17 July 2010

Jersey Shore Bennies and Shoobies

Jersey Shore: Vintage Images of Bygone Days   The Roaring '20s at the Jersey Shore
A "Benny" is a derogatory term used by residents of the (New) Jersey Shore to describe tourists.

Though the origin is arguable, many people believe that Bayonne, Elizabeth, and Newark originally made up the B,E,N of the word when it was used in the early part of the 20th century.

These days, it applies to any non-resident during the summer months that is part of the crowd that jams roads, stores, beaches, and restaurants. Of course, those Bennies are also the lifeblood of the summer tourist economy.

Benny is the term used predominantly by year-round residents of the beachfront towns of Ocean County and Monmouth County. In the southern Jersey Shore (Long Beach Island to Cape May), the term "shoobie" is also used.

Originally, shoobies described daytrippers who came by train to the shore. The railroads offered pre-packed lunches that came in shoeboxes (a box lunch) that labeled them as shoobies. Today it can be attached to those visitors who arrive by car but wear sneakers or shoes on the beach, as opposed to most locals who go barefoot.

(There is no connection to the slang uses of "Benny" as a nickname for the drug "Benzedrine" or a term that refers to a type of overcoat.)


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