Wildwood, New Jersey


Wildwood, New Jersey
Wildwood, New Jersey
—  City  —
View of Wildwood from Morey's Piers' Giant Wheel on Mariner's Landing Pier
Map of Wildwood in Cape May County. Inset: Location of Cape May County highlighted in the State of New Jersey.
Census Bureau map of Wildwood, New Jersey
Coordinates: 38°59′20″N 74°49′12″W / 38.98889°N 74.82°W / 38.98889; -74.82Coordinates: 38°59′20″N 74°49′12″W / 38.98889°N 74.82°W / 38.98889; -74.82
Country United States
State New Jersey
County Cape May
Incorporated May 1, 1895
Government[1]
 – Type Walsh Act (New Jersey)
 – Mayor Ernie Troiano, Jr.
Area[2]
 – Total 1.38 sq mi (3.6 km2)
 – Land 1.29 sq mi (3.3 km2)
 – Water 0.09 sq mi (0.2 km2)  6.52%
Elevation[3] 0 ft (0 m)
Population (2010 Census)[4]
 – Total 5,325
 – Density 3,858.7/sq mi (1,479.2/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 – Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 08260[5]
Area code(s) 609
FIPS code 34-81170[6][7]
GNIS feature ID 0885444[8]
Website http://www.wildwoodnj.org/

Wildwood is a city in Cape May County, New Jersey, United States. It is part of the Ocean City Metropolitan Statistical Area and is a popular summer resort destination. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's year-round population was 5,325. With visitors, the population can swell to 250,000 during the summer months.[9]

The Wildwoods is used as a collective term for the four communities that have "Wildwood" as part of the municipality name — the Borough of Wildwood Crest, City of Wildwood, Borough of West Wildwood and the City of North Wildwood — together with Diamond Beach, a portion of Lower Township situated on the island.

Contents

History

Wildwood was originally incorporated as a borough by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on May 1, 1895, from portions of Middle Township, based on the results of a referendum held the previous day. On January 1, 1912, Wildwood was incorporated as a city, replacing both Wildwood borough and Holly Beach City.[10]

The Wildwoods began developing as a resort in the last decade of the 19th century. A building boom began in the 1950s, due partially to the construction and completion of the Garden State Parkway.[11]

"Rock Around the Clock", often credited as the first rock and roll record, was first performed on Memorial Day weekend in 1954 at the HofBrau Hotel in Wildwood by Bill Haley & His Comets. The song's status as one of the first rock and roll hits has given rise to the city's claim as "the birthplace of rock and roll".[12][13]

Wildwoods Shore Resort Historic District

The Caribbean Motel
Doo-wop styled Wawa Food Market.

Wildwood is home to over 200 motels, built during the Doo-Wop era of the 1950s and 1960s,[14] in an area recognized by the state of New Jersey, known as the Wildwoods Shore Resort Historic District.[15] The term "doo-wop" was coined by Cape May's Mid-Atlantic Center For The Arts in the early 1990s to describe the unique, space-age architectural style, which is also referred to as the Googie or populuxe style.[16]

The motels are unique in appearance, with Vegas-like neon signs and fantastic architecture.[17] New construction in the area has seen the demolition of several motels to make room for larger condominiums. The Wildwood Doo Wop Preservation League has taken action to help save and restore these historic buildings. The Caribbean Motel in Wildwood Crest, and the Chateau Bleu Motel in North Wildwoods are both listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

A 1950s Doo Wop museum has recently been built which contains property from demolished motels such as neon signs and furniture.[18] Neo-Doo Wop buildings in the area feature a neon lit Wawa and a 1950s styled Acme Supermarket.

Tourism

Wildwood beach north of Mariner's Landing amusement pier.

Wildwood is a resort city that is very popular with vacationers and tourists mostly from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, Delaware and even nearby parts of Canada during the summer months. Its most notable features are its beach and 1.8 miles (2.9 km) boardwalk, home to the Morey's Piers amusement complex and Raging Waters and Ocean Oasis waterparks owned by Morey's Piers. The boardwalk features a trolley called the "Tramcar", which runs from end to end. In June 2006, its Doo-Wop-style motels were placed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's annual Eleven Most Endangered List,[19] described as "irreplaceable icons of popular culture."[20][21]

Wildwood was ranked the best beach in New Jersey in the 2008 Top 10 Beaches Contest sponsored by the New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium.[22]

Wildwood is home to the New Jersey Firefighter's Convention, held annually every September since the 1970s. Known for its parade featuring fire company apparatus from across the state, it moved from Atlantic City due in part to rising crime and the disallowing of the parade on city streets. Wildwood is also home to an annual co-ed beach Ultimate Frisbee tournament drawing teams from all over the country that attracted 430 teams and over 5,000 players to its 19th annual event in 2011.[23]

Portions of Wildwood are part of an Urban Enterprise Zone in The Wildwoods. In addition to other benefits to encourage employment within the Zone, shoppers can take advantage of a reduced 3½% sales tax rate (versus the 7% rate charged statewide).[24]

Boardwalk

Wildwoods Convention Center.

The Wildwood Boardwalk features several amusement parks and shops, most notably three piers collectively known as Morey's Piers. Due to the far distance of the ocean from the boardwalk, the beach is home to many sporting events, concerts, and monster truck rallies in view of the boardwalk. A stage is set off to the side of the boardwalk near Mariner's Landing Pier where several performances are held throughout the summer.

In 2008-09, a section of the boardwalk was rebuilt using ipe tropical hardwood, even though the town pledged to use domestic black locust.[25]

Boardwalk Chapel is a summertime Christian Gospel outreach on the boardwalk, sandwiched between a pizzeria and a gift shop. Its wide entrance offers thousands of board walkers the opportunity to move freely in and out of any one of its 77 consecutive evening services held during June, July and August.[26]

Geography

Wildwoods roller coaster

Wildwood is located at 38°59′20″N 74°49′12″W / 38.988969°N 74.819863°W / 38.988969; -74.819863 (38.988969, -74.819863).[27] Wildwood is located on a barrier island facing the Atlantic Ocean. On the same island are the towns of North Wildwood, Wildwood Crest and Diamond Beach, a place in Lower Township. Collectively with the town of West Wildwood (located on a separate, adjacent island), these communities form "The Wildwoods" resort. Wildwood also borders Middle Township.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.38 square miles (3.6 km2), of which, 1.29 square miles (3.3 km2) of it is land and 0.09 square miles (0.23 km2) of it (6.52%) is water.[2]

Demographics

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1930 5,330
1940 5,150 −3.4%
1950 5,475 6.3%
1960 4,690 −14.3%
1970 4,110 −12.4%
1980 4,913 19.5%
1990 4,484 −8.7%
2000 5,436 21.2%
2010 5,325 −2.0%
Population sources:
1930-1990[28] 2000[29] 2010[4]

As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 5,436 people, 2,333 households, and 1,273 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,212.6 people per square mile (1,627.0/km2). There were 6,488 housing units at an average density of 5,027.9 per square mile (1,941.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 70.55% White, 16.65% African American, 0.39% Native American, 0.48% Asian, 0.15% Pacific Islander, 8.85% from other races, and 2.94% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 17.62% of the population.[29] Among Wildwood's Hispanic community, 69.7% are from Puerto Rico, while an additional 17.0% are from Mexico.[30]

There were 2,333 households out of which 25.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 31.2% were married couples living together, 17.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.4% were non-families. 38.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 3.06.[29]

In the city the population was spread out with 25.7% under the age of 18, 10.5% from 18 to 24, 27.7% from 25 to 44, 21.9% from 45 to 64, and 14.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 95.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.2 males.[29]

The median income for a household in the city was $23,981, and the median income for a family was $28,288. Males had a median income of $30,787 versus $23,320 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,682. About 20.2% of families and 26.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 39.7% of those under age 18 and 21.9% of those age 65 or over.[29]

Government

Wildwoods International Kite Festival on Memorial Day 2008.

Local government

Wildwood is governed by a three-member commission under the Walsh Act Commissioner form of municipal government.[1]

As of 2011, members of Wildwood's commission are Mayor Ernie Troiano, Jr. (Commissioner of Public Works, Parks and Public Property, Pete Byron (Commissioner of Revenue and Finance) and Anthony Leonetti (Commissioner of Public Affairs and Public Safety).[31]

History of recalls in Wildwood

Since the City of Wildwood has been incorporated on January 1, 1912, there have been three recall elections and all were successful. The first was in 1938 when the State's first female Mayor Doris W. Bradway and Commissioner Frederick W. Murray were voted out of office.[32] The second successful recall was in December 1984 when Mayor Earl B. Ostrander was recalled.[33] The third successful recall was in December 2009 when Mayor Ernest Troiano, Jr. and Commissioner William N. Davenport were recalled.[34]

Federal, state and county representation

Wildwood City is in the 2nd Congressional district and is part of New Jersey's 1st state legislative district.[35] The legislative district was kept unchanged by the New Jersey Apportionment Commission based on the results of the 2010 Census.[4]

New Jersey's Second Congressional District is represented by Frank LoBiondo (R, Ventnor City). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Frank Lautenberg (D, Cliffside Park) and Bob Menendez (D, Hoboken).

1st legislative district of the New Jersey Legislature, which is represented in the New Jersey Senate by Jeff Van Drew (D, Dennis Township) and in the Assembly by Nelson Albano (D, Vineland) and Matthew W. Milam (D, Vineland).[36] The Governor of New Jersey is Chris Christie (R, Mendham).[37] The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Kim Guadagno (R, Monmouth Beach).[38]

Cape May County is governed by a Board of Chosen Freeholders consisting of five members, elected at-large to three-year terms of office on a staggered basis, with one or two seats coming up for election each year. As of 2011, Cape May County's Freeholders are Freeholder Director Daniel Beyel (Upper Township, term expires December 31, 2011)[39], Leonard C. Desiderio (Sea Isle City, 2012)[40], Ralph E. Sheets, Jr. (2011)[41], M. Susan Sheppard (Ocean City, 2013)[42] and Gerald M. Thornton (2013).[43][44]

Education

The Wildwood Public School District serves students in kindergarten through twelfth grade. Schools in the district (with 2008-09 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics[45]) are Glenwood Elementary School (K-5; 399 students), Wildwood Middle School (6-8; 136 students) and Wildwood High School (9-12; 301 students).

Public school students from West Wildwood attend the district's schools as part of a sending/receiving relationship for grades K-12. For grades 9-12, students from North Wildwood and Wildwood Crest attend Wildwood High School as part of sending/receiving relationships.[46]

There are also two Catholic schools on the island, Cape Trinity Catholic and Wildwood Catholic High School in North Wildwood, which operate separately but share a common building starting in September 2010.[47] Both schools operate under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Camden.[48]

Popular culture

Wildwood boardwalk at night
  • Cozy Morley, a once popular entertainer and club owner here, recorded a song called On The Way To Cape May.
  • Wildwood is home to the beverage known as the "Lime Rickey".
  • WWE Raw came to the Wildwood Convention Center late summer of 2005. WWE SmackDown came to the Wildwood Convention Center late summer of 2006. WWE Raw broke an attendance record at the Wildwood convention center on August 10, 2007.[49]
  • The song Wildwood Days by Bobby Rydell is about the shore town.
  • "Wildwood Blues" by psychedelic rock band Nazz is based on the Wildwood shore.
  • Eddie Florano wrote a song called Wildwood.
  • The video for Jason Aldean's song Laughed Until We Cried is set in Wildwood.[citation needed]
  • In the 1987 movie Wall Street, when Charlie Sheen's character tells Daryl Hannah's character she could have bought a beach house for four hundred thousand dollars (the value of a painting they were looking at) she sardonically replies, "Sure you could, in Wildwood New Jersey".[50]
  • A CKY song entitled "The Boardwalk Body" was written about a body found under the boardwalk on one of lead singer Deron Miller's childhood trips to Wildwood.
  • In the 2008 movie Wipe Out, the beach scenes were shot in Wildwood.
  • A season 4 episode of Hoarders features Randy Senna, the owner of "Randyland" based out of Wildwood.

Noted residents

Notable current and former residents of Wildwood include:

References

  1. ^ a b 2005 New Jersey Legislative District Data Book, Rutgers University Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, April 2005, p. 8.
  2. ^ a b GCT-PH1. Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2000 for Cape May County, New Jersey -- County Subdivision and Place, United States Census Bureau. Accessed September 4, 2011.
  3. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: City of Wildwood, Geographic Names Information System, accessed November 10, 2007.
  4. ^ a b c 2011 Apportionment Redistricting: Municipalities sorted alphabetically, New Jersey Department of State, p. 11. Accessed September 4, 2011.
  5. ^ Look Up a ZIP Code, United States Postal Service. Accessed September 4, 2011.
  6. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  7. ^ A Cure for the Common Codes: New Jersey, Missouri Census Data Center. Accessed July 14, 2008.
  8. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. http://geonames.usgs.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  9. ^ Kocieniewski, David. "And the Sand Won’t Burn Your Feet", The New York Times, April 22, 2007. Accessed September 4, 2011. "About 20 miles north in Wildwood, where the streets on a March weekend were so deserted that the traffic lights were operating in blink mode, the seasonal desolation is a kind of spectacle unto itself. While the town often swells to 250,000 people on summer weekends, in springtime it offers a case study in depopulation for photographers, painters and travelers who crave solitude."
  10. ^ "The Story of New Jersey's Civil Boundaries: 1606-1968", John P. Snyder, Bureau of Geology and Topography; Trenton, New Jersey; 1969. p. 116.
  11. ^ "Neon and Angles: Motels of the Wildwoods". Historic Preservation Bulletin. Historic Preservation Office. Summer 2006. http://www.state.nj.us/dep/hpo/hpb_summer2006.pdf. Retrieved 2009-06-22. 
  12. ^ The Birthplace of Rock and Roll: Wildwood, New Jersey, Stakes Its Claim, accessed November 16, 2006. Archived October 23, 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Strauss, Robert. "Cradle of Rock? Two Towns Stake Their Claims", The New York Times, July 10, 2007. Accessed July 10, 2007. "It was Saturday night during Memorial Day weekend in 1954, and more than 500 people were jammed into the HofBrau Hotel here to hear his band, the Comets, kick off the summer. “We had just recorded this song in April,” he said, “and that night we introduced it to the crowd. I guess that was the first real night of rock ’n’ roll.” The song was “Rock Around the Clock,” by Bill Haley and His Comets, considered by many to be the first rock-’n’-roll hit, and the first song with the word “rock” in the title to hit the top of the Billboard charts."
  14. ^ "The '50s and '60s Thrive In Retro Doo-Wop Motels". The Washington Post. 24 June 2007. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/22/AR2007062200682.html. Retrieved 2008-12-10. 
  15. ^ Doo Wop Preservation League Web site
  16. ^ Wildwood Crest Historical Society Web site
  17. ^ Fancher, Emily. "Doo Wop" architecture lures tourists back to seaside town, Columbia News Service, June 10, 2002. Accessed June 17, 2007. "Just about everything in Wildwood, N.J. has been touched by 'Doo Wop'. The term describes the distinctively kitschy flair of the town's 200 motels, which were built in the 1950s and '60s. Reflecting the popular cultural themes of the era, the motels have Hawaiian and Polynesian designs, Space Age accents or rock 'n' roll details."
  18. ^ Nitkin, Karen. "Wild at heart in The Wildwoods: Music lovers and thrill seekers will feel right at home in The Wildwoods of New Jersey", The Baltimore Sun, May 12, 2011. Accessed September 4, 2011. "Visit the Doo-Wop Experience Museum Opened in 2007, the museum has a bandshell for outdoor concerts and houses a collection of doo-wop era signs and memorabilia. There's no admission fee."
  19. ^ Claire Lui "Wildwood," American Heritage, April/May 2007.
  20. ^ Eisenthal, Bram (October 21, 2006). "Doo Wop sings the blues". Montreal Gazette (Canwest). http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/travel/story.html?id=1e5311ae-e554-444f-a78b-21690a58d55a. Retrieved 2009-06-18. 
  21. ^ "11 Most Endangered: Doo Wop Motels". National Trust for Historic Preservation. 2006. http://www.preservationnation.org/travel-and-sites/sites/northeast-region/doo-wop-motels.html. Retrieved 2009-06-22. 
  22. ^ Urgo, Jacqueline L. (May 23, 2008). "Triumph for South Jersey". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on 2008-06-05. http://web.archive.org/web/20080605225601/http://www.philly.com/philly/hp/entertainment/19204259.html. Retrieved 2008-05-30. 
  23. ^ Suit, Lauren. "Wildwood Ultimate returns for 19th beach tournament", Shore News Today, July 28, 2011. Accessed September 4, 2011. "Adlis said they started with 12 teams the first year, last year the count reached 400, this year they expect about 430 teams with approximately 5,000 participants from throughout the country and a few international teams."
  24. ^ Geographic & Urban Redevelopment Tax Credit Programs: Urban Enterprise Zone Employee Tax Credit, State of New Jersey. Accessed July 28, 2008.
  25. ^ "Wildwood Opts for Ipe Wood Over Black Locust in Boardwalk Construction". Cape May County Herald. March 17, 2009. http://www.capemaycountyherald.com/article/38282-wildwood-opts-ipe-wood-over-black-locust-boardwalk-construction. Retrieved 2009-03-17. 
  26. ^ Vandiver, John. "Chapel competes with other lures", Asbury Park Press, July 8, 2006. Accessed September 4, 2011.
  27. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. http://www.census.gov/geo/www/gazetteer/gazette.html. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  28. ^ New Jersey Resident Population by Municipality: 1930 - 1990, Workforce New Jersey Public Information Network, backed up by the Internet Archive as of May 2, 2009. Accessed September 4, 2011.
  29. ^ a b c d e Census 2000 Demographic Profile Highlights: Wildwood city, New Jersey, United States Census Bureau. Accessed September 4, 2011.
  30. ^ QT-P9. Hispanic or Latino by Type: 2000 for Wildwood city, New Jersey, United States Census Bureau. Accessed September 4, 2011.
  31. ^ Administrator's Office, City of Wildwood. Accessed September 4, 2011.
  32. ^ Staff. "WILDWOOD OUSTS ITS WOMAN MAYOR; Mrs. Bradway, First of Sex to Hold Post in Jersey, Loses in Recall Election SHE LAYS MOVE TO HAGUE Although a Republican, She Has Aided Democrats, but Shifted Back Last Fall WILDWOOD OUSTS ITS WOMAN MAYOR Says Hague Dominates Move Indicted After Inquiry New Petition Circulated", The New York Times, February 19, 1938. Accessed May 17, 2011. "Mayor Doris W. Bradway, New Jersey's first woman Mayor, was defeated today in a special recall election in this resort city. Ousted with her was City Commissioner Frederick McMurray, also a Republican."
  33. ^ via Associated Press. "Wildwood Mayor Recalled", The New York Times, December 12, 1984. Accessed May 17, 2011. "Residents of this resort in Cape May County voted tonight to recall Mayor Earl B. Ostrander and replace him with City Council President Victor DiSylvester."
  34. ^ Gilfillian, Trudi. "Wildwood votes out mayor, commissioner in recall election", The Press of Atlantic City, December 9, 2009. Accessed May 17, 2011. "City voters ousted Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr. and Commissioner Bill Davenport from City Commission in Tuesday’s tax rate-driven recall election, selecting two newcomers to city government to replace them."
  35. ^ 2011 New Jersey Citizen's Guide to Government, New Jersey League of Women Voters, p. 66. Accessed September 4, 2011.
  36. ^ "Legislative Roster: 2010-2011 Session". New Jersey Legislature. http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/members/roster.asp. Retrieved 2010-02-08. 
  37. ^ "About the Governor". New Jersey. http://www.nj.gov/governor/about/. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  38. ^ "About the Lieutenant Governor". New Jersey. http://www.nj.gov/governor/lt/. Retrieved 2010-01-21. 
  39. ^ Daniel Beyel, Cape May County, New Jersey. Accessed January 6, 2011.
  40. ^ Leonard C. Desiderio, Cape May County, New Jersey. Accessed January 6, 2011.
  41. ^ Ralph E. Sheets, Jr., Cape May County, New Jersey. Accessed January 6, 2011.
  42. ^ M. Susan Sheppard, Cape May County, New Jersey. Accessed January 6, 2011.
  43. ^ Gerald M. Thornton, Cape May County, New Jersey. Accessed January 6, 2011.
  44. ^ Freeholders Home Page, Cape May County, New Jersey. Accessed January 3, 2011.
  45. ^ Data for the Wildwood Public School District, National Center for Education Statistics. Accessed May 18, 2011.
  46. ^ Wildwood City School District 2010 Report Card Narrative, New Jersey Department of Education. Accessed May 18, 2011. "Students from North Wildwood and Wildwood Crest join students from Wildwood and West Wildwood at Wildwood High School."
  47. ^ Gilfillian, Trudi. "Cape Trinity Catholic School opens in Wildwood Catholic building", The Press of Atlantic City, September 8, 2010. Accessed May 18, 2011. "Wildwood Catholic High School, which once occupied the entire building, will make use of parts of the second and all of the third floor, while Cape Trinity students will use the first and parts of the second floor. Both schools will share a first-floor cafeteria, but not at the same time.... The school hosts students who previously attended St. Ann’s in Wildwood and Star of the Sea in Cape May, which includes students who once attended St. Raymond’s in Lower Township."
  48. ^ Cape May County School Directory, Roman Catholic Diocese of Camden. Accessed September 4, 2011.
  49. ^ Schedule of Events 2007, accessed March 26, 2007.
  50. ^ "Wall Street (1987) screenplay, sfy.ru. Accessed August 18, 2008.
  51. ^ Jacob Thompson Baker biography, United States Congress. Accessed August 4, 2007.
  52. ^ Narducci, Marc. "SOUTH JERSEY FOOTBALL STANDOUTS SCORE IN THE NFL THIS YEAR, NINE FORMER HIGH SCHOOL STARS ARE SUITED UP IN THE PROS, AMONG THEM IRVING FRYAR AND RON DAYNE.", The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 13, 2000. Accessed June 14, 2007. "Wildwood's Randy Beverly had two interceptions for the New York Jets in Super Bowl III."
  53. ^ Remy Hamilton profile, Arena Football League. Accessed June 14, 2007.
  54. ^ Saxon, Wolfgang. "JOY HANCOCK DIES; LAST WAVES CHIEF", The New York Times, August 25, 1986. Accessed June 5, 2007. "Born in Wildwood, N.J., Miss Bright briefly belonged to the Naval Reserve in New Jersey and then stayed on as a civilian employee at the Lakehurst Naval Air Station."
  55. ^ Pena, Daniel. "Former WCW Wrestler Joey Maggs Passes Away", ProWrestling.com, October 16, 2006. Accessed February 1, 2011. "Maggs made his wrestling debut in 1987 at the age of 18. He was from Wildwood, New Jersey."
  56. ^ via United Press International. "Lifetime pay for Parent?", Ellensburg Daily Record, April 22, 1975. Accessed February 1, 2011.

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