The island of Ocean City, New Jersey is a mere 8-mile stretch of land and yet each part of town has its own distinctive characteristics.
The small city is full of residents and visitors of many different housing preferences. Some prefer the beach, some the bay, and some may even need a good distance away from the commotion of seasonal crowds. Luckily enough, current residents claim that each individual part of the island has a unique set of features.
Cynthia Juliana, a Bayside resident of 21 years, said she has always felt like each section of Ocean City had its own lifestyle.
“The Gardens has a more homey feel, and then you can be on the beach and the bayside is different,” Juliana said.
These differences range from location, privacy, and proximity to tourist attractions. South End resident of 52nd Street, Christopher Smyth said he would prefer to drive five miles down the island in order to avoid the commotion of seasonal crowds.
“I’m very used to being on the South End where there is no boardwalk, there are very little restaurants, things like that which I actually love,” Smyth said. “It’s a lot quieter, there’s more parking and it’s a cooler vibe, I think, on the South End.”
On the opposite side of town, the North End or “The Gardens” are known to have the most single family homes with more landscaping to achieve the secluded feel. North End resident Rudy Loper said privacy from the tourist attractions in town was important during her family’s homebuying process.
“I think that The Gardens has probably the biggest population that has year-round residents,” Loper said. “I think that’s like one of the appeals. I know for my parents that they wanted a quieter feel.”
Yet the bayside residents experience the complete opposite side of things with an activity-driven life compiled of boats, Jet Skis, close-knit neighbors, and more. Juliana recalled making it to the actual beach just a handful of times each summer.
“We don’t even really go to the beach that much,” Juliana said. “There’s so much to do on the bay, it’s kind of like our own little piece of paradise over here.”
Even though each section of town offers a different experience and lifestyle, there still seems to be one common goal: rest and relaxation. Beachside resident Kylie Videon said that her favorite thing about living directly on the beach is being just a few steps away at any time of the day.
“I can just sit on the deck and watch the waves,” Videon said. “I can see how busy the beach is that day, I can see what the weathers gonna be like. So, it’s really just having the ocean in your backyard and it’s amazing.”
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Editor’s note: Our special reporting on COVID-19 may focus on communities outside Philadelphia because many of our student journalists are now temporarily located outside of the city. Instead, our reporters will cover how the coronavirus is impacting their own communities from across the country and around the world. We will return to hyperlocal coverage of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods as soon as possible.