45° Overcast

RED BANK: GRANDVILLE RENT HIKE WEIGHED

Grandville Towers neighbors look on as resident Mary Cook, below, questions PRC vice president Tom Arnone, left. (Photo by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

The Red Bank Rent Leveling Board wrapped up testimony and public comment on a plan for upgrades and higher rents at Grandville Towers Thursday night, but held off on making a decision before next month.

Building manager PRC Group is seeking permission to impose rent surcharges to recover the costs of a proposed $3.6 million rehabilitation-and-upgrade project that has tenants fearing sharp increases.

Read More »

WEEKEND: EAT, DRINK, LISTEN, REPEAT

Don’t even bother trying to curb your appetite at Red Bank Riverfest, which runs through Sunday in Marine Park. Details in the poster below. (Click to enlarge)

Friday, May 31:

RED BANK: Come sample the savory and sweet flavors at Riverfest, the annual three-day music and food festival in Marine Park. Stroll the “artisan’s alley” for handmade items and artwork, cruise the Navesink River, or dance your butt off in front of the waterfront stage to the likes of Brian Kirk & The Jirks, Woodfish, the Moroccan Sheepherders and the Jazz Lobsters. Free entry; no pets allowed.

MIDDLETOWNThe Middletown Arts Center hosts a Luau Party for kids ages 5 and older, offering crafts, limbo contests and games. Pizza and snacks will be provided. The luau runs from 6 to 9 p.m. 36 Church Street.

Read More »

SEA BRIGHT: BOCCE’S BACK

Dave DeScenza, above, and his daughter Nicolette, below, restoring the family bocce court on Memorial Day. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

The most recent interval between summers was particularly trying for the DeScenza family of Sea Bright.

Like their neighbors, the DeScenzas saw their North Beach home of 34 years, and an adjoining cottage, flooded and heavily damaged during Hurricane Sandy.

One week later, Dave’s wife, Nancy, a longtime member of the borough school board, succumbed in her 10-year battle with breast cancer.

But on Memorial Day, DeScenza, his daughter Nicolette, and his brother John put in a full day’s work under the sun restoring their regulation bocce court, across Ocean Avenue from his year-round residence.

“The neighbors kept asking when we were going to bring it back,” a cheery DeScenza said. “Sometimes, they asked without words,” he added, miming with a shrug and upturned hands.

Read More »

‘YARN BOMBING’ BRIGHTENS SEA BRIGHT LOT

Megan Heath Gilhool, right, with Frances Rooney, whose hot dog stand was given some decorative touches in yarn last week. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Mixed in among the many Memorial Day celebrations and reopenings in recovering Sea Bright over the weekend, a rogue group of vandals struck one of the town’s most beloved landmarks.

During the chilly, rain-soaked early hours of Friday morning, a dozen women swarmed an Ocean Avenue lot with one mission in mind: to leave their mark on the town. They diligently went to work, covering the fence that encloses Frances Rooney’s hot dog stand with their own personal ‘tags.’

After they politely asked her permission, of course.

Read More »

RED BANK: RIVERFEST TO HEAT UP WEEKEND

Scenes from the 2012 edition of Red Bank Riverfest, which returns to Marine Park for a thre-night run starting Friday. (Click to enlarge)

Three days of heat and eats await visitors to Red Bank this weekend.

For the third consecutive year, after a decade-long layover, Riverfest returns to the banks of the Navesink River in Marine Park Friday night for a stay that extends into Sunday night.

And what this event be without a touch of sultry-bordering-on-threatening weather?

Read More »

SEA BRIGHT: ANOTHER RESTAURANT REOPENS

Yumi restaurant on Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright is now back in business, adding to the growing list of stores coming back on line in the hurricane-battered borough. The eatery features sushi and “neo-Asian” cuisine. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: BASIE COURTYARD TO GET CANOPY

Less than a year after its debut, the Count’s Courtyard, the terrace bar at Red Bank’s Count Basie Theatre, is slated for a tweaking Friday with the installation of an over-all canopy.

The canopy, which will have no sides, will only be in use, like the courtyard itself, from May 1 to October 31, Basie CEO Adam Philipson told the borough planning board, which approved the change earlier this month. Use of the courtyard is limited to theater patrons two hours before and after performances and during intermissions. (Click to enlarge)

WHERE HAVE I SEEN THIS?

Two readers identified the photo of the pond fountain shown in last week’s Where as one on Hope Road in Tinton Falls.

But 16 others correctly called it out as Pomphrey Pond in Rumson, on East River Road opposite borough hall.

Sarah Pomphrey, who lives in town, wrote in to share some history of the pond and the family for whom it’s named.

Read More »

RED BANK: WALGREEN’S EYES RASSAS LOT

The plan calls for access from Broad Street in both directions, as well as from Garfield Place. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Just a month after ending its long run as a car dealership, a gateway property to Red Bank could become a Walgreen’s drugstore.

The former home of Rassas Pontiac/Buick, which closed in April after 83 years in Red Bank, and 64 years at the southernmost address on Broad Street, would become a giant personal-care products emporium, complete with a drive-thru window, according to documents filed with the borough planning office Wednesday.

Read More »

RED BANK: CLAY COURTS STILL CLOSED

Rich Nicoletti at Red Bank’s clay courts, which remain out of commission seven months after Hurricane Sandy. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Rich Nicoletti first hit Red Bank’s clay tennis courts in 1955. A few years later, he became assistant to the facility’s tennis pro. In 1990, he was named pro, a title he holds to this day.

“It’s safe to say I easily spent a quarter of my life down here,” Nicoletti said recently, standing on the red clay surface in Marine Park. Rarely, though, has he seen the courts as ravaged as they were by the churning waters of the Navesink River, just feet away, during Hurricane Sandy.

The courts, he said, “were just completely dug up” by the roiling river.

Read More »

SEA BRIGHT: MAD HATTER FINALLY RE-HATTED

The opening-night crowd at the Mad Hatter last Friday night. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

For those with an eye for irony, it may have seemed fitting that the reopening of the hurricane-inundated the Mad Hatter was saluted by periodic of rain showers.

A beloved shore bar and restaurant located in the heart of downtown Sea Bright, the Hatter has faced its fair share of hurdles on the journey back to life after being blown out by Hurricane Sandy. But finally, after a delayed fire permit held it one step short of the finish line on Thursday – its originally scheduled grand reopening – the Mad Hatter’s improvised Tiki Hut and back bar officially opened for the 2013 summer season Friday, just in time for Memorial Day weekend.

 While the rain came in spurts, the Hatter’s loyal customer base seemed to show up in droves.

Read More »

RED BANK: GENERATIONS OF MEATY WISDOM

Fourth-generation butcher Ralph Citarella, right, and long-time employee Kyle Powell carry on more than 113 years of meat-cutting tradition. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

Bites1_SmallJust as in the Middle Ages, when last names like Baker, Taylor and Miller connoted the trade or profession of the family breadwinner, if “Citarella” were an occupation, it would now mean “dude who knows meat.”

In the late 1800s, Andrew Ralph Citarella left Naples, Italy, to settle in Red Bank, and soon began selling meat off of his front porch.

“He learned to cut meat by just doing it,’ says Ralph Citarella, fourth-generation butcher and current owner of Citarella’s Market, on Prospect Avenue. “Then he sent my great-grandmother [Carmela] to the meat houses [in Long Branch]. She learned the proper way, and then she taught him.

“So she taught my great-grandfather, and he taught my grandfather, and my grandfather taught my father, who taught me. It’s like an apprenticeship. It’s just years of a cutting apprenticeship.”

From the front porch, the first Citarellas moved to a store on Bridge Avenue in Red Bank. Sometime later, the shop relocated to Sea Bright, where Ralph’s grandfather and father, Andy, ran the business. The 1962 flood brought another relocation, to the Little Silver Shopping Center, where Andy ran the store. But in 1979, “he had to get out of there, because at that time it was really run-down, and the rent was going up, so he moved the store” to its current location, said Ralph. “He ‘moved a mile north,’ as he used to put it.”

redbankgreen sat down with Ralph at a picnic table beside the store recently to talk about meat, sauce and what makes a 100- plus-year-old family business tick.

Read More »

RED BANK: CUMPSTY DONS COWARD’S ROBE

Tony nominee Michael Cumpsty, left is at the center of a “vortex of neurosis,” as Nöel Coward’s “Present Laughter” comes to Two River Theater in a production directed by “Frasier” co-creator David Lee, right. 

By TOM CHESEK

Just about one year ago, actor Michael Cumpsty — then a Tony nominee for his role as Judy Garland’s accompanist in the Broadway engagement of “End of the Rainbow” — stood on the stage of Red Bank’s Two River Theater and introduced the project that “will bring me back to Red Bank, which is where I want to be.”

The project in question is “Present Laughter,” the 1942 comedy by the multifaceted Sir Noël Coward, and a play that Cumpsty described as being about “an aging matinee idol, who throws everyone around him into a vortex of neurosis… kind of like [my] life.”

Beginning Saturday and for the next three weekends, the British-born veteran of more than 20 Broadway shows — and screen parts that include Nucky Thompson’s associate Father Ed Brennan on HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” — steps into the role of Garry Essendine: frothy farceur, master manipulator, debonair devil, and a character written by Coward as “a bravura part” for himself.

Read More »

RED BANK MAN CHARGED WITH BURGLARY

A Red Bank man was in the Monmouth County lockup following his arrest late Monday night on a burglary charge, police said.

From a PD announcement Tuesday:

Police arrested Javier Coba-Soriano, 29 years old, Red Bank for committing a burglary to a Shrewsbury Avenue residence. The resident called police at 10:25 Monday night reporting that an unknown male was in her residence and had fled upon seeing her. Responding officers found that the actor had made entry through an unlocked first floor window.

Read More »

RED BANK: TWO CHARGED WITH COP ASSAULTS

One of the alleged assaults occurred in the borough police station, police said. (Click to enlarge)

Two men were charged in separate assaults on Red Bank police officers over the Memorial Day weekend, authorities reported Tuesday.

From an announcement by Captain Darren McConnell, police department spokesman:

Read More »

RED BANK: FAMED SKATEBOARDER INJURED

A shot of Brian Wenning that appears on the website of his company, Lockdown Skateboards. (Click to enlarge)

A world-renowned skateboarder was seriously injured in a fall on the steps in front of Red Bank Catholic High School Monday night, police said.

Brian Wenning, 32, of Monmouth Beach, was transported to the trauma center at Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune with a severe laceration to the head, according to Captain Darren McConnell, police department spokesman.

Read More »

RED BANK: A DISORDERLY WEEK

call-in-the-authoritiesThe crime reports below were provided by the Red Bank Police Department for the period of May 16 to May 23, 2013. This information is unedited.

• Shoplifting occurring on 5-20-13 at Monmouth Street business. Owner reported that unknown male subject shoplifted a gold colored picture frame and left store without paying for same. Ptl. Matthew Ehrenreich.

• Theft occurring between 5-21-13 and 5-22-13 at East Westside Ave. Victim reported that unknown subject(s) stole from her parked vehicle the following items: cash, GPS—Garman, two flashlights and a ball hitch. Ptl. Patrick Kennedy.

Read More »

SHREWSBURY POLICE BLOTTER

Activity reports, unedited, as provided by the Shrewsbury Police Department for the period of May 18 to May 24, 2013.

call-in-the-authorities• Report of Theft in the area of Broad Street on 5/20/2013. Victim reports merchandise taken by unknown subject(s). Damages totaling $378.00. Ptl. Frank Neary investigating.

• Report of Criminal Mischief in the area of Newman Springs Road on 5/23/13. Property damage to motor vehicle by unknown subject. Ptl. Tracy Polk investigating.

Read More »

SEA BRIGHT, RISING, KICKS OFF SUMMER 2013

Beneath a cloudless sky, Sea Bright snapped back to life as a beach destination Monday, Memorial Day, seven months after Hurricane Sandy all but obliterated its downtown and oceanfront beach clubs.

One, Chapel Beach Club, above, boasted its restoration was “Done,” while work continued at the Valkryrie Squash Club. Elsewhere, beachgoers happily made due with less than full amenities. 

redbankgreen covered much of the town on foot Monday to see how things were going. We’ve got a dozen more photos after the jump… (Click to enlarge)

Read More »

LITTLE SILVER: SUN SHINES ON PARADE

Chris Valvo and his son, Hudson, enjoy the passing of the Little Silver Memorial Day Parade from the sidewalk of Memorial Park as antique cars, fire trucks and members of Daisies Troop 741, above, passed by on Monday. (Photo by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)

FAIR HAVEN: ANOTHER PARADE FLOATS BY

The Fair Haven River Rats, above, participated in the borough’s annual Memorial Day parade before hosting a hot dog picnic Monday. Below, Randy, left, and Sandy Pangborn welcomed the parade with their sons, Luke and Cole. (Photo by Sarah Klepner. Click to enlarge)

MEMORIAL DAY COMMEMORATIONS

Red Bank, above, and Fair Haven, below, return with traditional Memorial Day events Monday. (Click to enlarge)

RED BANK:

Memorial Day Commemoration, Monday, 11 a.m., Veterans’ Monument, 51 Monmouth Street, corner of Drummond Place.

FAIR HAVEN

Fair Haven’s Memorial Day Parade will take place on Monday at 9 a.m., beginning at Knollwood School, on Hance Road, and ending at Memorial Park, River Road.

Afterward, members of the Fair Haven Sailing Club, known as the River Rats, invite local residents to join them for a cookout from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. at the club’s site at the foot of Batten Road, next to the Fair Haven launching ramp.  Ht dogs, cold drinks and dessert will be provided free of charge by the River Rats.

Read More »

RUMSON: AUTHORITIES MUM ON VNA CRASH

One passenger was airlifted to a trauma center after the VNA van at right collided with the dump truck, at left. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A passenger injured when a tour van collided with a dump truck in Rumson Thursday is in critical condition, authorities said Friday.

Details about the incident remained undisclosed as authorities withheld the identity of the victim, by name, age, town of residence or gender. The passenger was transported by helicopter to Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune after the crash.

Nine people were in the Visiting Nurse Association van, said First Assistant Prosecutor Rick Incremona of the Monmouth County Prosecutor‘s office, which is investigating. Two incurred minor injuries, he said.

No charges have been filed, said Incremona, who declined to identify the van’s driver.

Read More »

A WEEKEND TO MEMORIALIZE

The Neverly Brothers, above, join the Ribeye Brothers for a night of brotherly entertainment at the Dublin House Sunday. (Click to enlarge)

By ALEXIS ORLACCHIO

Friday, May 24:

RED BANK: A new display of artwork created by students from Red Bank Regional, Rumson-Fair Haven Regional, and Middletown South goes up Gallery U & Boutique. The opening reception runs from 6 to 9 p.m. and the Student Life exhibition will be on display through June 4. 80 Broad Street.

RUMSON:  Rip Tide rolls through Molly Maguire’s Black Point Inn.  The show begins at 9 p.m. 132 East River Road.

RED BANK: Reservoir Doggs come sniffing around the Downtown. The four-piece cover band plays hits by ’80s idols such as Bon Jovi and Guns ‘N Roses as well as modern day top 40 rockers Nickelback and Foo Fighters.  The cover is $10 and the show begins at 9 p.m.  10 West Front Street.

Read More »

SEA BRIGHT: A PARTIAL START TO SUMMER

Contractors swarming Chapel Beach Club in Sea Bright on Thursday. Below, a lifeguard boat at the ready at Surfider Beach Club. (Photos by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Seven months after Hurricane Sandy slammed ashore, Sea Bright enters the summer of 2013 far from fully recovered, with many buildings and storefronts still boarded up or demolished.

But there is ample evidence of rebuilding, and hope in the air, as the weather warms and more and more people begin to show up at the shore community.

“For all our losses, we managed to keep our customers,” said Frank Bain, owner of Bain’s Hardware, one of the first businesses on Ocean Avenue to reopen after the hurricane. “Business has been steady since we opened our doors. It’s safe to say the shop is back to normal. We’re here, and we’re ready for the upcoming season.”

Read More »