Roam the Wildwood Boardwalk enough and the voices start to become familiar.
One reminds passers-by to get out of the way of those not-so-fast-moving tram cars (top speed 5 mph), and the others beckon visitors to give various foods or games of chance a try.
The Wildwood Boardwalk is a sensory smorgasbord of sights, smells and — yes — sounds, and among those sounds are the iconic voices found only in Wildwood that become part of holiday memories.
“Watch the tram car, please” can even be found on T-shirts up and down the boards.
But the people behind the voices aren’t often seen or recognized until they start talking.
“Every now and then someone will say I know your voice,” said Tom Curyto, of Polish Water Ice fame.
Curyto then says a snippet of his Boardwalk spiel, “Come on up and get your free samples,” and they recognize him right away.
“They say, ‘Oh, you’re the guy,’” Curyto said.
Curyto, of West Chester, Pa., launched his Polish Water Ice business with his first store in 1997. Today, there are 17 locations, four family-owned and the others franchises.
The Boardwalk stores are known for their free samples and the recording of Curyto’s voice, a sales pitch designed to get visitors to give it a try.
“We have a lot of flavors, too,” the recording says as tourists pass by on a hot summer day. They include mango, cherry and chocolate, though Curyto says cotton candy has recently become the top seller.
His pitch isn’t loud, not a Boardwalk barker so much as that of a salesman trying to draw customers in with a subtle approach that emphasizes the cost and the product.
“No fat. No cholesterol,” the voice says.
While standing in line for Polish Water Ice, visitors will no doubt hear the unmistakable voice of Floss Stingel.
In 1971, Stingel was dating a man who worked for the Ramagosa family — who brought the tram cars to Wildwood — when he asked her to sit down and record a warning that would be played on the tram cars.
The trams travel up and down the boards hundreds of times a day and, while they are slow-moving, getting hit by one would likely hurt quite a bit.
To prevent that, Stingel recorded her famous “Watch the tram car, please.”
“I repeated it a few times into a recorder,” she recalled of the day that would make her voice part of the Wildwoods’ history.
That summer recording is played many times each day, and visitors can often be heard repeating it to their family and friends as they stroll the boards.
“I’m used it to,” Stingel said, explaining that the novelty has worn off a bit over the years.
But it’s still a source of pride, “except for not getting paid,” Stingel said.
She did the recording for free, so no royalties come her way, even though her voice is heard an estimated 6,000 times a day.
Stingel, a Philadelphia native, lives in North Wildwood these days and has called Five Mile Beach home since the 1950s.
She retired after more than 39 years with South Jersey Gas and now volunteers with a local food pantry and lunch program for those in need.
But the familiar tram car refrain remains her claim to fame.
As the recording plays near Schellenger Avenue, it may have to compete briefly with that of Bob DiPeso’s live voice.
“OK, a prize and a winner every time,” DiPeso calls out. “Here we go.”
“Gonna be close. Up they go,” he says, giving players at the water gun game a play-by-play of the race.
DiPeso, owner of Bobby Dee’s Casino Arcade, has been working the Boardwalk since he was about 13 years old.
“I’ve always been on a microphone,” he said in a break between games.
He’s also a teacher, general contractor and restaurant owner, but the Boardwalk is where his voice is heard most often every summer day.
“Overall, I enjoy it. It’s something I’ve been doing forever,” DiPeso said.
The water gun game — in which players shoot a water gun to try to light up the board before the other players — has been a Wildwood staple for decades.
Arcade games, he said, come and go every few years as their popularity ebbs and flows.
But the water gun game and skeeball are standards.
“It’s a game that’s never gone out,” he said.
“Winner every time. Prize every game,” he reminds the families, young and old as they walk by.
“You’re making somebody happy every race,” DiPeso said.
The prizes are a range of soft, colorful stuffed toys. The hottest prize this summer? Giant blue and pink raccoons.
Families such as Nina Doyle, Mike Kingsbury and 4-year-old Aidan Doyle stop to play sometimes with a prize in mind.
“He wanted Spider-Man,” Nina Doyle said.
The family played, and DiPeso cheered the youngest player on.
“I’m rooting for you,” he told Aidan. “Put on your game face. No more smiling.”
Aidan got his Spider-Man and walked away happy, though he next hoped to win a minion from the movie “Despicable Me.”
DiPeso, 72, of North Wildwood, said it’s the family atmosphere that makes the job fun, though he welcomes the fall, when he and his wife of 52 years make their annual trip to Florida.
“When you’re older, you need warmth for your bones,” he said.
But until October rolls around, he’ll be on the Boardwalk each day.
“Nobody does it better,” he sings, waiting for the next race to begin.
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