The Matzav Shmoooze: Honk Out Tent City


honk-out-tent-cityMy Fellow Yidden,

Recently, I was driving northbound on Cedar Bridge Avenue in Lakewood, NJ, whereupon my car began to fill with toxic fumes. Since as far as I was aware all was well with my car, I assumed the fumes where coming from outside the car. The fumes intensified. My eyes began to sting and I started coughing and gagging. I came to the realization that the fumes were emanating from within my vehicle. Before me, I noticed a thick cloud of smoke which appeared to be inside my car, proving my assumption. In an attempt to pull over, I swerved into the right lane and took out my cell phone to call for help. I suddenly noticed, on my left, an orange light flickering inside the forest. I then realized that, boruch Hashem, all was well, and I had merely driven by the communal furnace of Tent City.

I was a bit shaken up following this hazardous and potentially fatal incident, and I wondered how many others have had similar (or worse, G-d forbid) incidents. It was shortly following this incident that local community activists came forth to try to bring attention to the crisis that is Tent City, which resulted in the December 18, 2012 Township meeting.

Unfortunately, there are members of our very own community who are oblivious to the grave situation that Tent City poses. They either deny the significance or claim that community activists are acting in their own self-interest. It is imperative to understand the following two points:

1) The Tent City crisis affects you in a very direct way. If it doesn’t affect you today, it will affect you tomorrow. If it doesn’t affect you tomorrow, it will affect your children. You may not be frightened by the Tent City vagrants, but your children (and your wife) are. You may not have had any negative encounters with these people, but tomorrow, when Lakewood is a haven of criminals, thugs and a burgeoning homeless population, you will.

2) Even if the Tent City crisis never, ever affects you in any which way, it is affecting your friends, relatives and neighbors. There are children all over Lakewood who have a constant fear of running into one of “those hooligans” while they’re out and about.

The residents of Arlington Avenue, Melville Avenue and the surrounding areas are captives to the presence of the shady characters roaming around as they wish, along with frequent unpleasant confrontations, and are constantly subjected to the toxic carcinogenic smoke which they are forced to breathe.

The Tent City crisis is as real as ever, and the time has come to bring awareness to this threat and to finally resolve the issues. I have therefore started the “Honk Out Tent City” campaign. The issues at hand – the illegal activities, the unlawful inhabitation, the growing presence of present and former criminals and addicts, and perilous toxic fires – can be effectively “honked out.” When driving past Tent City, sound your horn. Hold down on the horn for the duration of the Tent City expanse. This will send a message to our elected officials that the time to resolve the issues has come and that we cannot go on this way any longer. This will also send a message to the Tent City squatters that we will no longer tolerate their unlawful presence, and that their illegal and dangerous activities are not welcome here. This will also raise awareness to the surrounding vehicles as well. If we honk long and we honk hard, our message will be heard.

I wish the Township and County much success in dealing with this unfortunate but critical issue, and I hope you’ll all join me in raising awareness and letting our voice be heard together. We owe it to ourselves. We owe it to our children.


A Concerned Resident

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  1. Ok… Now What???

    Explain more about the situation please.

    I want to know about it. I don’t live there but I want to know!



    A concerned guy

  2. While your situation was dangerous it probably isn’t very common. I do wish to point out a more prevalent problem with tent city is the filth entering our lungs. We don’t want to live with a smoker but allow these people to pollute our town! It is dangerous for many of us with asthma or weak immune systems!

  3. Chas Veshalom that we should lower ourselves to the kind of behavior the writer is suggesting.

    I do not disagree with the fact that we must unite to rid ourselves of the Tent City element. The first step is to understand why the Township is not evicting these vagrants. If there is a court order preventing them, then there must be a legal basis for it. The Township should hire the legal help which will help it craft an exit strategy without overstepping whatever bounds the court feels have been trampled till now.

    In addition, the Governor should be approached to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate why the Township of Lakewood is unable to enforce the basic laws that make up any decent society. This will expose exactly who and what are behind Tent City and what their agenda truly is. And at the same time, it will unmask the incompetency that is currently masqueradig as the Township leadership.

    All in all, it’s a messy job and we dare not appear to be the ones doing it ourselves. There is nothing to be gained from the networks trumpeting “Orthodox Against the Homeless” for all the world to see.

  4. All the deaths are at the bleeding heart judge who refuses to actually allow the authorities to take action. One eviction order from a judge and that will be the end of all the unlawful activities of tent city.

    The elected officials should use this to get moving and put pressure to move this along and have this heard next week. Enough with all the excuses from all of them!!!. Never let a crisis to go to waste. What are the committee members doing now??? Still waiting for the wonderful judge in a year from now to issue something…How many people have died there over the past year? Four? Five? Very sad.

    Who is banking on the government to take care of us gotta be insane!!!

    Government from top to bottom in this area are showing they can’t deal with any real issue affecting us.

    Very nice a meeting took place and a lot of venting took place but where is the action.

    We demand action now!!!

    Shut down tent city and take our neighborhood back and give the people living there some appropriate place that can regulate and take care of them. Enough!!!

  5. This is not the way to go about this. Stick with advocacy through township meetings. Google how other communities have handled homeless camps. Finally, have some rachmanus. The ones that don’t wan tot be there need ehlp through social service agencies and the ones who say they do want to be there need mental health services. Blasting your horn just harrasses them into moving somewhere else, which may end up being closer to your backyard!

  6. I believe YOU are from the problems in Lakewood!!
    Why were you driving northbound on Cedar Bridge?????
    It’s a road that goes East/West.

  7. Although there may be very good reasons to get rid of Tent City, It is my opinion that your personal argument is very weak and the honking idea is a potential huge chilul hashem. Infact this whole article is. Just my humble two cents.

  8. Why don’t we take all the poor, mentally ill, and everybody who we don’t like or who needs help and drop them off on a deserted island. Or just get rid of them. Put them in gettos? I understand about the smoke that comes from there because i live near by there but please don’t repeat history by trying to erase them because they need help and because they are not part of your community. If you don’t like it try helping instead of blowing your horn.

  9. They r white trash, the ones in the 1950 chevys who go around collecting garbage!! Theyre drunk and drive like meniacs, theyre o. Drugs and Even KILL EACHOTHER! What a shame to have them in out beautiful town!!!!