Time to break out the Speedos — the city has begun the process of repealing an antiquated ban on bathing attire on the boardwalk.
The ban comes from a section of an ordinance passed in 1958 which states, “No person clad in bathing attire shall be on the boardwalk or the public walks adjacent thereto.”
It attracted national attention recently when former city councilwoman Louise Murray urged the council to begin enforcing it again. The city has not enforced the law in recent memory and does not plan to, city manager Terence Reidy said at the time.
The mayor and council last night unanimously approved the introduction of an ordinance striking that section of the ordinance from the city’s books. They are required to hold a public hearing on the removal of the law and then have a final vote at the Aug. 1 meeting.
“We have other decency ordinances,” Mayor Ed Johnson said. “We all wish sometimes it could be the 1950s again, but it can’t.”
Councilman James Bruno recalled growing up in Asbury Park in the 1960s and 1970s, when even teenagers observed the law at the beach or the Seventh Avenue pool.
“You had to be covered up,” he said. “I remember when somebody wanted to go get food, one person would go and bring everything back because nobody wanted to get dressed. I guess times have changed.”
Johnson also brought another portion of the same ordinance to the council’s attention. The clause states, “No person shall bring or consumer beer, wine, whiskey or other intoxicating liquors in the beachfront, waters or boardwalk adjacent thereto.”
Several bars and restaurants are located adjacent to the boardwalk, and some have seating on the boards.
“I’m not suggesting we permit it on the beach itself, but I know we have some restaurants with tables on the boardwalk that do serve alcohol,” Johnson said.
This was dealt with in 2008, city attorney Fred Raffetto said. The printed code has not yet been updated to reflect an addition which allows exceptions, included but not limited to café purposes along with the extension of a liquor license, he said.
“In those circumstances where restaurants on the boardwalk have tables and chairs out in various areas, they have received a café permit and approval from the mayor and council to expand the area of the licensed premises to include [portions of the boardwalk].”