Pour One Out For The Flute Lady

🎡 Ocean City, NJ's only weekly newsletter

Lots going on this week! A crackdown on buskers, Philly Mag columnist rips Ocean City, Sand House raised up, mini golf taking shape, 2023 real estate market report, and so much more.

That groundhog has me all fired up. Let’s go!

In the email today:

📆 Upcoming Events in (and around) Ocean City

You can see the full list of events in all nearby Shore towns with the following links: Ocean City | Sea Isle | Margate | Avalon | Stone Harbor | Somers Point | Wildwood | Cape May | Ventnor

Also note the Ocean City Library has many events for adults and kids alike on their calendar, which can be viewed here.

🎷 Boardwalk Performers Face New Rules and Steeper Fees

This one time, at band camp, I stuck a flute farther up the Boardwalk.

Receiving a lot of coverage this week - Inquirer, ACPress, Philly Mag - has been Ocean City’s recently passed ordinance that sets stricter rules and steeper permit fees for buskers, the at times lovable and at other times annoying performers along the boards.

Here are the new rules set at a January 25 City Council meeting:

  • A $200 permit fee for busking, up from $50

  • Limited performance areas on the Boardwalk— buskers can now only perform from 5th to 8th Streets and 12th to 14th Streets

  • There will be designated locations for them across from the street entrances and within pavilions, with extra locations between 5th and 6th Streets where the Boardwalk is wider

  • Their tip buckets must be no larger than 8 inches by 8 inches and remain stationary

  • They are not allowed on Tuesdays or Thursdays, and performances are only allowed 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday

  • No more than 4 hours at a time

  • $2,000 fine for violations

  • Amplifiers were already banned in 2019

Local businesses drove this change, arguing that they only have a few months each year to make their money and that sound from the buskers could, at times, be overwhelming and downright annoying, or even occasionally disruptive to business. There was unanimous support for the ordinance.

You can see video of the meeting here, beginning with hard-hitting and heartfelt testimony from the Flute Lady:

🥸 Somehow, Victor Fiorillo Managed To Make Himself Look Like Even More of a Jackass in His Defense of Busking

In Philly Mag’s coverage of the new ordinance, Fiorillo was sure to list everything he hates about America’s Greatest Family Resort:

I remember the first time friends invited me and my family to meet them in Ocean City, New Jersey, maybe 15 years ago or so.

The first thing we noticed was that the Ocean City boardwalk was overrun with stressed-out parents with double-strollers and folks fuming because they bought those pricey-but-seem-like-a-good-deal all-day passes for the piers and their kids were done after a few rides.

Since then, Ocean City and its for-whatever-reason award-winning boardwalk have only gotten worse. Those fussy kids are now older and driving police and local businesses crazy with their teenage antics, leading to a curfew and backpack ban. The town council banned marijuana sales, even though New Jersey has legal weed, both recreational and medical. Officials won’t even let the poor seagulls be, enlisting birds of prey to deal with the gluttonous gulls.

Philly Mag

Can we enlist the birds of prey to buzz Fiorillo’s tower next time he shows up?

⬆️ Sand House Is Moving Up

Quite literally.

I love this beachside breakfast and lunch spot. Grandfathered in by Father Time, Sand House sits - or at least it used to - just south of North Street on the beach. Sure, it could benefit from the presence of an on-premises manager as service can be spotty, and I really wish they’d store the soda bags out of view… but the food is usually quite good and the atmosphere is authentic.

This winter, the building’s owner, Robert Himmelstein (he leases to Bob Idell for Sand House), decided to raise it up. Why? From OCNJ Daily:

“The existing pilings were totally rotted and if there had been a bad storm the building would not have been able to withstand any bad storm surge,” he said. “There’s nothing even left of the steel beams. This was totally necessary to preserve the structure. If there’s any type of storm surge, it would come apart.”

OCNJ Daily

Himmelstein is facing lawsuits though. Neighbors across the street, already unhappy with the mere presence of the structure which has been there since 1945, feel it will further block their view of the beach.

Either way, work proceeds, and is aimed to be completed by April 1. Meanwhile, it would be great if they could also patch some of those holes in the roof and add an extra bolt to the ceilings fans, too. K? Please, thanks, bye.

Here are some more pics we took:

🐺 Very Important Coyote Update

From Holly on Facebook, an always reliable source of trusted information…

Just a friendly reminder my son had a coyote sighting on the Longport bridge tonight. Please be carful of you small dogs if they are in a yard at night. This time of the year is when they are breeding and before we know it they will have pups and the food intake goes up. This is not meant to scare you just to warn you.

Holly on Facebook, who said her son has lots of knowledge of foxes and it wasn’t a fox

After a spate of coyote sightings near Corson’s Inlet last year, I spent the whole summer pondering just how they get on an island. Do they walk across the marsh at low tide? Swim? Take a bus? Really bothered me. Turns out, none of the above— they just walk across the bridges.

I heard one of them had an EZ Pass too.

⛳️ New Mini Golf Course Construction Photos

We’ve told you for almost a year now about the new mini golf course coming to 34th Street.

You can see a video of the whole impressive site on our Instagram channel page here.

🚧 Construction Update

Mayor Gillian outlines emergency sewer repair work:

“The emergency sewer repair on West Avenue continues to make progress. Work is now focused between 10th Street and 12th Street and the New Jersey American Water contractor is near completion of that section. I want to remind everybody that access to all businesses will remain open at all times. Vehicles can use West Avenue for local traffic to reach businesses like Piccini, Wawa, Shoemaker Lumber, Fin-Atics, Tuckahoe Bikes, Sherwin Williams, Atilis Gym, and everywhere else along that stretch. That will not change as the work continues toward the end of the project area at 16th Street. Please use caution driving there until full restoration can be completed.”

🏠 Real Estate Update

Goldcoast Sothebys put out their 2023 market report. Here are some key takeaways:

  • Total home sales volume was down nearly 15% YoY to 677

  • But the lack of inventory contributed to a 10% rise in the median sale price to $970k

  • Both single-family homes and condos saw higher median prices. The median price for a single-family home in 2023 was $1.625M, up 3.2% YoY, while condos were up 5.8% to $825k.

  • But the volume of condo sales crashed 21%, leading to an outsized increase in the overall median sales price (more single-family homes relative to condos were sold in 2023)

Realtors likely made out OK since the uptick in price nearly offset the reduced sales volume in commissions. But others involved in the transactions - title companies, home inspectors - likely suffered more due to the reduced volume.

If you want more info on the Ocean City real estate market, subscribe to our Shore Cribs newsletter— we put this on ice as we worked on some other things over the winter, but plan to bring it back in force this season:

Shore CribsEverything you need to know about real estate in Ocean City, NJ. Join over 1,500 second-home owners, agents, residents, investors, and renters who subscribe to our newsletter for free.

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Thanks! Enjoy the weekend.