Summer got off to a literally shaky start at 8:23a on June 1, 1927, when New Jersey’s strongest-ever earthquake struck the northern Jersey Shore.
Attributed to a renewed slipping of an old fracture known as Logans Fault, the quake was felt as far away as Jersey City, New Brunswick and Toms River. But the real action was right here in Monmouth County.
Three shocks over the course of 12 minutes made medicine bottles dance upon the shelves of an Ocean Grove pharmacy, according to the next day’s New York Times; heavy rolls of newsprint in the plant of the Asbury Park Press were moved. Chimneys fell, and plaster came crashing down from the ceiling of an operating room of Monmouth Memorial Hospital in Long Branch. Red Bank, N.J., felt the shocks so distinctly that they were believed to have been caused by a heavy explosion, the Times reported. Panes of glass in greenhouses in Navesink Village were shattered by the shocks.
No one was killed or injured.
Why the history lesson? Because today, on the 79th anniversary of that Jazz Age temblor, redbankgreen debuts, and the Quake of ’27 seems an apt metaphor for what this site is about. We, too, hope to shake the ground, bust some plaster, maybe rattle the local media a bit – all without injuring or killing anyone.
redbankgreen is an effort to provide a different take on life in what we call The Green – Red Bank, Fair Haven, Rumson, Little Silver, Shrewsbury, northern Tinton Falls and southern Middletown.
Different, that is, from what the incumbent media offers.
Yes, we read those other publications, and most of them provide something within their pages that we couldn’t possibly replace, stuff we’d miss if it were no longer around. Like the coverage of town meetings; it may be dry and droning, but when an issue hits home, it’s information you need to know.
What they don’t offer, though, is a reflection of the world that most of us actually live in. Or who actually lives in our world, for that matter. In fact, some of our media seems intent on distorting reality absurdly.
For example, how on earth can a 21st-century newspaper justify running four or five pages a week of color pictures from “social” events at which no people of color appear for months at a stretch? Are the Lucky Ones the only “society” in these parts? What plantation are we on? Another paper – though we admire its verve – is premised on the notion that the only people and businesses worth discussing are those it deems sufficiently ‘arty’ and ‘alternative,’ as if pretentiousness was something to be prized and ‘alternative’ still had any real meaning. (Quick: which is ‘alternative:’ Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks?). Then there’s the pair of high-gloss magazines engaged in a fetishization of affluence so aggressive that one suspects unresolved psychological issues lie at their roots. Plantation life can have that effect, apparently.
But enough of our soapbox. As a wise man told us recently, “You can either let it go, or you can die mad.”
Our primary subject is people as individuals. What kinds of jobs they have, their aspirations for themselves and their kids, what they do to make their houses or apartments into homes. What ticks them off, what cracks them up. Where life has taken them, where theyd like to go.
We hope to better mirror the reality of who lives here, whether ‘here’ means Fairview or the fruit basket section of Tinton Falls; Rumson or Red Bank’s West Side. When we feature an artist, it’ll be to call attention to her effort and vision, not to push an agenda. We’ll also recognize businesses and other institutions that are part of the fabric of The Green. That includes new enterprises and stores as well as established ones.
But please get don’t get the idea that redbankgreen is all earnest and serious-like. We hope to make this a fun site, too, as you may have already noticed by the visuals. And check out the story on Deborah Harry. That’s just something we stumbled on that seemed of interest; we’re not above a little celebrigossip.
The schedule, which is a work-in-progress, calls for quick-bite daily postings on newsy topics. Once a week, on Thursdays, we’ll upload fresh new gotta-see features. We’ll see how that works.
In the meantime, please check out the site and let us know what you think. Suggest a story, or write one yourself and submit it via email. Tell us what’s going on and who’s doing what: your block party, the homecoming of a soldier, the amusing bit of dialogue you overheard on the train or the ferry, pictures of the ugliest damned home remodeling that a million bucks ever bought. If you’d like to get a conversation going about life in The Green or just want to vent, fire off a comment. (How’s this for starters: any geology geeks out there who can shed some light on that “old fracture known as Logan’s Fault?” Should we be upping our insurance coverage?)
Let’s hear your voice. Thats the point of redbankgreen: its a public square, a town common. There’s nothing really earth-shattering about the concept – it’s just an old custom brought back to life on the Web, where we don’t slay trees by the thousands, and your hands stay ink-free.
But if redbankgreen shakes up the status quo, hey, welcome to the 21st century.