Personal stories of the past in Seaside Heights, NJ

Memories of Seaside Heights, New Jersey

This page serves as a jumping off place for personal recollections and memories of times spent in Seaside Heights. Things are evolving here and I will post more pages whenever I receive new entries. It would be great too to be able to post pictures too, if anyone has some of those to contribute.

If you have a story or a short anecdote to send in please let us know. You can find out about how to submit content here.



    We grew up in Irvington and took yearly vacations to Seaside Heights in the late 50’s and 60’s. My father was a stickler for leaving North Jersey at 6 am to beat the traffic. If you left after 9 am you would get stuck in hours of traffic to get there. continued....


    Dugan Boys Summer of 86

    Summer of 1986. Midway rental bungalow on 14th Ave and 1st street - 6 houses from the shore or about 150 feet from the sand. Tiny one way street, no parking to be found, house sleeps 6 we fit 12, and the weekends maybe 16 some boys will sleep on the roof and love it. continued....


    Motown and the Boardwalk

    I've been thinking about my own personal Motown history quite a bit lately. It started when I was in grammar school. I remember being at Seaside Heights on the Jersey Shore with my family, and winning a little Japanese transistor radio at one of the wheels of chance on the boardwalk. continued....


    The Bouquet, the Sewell Cup and Leopold Zwarg

    On August 9th, 1900 the Sewell Cup was won by the Bouquet, which at the time was owned by William G. Hartrauft. The boat was later owned by Leopold F. Zwarg - also known as “Pappy” or “Leo” Zwarg - in the 1940s and early 50s. continued....


    Crabbing with Dad

    crabbing in Barnegat BayMy memories of Seaside Heights and Seaside Park are so tightly woven with those of my Dad’s that I can’t seem to separate them. My times spent on the beach and boardwalk were infused with a deeper sense of enjoyment and respect because of the love that both my parents had for the area. My Mom grew up in Paterson and my Dad was born and raised in Little Falls, NJ. My Dad’s parents naturally vacationed in Seaside as did most of his neighbors and friends from North Jersey.continued....

    You can see more lovely paintings of the Jersey shore at


    Memories of the Seaside Heights Fireworks

    When I was a child I spent my summers in Ortley Beach. My family owned a house that was a stone's throw from the Surf Club. In those days the houses were not all three stories high. Most were still small bungalows. Our house had a sundeck coming off of the second floor dormer and from there we could sit and watch the weekly Seaside Heights fireworks show. continued....




    The Wooden Bridge and Funtown Pier carousel.

    submitted by Patricia Small

    My earliest memory of Seaside Heights was the terrifying ride across the rickety old wooden bridge of Rt 37. It was so close to the water. My first feathered Cupey Doll on the boardwalk and ride on the merry go round made it worth the trip. the Funtown Pier Illions carousel.I enclosed a photo (click on the photo to enlarge) of my favorite carousel, the OLD one on the Funtown Pier, which had beautiful artwork of ocean scenes above, and the horses had real horsehair tails (more about the boardwalk and Seaside heights carousels). I took the photo in 1985 and the boy on the horse on the right facing my camera is my son Jeff Clifford. Later this carousel was dismantled and sold when the elderly lady who owned the Pier died. She was wonderful having saved that carousel all those years. I was disappointed to see the photo of a NEW carousel on the Funtown Pier website and people commenting in error that this is one of the oldest carousels in the country. Thank you for the memories.

    Seaside Heights 40's & 50's

    submitted by J. Eric Bishop

    Every summer up through about 1967 our family (my parents and my siblings and I) rented a cabin on Marlin Drive, Seaside Heights ($50 for the week!), and we spent every day at Ortley Beach (now Vision 107 Marlin Drive Beach Club, or something like that), walking over to the beach past "Flo's Bat 'Em Out," and usually parking ourselves close to the fence that separated us from the others who were at Seaside Heights. I enjoyed lying on the beach and watching the activity up on the Casino Pier. I eventually worked up the nerve to ride on the Divebombers there one night! My father could invariably be found at the Raw Bar eating clams.

    The A&P or ACME across the way from our cluster of beaches bungalows....... Waiting for the ice cream man to drive though the sandy lane, his bell audible long before his truck was in sight......buying a "Sky Blue" popsicle....

    Soooooo many memories......

    Years later we would take family day trips to Island Beach State Park.

    Seaside Heights 40's & 50's

    submitted by Lois Stern

    My aunt lived on Hiering Ave.There were no buildings at all from her house to the beach (one block). She picked wild beach plums and made jelly. I spent many weeks every summer there. The mayor was Patrick Tunney. Does anyone remember Augie Hoffmann's bar on the main blvd. The big banner outside said "hammond organ". Many a good time there.

    An expanded page about Lois, her family and times in Seaside Heights - with some great old pictures - can be found here.

    Bait in the Bay

    circa mid 70's, submitted by Tom

    When you I was in my early teens I was looking for ways to make some extra money to play the pin ball machines on the boardwalk. My grandfather offered to take me fishing for spearing with his dragnets so I could sell them. We’d wake up early and set out for Pelican Island with our nets, buckets, baggies and some bread for bait, and within an hour or so we’d have a full bucket of active little silver fish. I’d put a handful in each baggie and we’d make the rounds of the local bait stores in Seaside and sell them for one dollar a bag. Business was always brisk and it was a fun way to make money, and especially learning from my grandfather how to be a better fisherman, just like him.

    Keeping Track on the Boardwalk

    circa early 70's, submitted by Pat

    Keeping track of my four little sons was always a challenge on the busy Seaside boardwalk. Everyone wanted to do everything: go on every ride, try every pizza stand, play every arcade game. I would dress them in bright clothes so they’d be easy to spot and I would constantly count heads to myself: one, two, three, four, one two three, four….. Only once did I lose one for more than a minute, and that was when I learned where the lost and found booth was.



Feel free to send us your own stories or add a comment about your memories of Seaside Heights.


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Don't remember the bathrooms

Don't remember the bathrooms under the boards, but remember the bathrooms on the north end of the boardwalk near kearny maybe. They were all pay stalls. A dime to get in. We grubby kids would just slip under the stall door on the wet sandy floor. Totally remember the flip back benches on the boards. Miss them! And the fluorescent stamp was great. We used to pay for one kid over twelve, have him walk back onto boardwalk, and firmly press his fresh, still-moist stamp onto his siblings hand. Worked like a charm!

Doe's anyone remember "the

Doe's anyone remember "the hippie shack" thet was under the Seaside Park boardwalk?

Hippie Shack

I totally remember that shop and I loved it. They have a great kaleidescope collection, windchimes, clothing and does anyone else remember those funky retro acrylic wall hangings like peace signs and worlds like "Love", etc. I remember they had a pulled cola bottle filled with sand near the door too -

Does anyone remember...

Does anyone remember the name of the bar on the south end of the boardwalk in the 70's. I think it was McKelvys or something like that.


I do remember McKelvey's. I Managed/Bartended there in the mid 60's.
It was on the corner of Porter Ave across from the Strand Theater on the Park side of Porter and across from Mary's eatery on the boards.


mckelveys became franky&johnys

Seaside Heights Bungalows

In the mid to late 1950's my parents took us to Seaside Heights for 2 week vacations. Just south of Freeman Pier were bungalows right on the boardwalk. I believe there were 2 buildings, each had about 6 units that formed a horseshoe shape with a sandy area in the middle. I can remember playing under the boardwalk and watching the people walk above us. Our dad would give us rolls of pennies and sent us to the pier to play in the arcade (you couldn't do that these days!). My sister always managed to get the brass ring while riding the carousel and got a free ride! I remember the carousel horses had real horsehair tails and I had a favorite black charger horse to ride. I also spent a lot of pennies in the "claw" machine where you would try to pick up the toy you wanted. Great memories!

Ice House

My family owned a home on Fremont Ave from 1950 to 2005. I remember going to the ice house on central ave for ice, crab bait, and vanilla soda. We would walk to the bay pier to catch crabs.

Food shopping was done at "Paruta's Market" on the Boulevard, and we would go to the movies in Seaside Park...don't remember the theatre name,but may be "Strand",not far from the original "Maruca's" pizza.

Mr. Tunney lived on the corner of Fremont Ave and Bay Ave. Mr Ipri also lived on Fremont Ave before his house was moved to Eisenhower Ave.

Those were happy days.

Hi there, my family owned

Hi there, my family owned Paruta's Market.. wonder if you have any photos of it or know where I may find more info! It was my great grandparents'. :)

Seaside Hights in the 40s &50s

When I was a young boy my family would travel from Elizabeth to Seaside for the weekend and we would stay on the beach all day them go get cleaned up and stay on the boardwalk til 2 or 3 in the morning. My father would play the nikcle & dime bar and win stuff. We would eat at the different sea food resturants on the boardwalk, me & my brothers and sister would ride all the different rides but we likes the bunp cars best. Then when I was a teenager I worked on the boardwalk for the whole summer with my friends, we would stay in a room with 1 bed and just slep there, we would usually touchup paint on the different wooden structures, or work a ride or wash dishes in a resturant, what ever the boss told us to. I remember the Chatter Box lounge on the boardwalk, my older brother Tony was a bar tender there and at night the Sonatones would play music, I remember Earl Garner was the lead singer. They were good. Some of the best times of my childhood were spent in Seaside Hights.

The Surf Club

My husband and I were discussing the Surf Club in Ortley Beach. When we were single back in the 60's we would go there when at the shore for the weekend. Is Joey Harrison's Surf Club part of the original Surf Club? What weekends we spent at the shore when we were single. We brought our kids to the shore and now they are taking their kids. We all loved the Seaside Heights boardwalk.


Does anyone remember the "Monster Bowl" skateboard park in Seaside Heights? It was there in the late 1970's. I used to skateboard there. I remember the local skateboarders were Bob Julich, Matt Stabley etc... I would like to see some pictures of the park.

Monster Bowl

I skated there a couple times. I ended up breaking my wrist trying out for the Grog's Surfshop skateboard team. When Grog's went out of business, they left the sign between the buildings. I should've taken it home and saved it.

Monster Bowl

I been looking for pics also of the Bowl. Simo built that Monster, he owned the Surf Shop where McDevits Hardware store was, on Hamilton Ave and the Boulevard. Ray Andreolia skated the bowl better than anyone, he was a local that I grew up with in SS, God Rest His Soul... Funny how I found this site, if you do find pics of the Monster bowl please email them to me. Thanks...

Monster Bowl

If you still want to see some Monster Bowl pictures there is a lot of them on the Facebook page devoted to the Monster Bowl. It is called; "Monster Bowl Skatepark and Jersey Shore Surf Shop Survivors". Check it out! You won't be disappointed.

Never's steak sandwiches

Does anyone remember a place called Nevers? I remember my Mom loved that place & we would always have to stop there. I think it was steak sandwiches? Can't remember, maybe I am wrong. But the name is stuck in my mind!

Never's Steaks

I not only remember Never's, I worked there two summers. Summers of 1966 and '67. 16 years old, my first real job and away from home. Worked there with four friends from Bristol.
Our first apartment was in a garage. Beds, dressers and the guys lawn equipment. We moved into the main house when they finished a place for us.
The younger guys, being under 16, worked days. Myself and two others worked nights. 6 pm till 2 am Monday to Thursday and 6 pm till 3 am Saturdays. Bars we allowed to stay open until 3 so we did too.
Never's was famous for his great steak sandwiches. We sprinkled them with his secret spices. Have to smile thinking of that. People would ask what it was but we told them it was a trade secret. Salt, black pepper mixed with garlic powder. It made our steaks taste that little bit better than others. Sausage and peppers, hot dogs and burgers too
We also made Italian Lemon Ice from scratch.
Those were the best two summers of my life. Spent early mornings surfing, hung on the beach till it was time for work. Had Friday nights off. Walk the boards, met tons of girls, rode the rides. I still don't remember sleeping much except for naps on the beach.
I grew up going to Seaside in the 1950s. My grandfather had a little two bedroom bungalow on Herring Ave. I'm in my 60s now and still take day trips for the beach and the boards. Sandy and now the Seaside Park fire have added to the many changes I've seen happen.
BTW- Never's got his nickname because he was " Never" cold when he was a kid.

John Waynes

Anyone remember John Waynes Candy Store on the road into town when you could drive straight into town?? John must have been in his 80s in the 50s..I met a girl named Ruth and took her there....I think we were both about 10 at the time......

John Waynes Candy Store

I lived there year round from 1963 to 68ish. My brother Bob and I would walk there and get great stuff. He had Green Licorice that was different than anything I have ever had. My Mother would say boys only buy thing that are wrapped. Mr Wayne only had one arm, her thinking was he can't wash his (hand) I have thought of him often over the years. My time in Seaside was from the age of Five to Eight. He seamed so so old to me, he was always kind to us.

JW Candy

I lived in SS all my life, and as a child, this was the place to hit up. He had a great choice of candy cheap. It was close to SSH Lumber Yard, across the street.

The Mckelvey Family

In the 70's I spent summers living above McKelvey's Bar with Mr. McKelvey, Kathy and her sister Janet. Her brothers Dave and Jack were around as well. Does anyone know how to get in touch with Kathy. I'd love to contact her and reconnect. I lived with her in Seaside for at least four summers-- hanging around with Annie Walker, Dolce, Gary Pine among others. I worked for the Federosas running a game stand by day and wailing on a pinball machine called Aquarion by night. I remember when Greetings from Asbury Park hit the stands and a little known local started to imprint himself in our collective Jersey brains. Fond memories. Would love to get in touch with Kathy McKelvey. -- Diane

Chatterbox History

I remember seeing posters for Sticky Fingers and Twisted Sister when they played at the Chatterbox when I was young. Does anyone know when it burned down? I cannot find any history and only 2 photos of it on the web.

Macks Pizza

Doe`s anybody remember Macks Pizza on the boardwalk and Mrs Mack who always stood in the corner by the birch beer barrel.We went to Seaside Park every summer and I can still see her selling a slice for 25 cents.

Macks Pizza

I remember Macks Pizza. It was excellent, thin crust with a spicy sauce. It was located next to Treaton Porkroll on Funtown Pier section which is now the Saw Mill.

Seaside Forever

Used to live in Toms River, now I'm in upstate NY but gotta make a trip to Seaside at least once a year. I worked at Henry's Playland, Casino Pier on the "Love love love bugs bugs bugs"; I remember the sky ride ran from the end of casino pier to the arcade and back before a storm came through & tore it up. Casino pier arcade had a machine right up front where you'd put a quarter in and get a small white box with some cheezy prize in it. The Funtown pier train ride, which is now at a small amusement park in the Albany NY area. Rainbow Rapids waterslide, Wet Banana water slide, the log flume at funtown pier, the dark ride that ran in the basement of Coin Castle arcade. Hearing about the recent fire (9/13) was almost like hearing a family member died. Can't wait to see you rise again!

When did they get rid of the salt water pool

I grew up on the boards and on those beaches. Several fond memories there! My kids grew up going there as well but it wasn't the same. By then mom and dad had bought a condo down in WWC and so they spent more time on the WW boards.

Though we had plenty of family members with homes down at Pt. Pleasant and Seaside we would always stay at a little place called The Venetian Villa. A sweet, quaint little place. Anyone remember that?

Also, does anyone remember the old beach "badges"? They were pieces of fabric on a little brass saftey pin that you'd pin to your suit. Each day it was a different color/patterned fabric!

Anyway, after viewing a recently discovered 1960 tourism film for Seaside many memories came flooding back. I remembered the "Nickel Pier" and I vaguely remember the salt water pool.

However, I sometimes have false memories about places or events I never actually visited myself but just felt as though I went at some point because family members would talk about them a lot. For instance, Palisades Park closed when I was a baby so I know I never went but I feel as though I did because family would speak of it often. Same with the diving horses of AC.

So I'm trying to figure out if I would have been to the salt water pool or not. When was it closed and why?


seaside heights late 60s early 70s

anybody remeber lucky strick game throw a dime in the center red spot win a big prize a bike big stuffed animal never could do it spent 2 weeks every summer trying i think the spot was smaller then a dime went back their in 88 for my honeymoon {what a waste that was} threw 1 dime and won or shot the star out never did that either till i learned the secert dont play no u shoot around the star i do that all time now only took my 40 years and i have nt been there in 25 years live in IN. now only play at fairs we. Would stay in a house on the street across from the boardwalk and across from the saltwater pool house owned by mr and mrs rose any buddy remember them it was on corner behind a motel remember name across from arcade with skiball and bingo i have so much more to ask

Mr Rose

He was a State Trooper wasnt he?

I spent a lot of time at my

I spent a lot of time at my aunt and uncles house on Good Luck Point across the bay in Bayville. It was the best time of my life and it lasted for 66 years until Sandy took the house, garage and a lifetime of great memories away forever. As a kid I remember two large wooden speedboats that would take people for rides from Seaside near the end of the Rt37 bridge down towards Island Beach turning around at exactly the same spot every time and returning. I remember the one was named Miss Seaside but I don't recall the second boats name. Does anyone remember these two boats from the 50's and maybe what ultimately happened to them?

Doorway to Hell

Who remembers this gem that disappeared after the 1984 season? I spent a season working inside, and had the most fun scaring the heck out of people as the crypt keeper as soon as you walked inside. A few of my older co workers, and by older I mean 18 or 19, got fired after having some fun with females near some of of the passageways and dressing room.

Good Ol Days

I was born in Jersey City in 1941. We often visited Uncle Benny )Benjamin Berger) at 221 Hancock Avenue. Later my Grandparents inherited the house from Uncle Benny and lived there for the rest of their lives. The house has been replaced but the chain link fence that I installed for them around 1966 is still standing there. The next door neighbors were Bonnie Poane and her husband who was a coin collector for the meters. Their son graduated law school and I think practices in Lakewood. Mary Antonelli lived across the street. I remember the 1955 boardwalk fire and also when the gaming wheels were shut down as illegal gambling. My grandfather (Poppy)and I would get up at 5 a.m. and he would take me crabbing by the second piling on the left at the pier where Stewart's Root Beer stands now. The crabs were 8" and blue-clawed in those days. George McDevitt was the Chief of Police then and I played with his kids Joanne and Georgie in milk boxes in the empty lots which had plenty of poison ivy. I remember the clatter of the old wooden bridge as Daddy drove us into Seaside.
The beach was free and there was no fence along the boardwalk. The laughing Lady at the fun house always frightened me. I remember the "Walk-Away_Sunday", a slice of ice cream brick in a rectangular topped cone. I had my first slice of pizza on the boardwalk. My little sister and I loved to collect seashells, take them home and paint them.
Now I am 73 and live in Beachwood. I took my own little grandchildren to the very same pier by the same piling where Poppy took me. I wept.

Henry's Playland

When I was growing up in the 60's and 70's, we spent time every summer at our grandparents house in Seaside Heights. Their house is no longer there but I remember it like it was yesterday. Their house was located on the beach right next to the bath house at the north end of the boardwalk. We could walk right under the boardwalk and be on the beach.
My father spent his entire summers there as a young man. He worked at Henry's Playland in the summers and because of this when we stayed at our grandparents cottage, my brothers and I always looked forward to visiting Uncle Henry. Uncle Henry would always give us each $5 knowing full well that we would head straight for the cashier and get change to play skiball and every other game in the arcade.
Summers at Seaside Heights was always special. The smell of the ocean mixed with the smell of the creosote of the boardwalk. The sounds of the pier each night. Good times growing up.

Henry's Playland

Hi I read how your dad worked for Henry Grapf. Henry and his wife Foy were my uncle and aunt. My older brother Gene worked for Henry ever summer during the 50s and 60s. We would stay all summer at the Ocean Manor or their house on Sumner. Great memories. Henry would give us a slot on a wire so we could play all day for free at his Playland. I will never forget my summer's with my aunt and uncle.


Jetstar roller coaster, FunHouse, cheesesteaks, french fries with vinegar( white) Taylor ham pork roll winning on the boardwalk at the food stand and my very first Rolling Stone album some girls..

Indoor "Disc" Ride

I am trying to recall a ride from late 60s, early 70's, inside one of the arcades that was cone shaped, about 3 ft high in the middle, maybe 6 inches on the edges, and about 30ft in diameter. We would lay on the disc and join hands around the middle as the disc spun faster and faster until the centrifugal force finally broke us apart and threw us into the padding along the edges. Tell me I didn't dream this up. Great fun then, lawsuit in the making today. I think there was also slot car racing in the same arcade where the winner got a checkered flag. Any thoughts or pics would be great. I reviewed the two films and didn't see the ride pictured.

Seaside Heights Memories

From 1938 to 1942 my family vacationed at Seaside Heights, We rented cottages on Franklin Avenue and Webster Avenue. We would take the train from Washington, DC to Philly and ferry over to Camden and take a train to Seaside. Steamer trunks were sent ahead via Railway Express. The cottages had ice boxes and daily the iceman would come up the street. Dugan's Bakery trucks peddled fresh breads, coffee cakes and doughnuts.I was enthralled with the huge steam engines that arrived in the morning and departed in the afternoon and would race to the station to watch every arrival and departure. Have many fond memories and photos of those vacations. When the Second World War came blackout curtains were erected along the boardwalk to hide the lights of the town. I remember live pony rides at a boardwlk stand. My older brother and I would go beneath the boardwalk in the early mornings and sift the sand for coins that were dropped and fell between the boardwalk planks. Ah the memories!

Does anyone have photos of

Does anyone have photos of the Italian Village or The Hippy Shack. I can't seem to find any and would love to see them again. Lifelong Seaside resident

Memories of a little Italian

Memories of a little Italian Restaurant called Don's pantry across from the boardwalk. When I was between 7 and 10 years old my family would drive from Staten Island to Seaside in just enough time to be seated.The raviolis and house salad dressing were amazing. Always wondered what the secret ingredient was in that salad dressing. Such good times.

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