Shore break: Jilly’s Arcade

    Here’s one of my favorite friend Jersey Shore stories: every Sunday, two guys (then kids) would be pushed out the door and sent to church. They were required to bring back the Mass bulletin as proof that they had attended service.

    They brought home Mass bulletins all right, but they didn’t actually spent much time inside. They’d grab one each from the back of the church, and then head to Jilly’s Arcade to play video games until they figured church was out.

    On Wednesday, I did the same thing, though I was playing hooky from work.

    Jilly’s is at 12th and the boardwalk in Ocean City, a big barn of a space that wraps around a Manco & Manco (yes, I still hate calling it that, but it is what it is). They opened in 1976, and in the summer, are open 24 hours a day. In the boardwalk-front space, they keep all the latest and greatest games, like Fruit Ninja and Top Skater. As a teenager, I spent much time and quarters there playing Street Fighter and X-Men. Today, though, I head to the back, which has pool tables, skee-ball pinball and classic video games. Today’s choice was Avenger’s pinball (I tried a Simpsons pinball game, but it quickly lost out to the one that had a moving Hulk). Then, after a few rounds of Ms. Pacman, I hit the boardwalk for some sun. The biggest disappointment of the day is that, right now, Voltaco’s is only open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and I had to settle for a hoagie from Wawa.

    It’s been an exceptionally terrible week given what happened at the Boston Marathon. So to take a break and play a little pinball followed by some beach time, even if a brisk ocean wind made the air cold enough to require a sweatshirt, was a relief. It’s why we’re so lucky to have the Jersey Shore close by.


    Jen A. Miller writes the Down the Shore with Jen blog for Jen is author of The Jersey Shore: Atlantic City to Cape May, which is now in its second edition.

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