Moreover, this is an observation about Duke Island Park on Labor Day Weekend!
We checked out this Somerset County, NJ park this past Labor Day Weekend to find in pleasantly wide open!
Yes, there were several family gatherings – which generally appeared to be of ethnic origins. The general themes appeared the same. Spend time outdoors, run around the beautiful park, and utilize the provided char-grilling apparatuses to enjoy some stick to the ribs BBQ! Sounds like a perfectly fine way to spend a hot summer day, if you ask us!
However, compared to what a park like this would have looked like in the 80’s, it was nearly a ghost town! Back in the day, it would have been packed, and the parking lots would have been at capacity.
Times change – people do different things?
While it can be said that many families might use the unofficial last weekend of Summer for travel – I can imagine that the economy might play a role in keeping people local.
What would you guess the percentage of people who were “out of town” in this area was? Certainly less than 50%, probably closer to 25%.
So where was everyone else?
Home gatherings and parties
Almost all families these days are fully-equipped to have a rip-roaring BBQ at their own homes.
It certainly is more “comfortable” to be in your own home, or at a friends house. There are other reasons too. Alcohol and cleaner bathroom facilities.
Not everyone is cut out for what is considered suburban “roughing it.” Haha!
Some folks NEED access to larger venues
There is another factor of course. Many of these families that were happy to use a public park for their holiday weekend gatherings – might not have been able to accommodate where they live!
Not everyone has the space to entertain and feed 20-40 people, right?
Either way – in 2018, large, beautiful public parks just don’t have the same draw as they used to have. Most folks these days have newer activities they want to engage in. Simple parks quite possibly could be considered “boring” to many. Or perhaps it’s not a good enough “INSTA” to compete with their online friends. Who knows. Not sure I can put my finger on it. But something certainly has changed, right?
Anyway – see a zoomable map below for directions and check out two PDF’s here for more information about Duke Island Park!