Everybody on the Wildwoods boardwalk knows “Gigi” (pronounced “Gig-ee” with the accent on the first syllable).
Gigi is John Gigliotti, the 78-year-old majordomo of the tramcars, those slow-moving, royal blue and bright yellow little trains whose warning mantra of “Watch the tramcar, please!” is, arguably, the most famous catch-phrase in New Jersey.
Gigi’s actual title is supervisor and safety coordinator of the “trams,” as he calls them, although their proper name is the Boardwalk Sightseer.
Gigi gets so tan during the summer, spending 15 hours a day on the boardwalk, seven days a week, he looks as though he was dipped in a vat of chocolate.
And has the energy of a teenager. If he’s not hooking up a re-charged tramcar engine—they’re battery-operated—he’s scooting the boardwalk from end to end in his new beige golf cart, which bears the license plate “Gig-1.” The dude is astounding.
He’s also the friendliest guy on the boardwalk, the perfect man in the perfect job. He comes by his personality from spending 40 years on the old Reading Railroad as a conductor before retiring in 1992.
This writer actually remembers him coming down the aisle on the Chestnut Hill Local into Philadelphia, smiling and with a good word for everybody while he collected the tickets and punched them.
“Gigi is an indispensable part of the Boardwalk Sightseer Tramcar team,” says Patrick Rosenello, managing director of the Special Improvement District, Management Corporation, which basically runs the Wildwoods boardwalk.
“Not only does he serve as our training and safety officer,” Rosenello goes on, “but he is our primary supervisor and a readily identifiable figure for business owners and visitors alike.”