It’s been a tradition for God knows how long.


The familiar ring of the ice cream man at the end of the block abutting the beach, calling out to families the arrival of their favorite cones, pops, etc.

If the Brigantine council has it’s way, that could all be coming to an end, giving way to the beach vendor, schlepping his or her wares in a designated zone that the town will lease, for a fee, of course.

After all, this is New Jersey, where, just the other night we coined the phrase, “Either way, you pay, in N J!”

The existing Brigantine way of ice cream - the truck that sits parked at the end of a street while its driver rings his bell on the beach to let customers know he's there - would be limited to a small area in the north end, if the drivers even bother.

The new regulations - which appear to be headed toward passage - would allow the city to "(bid) the beach out," said Jim Vorraso, who for 12 years has leased a Jack & Jill ice cream van (not to be confused with the blue Fat Jimi's truck). Under his current arrangement, he gets to keep 50 percent of his sales.

Vorraso could keep driving his truck under the proposed regulations, but he would not be permitted to park on street ends - those that abut the beach - where his sales are brisk.

"They want to make the money. I'm going to be pushed out," said Vorraso, who has experience fighting City Hall. Last year, his successful effort to prevent it from banning the bell-ringing was aided by Beach Patrol Senior Lt. Fran Masino - a Paul Revere with a whistle - whose voice boomed out from the back of City Council chambers:

"Release the Bell!"

Now, to someone like me, growing on the teaming sands of Coney Island, tradition is seeing denizens like “Whitey” the knish man with the deep tan as early as Memorial Day weekend, trudging up and down the burning sands from Brighton all the way down to Sea Gate in a gravely voice saying, “ red hot knishes, ice cold drinks!”

My mother used to say he probably has a mother at home making the knishes herself.

Last I heard he was retired and seen sailing a 50 ft. yacht on the Intercostal in Ft. Lauderdale! (Knishes must bring in some serious "scarole!")

But I digress!

Of course there was also the Good Humor man dressed in khaki looking like someone on safari doing pretty much the same thing.

However, I am a traditionalist, and there such a thing as tradition, where,, especially on an island like Brigantine, a place where the old guard fondly remembers childhoods spent chasing after the mosquito trucks that sprayed clouds of pesticide through the town.

Councilman Bob Solari acknowledges that the city's motivation for changing the status quo is economic. "It's a way to get revenue," he says.

Frankly, the city wants vendors' bid money. Officials look at Margate, which won $40,000 from a company seeking the right to sell ice cream on its shore.

And isn’t that what it’s always about? The casheesh?

So while it may seem like a great idea, especially to newbies who’ve been used to having someone come to them on the beach with ice cream or whatever, do you feel it’s a good idea to do away with tradition and lose the street side ice cream vendor?