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Ex-Councilwoman Wants Asbury Park To Enforce 40-Year-Old Law Banning Bathing Suits On Boardwalk

If Ordinance Is Enforced, Violators Could Face $2,000 Fines, 90 Days In Jail
Asbury Park Boardwalk (credit: Steve Sandberg/1010 WINS)

Asbury Park Boardwalk (credit: Steve Sandberg/1010 WINS)

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ASBURY PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A former city councilwoman in Asbury Park is admonishing beachgoers to put on a shirt when they’re on the boardwalk.

Louise Murray says it’s the law.

A Monmouth County ordinance banning people from wearing bathing suits on the boardwalk was passed more than 40 years ago but has largely been forgotten. It says: “No person clad in bathing attire shall be on the boardwalk or the public sidewalks adjacent thereto.”

WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reports

Murray, 74, told WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman on Tuesday that when she was younger “you could not go on that boardwalk unless you had a cover-up and shoes.”

The area fell on hard times during the 1980s and ’90s but is in the midst of a renaissance. The boardwalk now has upscale stores and restaurants.

“Do you really want to be sitting in a restaurant and seeing somebody come up half-dressed? We all can’t be Sports Illustrated and we all can’t be GQ’s,” Murray said. “I had my day, the window’s obviously closed, but even at my best day I never walked in a bar in a bathing suit.”

Murray, chairwoman of the local Republican party, asked the city council at a meeting last week to start enforcing the ban, which, believe it or not comes with a fine of up to $2,000, 90 days in jail and community service for violators, CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez reported.

“Oh my God. We’d all be getting tickets every day!” said Nikki DelPizzo of Wanamassa, N.J.

Still, officials said they will address the issue.

“Since it is a law in the books, that needs to be revisited,” City Manager Terry Reidy said. “We’re not going to start arresting them or throwing them off the boardwalk. I think it’s something we really just have to look at.”

Councilman Kevin Sanders said it’s an archaic law that he’ll make sure won’t be enforced.

“That’s additional man hours. With the state cutting back and the city cutting back, that raises taxes. So I’m gonna have people riding around on bikes looking, checking swimsuits? No,” Sanders said.

Murray said she  is looking to restore decency and modesty to the city and fears skimpy swimsuits will ruin Asbury Park‘s reputation as a classy town.

“We’re going to end up like any other seedy boardwalk in some seashore town,” she said.

1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reports

Some find Murray’s crusade laughable.

“That’s crazy. How are they going to enforce it? Are they going to stand at the edge of the boardwalk as people come off of the beach and wrap them in towels? That’s ridiculous,” one woman said.

“We’re a community of free thinkers, of creative people. And to tell people to put on clothing at the beach just negates that kind of thinking,” business owner Marilyn Schlossbach told CBS 2’s Sanchez.

While others are on Murray’s side.

“They shouldn’t be out here all the time with bathing suits because it does not look good at all,” one man said.

A few people believe the movement is targeting the gay community that has been instrumental in the revival of Asbury Park.

“It is a subtle attack on that lifestyle and the gay people here are beautifying this town and bringing this town back,” one man said.

It used to be easier for beach goers to cover-up after leaving the sand. At one point, there were changing rooms connected to the beach through tunnels and catwalks but those disappeared years ago.  To get to the beach, you must cross the boardwalk.

What do you think? Should the ban be enforced? Let us know below…