What is a Benny?
To many Jersey Shore residents, a Benny is considered a tourist visiting the Jersey Shore in the summer to enjoy the beaches and nightlife. The term Benny has a few meanings to it, some locals claim the phrase “Benny” comes from the train stations the tourists would board at to come to the shore, Bayonne, Elizabeth, Newark, and New York. Others claim the term Benny comes from a shortening of the phrase “benefactor of the community” as many local businesses rely heavily on the money that Bennys bring to keep going strong. I like to refer to them as our “summer visitors”. Wherever the term originates from, Bennys are an important part of the shore economy.
In the past 10 years a lot has changed on the coastline of Southern Monmouth County. Property values have risen dramatically. Many of those bungalows that housed scores of 20-year old’s are being razed to build $800+ single family homes. Regulations, rules and fines have reduced the number of property owners willing to put up with the aggravation associated with summer renters.
In many neighborhoods, homes that have been group rentals are now occupied by families on vacation. They may rent for just a week or throughout the whole summer. The rentals I manage range from $3,000 up to $25,000 a week. And many summer guests enjoy their time here so much, they decide to buy their own beach house.
Locals grumble about the crowds, but we shouldn’t forget those crowds keep our taxes low and businesses open. Beach badges, parking fees and commercial business taxes keep many towns afloat. Not to mention, many of our kids have paid for their college by working in businesses supported by the summer crowds.
Yes, as locals we have to give up some of our Jersey Shore to these summer visitors, but I guess that’s why we have September – the locals summer!