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Jersey Shore Bathhouses Harken Back to a Different Era for Montco Daytrippers

These days, most Montgomery County visitors to the Jersey Shore go back to their rentals, their condominiums or their hotels to shower after a day on the beach.

But there was a time when bathhouses dotted the beach landscape by the hundreds, providing essential sand removal before traveling home, writes Jason Nark for The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Now only a handful remain.

George Amundsen II, 64, and his son, George III, own one of them, Wildwood Daytrippers in North Wildwood, N.J.

“I mean, everyone deserves a shower, right?” Amundsen said.

 Most of Amundsen’s business comes from the parking space he can offer off the boardwalk, but back in the day, bathhouses like his outnumbered parking lots.

 “We charge five bucks for a shower,” said Amundsen II. “It was $6 for a while, but I figured, what the heck.”

His grandparents opened the bathhouse in 1962, when it was still commonplace to serve day-trippers or “shoobies.”

Bathhouses fell on hard times as far back as 1990 when owners faced rising insurance premiums, high water bills, and fewer day-trippers.

“People have more money and they can stay overnight,” one owner of a now-shuttered bathhouse told The Inquirer in a 1990 article.

Read more at The Philadelphia Inquirer about the disappearance of bathhouses at the Jersey Shore.

Learn about the history of Wildwood in this YouTube video.

Sours: https://montco.today/2021/07/jersey-shore-bathhouses-nearly-gone/

NORTH WILDWOOD, N.J. — It was a typical June Sunday at the Jersey Shore, and as the sun began to sink, people shuffled off the beach with sand in their hair and ears, lodged deep in both their belly buttons and more irritating places down below.

These days, most beach-goers headto nearby rentals and condominiums to shower, or perhaps a dip in the pool at a local hotel. George Amundsen II, 64, and his son, George III, were there for the rest of them and a simple business philosophy built on soap, water, and a bit of dignity.

“I mean, everyone deserves a shower, right?” Amundsen said on a bench by his business.

Parking is the bulk of the Amundsen family business, located just off the boardwalk, on 24th Avenue in North Wildwood. That’s about as common as they come at the Jersey Shore, but the name of their business — ”Wildwood Daytrippers” with “Showers” painted in bold red and white beside it — hearkens to a Shore of bygone days, when bathhouses outnumbered parking lots and few but the wealthy could stay overnight there.

“We charge five bucks for a shower,” said Amundsen II, whose grandparents opened the business in 1962. “It was $6 for a while, but I figured, what the heck.”

Amundsen II said the “shoobie,” a much-debated moniker for daytrippers who traveled to the Jersey Shore by train and brought their lunches to the beach in a shoebox a century ago, are his people. In fact, he encourages that same shoobie ethos on his website.

“To save even more money, pack yourself a picnic lunch and a bucket of chicken for dinner,” the Daytrippers website urges.

Once numbering in the hundreds in the early 20th century from Atlantic City south to Cape May, bathhouses where people can pay to take a shower have been reduced to a handful at today’s Jersey Shore. A 1990 Inquirer story found that demand for bathhouses was ebbing then, with owners citing rising insurance premiums, hefty water bills, and a dwindling amount of daytrippers as the main causes.

“People have more money and they can stay overnight,” one owner of a now-shuttered bathhouse told The Inquirer at the time.

A newly refurbished bathhouse at 13th and the boardwalk in Ocean City has been open for decades. In Wildwood, a few miles south from Daytrippers, another bathhouse by the beach appears to have closed in recent years.

“I was just explaining to a customer from Florida what a bathhouse was,” said Tony Galante, who’s run 13th Street Bikes & Bathhouse for 22 years. “He was like, ‘What’s a bathhouse?’”

Post-World War II Wildwood saw a hotel boom, with hundreds of rooms and L-shaped buildings adorned in neon and the distinct, sharp angles of the resort’s famed Doo Wop architecture. Many of those hotels took the place of large, early 20th-century boardinghouses, where guests often shared a bathroom. As the millennium approached, however, many of those classic hotels, like the Thunderbird Inn, were torn down for townhouses or their rooms converted to condominiums, making a one-night stay even more difficult.

Still, that hasn’t created a daytripping bathhouse boom.

The Thunderbird Inn was once a neighbor of Daytrippers and in the height of the condo blitz at the turn of the millennium, Amundsen II said he was offered $3 million for the bathhouse and parking lot. A builder, Amundsen II said he’s contemplated building condominiums on the property himself. For now, he’s letting his son, George III, take over the daily operation.

“I mean, I love it here, so I really don’t care. It’s all good,” he said.

Public bathrooms on boardwalks and beaches up and down the Shore issue dire warnings of steep fines for anyone caught bathing or changing in a bathroom stall. At least one Jersey Shore police department said that’s rarely an issue.

“I mean, I appreciate the signs,” Amundsen II said.

Galante said the bathhouses couldn’t survive on showers alone. He also rents bicycles. He charges $10 for a shower there, but that includes a one-day beach tag, he said, which is worth $5. While many Shore municipalities have installed open-air, outdoor showers, Galante said they’re mostly for feet and a quick rinse.

“You can’t really get the sand out of your crotch, or your armpits, or your hair with those,” he said.

At Daytrippers, around 5 p.m., it was shower time.

“That’s what time the lifeguards leave,” Amundsen II said.

One of the Amundsens’ first customers was landlord Roy Nagel, who’d spent the day babysitting unruly teenagers who’ve rented his properties. Nagel, it turns out, has even deeper convictions about showers. He volunteers with a “shower ministry” every week in Atlantic City, Camden, and Philadelphia’s Kensington section, driving a mobile, stainless steel shower for homeless people and those struggling with addiction.

“It restores dignity. Period,” Nagel said. “Some of these people haven’t had a shower in months.”

Some customers showered and then went up to the boardwalk for pizza, rides, and games. Sasha Sanchez, 29, and eight months pregnant, said she just wanted to get the sand out before driving back to North Philly.

“I’m already uncomfortable,” she said. “I’m not driving back in the car covered in sand.”

    Jason Nark

    I write stories about rural and exurban areas, the places where development meets farmland and farms meet the great outdoors.

Sours: https://www.inquirer.com/news/bathhouses-jersey-shore-wildwood-daytripper-shoobie-20210710.html
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There are plenty of things we love to do when going down the Shore — soak in the sun, swim in the ocean, and enjoy all of the delicious local food and drinks.

But where do you go when, well, you gotta go?

State law used to require many Jersey Shore towns — the ones that accepted government money for beach replenishment — to provide public restrooms. But those rules were struck down in court in 2008 when two Shore towns (thanks Avalon and Stone Harbor) challenged them.

Now, the state Department of Environmental Protection is taking a renewed look at beach access rights, including parking and bathrooms.

So, if you’re planning a day trip and need to know before you go, we’ve compiled a list of every Shore town and the bathrooms they point beach-goers to. And in some towns, you might just have to stop off at a Wawa or gas station before you hit the sand or head home.

Hoping to rinse off or change out of your bathing suit to hit the boardwalk or bars? Good luck. Most towns don’t offer showers or changing stalls, either.

Allenhurst: Public restrooms are available for daily Allenhurst beachgoers. Paying daily beach goers can use the restrooms located on the north end of the beach close to Cedar Avenue. There is a beach club bathroom, but it is only for beach club members. There are no changing rooms and there are no showers at Cedar Avenue location.

Asbury Park: Public bathrooms are located on the boardwalk in trailers. Air-conditioned bathrooms are located inside of Convention Hall between 5th and Sunset Avenues, 1300 Ocean Ave., behind the beach office between First and Second Avenues, and on the boardwalk behind Pucker’s Lemonade.

Atlantic City: Public restrooms are located along the boardwalk at Bartram Avenue, Albany Avenue, Chelsea Avenue, Kennedy Plaza at Mississippi Avenue, New York Avenue, Garden Pier at New Jersey Avenue, New Hampshire Avenue and Caspian Avenue. People are allowed to change in bathrooms along the boardwalk, but public changing houses are located at South Carolina Avenue and Albany Avenue.

Avalon: Bathrooms are available at Borough Hall (32nd & Dune Drive), the Avalon Public Safety Building (31st & Dune Drive), Community Hall (30th & the beach), the Tennis Buildings (8th & 39th Streets), 10th & Dune Drive, and at the beach near 30th Street (next to the Tot Lot).

Avon-By-the Sea: Restrooms are located on the boardwalk at Lincoln Avenue and Norwood Avenue.

Barnegat Light: Restrooms are located at the Barnegat Lighthouse in the main parking lot and at the park office. Restrooms are also located at 10th and Bayview Avenue.

Bay Head: While there are no public restrooms on the beach, there are restrooms at the comfort station at the rear of the Bay Head municipal building in a separate structure (83 Bridge Avenue).

Beach Haven: A public restroom can be found at the Centre Street Beach entrance. Beachgoers are allowed to change in the restrooms.

Belmar: Bathrooms are on the boardwalk at 3rd, 6th, 8th, 11th, 16th and 19th Avenues.

Berkeley Township: A restroom is available at White Sands Beach, located on 23rd avenue in South Seaside Park. The restroom has showers available outside the facility.

Bradley Beach Borough: Restrooms equipped with changing rooms can be found at the 3rd Avenue and Cliff Avenue portions of the beach. An open shower can be found at the beach entrance along Ocean avenue.

Brick Township: Restrooms with changing rooms and showers are located at Brick Beach 1 (310 Route 35 North) and Brick Beach 3 (440 Route 35 North).

Brigantine: There are portable toilets placed throughout the actual beach. There are two public bathrooms located on 16th Avenue. Although there are no showers, there is a hose for beach visitors to use near the 15th Street area.

Cape May: Called “comfort stations," the restrooms are air conditioned. The bathroom locations along Beach Avenue are at Second Avenue, Broadway, Windsor, Gurney, Philadelphia, Trenton, and Wilmington. There are also four locations in the Washington Street Mall area (which is a five minute walk and 0.2 miles from the beach).

Cape May Point: There are no public restrooms on the beach. The only public restroom is at Municipal Hall on White House Avenue under the shadow of the lighthouse. The closest shower would be in the state park (305 Light House Avenue).

Shipping containers transformed into retail and food shops on Jersey Shore boardwalks

Deal: There are no free public bathrooms, but bathrooms are included with paid use of the W. Stanley Conover Pavilion.

Harvey Cedars: There is a restroom in Sunset Park (W. Salem Avenue) Borough Hall, portable bathroom at Bay Beach (W 75th St.) There are outside showers at Sunset Park and at handicap ramps (Mercer Avenue and 80th Street)

Lavallette: There are no public bathrooms in Lavallette.

Loch Arbour: Restrooms are available to people with a beach badge when beach is open. Bathrooms are located at the Ocean Place Pavilion.

Long Beach: In Holgate, a restroom is located at the parking lot at the south end of Long Beach Boulevard at McKinley Avenue. Another bathroom is located at Bayview Park, 68th Street, Brant Beach; Tract 1065, North Beach; Tract 161, and Loveladies. All are handicap accessible.

Long Branch: There are comfort stations at the beach with restrooms located at Great Lawn, Laird, West End, Cottage, North Bath, as well as two trailers at Morris Avenue, and Ocean Avenue

Longport: Public restrooms can be found at the Longport Community Center (33rd Avenue & Atlantic) and Borough Hall (2305 Atlantic Avenue)

Manasquan: One each on: Inlet, Brielle Road, Main Street, Ocean Avenue. (These streets run parallel to the boardwalk).

Mantoloking: There are three facilities for bathers. The Lyman Street Beach location is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Downer in the Municipal parking lot seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and the Albertson Beach walkway Friday, Saturday and Sunday until 5 p.m.

Margate: Bathrooms are located at Huntingdon Avenue (Bloom Pavilion), Rumson Avenue, Benson Avenue (Greenhouse), Adams Avenue beach.

Monmouth Beach: There are portable toilets at 128 & 129 Ocean Avenue.

North Wildwood: There are portable toilets on almost all beach streets, and full-on bathrooms on 7th Ave., 15th Ave., 25th Ave., and the northernmost end of Old New Jersey Avenue.

Ocean City: Bathrooms are located at 1st Street, 6th Street, Music Pier, City Hall, 11th Street and 12th Street. There are also facilities at the 34th Street playground and 58th Street beach. All are handicap accessible. There family bathrooms at 1st and 12th streets.

Ocean Grove: There are free public bathrooms at Ocean Avenue, Ocean Ave & Ocean Pathway, and Embury Avenue.

Ortley Beach: Bathrooms are on the boardwalk at the end of Fielder Avenue and at the Lifeguard Station at 4th Street and Ocean Avenue. At both places, there are outdoor showers.

Point Pleasant Beach: One bathroom is at the end of Broadway Avenue, and one is at the other end of Parkway Avenue. The bathrooms are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Sea Girt: The Sea Girt Beach Pavilion near Bacon and Ocean Avenues house restrooms for the public. It is open during normal beach hours and during special events at the beach.

Sea Isle City: Bathrooms are located at 32nd St. & Promenade, 40th St. & Promenade, JFK Blvd. & Landis Ave., 347-42nd Place, 44th St. & Promenade, 60th St. & Central Ave., 6108 Central Ave., 85th St. & Beach, 94th St. & Landis Ave.

Seaside Heights: There are multiple comfort stations along the beach and boardwalk: at the Seaside Heights Beach Patrol headquarters located on the boardwalk at Webster Avenue; at the beach control office building on the boardwalk at Kearney Avenue; and a mobile restroom trailer that is set up for the summer on Hiering Avenue at the bottom of the ramp that leads from the boardwalk to the street. A fourth comfort station is a brand new pre-fabricated building that has 4 unisex restrooms and is located just off the boardwalk at Sheridan Ave.

Seaside Park: Bathrooms can be found near the intersection of 6th and SE Central Avenues, on 13th Avenue, and at the Bathhouse on North Central Avenue.

Ship Bottom: While there are no municipally-managed restrooms on the beach, a few can be found in other places. Restrooms can be found near the public boat ramp, Sunset Point, Ship Bottom Borough Hall, and the 6th Street Tennis Courts.

Spring Lake: Public restrooms can be found at the North End Pavilion (Near Ocean Avenue & Ludlow Avenue), South End pavilion (between Atlantic and Salem Avenues) and at the corner of Brown Avenue and Ocean Avenue.

Stone Harbor: Bathrooms are on 2nd Avenue in between 95th and 96th streets, the 95th street parking lot at the beach, and the 122nd street parking lot at the beach.

Strathmere: Recreational Beach portable toilets in Strathmere and Beesleys Point are on Williams Street Beach Patrol station (two bathrooms, one of which is handicap accessible), a handicap accessible unit at Putnam Avenue, one at Bayview Drive, one at the Boat Ramp, one on Commonwealth Whale Beach, One on Commonwealth Avenue, two at the beach 6th Street parking lot on Commonwealth Avenue, and one on Beesleys Point beach.

Surf City: There are restrooms at the 16th Street Bay Beach and the Division Street Boat ramp.

Ventnor: A restroom is at the Ventnor Fishing Pier at South Cambridge Avenue & Boardwalk.

Wildwood: While portable bathrooms are placed every 3 to 4 blocks, permanent ones are located on the boardwalk at Glenwood, Schellenger, Roberts and Bennett Avenues.

Wildwood Crest: There is a public bathroom at Rambler Road and the beach.

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Jenna Wise, Dominique Ridley and Bianca Velazquez contributed to this report.

Chris Franklin can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @cfranklinnews or on Facebook. Have a tip? Tell us. nj.com/tips. Get the latest updates right in your inbox. Subscribe to NJ.com’s newsletters.

Sours: https://www.nj.com/atlantic/2019/07/need-a-bathroom-break-at-the-beach-a-guide-to-every-jersey-shore-towns-public-restrooms.html
NJN Documentary Our Vanishing Past - Wildwood

ABOUT US
FREE BEACHES

Wildwood Daytrippers is a family owned and operated shower house and parking lot located next to the beach and Moreys pier at 421 East 24th Avenue, North Wildwood, NJ.
If you're interested in visiting the beauiful white sands beaches and world famous boardwalk but think you can't afford it then this is the place for you!
Don't worry about going to the shore and not being able to find a parking spot or a comfortable place to take a hot, private shower and change.
At Wildwood Daytrippers you can enjoy the day at the beach, soaking in the sun, building sand castles and swimming in the ocean.
To save even more money, pack yourself a picnic lunch and a bucket of chicken for dinner. Then return to Daytrippers for a refreshing hot, private shower and change into your boardwalk clothes for a fun filled night on the boards.
If you just want to shower and change but don't want to pay to park. Daytrippers offers free parking while you shower.
The City of North Wildwood does not permit people sleeping in cars or RV's overnight

Sours: http://www.wildwooddaytrippers.com/AboutUs.html

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