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A BIG-TENT CELEBRATION ON SANDY HOOK

Brian Kirk and the Jirks 2016Brian Kirk and the Jirks signal the pre-season start of summer on Sandy Hook, as the Jersey Shore Partnership marks a milestone during its gala event on June 6.

Press release from Jersey Shore Partnership

The public is invited to help the Jersey Shore Partnership organization celebrate its 25th anniversary — and kick off summer at the Jersey Shore — at the Partnership’s annual Summer Celebration on Monday, June 6.

Scheduled from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., and hosted in a huge party tent overlooking Sandy Hook Bay at historic Fort Hancock, the event offers attendees an opportunity to promote your business and network in an informal atmosphere with 500 guests from Cape May to North Jersey, who share a mutual goal to preserve the future of the Jersey Shore coastline and economy.

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MIDDLETOWN: FT. HANCOCK MEETING ON FRI.

Fort Hancock BuildingPress release from National Parks Service

Members of the public will be able to learn about and comment upon the efforts to preserve the historic structures at Sandy Hook’s Fort Hancock area, during a meeting of the Fort Hancock 21st Century Federal Advisory Committee this Friday morning, May 13.

Scheduled for 9 a.m., and hosted in the auditorium of the Middletown Arts Center at 36 Church Street, this will be the first meeting after the signing of the first residential lease at Fort Hancock Historic Post (Building 21, pictured), and the last meeting before an Open House takes place of select leasing opportunities on Sunday, May 22.

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A FIRST CHANCE TO RUN THE (SANDY) HOOK

Press release from Peak Projects

Run the HookThe live event production company Peak Projects has announced a brand new road race, taking place at one of the Jersey Shore’s most iconic places, Sandy Hook. Scheduled for the morning of Sunday, May 15, Run The Hook will commence its inaugural run — and the start of a new Shore tradition — from the historic Fort Hancock area at the north end of the Hook. The 11 a.m. race action will include 5K and 10K distances for runners of all abilities, and a portion of proceeds will benefit Clean Ocean Action, the local nonprofit dedicated to improving and protecting the quality of the waterways in the New Jersey and New York region.

According to Daragh Kneeshaw, co-founder with Joey Garafalo of Peak Projects and Run the Hook “Our hometowns and beaches have seen more than their fair share of hardships over these past several years, so it’s a thrill for us to be able to showcase Sandy Hook in our debut event, and simultaneously help the area through our partnership with Clean Ocean Action.”

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SANDY HOOK: A GALA START TO SUMMER

brian kirk 061612The tents will be pitched, the dress will be casual, and Brian Kirk will sound the season’s keynote, at the annual Jersey Shore Partnership Summer Celebration this Monday evening at Fort Hancock.

They call themselves The Sand on the Beach People — a privately funded initiative dedicated to “raising the awareness of state and federal officials and the general public to the need for safeguarding the shoreline through beach restoration and other shore protection methods.”

Born out of the devastating coastal storms of the early 1990s — and with a resolve strengthened all the more by Superstorm Sandy — the Jersey Shore Partnership is serious about its mission. None of which is going to stop the JSP from having its share of seasonal fun, as the big tent is pitched for the annual host “friend raising/fundraising” Summer Celebration this Monday evening, June 8.

Going on between 5:30 and 9:30 pm (and with a rain date of Tuesday, June 9), the gala affair assembles a collection of local dignitaries, public/private sector VIPs and philanthropic-minded individuals in a scenic Fort Hancock setting overlooking Sandy Hook Bay. But leave the tux and gown at home — the dress is casual, and the overall vibe is beachy, thanks in large part to veteran beach-bar entertainers Brian Kirk and the Jirks.

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SANDY HOOK: LEASE A BIT OF HISTORY

ft hancockSix historic buildings in the Fort Hancock area of Sandy Hook are being opened up to leasing for multiple uses during an open house this Sunday. 

HOT-TOPIC_03Looking to lease a unique and historic Jersey Shore property, equipped with billion-dollar waterfront view, with an eye toward preserving it as a residence, nonprofit facility or even a bed-and-breakfast?

The Sandy Hook stewards of the Gateway National Recreation Area have an opportunity for you.

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SANDY HOOK: IT’S ALWAYS FOWL WEATHER

SHB January 30 2011Pictured are just some of the guests enjoying the Hook (at seasonal rates) to be spotted on Saturday’s Winter Water Fowl and Seal Walk, hosted by the local chapter of the American Littoral Society. (Photo by NatureOnTheEdgeNYC)

Those of us who are under the impression that the Sandy Hook peninsula doesn’t truly come alive until Memorial Day Weekend are guilty of overlooking the scores of literal “snowbirds” and other denizens who dig the park’s winter-weather wonders. This Saturday morning, February 21, the regional chapter of the American Littoral Society invites all-seasons strollers, hardy naturalists and cabin-fever sufferers to join their staff for a Winter Water Fowl and Sea Walk.

It’s one of many “off season” activities hosted by the nonprofit conservation group at its year-round home on the Hook, and it commences at 9 am from 18 Hartshorne Drive (aka Building 18) in the Fort Hancock area. Participants will proceed on foot to the estuaries and ponds where seals and seabirds are likely to make themselves seen.

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SANDY HOOK: A NEW YEAR’S REFRESH

sandyhook-npsThe beaches and walkways of Sandy Hook’s northern tip in winter are the subject of the 39th annual New Year’s Day Beach Walk, hosted by the local chapter of the American Littoral Society.

Somewhere between the stale aftertaste and inevitable comedown of New Year’s Eve — and the litany of resolutions that begins with a groaning “never again” — there exists an opportunity for locals to truly hit the “refresh” button on the lifestyle routine. Even if you’re stopping just short of taking the Polar Bear plunge, you’ve still got a chance to take in a couple of lungfuls of bracingly frosty air and truly experience some extraordinary scenery, courtesy of the Sandy Hook-based regional chapter of the American Littoral Society.

Named in honor of the Society’s late director who initiated the annual tradition, the 39th Dery Bennett Memorial New Year’s Day Beach Walk commences at 11 am on Thursday, January 1st from 18 Hartshorne Drive (aka Building 18) in the Fort Hancock area of the Hook. Littoral Society naturalists conduct the free, public-welcome walk that proceeds from the Society’s headquarters, out to North Beach and beyond — and, while at the tip of the Hook, the group will attempt to communicate with Northeast Chapter coast walkers, across the Bay in New York.

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MIDDLETOWN, SANDY HOOK: A GHOSTLY TRIO

FortHancockThe isolated, wind-whipped battlements of Fort Hancock are the setting for a moonlit tour of local lore and legend, (g)hosted by the American Littoral Society on October 30.

Laugh if you will at the tales of haunted places and half-buried secrets that form such a big part of our local cultural heritage. When the ghost stories have all been told, and attention spans wander back to the fast-paced, plugged-in Here and Now, that’s when the real fun begins — the walk outside in the dark; the uneasy trip back home, when sudden sounds encroach from all directions, and unidentifiable things skitter just off the edge of view.

The fun begins during daylight hours on Sunday, October 26, when Middletown Township Public Library welcomes the good people of the New Jersey Ghost Organization for a 2 pm reading that celebrates both the coming of Halloween and the Garden State’s “NJ350” birthday year. The Ghost Org guests will read from their latest book, Folklore of the New Jersey Shore, with signing copies available for perusal and purchase — and a set of “haunted artifacts” on display. Still, if the sworn-testimony tales of spectral apparitions and other unexplained phenomena fail to set your nerves on edge, stick around Middletown after dark — and take part in a nocturnal tour of one the greater Red Bank Green’s most history- and mystery-shrouded places.

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LINCROFT, SANDY HOOK: OF ART AND NATURE

mon museumRevels in the Details: works by the National Association of Women Artists (left) and by Laura Bethmann (right) are on display at the Monmouth Museum, beginning with a pair of Sunday receptions.

The heralding of autumn means that a few of those falling leaves are bound to find their way between the pages of an heirloom book, pressed onto a schoolchild’s classroom art project — or, if they’re especially fortunate, featured on national TV or in a gallery show as part of the work of Laura Bethmann.

To say that the South Jersey artist (and certified master gardener) “employs nature-based themes” in her watercolor paintings and ink/acrylic prints is to deny the deep harmony and symbiosis between the natural world, and its “more observant than the av-er-age bear” chronicler in color and texture. In addition to her fancifully and fantastically detailed studies of herbs and flowers, the author of Hand Printing from Nature specializes in collages that radiate from contact prints of leaves, fruits, vegetables, feathers, hair and other “found” materials from Nature’s hobby-lobby.

This Sunday, September 21, the Monmouth Museum (on the Lincroft campus of Brookdale Community College) hosts a free and public-welcome opening reception for a solo show of Bethmann’s work — part of the Emerging NJ Artists series at the building’s Nilson Gallery. The artist is expected to be present during the reception that runs between 4 and 6 pm — and that’s not all that’s going on around the halls and walls of the Museum.

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FT. HANCOCK COMMITTEE NOMINEES SOUGHT

The National Park Service is seeking nominations for individuals to be considered for appointment to the Gateway National Recreation Area Fort Hancock 21st Century Advisory Committee.

“Since Hurricane Sandy, this committee has helped the park define practical, long-term solutions for preserving Fort Hancock,” said Gateway Superintendent Jennifer T. Nersesian. “A recent Request for Expressions of Interest brought hundreds of possible new leaseholders to the park and generated over 40 written responses. Now the committee is advising the park on an upcoming Request for Proposals, which we expect to issue later this year. We need to keep the committee at full membership so that we can keep this momentum going.”

Since its first meeting in January 2013, the Committee has advised Gateway National Recreation Area concerning the future of the Fort Hancock and Sandy Hook Proving Ground National Historical Landmark. More than 100 historic buildings dating from the U.S. Army era are located within Gateway’s Sandy Hook Unit. Most are vacant, but could be saved through adaptive reuse by other leaseholders.

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SANDY HOOK: LIGHTHOUSE TURNS 250

sandy hook lighthouse 070113Sandy Hook boasts the oldest operating lighthouse in the United States, one that predates and had a role in the American Revolution.

On Saturday, June 11 14, the National Park Service is throwing a birthday party of sorts for the lighthouse, now 250 years old. The event, which runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., will feature family-friendly activities, including musket drills for kids, historic reenactments, games and talks by lighthouse experts, including park historian Tom Hoffman. There’s no charge for admission or parking.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

SANDY HOOK: GOT ANY IDEAS?

A committee is seeking proposals that might save three dozen structures at Fort Hancock. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By COLBY WILSON

With the future of 36 historic buildings in the Fort Hancock Historic Landmark District at Sandy Hook at stake, an advisory committee is asking the public for ideas for future uses of the properties.

The Fort Hancock 21st Century Advisory Committee, established by the Secretary of the Interior in 2012, met last Friday to discuss a Request for Expression of Interest (RFEI) to assess the possibility of saving deteriorated buildings that overlook the Sandy Hook Bay in the Gateway National Recreation Area.

The RFEI, issued by the National Park Service, invites individuals, government agencies, for profit and not-for-profit organizations to submit ideas for the re-use of the buildings in ways that benefit the community, maintain the serenity of Sandy Hook and preserve its rich history.

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PARKS SERVICE REJECTS SANDY HOOK FIRM


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A decade-long effort to derail a redevelopment plan that would transform Sandy Hook‘s Fort Hancock into a convention facility notched its biggest victory to date yesterday.

The National Park Service, which oversees the history-rich property, yesterday canceled a lease agreement with Sandy Hook Partners, finding after a review that the firm, headed by Rumson developer James Wassel, didn’t have the financial wherewithal to make the project happen.

Opponents of the redevelopment plan hailed the decision as a victory of public interests over private ones, but lamented that it was overdue. The Wassel group was repeatedly given extensions over the past eight years to secure sufficient financing, and the issue has been heavily litigated.

“Hallelujah. What took so long?” asked Peter O’Such of Fair Haven, as quoted by the Star-Ledger. O’Such is a member of Save Sandy Hook, which sued Wassel’s agency and the National Park Service over the contract.

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