildwood and say 'those people are so Jersey...' a lot of them are from Jersey, but if you stopped people on the boardwalk to ask, the majority, perhaps, are not. They all combine at the shore to create an experience that could only happen in Jersey, but it's not a solely Jersey influence that creates that experience.

After Wildwood, the other wild towns are, I'd say, first Seaside, then maybe Belmar, then Pt. Pleasant, then (maybe) Margate. Another category of town is the more genteel, less honky-tonk beach town - the towns of LBI, Avalon, Stone Harbor, etc. Moneyed families head to those places, and they're more grown up and less about a youth party culture. Ocean City has a great boardwalk, but as a dry town it's scrubbed-up and family friendly, but a transplanted-suburbia scene all its own. Cape May is similar. Atlantic City just oozes sleaze. Asbury Park is coming back in a highly gentrified reincarnation of itself.

Each beach town has its own regulars, its own pace, its own traditions. Wildwood is unique in its energy and intensity and in its demographics - I'm a huge beach-town proponent and boardwalk lover, and I still get a little edged out in Wildwood. I'm happy it exists but yeah, it can intense, that draining combination of depressing/exhilerating that gives rise to that Springsteenian vision. Meanwhile, though, Wildwood is home to some wonderful things. Some 100-year-old boardwalk businesses. Some longstanding family traditions. A welcoming home to people of immigrant backgrounds who, in previous generations, were openly excluded from other Shore resorts. A half-mile wide beach: really, the beach itself is unbelievably huge and beautiful. Fantastic boardwalk arcades. America's biggest and most important marbles-playing championship. Concerts, fireworks, parades, festivals.

Today I live near Hampton Beach, NH, which is very Wildwoodian. The thing is, there are a lot of classes and types of people. And we all deserve to go on vacation. If there's one thing growing up in NJ taught me, it's tolerance: even if other people are having fun that's not our kind of fun, there's no reason for them not to go ahead and enjoy it.
posted by Miko at 9:07 PM on July 11, 2009 [14 favorites]


FourFour also featured this recently. Don't miss his earlier posts on modern-day Wildwood, where he found the best "homoerotic baptism of Christ" t-shirt you've ever seen.
posted by KatlaDragon at 9:23 PM on July 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Did anybody else catch the one guy watch his life flash by? Priceless.
posted by phaedon at 9:31 PM on July 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Miko gets double points now.
posted by The Whelk at 9:32 PM on July 11, 2009


I remember waking up in Wildwood one morning in the summer of 86. That would be unremarkable except I could have sworn I spent the night before drinking in Philadelphia.
posted by JaredSeth at 9:34 PM on July 11, 2009


I remember waking up in Wildwood one morning in the summer of 86. That would be unremarkable except I could have sworn I spent the night before drinking in Philadelphia.

Certainly not outside the realm of possibility.
posted by Miko at 9:37 PM on July 11, 2009


It was probably early 1960s singer Bobby Rydell who put Wildwood on the map, as far as the (non-Jersey) popular culture goes, with the 1963 hit "Wildwood Days". I think they named a street or something down there for him.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 9:41 PM on July 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


check. to. cash.


This is brilliant.
posted by Ugh at 10:57 PM on July 11, 2009


Metafilter: People will want to make fund of them, but that is prety lame.
posted by team lowkey at 11:47 PM on July 11, 2009


I remember waking up in Wildwood one morning in the summer of 86. That would be unremarkable except I could have sworn I spent the night before drinking in Philadelphia.

Heh, I did the same thing in 89. Life, huh?
posted by codswallop at 12:03 AM on July 12, 2009


Metafilter: d
posted by item at 12:03 AM on July 12, 2009


"Dave... Dave... DAVE!"


Daves not here.

Bitch.
posted by vapidave at 12:44 AM on July 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


"we just hooked up tonight, and we'll probably be together for THE REST OF THE SUMMER"
posted by necessitas at 12:47 AM on July 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Besides some minor changes in clothing and hair styles, there is basically no difference between the Wildwood in this video and the Wildwood I saw two months ago.
posted by runcibleshaw at 1:30 AM on July 12, 2009


Good stuff. Like Krulik's Heavy Metal Parking Lot.
posted by zerobyproxy at 1:32 AM on July 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Man, I was afraid I was going to see myself in this.
posted by chinston at 4:28 AM on July 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would call bullshit on the 1994 thing too, but I've seen yearbooks from friends of mine who grew up on Long Island (yes, I know, not Jersey) around that time. What some people think of as the '90s is different from what other people think of as the '90s. For a surprising number of people, the huge flip was an acceptable woman's hairstyle well into the '90s.

Yeah, you should see my sister's 1997 NJ high school year book. She was cool--sort of a grungey riot girl. So was her best friend and there was one goth guy in her class. Everyone else was pretty much just like this, and made her life miserable. And we were in Central Jersey! Even in the frosty north, big hair still ruled.

And, Miko and greekphilosphy, I really dug living in NJ, too. I grew up in a really diverse town not far from the Watchung Reservation and Washington Rock. I still miss it--sometimes I read Judy Blume books for nostalgia purposes. If it wasn't so god awfully expensive, I probably would have stayed.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:27 AM on July 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


Well, now. This sure brings up some awesome memories of past fashions and, like, ways of talking that, like, I've tried to like push into the, uh, back-recesses of my mind for, like, years.

RHS '94
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:27 AM on July 12, 2009


JaredSeth: "I remember waking up in Wildwood one morning in the summer of 86. That would be unremarkable except I could have sworn I spent the night before drinking in Philadelphia."

Wow, I'm just remembering my sophomore roommates stealing my car after I passed out drinking and then driving all night to Wildwood from Central PA. They were back by the time I woke up, four hours out, hop out take pictures, hop back in and four hours back. The fact that they didn't hit a tree, my 1970 Audi didn't explode and they didn't get nabbed by the cops is pretty amazing. Bastards.
posted by octothorpe at 7:31 AM on July 12, 2009


This is an awesome time capsule.

I graduated in 1993 from a preppy girls' school, but my friends in Northeast Philadelphia were still rocking many of these looks at the time. We spent our summers in Avalon, working during the day and running around all night - when we wanted a taste of danger we would cross the absurdly rickety Ocean Drive bridge to Wildwood and hit the boardwalk. It seemed to go on forever. Being young and free in that honky-tonk place was an incredibly heady feeling. Combine that with the fact that we had been expressly forbidden by our parents to go there on our own, and you had pure teenage gold. *sigh*
posted by chihiro at 7:58 AM on July 12, 2009 [2 favorites]


I live in the DFW area now, and I miss NJ like crazy sometimes, and no one believes me either. I would kill for a boardwalk pizza and some skeeball.
posted by ShawnStruck at 8:36 AM on July 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


The second place in that video looks like The Roman Holiday. There was an awesome place like a block away to get cheesesteaks. Ahhh good ol' Wildwood now I feel like going down the shore and getting some clams.
posted by tehdiplomat at 7:27 PM on July 12, 2009


"I was young and stupid then. I feel old and stupid now." - They Might Be Giants
posted by wsg at 12:33 AM on July 13, 2009


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