In recent weeks, content creators on TikTok or other social media platforms have galvanized thousands of people to head to the Jersey Shore.
The latest pop-up party took place in Long Branch last month. It drew nearly 5,000 people, numerous fights were reported and dozens were arrested.
“The Long Branch situation, I think, again, opened a lot of eyes across the Tri-State Area,” Point Pleasant Beach Mayor Paul Kanitra told CBS2’s Astrid Martinez.
In recent days, there were flyers circling online promoting a pop-up party in Point Pleasant Beach, encouraging attendees to bring their own liquor and marijuana, and even participate in boxing matches.
It was a cause for concern for local business owners.
“The teens that come to these pop-up parties aren’t supporting the town. They’re not supporting any of the local businesses in town. They’re not supporting my business here, and they’re just causing destruction,” business owner Pasquale Storino said. “There was a sense of angst, not wanting it to happen here in Point Pleasant Beach, and just seeing the damage that happened to Long Branch and the businesses and the residents there.”
“It was general chaos, a lot of litter left behind in the streets, as well. And that’s nothing that any kind of community that’s looking to attract families from all over really wants,” Kanitra said.
City leaders worked quickly to shut down any party momentum.
“There’s only 24 officers here in Point Pleasant Beach that are full-time. They were all up here today. The Ocean County sheriff’s department sent a lot of resources up as well,” Kanitra said.
The mayor filed a lawsuit. A judge issued a court order Wednesday requiring organizers to post notices warning that the parties have been canceled and urging people not to come. Going forward, organizers of large gatherings must also obtain a city permit.
“So finding a solution to the root cause of these pop-up parties and de-incentivizing the organizers and the promoters from doing this on a regular basis and feeling that they’ll have repercussions for their actions is really important,” Kanitra said.
Despite the judge’s ruling, the police in Point Pleasant Beach were still prepared just in case anyone got unruly.
“For a seasonal business, we really only have three months a year. Days like today are extremely important. We try not to lose a weekend to something like that happening,” Storino said.
So that chaos won’t deter families who help boost the local economy from coming to the beach.
There could still be another pop-up party planned. The Point Pleasant Beach mayor found a flyer online promoting a gathering in Asbury Park at the end of June. The mayor said he and his team are actively monitoring social media posts to disrupt any parties.