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Inside Seaside Heights 'chaotic' night with YouTube stars Nelk Boys

APP.com (Asbury Park, NJ) logo APP.com (Asbury Park, NJ) 9/16/2020 Andrew J. Goudsward, Asbury Park Press
a group of people waiting in line at night: Police keep crowds moving along Ocean Terrace in Seaside Heights Monday night, September 14, 2020, after a large crowd descended on the town for a party hosted by YouTubers Nelk Boys at the 'Jersey Shore' house. © STATE NEWS SERVICE Police keep crowds moving along Ocean Terrace in Seaside Heights Monday night, September 14, 2020, after a large crowd descended on the town for a party hosted by YouTubers Nelk Boys at the 'Jersey Shore' house.

SEASIDE HEIGHTS - Last week, Seaside Heights Mayor Anthony Vaz heard a celebrity YouTube group was planning to rent out the "Jersey Shore" house, made famous as the one-time home of cast members from the hit MTV reality series.

Borough officials looked into the group, known as the Nelk Boys. They didn't like what they found.

The Canadian trio's YouTube channel is filled with videos of pranks, stunts and a wild college party culture that Vaz said the borough has been trying to move away from since "Jersey Shore" burnished its image as a fist-pumping alcohol-fueled nightlife destination.

Vaz said he communicated his displeasure with the owner of the "Jersey Shore" house, Danny Merk. But the event went forward.

The Nelk Boys teased their appearance on Monday in a video showing them popping champagne bottles outside the famed Ocean Terrace home's Italian flag-painted garage. An Instagram account called "FullSendNJ" advertised a "Seaside Takeover" on Dupont Avenue, boasting that "12 can't shut us down," using a slang term for the police.

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Ultimately, about 2,500 people showed up at spontaneous "pop-up events" in Seaside Heights Monday night, both outside the home where the Nelk Boys planned to stay and at a related car club show a short distance away, police said. The spectacle enraged the mayor.

"We didn’t sponsor this," Vaz said. "We never would sponsor this."

As the crowds grew, Seaside Heights police called for help from 10 other law enforcement agencies to help disperse the gatherings. Police Chief Thomas Boyd ordered the borough closed to non-resident traffic until the situation was brought under control.

a car stopped at a traffic light at night: Police vehicle are shown along Ocean Terrace in Seaside Heights Monday night, September 14, 2020, after a large crowd descended on the town for a party hosted by YouTubers Nelk Boys at the 'Jersey Shore' house. © STATE NEWS SERVICE Police vehicle are shown along Ocean Terrace in Seaside Heights Monday night, September 14, 2020, after a large crowd descended on the town for a party hosted by YouTubers Nelk Boys at the 'Jersey Shore' house.

Police made eight arrests over the course of the night for offenses including disorderly conduct, obstruction and resisting arrest, said borough police spokesman Detective Steve Korman.

For Vaz, who has sought to transform the borough's reputation from "honky-tonk" to "family friendly," masses of rowdy young people gathered in the borough's streets was cause for concern.

"When you have numbers of people like that in a community, that scares people," he said. "And we’re not going to tolerate it.”

Vaz said the borough issued no permits for the event. He said the borough would issue summonses against Merk, the owner of the "Jersey Shore" house, for creating a nuisance and for not having a certificate of occupancy to rent out the home.

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The mayor said he planned to seek "restitution" from the Nelk Boys to pay for police overtime and other expenses incurred in the police response. He said he is awaiting guidance from the borough's attorney for how to go about getting the money.

a group of people standing in front of a crowd: Police keep crowds moving along Ocean Terrace in Seaside Heights Monday night, September 14, 2020, after a large crowd descended on the town for a party hosted by YouTubers Nelk Boys at the 'Jersey Shore' house. © STATE NEWS SERVICE Police keep crowds moving along Ocean Terrace in Seaside Heights Monday night, September 14, 2020, after a large crowd descended on the town for a party hosted by YouTubers Nelk Boys at the 'Jersey Shore' house.

Merk could not be reached for comment Monday

The Nelk Boys did not return a Twitter message seeking comment.

The group's Twitter account posted a message Monday night blasting the news media for "completely incorrect facts."

"They comin' for the boys now that we takin' over," the post read.

The trio, which has 5.7 million YouTube subscribers, is known for its edgy, sometimes controversial pranks, and for its Full Send brand. The pop-up events Monday were timed with a "drop" of new Full Send merchandise that was released online at 8:30 p.m., just as crowds swelled in Seaside Heights.

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The group's most recent video features members accosting people on the street for not putting masks on their dogs and depicts the group being removed from outside a Trump rally after joking that President Donald Trump had an affair with a member's mother.

The Nelk Boys stunts have attracted controversy before. In 2015, the Los Angeles Police Department blasted the group after it pulled a prank on cops in which group members said they had "coke" in their trunk, which turned out to be Coca-Cola, not cocaine.

And just last week, YouTube sanctioned their account after the Nelk Boys were accused of throwing massive parties at Illinois State University, BuzzFeed reported. The parties are being investigated by the university as a possible violation of COVID-19 guidelines.

A YouTube spokesperson told BuzzFeed the group was "creating a widespread public health risk."

The group arrived at the "Jersey Shore" house earlier in the day Monday, according to Seaside Heights police. A representative from the Nelk Boys requested an off-duty police officer stand by with the group as a small group of followers gathered outside the house, Korman said.

The crowd quickly ballooned to about 1,500 fans. A related Full Send NJ car club show attracted another 1,000 people at Dupont Avenue and Ocean Terrace, police said. Videos posted on social media showed the crowds packed tightly together with few wearing masks, as required in New Jersey when social distancing cannot be maintained.

a group of people standing in front of a stage: People move along Ocean Terrace in Seaside Heights Monday night, September 14, 2020, after a large crowd descended on the town for a party hosted by YouTubers Nelk Boys at the 'Jersey Shore' house. © STATE NEWS SERVICE People move along Ocean Terrace in Seaside Heights Monday night, September 14, 2020, after a large crowd descended on the town for a party hosted by YouTubers Nelk Boys at the 'Jersey Shore' house.

At about 7:30 p.m., glass bottles and rocks were thrown at officers as they attempted to make an arrest for a disorderly persons offense, Korman said.

Vaz said there were "agitators" in the group who chanted obscenities and encouraged unruly behavior. He said many in the crowd blocked traffic and ventured onto private property.

The Nelk Boys posted a video on Twitter in which they claimed they were being kicked out of the "Jersey Shore" house.

Police sealed off the main north and south entrances to the borough to keep outsiders away. 

Vaz said the group largely dispersed peacefully and the crowds thinned by about 9:30 p.m.

Korman said police had "complete control over the crowds" by midnight. Officers from Bay Head, Mantoloking, Lavallette, Brick, Toms River, Seaside Park, Island Heights and Berkeley assisted in crowd control, along with the Ocean County Prosecutor's and Sheriff's offices. Authorities were "overwhelmed with disorderly persons offenses," Korman said. 

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The scene unfolded in front of one of the most famous addresses in pop culture, 1209 Ocean Terrace in Seaside Heights, made popular by the original run of "Jersey Shore" from 2009 to 2012.

“It’s still a very hot house,” said Michael Loundy, owner of Seaside Realty in Seaside Heights, previously told the USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey. “I guess it has to do with the fact that the show (now called ‘Jersey Shore Family Vacation’) is still airing but we get a half of dozen of calls per day to see about the availability  and the pricing of it.”

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Rates average $3,000 a night for the spot, which has six bedrooms and three bathrooms. 

The last time was in November just prior to the wedding of cast member Angelina Pivarnick and her boyfriend. The cast spent time reminiscing inside the house and they visited Merk inside his Shore Store, which is adjacent to the house.

Cast members commented on the Nelk Boys' arrival at the house on Monday.

“Hope you didn’t leave my room a mess !!!” Vinny Guadagnino said on Instagram.

Paul “DJ Pauly D” DelVecchio urged Merk to "let them stay!!!"

Vaz said he isn't worried about what he called a "chaotic" night dampening family tourism to the borough. He said the events were "an isolated incident" confined to a few tumultuous hours.

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In recent years, Vaz and the Borough Council have sought to change the borough's image through ordinances banning bars and nightclubs on the boardwalk's quieter north end, banning "teen nights" at nightclubs and allowing officials to suspend the mercantile licenses of homes and apartments for repeated instances of rowdy behavior.

The mayor said he doesn't want a night like Monday to "come back to haunt us" like he says "Jersey Shore" did several years ago.

"Those days are over," he said. 

Staff Writer Chris Jordan contributed to this story.

Andrew Goudsward: agoudsward@gannett.com; @agoudsward on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Inside Seaside Heights 'chaotic' night with YouTube stars Nelk Boys

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