You Can’t Police Wildwood Boardwalk Style

Baggy pants will ride low. Racy t-shirts will roam free.

Oh dear Wildwood, you’re at it again.

Officials of the South Jersey Shore town are proposing a ban on baggy pants  on the boardwalk, and also a requirement that boardwalk patrons wear a shirt between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. and shoes at all times. The vote will be on June 12.

This is stupid.

Have you ever been to the Wildwood boardwalk on a Friday or Saturday night? It’s strutting ground for teenage peacocks, the girls covered in whatever fashions People Style magazine are promoting as hot this month, while guys have stuck to the same uniform for the last 20 years: white muscle tanks and shorts. The baggy thing is just a more recent development.

The proposed dress code falls somewhere between last year’s proposed ban on racy t-shirts and the fight over allowing restaurants to serve booze on the boardwalk. I’m not a big fan of the former (do teenage girls really need shorts that splay “DTF” across their butts? And why is Marilyn Monroe a gangster? And STOP IT with the Ill shirts), but this stuff is impossible to police, and a waste of resources in a town that was so desperate for revenue that they tiptoed to the line of implementing beach tags (they did the more sensible thing—started talks to share services with North Wildwood and Wildwood Crest).

If Wildwood wants to “maintain a family-friendly image,” their better bet is to stop letting houses rent to packs of 18-year-olds and their much younger friends on senior and prom week trips.

Wearing stupid stuff on the Wildwood boardwalk is a local right of passage, as much as is saucehose at Sam’s Pizza Palace and daring friends to ride the Sea Serpent. Kelly Ripa did it. Hell, I did it (but didn’t stay over for senior week because my mother would have killed me).

Don’t like it? Ocean City’s just up the Garden State Parkway.

Jen A. Miller is a Collingswood-based writer and author of The Jersey Shore: Atlantic City to Cape May.

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