Chat with anyone in Jersey City, NJ these days – on Facebook or Twitter, or in just about any local establishment – and you’re bound to hear disdain for one thing: The Jersey Shore. A spinoff of the show will be set in the downtown section of the sprawling Northern New Jersey city, and residents are taking up virtual arms to fight it.
Tomorrow a petition signed online by more than 600 people will be presented to Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy on the day he plans to give his State of the City Address. “Jersey City is not a party town,” wrote petition creator Rory Nugent. “We feel that MTV’s new show will make a mockery of us, whether it be intentional or not.”
The MTV show will star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi and Jenni “JWOWW” Farley.
Searches on Twitter for “Jersey City” or “Jersey Shore” turn up tweets expressing dismay about the show, which is scheduled to shoot for six weeks. Pat Byrne, a local sketch comedian and musician, expressed a familiar sentiment on his @TheRealPatByrne account: “Wrote a haiku about my feelings on Jersey Shore moving to Jersey City: Snookie and J-wow Will now live 3 blocks away I hate Mayor Healy.”
Jersey City denizen Eric Fleming started his “Stop JERSEY SHORE in Jersey City” Facebook group on February 8. It’s attracted around 190 members including local restaurant Skinner’s Loft and neighborhood bar Lucky 7 Tavern. Steven Fulop, 2013 mayoral candidate and a City Councilman representing the part of town the Shore celebs will call home, also joined.
On his own Facebook timeline, Fulop, an active social media user, expressed his disagreement with the current mayor. “Healy and I clearly on [sic] different pages with this one,” he noted, linking to an NJ.com story quoting him. A few days prior, Fulop asked supporters on Facebook for feedback about the show before the filming rights had been granted. The inquiry elicited 146 comments, most of them negative towards the proposed show and its cavorting stars.
Another petition protesting the show has been signed by around 190 people. “You’ll have to sign waivers just to enter a restaurant. Jersey City will inherit the associations that Seaside now has and once again, give all of NJ a bad name,” lamented petition creator Cara DiGiovine.
500 Tasty Sandwiches, a Jersey City-based “culinary collective” dedicated to “promoting the local food scene,” suggested that the show could damage the city’s “emerging food culture.” On 500sandwiches.com, founder K. Prepelica encouraged people to contact city hall in protest. “My fear is that the show, infamous for the shameful antics of its cast, will damage the reputation of Jersey City, negatively affecting local businesses,” wrote Prepelica.
The Jersey Shore “extols the virtues of public drunkenness, fighting…and worst of all, poor grammar,” said Fleming, who started the Stop JERSEY SHORE group within an hour of reading that the spinoff show was approved to film near his home. Fleming has some experience starting Facebook groups; he recently created two to help friends find lost loved ones. One missing person – Zion Hyde – was found soon after Fleming created a Facebook group dedicated to locating the missing teen. The other, Ian Burnet, has not been located. The group Fleming started to assist in the search has generated more than 2,500 members since early January.
Fleming has applied lessons learned from running those two groups, along with work he does on Facebook and Twitter, to promote Jersey City’s Cocoa Bakery and Bistro, to the Jersey Shore protest group. “You want to keep the message very simple and direct,” he said. “Make sure that whatever that conversation is, it’s staying on topic.”
The next step, said Fleming, is to find a graphic designer to create a logo for the group.