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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

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Look What They've Done to Sonic

Shore Musings: A Midnight Stroll on the Wildwoods Boardwalk

Shore Musings: A Midnight Stroll on the Wildwoods Boardwalk

Photos and words by Collin Hall

Count the fingers! Count them!
Count the fingers! Count them!

Two years ago I wrote about the sudden influx of Sunny the Seagull knockoffs that popped up overnight on the Wildwoods boardwalk; I was shocked at how quickly vendors were able to replicate the Morey’s Piers mascot that swept social media. This year, I’m back at it. I took a midnight stroll on the boardwalk to see what’s new and what’s predictably weird.

  • Salute the AI overlords: I love Sonic the Hedgehog. There have been Sonic bootlegs on boardwalk storefronts long as I have been alive, but this year, he’s looking a bit… well, where did his sixth, seventh, and eighth fingers come from? You can thank generative AI for this new generation of knockoffs. Sonic isn’t smoking a blunt this year (bootlegs on the boards often depict popular cartoon characters smoking a fat one), but… I’ll never unsee those hands. Mario, Pikachu, and Sonic got the eldritch treatment this year, too. Check them out on a $20 t-shirt.
  • Anime hits the boards: Last year the boardwalk got not one, two, but three brand-new stores full of anime babe statues, beautiful shining shirtless men, and enough weebabo-flavored stuff to stop your heart. Honestly, some of these stores are impressive. One of them has floor-to-ceiling wallpaper depicting famous manga panels. And I will never object to a life-sized Goku statue.
You can say hello to Roronoa Zoro on the Wildwoods boardwalk.
  • Big Chains are here to stay: Take this to heart: there’s a Dunkin’ Donuts on the Wildwoods boardwalk. It gets lost, in my mind, between the great local breakfast spots that dot the 2.5-mile boardwalk. This year, instead of getting a slice of pizza from Mack’s or Sam’s, you could instead settle for a stock-standard Domino’s pie. Big corporate: Welcome to the Wildwoods!
Domino’s Pizza has set up shop with a massive new location on the Wildwoods boardwalk.
  • Got a light?: I was joking with my friend Theo as we walked up the boards that gosh, we should really open a smoke shop! Not enough of them in America. Maybe we’d sell WildWeed or something. But nah, the market is cornered. You can’t throw a rock without hitting a smoke shop. Were there always this many?
  • The Vibes are still good: Reader – there are few things as delightful as a midnight stroll on the Wildwoods boardwalk, wind at your back. There’s so much to see. People looking better than ever, weirder than ever, always something to gawk at, and then realize you’re being a tad self-righteous. Maybe that’s just me. But even with stiff competition across the state there’s nowhere else like the Wildwoods boardwalk.
Content Marketing Coordinator / Reporter

Collin Hall grew up in Cape May County and works as a content manager for Do The Shore, as well as a reporter. He currently lives in Villas.

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