Go out of your way to attract violent people. Add innocent bystanders and shake well.

This recent blow to the town’s reputation may be the latest setback for residents and businesses who rely on a tourism industry that has already been hard hit by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

[Danielle] Keithley, her cousin and … three children didn’t end up staying the night in Ocean City.

They were trapped on the Boardwalk for no more than eight to 10 minutes trying to break through [a violent] crowd.

In that time, Keithley’s phone and wallet were lost when her bag was knocked from her shoulder, her 4-year-old nephew got a small scratch to the face and her 6-year-old niece ended up with a knot on her forehead that left her dizzy, Keithley said.

Her small group was finally able to escape down a side street, but she was forced to return to the Boardwalk to track down her missing items.

“It was just so many people. There were so many people sitting on the benches. They were crying. They couldn’t breathe. They had water. They were just like putting water bottles all over their faces, trying to clear their eyes … The whole entire town stunk, you know?” [The police sprayed chemicals.]

She was able to find the individuals who picked up her phone and wallet, but her cash was already gone.

Although their hotel room was already paid for, Keithley said she and her cousin decided to pack the children up in the car instead and head back across the Bay Bridge at about 1:30 a.m.

She’s a 33-year-old Maryland native who’s been to Ocean City for everything from senior week to car shows, but says she’s never cut short a trip. 

Despite crowds and busy events, she’s only ever extended her stays. Keithley expects it will likely be years before decides to return — if she ever goes back at all.

She was frustrated by the fighting, but also by the police response, which to her seemed “absolutely unorganized.”

She acknowledges handling that kind of chaos is no easy task, but wants to see a more structured plan to deal with it in the future — especially when there are elderly people and small children on the Boardwalk.

“I hate to say it because who doesn’t love Ocean City? But we won’t be going back,” she said. “We won’t be going back, not anytime soon, not anytime in this season or probably the next season.”

UD‘s father graduated from Ocean City High. Generations of her father’s side of the family have lived and worked in Ocean City. The place was never upscale, but had a pleasant rackety energy to it. In recent years, though, politicians who see only money have allowed it to become ugly and dirty and dangerous. This is about drug cartels, gun markets, gangs. Climbing out of this calamity will take a long time; it will take a deep cultural change. I doubt it will happen. Ocean City is devolving into a skeezy police state.


Mayor Rick Meehan and Councilwoman Mary Knight said cheap hotel rooms needed to end immediately.

Listen to the cynical idiots who destroyed Ocean City; listen to them say things like cheap hotel rooms need to end immediately. Yes, tell the miles and miles and miles of cheap hotels that are Ocean City that a very few people in the political establishment have decided that you need to close. Now. Or hey maybe we should stop hosting major asshole events like H20i. Oh wait! We did! But they’re still coming every year, cuz there’s no place like Ocean City for cheap hotel rooms, cheap bars that never close, scads of other assholes just like us for us to fight with, and … I dunno… Just that ineffable history, that legacy, of town-trashing night after night, decade after decade, that makes it so special.

“I feel like a prisoner in my own home…”

“… there have been an overwhelming number of cancellations…”

“… everybody from the western side of Maryland and the north and south of Maryland come[s] here and it seems like their sole purpose is to destroy the town.”

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6 Responses to “How to Kill a City.”

  1. theprofessor Says:

    This is evidently the failed version of a police state. It looks more like a de-policed state. It may be time to call in the 82nd Airborne Social Workers.

    Have they tried playing loud classical music? A Clockwork Orange notwithstanding, thugs and lowlifes shun it.

  2. Mondo Says:

    Now I’m even more befuddled. When I saw “H2Oi”, I thought of “Oi,” the punk subgenre that is often associated with racial violence. This is a car thing?

    Rehoboth is still OK, right? My wife and I are looking at going there with the Spawn and Main Squeeze in late July.

  3. Margaret Soltan Says:

    tp: 82nd Airborne Social Workers. Major LOL.

    Made me think of Tom Lehrer’s Folksong Army.

  4. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Mondo: Totally a car thing. I did some reading about it… they alter their cars so the bottoms are practically on the ground?… Whatever. Interest level too low even to become cursory.

    Rehoboth is fine, though I worry about all those people cancelling OC. Will they flood Rehoboth? This would be a very bad thing indeed. Rehoboth needs to maintain its outrageously high prices on everything. And I’m pretty confident it will.

  5. Ravi Narasimhan Says:

    They should court physics conventions.

    “…Whatever the case may have been, the week of the ’86 APS April meeting found the gaming floor almost completely empty, leaving the casino with its record-low take; in the (probably apocryphal) words of one casino waitress: “They each brought one shirt and a ten-dollar bill, and changed neither.”…”

  6. UD Says:

    “[T]he physicists found the one move guaranteed to provide an edge when the odds are stacked against you: You just don’t play.”

    I loved the article! Thanks for linking to it, Ravi.

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