LONG BRANCH - After being targeted twice by the pop-up party crowd, the city is getting $500,000 in state aid to help prevent them and recover some of the costs incurred in the police response and cleanup.
It's another win for the city, which earned a legal victory in court last month when a state Superior Court judge issued a court order demanding the pop up party organizers stop posting advertisements for the illegal gatherings on social media.
The pop-up parties, one on June 19, 2021, and a second this past May 21, were advertised on social media sites such as Instagram and TikTok and told participants to bring their own liquor and weed — the nickname for marijuana — to the city's beachfront. They advertised twerk contests and illegal fights. City officials said the organizers never applied for permits for the parties as required for large gatherings on public or quasi-public spaces in the city. Most of the partygoers wound up gathering in the Pier Village section.
A third party was planned for June 19,, but the organizers were forced to cancel it by the court order.
On May 21, an estimated 5,000 pop-up party people arrived in droves unannounced via NJ Transit, taxing the city's resources. After several fights broke out in the crowd, city police with help from county and state law enforcement made 15 arrests and shut the party down. One police car reportedly was damaged.
State Sen. Vin Gopal, D-Monmouth, advocated for the money, which is earmarked in the recently approved 2023 state budget. It is the only such allocation for pop-up party prevention in the budget, though other Shore towns have been impacted by them, such as Point Pleasant Beach in 2020.
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"We want to thank Sen. Vin Gopal for getting us this money. It will be used to reimburse the city for the additional police officers that have been deployed on the beach," Long Branch Mayor John Pallone said.
When Jersey Shore native Dan Radel is not reporting the news, you can find him in a college classroom where he is a history professor. Reach him @danielradelapp; 732-643-4072; firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Long Branch NJ gets $500K in state aid to stop pop-up parties