Benny (slang)

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This article is about Jersey Shore tourists. For other uses, see Benny.
Anti-benny message scrawled on a rock at Manasquan Inlet. Labor Day, 2007.

Benny is a pejorative term used by year-round residents of the Jersey Shore to describe rude, flashy, loud tourists from North Jersey and New York. Since local residents appreciate the tourists' economic contribution, the term "Benny" sometimes refers to only those unpleasant tourists who cut lines, drive recklessly, start fights, park on the wrong side of the street, harass women, or deliver other disrespect.

The origin of the term is disputed.[1][2] One common theory says the term is an acronym for the cities beachgoers live in: Bayonne, Elizabeth, Newark, and New York. The term "Benny" may also originate from the early 20th century practice of wealthy New Yorkers taking trips to the Jersey Shore as treatment for myriad maladies such as anemia, hemophilia, and hysteria. These therapeutic trips were called "beneficials" by doctors and patients. Often, visitors would claim to be at the Jersey Shore on a "beneficial", hence the term Benny.

The term 'Shoobie' is used by residents of resort communities in the southern New Jersey Shore, from Long Beach Island to Cape May. The term shoobie was originally used to describe day-trippers who took the train to the shore. The train offered pre-packed lunches that came in shoe boxes;[3] hence the term "shoobie." However, over time the meaning has changed to include tourists who wear sneakers or shoes on the beach, as opposed to most locals who go barefoot on the sand.


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