Police break up mass gathering at 'Jersey Shore' house

David K. Li and Mohammed Syed and Helen Kwong
·2 min read
Police break up mass gathering at 'Jersey Shore' house
Police break up mass gathering at 'Jersey Shore' house

Hundreds of people showed up at a rental home best known as the backdrop for MTV's "Jersey Shore," prompting police to break up the gathering that violated state health codes, authorities said Tuesday.

The revelers were cheering on YouTube personalities the Nelk Boys on Monday night at the rental property at 1209 Boardwalk in Seaside Heights, New Jersey.

The house is best known as the summer digs of JWoww, Sammi Sweetheart, The Situation, Pauly D, Vinny, Ronnie and Snooki, stars of "Jersey Shore," which ran for six seasons between 2009 and 2012.

Outdoor gatherings in New Jersey must be limited to 500 people, who are socially distanced, under the state's coronavirus guidelines. The crowd had been building all day and was finally dispersed after 9 p.m. ET, witnesses said.

At the height of Monday's get-together, more than a thousand people were jam packed outside, much to the chagrin of Seaside Mayor Anthony Vaz, who is already leery of the hard-partying reputation his community developed as a result of "Jersey Shore."

"We will not tolerate this or these kinds of things that will disrupt an image we're trying to correct," Vaz told NBC News on Tuesday. "It was shocking to me."

On Monday night, the Nelk Boys were using that home to celebrate the launch of a website which sells the group's branded apparel.

The group posted Instagram footage of the event and opened the front door to show police lights and hundreds of people outside, most of them appearing to be tightly packed and not wearing masks.

The home's owner, Daniel Merk, was in the background of that video and appeared to tell his renters the party had to end.

"Get your s---, get out of here guys," Merk said. "Time to go."

Merk told NBC News on Tuesday that he rented his house to the YouTube personalities believing it was only to be used for a small gathering to launch the group's site.

"They have a lot of passionate fans and they followed them," Merk said. "I was not prepared for this, the town was not prepared for this."

No one was arrested or immediately cited, but Merk said he expects to have some kind of civil penalty coming his way.

"There's definitely going to be ramifications from this," he said. "I'm definitely going to be in trouble for this."

Vaz said that Merk could have his license to rent the property pulled over Monday night's incident, and the mayor pledged to have police costs covered by the Nelk Boys.

Reps for the New Jersey governor's office, state health department and the Nelk Boys could not be immediately reached for comment on Tuesday.