Bennies Visit the Jersey Shore
Fair Rate Funding is proudly located on the Jersey shore in central New Jersey. Yes, central Jersey is a thing. What is also a “thing” is locals referring to visiting vacationers as “Bennies” or “Bennys”. Because we are in the middle of the summer, and also located “down the shore”, we investigate the origins of the term “bennys”, why it is used and discuss different interpretations of the phrase.
Bennys at the Beach
Simply put, “benny” is a pejorative term used by Jersey Shore locals describing beach goers who visit New Jersey beaches in the summer. Used primarily in Monmouth and Ocean County, bennys refer to vacationers who visit Jersey beaches in the Summer. Their presence annoys locals for a variety of reasons.
First, most bennies travel from northern New Jersey and the New York City metropolitan area. Although train services via New Jersey Transit is available from these areas, many tourists simply make the 1-2 hour drive down the Garden State Parkway to the beach. This results in an increase in traffic down the shore and accompanying frustration on the roadways. Since the infrastructure is limited to North, South and West, the area simply does not handle the additional traffic all too well – a source of contention among locals.
Second, this massive influx of visitors can create a bit of a mess. This is especially true on holiday weekends such as Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. Some people do not clean up after themselves, leaving area beaches looking more like a dumpster than the beautiful landscapes they are.
Finally is the perceived brash nature of the visitors. This is exemplified by the popular reality television show entitled “The Jersey Shore“. The successful series featured a group of twenty-somethings who frequented “clubs” in Seaside Heights, NJ. The characters/stars of the show – only one of which was actually from New Jersey in Season 1 – basically party, fight, workout, tan and do laundry. The series is an account of their day to day existence at the Jersey Shore.
The Jersey Shore cast illustrates the type of behavior, mannerisms, habits and attitude and what “benny” represents in the minds of those who use the term. Locals are offended by these character traits which can appear obnoxious, offensive and off-putting. Benny refers to this type of vacationer.
Origin of the Term
The origin of the term “Benny” is not well established. In fact, many different explanations of the term’s use can be found online and in more traditional print media.
The Home of the Bennies
The first explanation involves the origin of the Bennies themselves. Some speculate the letter “B” refers to visitors from Bayonne, New Jersey – a city just south and west of Manhattan Island. The “E” refers to vacationers from Elizabeth, New Jersey, a large city in Union County in the northern part of the state. The two “N’s” refer to Newark, New Jersey’s largest city and New York, one of the world’s most populated areas.
The story goes that railroad visitors would travel with stickers specifying the letter (B, E, N, N) of their station of origin. However, as mentioned in this article from the Asbury Park Press entitled, What the stink? Why tourists are called “bennys”, this theory has a few flaws. The first of which involves the lack of train routes which would include Newark, New York, Elizabeth and Bayonne in a direct line. Further, the author notes that when the term was first used, many New York City visitors would come via ferry or other sea going vessel to travel down the shore.
Benny Means Benefits
Another theory suggests Benny refers to the benefits a trip to the beach offered to urban city dwellers, especially in the early 1900’s where sanitation services were not as efficient and use of modern air conditioning was not widespread.
Benny Stands for Benjamin (Part One)
One theory is that the term “Benny” was simply shortened version of the name “Benjamin”. This was a common name among Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe who frequented the area in the summer.
In fact, the city of Lakewood, New Jersey, once a winter vacation destination to the Rockefellers, Goulds, and other social elites in the late 1890’s, is now a major hub of Orthodox Judaism. It is home to Beth Medrash Govoha (BMG), the largest yeshiva outside of Israel. Although not located at the beach, Lakewood is part of Ocean County, New Jersey.
Benny Stands for Benjamin (Part Two)
Could it be that Benny did not begin as a disparaging term? Consider the theory which states that Benny is actually short for Benjamins – the founding father whose portrait is printed on the $100 bill. Tourists with a pocket full of “Benjamins” would be a welcome guest to any local business.
Benefactors are the Source
The term “Benny” could be short for benefactors, those visitors who brought their bodies AND their money to support the local economy. If you ask a local from before the 1960’s, benny described the locals’ gratitude for visiting tourists. Annamarie Fisher, a bookkeeper from Lakewood who passed away in 1993, spoke of Uncle Benny as a term of endearment for those who brought their money to the area from the urban centers.
Bennies Cut Both Ways
The origin of “bennies” may not be well established, but there is no denying the integral part bennies play in the area financially. According to a report by the New Jersey Division of Travel and Tourism, NJ had about 114.6 million visitors in 2022, 18 million more than in 2021. The study also revealed visitors spent $45.4 billion, up $8.2 million from 2021. Moreover, this is a recent study. It might be expected that the financial impact to the local economy was more substantial when the term was first used among the local population.
Although locals cringe at the sight of New York license plates on Route(s) 71 and 35, bennies are part of the scene and like it or not, provide the support needed to maintain the New Jersey beaches as the most beautiful in the world.
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What does the origin of “benny” have to do with lawsuit funding? Admittedly, not that much. However, we are a lawsuit loan company and would be remiss in failing to point out that an increase of inhabitants means more potential for accidents. More people visiting establishments likely means more premise liability lawsuits. More activity on the roads means more accidents and accident lawsuits.
As plaintiff advocates, we seek to level the financial playing field between financially strong insurance companies and plaintiffs who need cash to pay expenses while they wait for their case to progress through the legal system.
If you were injured and need cash prior to settlement, give us a call or contact us at your convenience. We will discuss your options and explain all about the lawsuit loan process. We are here to help and are at your service.
Thank you for your interest in Fair Rate Funding.