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ON THE GREEN: MAJOR STORM NEARS

RB SALT brine 012116 fh ice 012116 2Salt brine markings on Spring Street in Red Bank and dozens of kids on the ice at McCarter Pond in Fair Haven signaled the late arrival of true winter on the Greater Red Bank Green Thursday.

For emphasis, Mother Nature is planning a blizzard that’s expected to bring “extremely dangerous” travel conditions and possible power outages as a result of heavy wet snow, strong wind gusts and flooding, the National Weather Service forecasts. The region is expected to get about a foot of snow between Friday night and early Sunday morning, the NWS says. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

LINCROFT: ALEO’S MOVEABLE FEAST

121215aleo3The helpful employees at Aleo Italian Specialties get customer orders out quickly. Below, some of the many gourmet takeout options.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

121215aleo4Stepping into Aleo Italian Specialties in the Acme shopping center on Newman Springs Road in Lincroft, PieHole was immediately hit with a feeling of deja vu.

The aroma of cheese and garlic surrounds you, calling to mind Arthur Avenue, the famous Little Italy shopping area in the Bronx. Then there’s the sight of food — everywhere. Hanging salami and cheese; shelves filled with rustic fresh breads from Brooklyn; imported dry pasta; and deli counters teeming with house-made delicacies. Your mouth waters and you forget what you came in for.

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WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? CHICKEN FROM PAT’S

121215patsmkt2A  festive holiday display of stuffed breads at Pat’s Market, above, and the chicken parm, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

121215patsmkt3 Pat’s Market, a butcher shop and deli on Newman Springs Road in Lincroft, sells only Bell and Evans chickens.

Because they’re raised organically, and antibiotic-free, on farms in Pennsylvania, that was all the bait PieHole needed for a quick and, maybe, healthier lunch option.

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RED BANK: AT HOME WITH TOAST & TARRAGON

amy russo harrigan 102715Amy Russo Harrigan in the newly opened Toast, housed in the former Broadway Diner on Monmouth Street. Below, an ad for the original Palace Diner that appeared in the Red Bank Register in 1945. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

palace diner ad 1945From outside, the neon-and-stainless-steel trimmed building at 45 Monmouth Street in Red Bank still looks like the classic diner it was for most of the past 70 years. The sign over the front door even proclaims “City Diner” under the new name.

But to the chagrin of some hardcore nostalgics, and to the delight others, Toast, which opened earlier this month, is not a mere rebranding of the Broadway Diner, which occupied the railcar-style building for 18 years.

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RED BANK: TOAST POPS UP

toast 101615 2toast 101615 1The widely anticipated revival of the former Broadway Diner on Monmouth Street in Red Bank as Toast restaurant was completed with a quiet opening Friday afternoon, moments after borough officials issued a certificate of occupancy.

Toast owner Amy Russo, whose late father was a partner in the 24-hour-a-day diner and closed it down 15 months ago, has maintained the stainless-steel exterior and classic look of the interior, though with ample decor changes. The menu, however, is new, as are the hours: 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m, except for Saturday, October 17, when it opens at 8 a.m, an employee told redbankgreen.

[UPDATE: Owner Amy Russo Harrigan informs redbankgreen that Toast will open for friends and family on Saturday, be closed Sunday, and open for “business as usual” Monday morning.] (Click to enlarge)

ON THE GREEN: HOW WE LOOK FROM ABOVE

nj.com census map 101615A new interactive map developed by NJ.com, the website of the Star-Ledger, enables users to zoom down to nearly the street level to show where every one of New Jersey’s more than 8.9 million residents lives, as well as the race and ethnicity of each, according to the 2010 Census.

The map doesn’t pinpoint the exact address of every resident: that would be creepy, wrote NJ.com reporter Stephen Stirling. Instead, developers at NJ Advance Media “created a dot for each person of each race within each Census block, and scattered them randomly throughout their representative geography,” he said. The result, said Stirling, “is the most detailed look at race in New Jersey possible with information available today.”

The effect is highly detailed image that shows while the state is the most diverse in the nation, the Greater Red Bank Green is a near monoculture of whites (represented by blue dots) outside Red Bank’s West Side, which is home to dense concentrations of Hispanic and African-American residents. And even those two groups are somewhat segregated, the data suggests. (Screen grab from NJ.com)

RED BANK: CLOUDED JUDGMENT

rb clouds 081115 6 rb clouds 081115 7The thunderstorms that were in the forecast didn’t materialize, but the clouds put on a painterly show over Red Bank Tuesday evening, and redbankgreen photographer Trish Russoniello took to the streets, the Globe Court parking deck (as above) and the riverfront (at right) to capture some of the beauty. Click the “read more” below for more photos.

Wednesday should be a beauty of a summer day, by the way, with ample sunshine and temperatures peaking in the mid-80’s, according to the National Weather Service. (Photos by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

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ON THE GREEN: DROP AND GIVE ME 90

rb heat 080315 2

HOT-TOPIC_01With temperatures pushing 90 degrees, a man sought out the shade of the overhead lights at Count Basie Fields to do pushups Monday afternoon.

Expect plenty of shade, but more heat and possible rain Tuesday, as the peak temperature heads to 93 amid possible thunderstorms followed by partly cloudy skies, according to the Weather Channel (Click to enlarge)

ON THE GREEN: SLOW ROAST AT TOAST

toast curb 072815HOT-TOPIC_01With temperatures headed toward the high 80s, John Cushing of Bayonne rolled on with his work Tuesday, painting curbs outside the Toast restaurant under construction in the former Broadway Diner on Monmouth Street in Red Bank.

The National Weather Service said Tuesday was the first of at least seven consecutive days in which peak daytime temperatures were expected to be close to 90 degrees. (Click to enlarge)

ON THE GREEN: WILTING TEMPS CONTINUE

heat map 072015 2.jpgHOT-TOPIC_01With peak temperatures in the low-to-mid 90s and high humidity levels, heat index levels were expected to hit 100 Monday afternoon for the second consecutive day, the National Weather Service forecast. The agency has a heat advisory for a broad region that includes the Greater Red Bank Green, advising residents to avoid outdoor exertion and take other precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses. (Click to enlarge)

WHAT’S FOR LUNCH? A TASTE OF GREECE

071415melodycafe3The grilled-shrimp souvlaki platter from Melody’s Café, formerly Santorini Greek Cuisine.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

071415melodycafe1Stepping into the foyer of Melody’s Café in Lincroft, we immediately felt the pull of the Adriatic. Murals, glass partitions and up-lights in shades of blue suggest a mood of clear skies and pristine seas.

First though, you need to find the place, tucked away as it is in a Newman Springs Road strip mall containing three restaurants and an Acme supermarket.

Reopened since May after broken pipes caused extensive water damage to the building, the name and hours of the former Santorini Greek Cuisine have changed, but the food is most definitely still Greek-inspired.

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LINCROFT: FIRST AIRING FOR EXIT 109 PLANS

exit 109 042315 1C.J. Lagan, at right, studies proposed changes for exit 109 at the township library Thursday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

exit 109 042215 1A proposed reconfiguration of Garden State Parkway exit 109 in Lincroft drew dozens of nearby residents and commuters to the Middletown Township Public Library Thursday afternoon.

According to project manager Maynard Abuan, the New Jersey Turnpike Authority plans to spend $60 million on the two-year interchange rebuild, which calls for:

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LINCROFT: $60M EXIT 109 REBUILD SLATED

exit 109 042215 5The plan calls for the elimination of the problematic jughandle at Half Mile Road that eastbound motorists now have to use to access the parkway’s northbound lanes. Below, a 2013 schematic of the planned changes. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

exit 109 plans 042215Attention Red Bank area motorists: Exit 109 of the Garden State Parkway is in line for a two-year, $60 million reconstruction,  NJ.com reports.

Work on the Lincroft interchange at Newman Springs Road won’t start until 2017, a spokesman for the New Jersey Turnpike Authority tells transportation writer Larry Higgs.

But the authority, which owns the Parkway, is giving commuters a first look at what’s to come – including a new “flyover” ramp from eastbound Newman Springs Road onto the northbound parkway lanes to replace the dreaded Half Mile Road jughandle – at an information session scheduled for Thursday in Middletown.

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LINCROFT: LUNCH AT THE INN

032115 lincroftinn2A pastrami Reuben  at the Lincroft Inn served in the antique dining room, below. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

By SUSAN ERICSON

032115 lincroftinn1From outside, the Lincroft Inn, located on Newman Springs Road in the Lincroft section of Middletown, appears a lot like many of the buildings in the strip malls surrounding it: blandly contemporary.

But step inside, and the exposed rafters and wood-paneled walls exude an Old World charm that’s real, because it dates back to 1697, according to the backstory provided in the vast tome of a menu.

As PieHole discovered on a recent What’s For Lunch outing, the inn offers a range of dishes, from elegant Continental fare to a grubby Jersey favorite: a porkroll and cheese sandwich.

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STUDENT SUSPENDED FOR SCHILLING TWEETS

adam nagelThe profile photo of the Twitter user identified as “the Sports Guru,” who Curt Schilling said posted offensive comments about his daughter, is the same one used on Facebook by a Brookdale student named Adam Nagel. Both accounts have since been removed.  (Click to enlarge)

[See update below regarding student’s affiliation with the radio station.]

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_02Brookdale Community College suspended a student Monday after retired baseball great Curt Schilling outed him as one of at least two Twitter posters who tweeted sexually offensive statements about Schilling’s daughter last week.

The student, who was not identified by the school, was among two or more Twitter users who suggested they would sexually assault Schilling’s daughter, Gabby, after her father announced that she would be attending college Salve Regina University in Rhode Island and pitch for the softball team.

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