Monday, July 28, 2008

Mom, what's a "Benny"?

Benny (n.) Bennies, pl.
1.) One who does not pay proper respect to the indigenous peoples of the Jersey shore. A colonizer.
2.) Groups of individuals who visit the Jersey shore in the summer who a.) clog the streets with beach traffic b.) rock socks with sandals c.) wear white tank undershirts displaying outgrowths of chest hair and/or track suits.
3.) A slang term for tourists of Italian-American descent who vacation in the shore towns of Belmar, Spring Lake, Point Pleasant and Manasquan.

The term derives from Bayonne, Elizabeth, Newark, and New York, though I understand the New York part specifically targets Staten Island.

Take a look at some recent controversy surrounding the uprising.

1 comment:

Kerri said...

You're on the right track, but ethnic background has absolutely nothing to do with it. If you're not from the shore area, you're a benny. There are differing opinions regarding whether you can "work off" your benny status by living in the area for a certain number of years (4 being the lowest I've heard) as well.

Important to note is the fact that some people from other areas of NJ believe that as long as they are from NJ, they are not bennies. This is not so. The term "local" (the opposite of "benny") refers only to those who were born and raised in a beach town, or have "worked off" their benny status by living there for many years.

I believe the term is in use up and down the entire shore of NJ, not just in the towns you mentioned.