September 05, 2016

The definitive end-of-summer Jersey Shore town rankings list

Summer’s over, and it ends with a weather threat that would ruin any weekend of the year. Sigh.

Before Hurricane Hermine arrives to do whatever damage it will -- and here's hoping it's minimal -- did you have fun frolicking in the sand (if you were able to get down the shore during the unofficial summer season) or atop sizzling concrete (if you weren’t)? The Jersey Shore Town Power Rankings algorithm abacus certainly hopes so.

Normally, we'd have waited until the summer shore season ended, but the forecast leaves us sharing the rankings a few days early.

We’ll judge not what happened down by the Atlantic Ocean in the past week (which works out really well for Avalon, which may well have slipped in the rankings thanks to a snake infestation that they’d covered up, and for Long Beach Island and its wayward trash trucks). 

Rather, we’ll crunch the summer-long numbers to tabulate final rankings, highs and lows for each resort town and overall winners and losers (per the number of times each town achieved No. 1 and No. 16 status).

Here’s hoping you have a lovely autumn, winter and spring. We’ll regroup here Memorial Day Weekend 2017 to talk shore-based definitive standings.

Seven days ago, the list was as follows:

16. Long Beach Island (-7)

15. North Wildwood (+1)

14. Atlantic City (+1)

13. Cape May (-1)

12. Cape May Point (+1)

11. Stone Harbor (-1)

10. Longport (+3)

9. Margate (-1)

8. Brigantine (-6)

7. Avalon (-2)

6. Wildwood (even)

5. Wildwood Crest (+5)

4. Ventnor (-1)

3. Strathmere (-2)

2. Sea Isle City (+2)

1. Ocean City (+6)

NoneBrian Hickey/PhillyVoice

Early morning soccer on the beach in Brigantine, New Jersey.


Let’s see how it stands at summer’s end:

16. Longport 

Starting rank: 16 

Average rank: 12.68

Highlight: Participating in the Choose Your Cover skin cancer checking campaign.

Lowlight: Library-branch snobbery.

15. North Wildwood 

Starting rank: 6

Average rank: 12.43

Highlight: Rob McElhenney, creator and co-star of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” gave a shout-out to the resort in an interview with PhillyVoice while he was filming scenes on Market Street. That’s some major respect.

Lowlight: Someone stole an American flag that honored a Philadelphia Vietnam War veteran this summer. Dirtbag.

14. Cape May Point 

Starting rank: 13

Average rank: 12

Highlight: Booze and music!

Lowlight: Honestly, the Point really didn’t do anything bad this summer. It just existed.

13. Cape May 

Starting rank: 9

Average rank: 10.12

Highlight: Top-notch beaches, y’all.

Lowlight: Elder neglect.

12. Atlantic City 

Starting rank: 8

Average rank: 10

Highlight: “If Atlantic City is good enough for Leroy ‘Blast’ Bill Black’s home-going ceremony, it’s good enough for us.”

Lowlight: On numerous occasions, this fine resort town was collateral damage in the Donald Trump frenzy.

NoneSource/Greenidge Funeral Home

A funeral for Leroy 'Blast' Bill Black, 55, of Egg Harbor Township, N.J., was held in Atlantic City.


11. Wildwood 

Starting rank: 5

Average rank: 9.68

Highlight: Monster trucks battling tram cars on the Boardwalk? Yaaaaas please.

Lowlight: Disrespectful visitors turned the beaches into a landfill early this summer. Shame on them all.

10. Long Beach Island 

Starting rank: 15

Average rank: 9.16

Highlight: Daps for hosting your first-ever all-women’s lifeguard competition.

Lowlight: Poop water and dolphin murderers.

9. Ventnor 

Starting rank: 14 

Average rank: 8.97

Highlight: Hell to the yes with permitless holiday-weekend beach barbecuing.

Lowlight: You can’t spurn jitney service and just think that people will just forget about it.

8. Margate 

Starting rank: 10

Average rank: 8.34

Highlight: The Geator!

Lowlight: Attack of the airborne beach umbrellas!


7. Ocean City 

Starting rank: 4

Average rank: 7.84

Highlight: Scrapple pie, y’all.

Lowlight: Bomb threats on the Boardwalk? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

6. Wildwood Crest 

Starting rank: 11 

Average rank: 7.31

Highlight: Wildwood Crest loves and supports the troops past, present and future.

Lowlight: Locals whine about shoobies stealing their parking spots. Oh, just deal with it.

5. Stone Harbor 

Starting rank: 7

Average rank: 7.19

Highlight: Dolphins playing with paddleboarders!

Lowlight: Uncontrollable kids partying the day and night away.

4. Brigantine 

Starting rank: 12

Average rank: 6.69

Highlight: Alexa Brunetti, a former Miss Teen New Jersey, brought national attention to her hometown by appearing on the VH1 show “Dating Naked."

Lowlight: Those jacked shaved-headed bros and their Donald Trump flag.

NoneBrian Hickey/PhillyVoice

Alexa Brunetti, who won the Miss Teen New Jersey USA pageant in 2009, will appear on the VH1 program 'Dating Naked' in August 2016. The Brigantine resident worries how people in her small hometown will react when they see the show, but is 'comfortable in my own skin.'


3. Avalon 

Starting rank: 3

Average rank: 5.68

Highlight: The aforementioned Rob McElhenney effect.

Lowlight: Our Angelo Cataldi has an arch enemy, and his name is Murray Wolf of the Avalon Beach Patrol, an evil person who was featured in a puff piece this summer. Smdh.

2. Strathmere 

Starting rank: 2

Average rank: 4.13

Highlight: Bubbles the Bulldog!

Lowlight: Irresponsible boogie-boarding techniques are frowned upon.

1. Sea Isle City 

Starting rank: 1 

Average rank: 2.93

Highlight: Sea Isle City started atop the list, dropped and returned to the top by summer’s end. Such consistency is admirable.

Lowlight: Armed robberies are not a good look to bolster tourism.

NoneBrian Hickey/PhillyVoice

The author, the late Charlie Dawg and friends watch the sun set at the end of 91st Street in Townsend's Inlet (Sea Isle City) sometime during the late 1990s.


By the numbers

As you can see, the top three held true to form. North Wildwood and Wildwood plummeted while Brigantine, Long Beach Island and Wildwood Crest made substantive gains over the course of the summer. (Good, bad and good for them, respectively.)

Nine of the 16 resort towns reached top-spot lofty heights over the course of the summer. They are (with number of weeks in parenthesis):

1. Sea Isle City (8)

2. Strathmere (2)

3-9. Atlantic City, Brigantine, North Wildwood, Ocean City, Stone Harbor, Wildwood and Wildwood Crest (1)

Just six towns found themselves in the basement over the tourist season. They are::

1. North Wildwood (7)

2. Atlantic City (3)

3-4. Wildwood and Long Beach Island (2)

5-6. Avalon and Longport (1)

With that, the summer shore-town rankings initiative has come to an end. And remember, people, if the weather gods make it necessary to flee for home before enjoying a full three-day weekend, heed its warnings.