By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
A couple of weeks ago, Barbara Ely picked up a flyer promoting a pairing of food and live music at Riverside Gardens Park, and grabbed a notebook.
“I was writing down everything that was going on in Red Bank because sometimes I miss it,” said Ely, of Middletown.
This particular event she didn’t want to let slip from her radar. She noted the times and called her friend, Pat Wisdom, to make a date.
On Wednesday, the two friends met as planned. They sat in the shade munching on noodles and sandwiches as sounds of the Andreach-Chrepta Jazz Duo wafted on the air to open up Red Bank RiverCenter‘s newest downtown promotion, LunchMusic.
Atop the grassy banks leading down to the Navesink, a couple of dozen people, by plan and happenstance and serendipity alike, grabbed a bite and got a pleasing earful of guitar-and-sax at the park to open the borough’s summer event schedule.
Some nearby eateries are offering specials and items-to-go in conjunction with the schedule so folks can maximize their lunch break with locally-bought grub, said Nancy Adams, RiverCenter’s executive director.
The experience, on a day when the sun was bouncing off the Navesink, couldn’t have been a more fitting entry into post-Memorial Day relaxation for Laura Solomons, who brought her music-loving 14-month old, Evan, to have lunch and listen in.
“He loves the guitar, so I saw this, that there was going to be a guitar player and saxophonist, and I thought it’d be great,” said Solomons, of Middletown.
“It’s beautiful,” she said. “Nice setting. Beautiful day. Nice music. We love it.”
Although RiverCenter has done some promotion through town to clue people in on its daylight prelude to the borough’s more established musical gifts to passers-by, plenty of folks said they delightfully happened upon Wednesday’s tastes and sounds.
Eddie Turner, who normally takes his lunch break at the park, said he’ll consider making another trip back next week to fully indulge in the experience.
“I’m out of touch. I’ve got to get back into it,” he said.”I didn’t even know they had it going on, but it’s nice.”
Adams says she hopes the monthlong series will quickly gain steam and give people a reason to look forward to hump day lunch breaks.
Even more, perhaps people will take the approach of Ely, who says she’ll be sure to return next week.
“Definitely,” she said. “I put it down in the book.”
LunchMusic continues from noon to 2p every Wednesday at Riverside Gardens Park until June 30.