T.G.I.O. – Saying Goodbye the Old Way

Sep 05, 2018
Courtesy of: Randy David Brown The Tide tee marked its fourth annual Islander’s Party.

Well, here we are, the week after Labor Day weekend. The 100 days of summer are done. It seems strangely quiet as kids get ready for school. We easily get in and out of Wawa for morning coffee. The long lines for ... everything ... are a thing of the past, except for a few scattered weekends where we will be again invaded by license plates from the tri-state area and beyond.

We breathe a sigh of relief. Shop owners tally the summer’s amount of business. Once again local residents settle into the all-too-familiar routine for the next eight months.

Who had the first idea to pronounce “Thank God It’s Over!” and organize a community-wide party? I remember a few local residents would put out the word and on Labor Day itself lawn chairs would be set up on the Boulevard and groups of people would wave the tourists “off the Island.” Then a few entrepreneurs decided to make T-shirts, book a band and pick an establishment to throw a T.G.I.O. party!

The Tide/Mooring Restaurant in Beach Haven was a favorite I remember in the early ’80s. Also, Surf City Hotel had at least one I remember. I don’t know how long the practice was kept going, but I think the first official, bona fide T.G.I.O. party was in 1979. I only know this because of the 4th Annual T.G.I.O. party T-shirt I have from The Tide in 1982.

Probably the kibosh was put on celebrating the fact that we were fed up with all the trouble that comes with 75,000 people invading our Island for 12 weeks because a few wanted them to stay longer. This is when the “It’s Better in September” moniker was coined. Local businesses started to try to squeeze another four weeks or more of tourism out of the 18-mile strip of sand.

Tourism is what enables almost everyone who is local to make a living. Without the ocean/bay/beach, how would the population be able to survive? Construction workers of all kinds pile onto the Island every weekday morning to tear down and rebuild people’s dream homes. The second or third week after Labor Day local demolition companies “put their game face on.” Dozens of 50-plus-year-old homes bite the dust and mega-mansions are built in their places. Elevators, pools and rooftop decks are the norm now.

As we say goodbye till next spring, or at least Chowderfest at the end of September, we will be ready again to do our best to feed, house and entertain the tens of thousands of New Yorkers, North Jerseyans and Pennsylvanians, and those from every and anywhere you could think of, even international J-visa young adults who help keep things running smoothly.

So, until next year, you won’t have to honk your horn, experience X-rated sign language from drivers, stop at every other side street for a family, bicyclist or anybody wandering into the street, or be asked, “Do you have your beach badge?” That’s another whole story I do not have time to get into as a local resident. Aaarrgghhh.

Randy David Brown, also known as “The Pirate of LBI,” lives in Spray Beach.




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