SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. (AP) — Now that Snooki and The Situation are gone, will the Seaside Heights boardwalk be a kinder, gentler place summer?
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who once got into it with a heckler while eating an ice cream cone with his family here, promises he'll be on his best behavior this summer in the place where MTV's "Jersey Shore" raised bad boardwalk behavior to an art form.
Kicking off an early campaign on Friday to drum up tourism at the Jersey shore, Christie promised an added incentive for people to visit during the second summer since Superstorm Sandy damaged the region.
"I'll try not to get into any fights on the boardwalk," he said. Then he hedged a bit, adding, "I'll keep it to a minimum."
In July 2012, someone shot a video of Christie yelling at a heckler on the Seaside Heights boardwalk, not far from where the MTV reality series was filmed.
The 30-second video posted on the entertainment news website TMZ showed Christie with an ice cream cone in his hand walking toward an unseen person yelling: "You're a real big-shot shooting your mouth off."
The video does not show what precipitated Christie's yelling. The Christie administration said at the time someone swore at the governor, who was with his children.
A voice can be heard saying, "Just take care of the teachers." Many New Jersey teachers disagree with Christie's education policies.
Christie tells the person, "Keep walking away," before turning away himself. Another voice says, "We've got your back, Gov. Christie."
Christie was in Seaside Heights on Friday to examine progress in rebuilding from a September fire that burned a large part of the walkway in Seaside Heights and Seaside Park. About two-thirds of the rebuilding has been completed.
Christie said he is pleased with the progress, and promised he and his family would spend a majority of their summer vacation in the area this year.
The Seaside Heights visit was the first of what promises to be many between now and Memorial Day weekend at which Christie will promote the shore and ask people to book vacations here.
"We're going to continue to work so that everybody knows this is a great place to bring your family," he said. "It's certainly a central part of the memories of my life."
Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC