The Ocean City Boardwalk Is About to Get Even Less Fun

Plus, who keeps $100,000 sitting around in their house? In Delco?!

Legislators just banned buskers like this juggler from most of the Ocean City Boardwalk in New Jersey

Legislators just banned buskers like this juggler from most of the Ocean City Boardwalk in New Jersey (Getty Images)

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The Ocean City Boardwalk Is About to Get Even Less Fun Thanks to Busker Ban

I remember the first time friends invited me and my family to meet them in Ocean City, New Jersey, maybe 15 years ago or so.

The first thing we noticed was that the Ocean City boardwalk was overrun with stressed-out parents with double-strollers and folks fuming because they bought those pricey-but-seem-like-a-good-deal all-day passes for the piers and their kids were done after a few rides.

The second thing was that you can’t BYOB to the town’s Italian restaurants, which seems at once draconian and sacrilegious. Spaghetti and meatballs without a little chianti? We knew it was a dry town. We didn’t realize it was that dry.

Since then, Ocean City and its for-whatever-reason award-winning boardwalk have only gotten worse. Those fussy kids are now older and driving police and local businesses crazy with their teenage antics, leading to a curfew and backpack ban. The town council banned marijuana sales, even though New Jersey has legal weed, both recreational and medical. Officials won’t even let the poor seagulls be, enlisting birds of prey to deal with the gluttonous gulls.

And now, Ocean City’s legislators are messing with the Flute Lady.

If you haven’t seen the Flute Lady, her name should be pretty self explanatory. She plays the flute on the Ocean City Boardwalk. People leave her tips. Well, nice people do. The Flute Lady is one of a relatively small number of buskers who’ve become fixtures on the boardwalk. There’s a sax player. I once saw a juggler.

But the wise ones who rule Ocean City, reasoning that buskers are a nuisance, just banned them from most of the boardwalk, sending them to the fringes of the business district. They’re also upping the permit fees. Quadrupled. And the city is limiting buskers to a very strict set of days and hours. Busking on Tuesday and Thursday? Illegal! They can’t even pass the hat. It has to remain stationary. And if a busker is found in violation of the ordinance, the city can fine them $2,000.

Social media reaction has been mixed on this buskers ban. “Oh yay, New Jersey, Ocean City specifically,” opined one commenter. “More stupid laws to punish people.” But a guy named Tom was ecstatic at this news, calling the poor Flute Lady “annoying as heck” and complaining about her “inane tooting.”

You’ve really got to question your life decisions when you find yourself saying mean things about the Flute Lady.

From the Department of Call Me Shocked

Neighbors of the Bucks County man accused of beheading his father and sharing gruesome video of his heinousness on YouTube are now calling the son “strange.”

Local Talent

Today is, of course, the first day of February. And February is a really big month for one Philly musician in particular. Adam Blackstone is up for not one but two Grammys this Sunday. Then just one week later, he’s performing at the Super Bowl. And suddenly I am feeling totally unproductive.

Adam Blackstone with Questlove at the Super Bowl in 2023

Adam Blackstone with Questlove at the 2023 Super Bowl (Getty Images)

Read more about Blackstone in my interview with him from the hot-off-the-presses February issue of Philly Mag.

By the Numbers

$100,000: Cash allegedly stolen from one Delco home the other day. And I get nervous when I have more than $100 sitting in the house!

477%: Increase in sales at one Lancaster jewelry company after Taylor Swift was seen wearing one of their custom-made tennis bracelets during last Sunday night’s playoff game. Honestly, that number seems shockingly low.

$10 million: Estimated cost to fix the Battleship New Jersey, that big boat just over the bridge in Camden. In March, they’re moving the vessel for repairs to the same place it was built for World War II.

And from the Ben-When? Sports Desk …

The Sixers visit the Jazz tonight at 10 p.m., if you can stay awake. Tyrese won’t be playing, but he is looking fierce on the cover of SLAM magazine:

(There’s a story about him, too.) Joel Embiid won’t be playing, either. He’s having his injured knee “evaluated” in the wake of that debacle in San Fran on Tuesday night. Get well soon. Please. The Sixers will finally be back home vs. the Nets (and maybe you-know-who — and maybe not) this Saturday, for a 6 p.m. tip.

Any College Hoops News?

Last night saw La Salle traveling to Rhode Island and George Mason visiting St. Joe’s. The two games both started at 7 and ran parallel for much of the first half. But in the former, Rhode Island pulled ahead to a 36-29 lead at the half, while St. Joe’s kept it closer, up 34-32 at the break. The Explorers outscored the Rams by 45-35 in the second half but just fell short, losing 71-69. And the Hawks and the Patriots were dead even at 41 points each in their second stint, which was just enough to give St. Joe’s the 75-73 win. On tonight’s slate: Resurgent Drexel (8-1 and leading the Colonial Athletic Association) will play at Monmouth (4-4) at 7 p.m.

All Philly Today sports coverage is provided by Sandy Hingston.