Between 1,000 and 2,000 people gathered in Seaside Heights Monday night, blocking streets and crowding in several areas, after the Nelk Boys, a group of Canadian YouTube and social media personalities rented (and were later kicked out of) the boardwalk home made famous by MTV’s “Jersey Shore.”
Videos from numerous social media platforms painted a picture of the chaos. The Nelk Boys generally schedule pranks and events that include large gatherings every Monday. They had also promised to release new merchandise from their online store, which has popularized the “Full Send” slogan at 8:30 p.m. At some point, they were removed from the home, which still retains its signature Italian flag coloring, by Danny Merk, who operates the Shore Store on the other side of the home and manages the property.
Throughout the night, crowds built around town. By 11 p.m., police were blocking off streets and trying to herd the thousands of people who had gathered back to their vehicles and out of town. At least one car accident was shown to have occurred. There were concerns by some on social media that social distancing and the wearing of face masks did not seem to be occurring. The Nelk Boys have faced similar criticism in other locations where they have shown up for events, pranks or stunts, and have been investigated by authorities in other states.
A mobile command post was set up on Hancock Avenue and police from Toms River as well as the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department had arrived to assist. A particularly large crowd had formed just before 11 p.m. near the Steaks Unlimited restaurant.
Some members of the crowd also came driving performance vehicles and were seen spinning tired and doing donuts in some parking lots. Later, residents of Toms River and Brick reported hearing cars racing on the Garden State Parkway, which could be linked.
By 11:30 p.m., most of the crowd had left, though police were still blocking off intersections and guiding traffic through specific pathways in and out of town.