RED BANK: GREEN SPACE RISES IN OLD CHURCH

211 broad 102114 2The underside of the church roof, above, will remain exposed to the new second floor and mezzanine. Below, the church’s steeple also will be retained.  (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

211 broad 102114 1The pews and organ are gone. But touches of what made the former First Church of Christ, Scientist in Red Bank a place of worship remain as the 62-year-old structure is transformed into an office building with the decidedly secular name of “211 Broad Street.”

The giant clerestory windows have been preserved, though their arched tops are now at eye-level on a second floor erected in what had been open sanctuary space. The original wood dentil molding has been retained. And there’s a small round window, hidden for years behind the organ, that will deliver light and views previously available only to the occasional maintenance worker.

Most prominently, there’s the steeple. For passersby, its storybook patina-green spire will continue to soar toward the heavens – though by this time next year, some office occupant who gazes upward will be able to get an eyeful of its guts.

“It’s like architectural sculpture,” developer Bob Silver, of Bravitas Group, said of the intricate lacing of timbers. “We never even considered taking it down.”

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RED BANK: PEDESTRIAN STRUCK

just_in1A Red Bank man was transported to the hospital after he was struck by a vehicle while crossing West Front Street Thursday evening, police Chief Darren McConnell tells redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: CHARGING STATION TO GO LIVE

rb charging 092614The charging station, the borough’s first, has been bagged since completion of the Monmouth Street reconstruction project last year. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

park itA long-completed but never activated electric vehicle charging station on Monmouth Street outside Red Bank’s borough hall won’t be idle much longer, town officials said Wednesday night.

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RED BANK: CLIMBING ABOARD & IMAGINING

The Monmouth Day Care Center’s annual on Touch-a-Truck fundraiser at the Red Bank Middle School offered up a photo-op bounty for parents Saturday. Not only did the kids get to touch the trucks, they got to sit in the driver’s seats of a limo, an Army jeep and a police car. They honked horns, asked for keys so they could drive, and went home with memories – which the photos taken by mom and dad will surely jog later in life.  (Photos by Susan Ericson. Hover over picture to pause slideshow.)

RED BANK: CLASSIC RASSAS SIGN RESCUED

rassas sign 091714 2 rassas sign 091714 3A bit banged up but salvageable, one of the classic neon Rassas Buick signs in Red Bank seen below in 2013 – was saved from the bulldozer Wednesday by restoration aficionado John Oakley of Fantastic Signs. Oakley credits Pete Esposito and crew from Esposito Construction with “going above and beyond” to get the sign down intact. Now, restoration of the open-face letter channel sign “will make a nice winter project,” said Oakley, whose Shrewsbury Avenue shop has become something of a museum of local signage. redbankgreen will let readers know when it’s done.

The former Rassas auto dealership was torn down this week to make way for a new Walgreens pharmacy. (Photo above and right by John Oakley. Click to enlarge)

rassas 1 052213

RED BANK: WALGREENS BEGINS RX WORK

rb walgreens 091514Rcsm2_010508Contrary to speculation in a redbankgreen article back in March, when we reported that Walgreens was “reviewing” whether to go ahead with its controversial plan for a Red Bank store, the pharmacy giant is… going ahead with its plan for a Red Bank store.

Demolition began Monday on the former Rassas Buick showroom at 395 Broad Street, opposite the SuperFoodtown market. Monmouth County records show that Aaron Rassas sold the longtime home of his family auto dealership to a company affiliated with Walgreens’ developer Mark Development on July 31 for $3.35 million. Information about the store’s expected opening date was not immediately available.

Rassas Pontiac, which opened at 21 Mechanic Street in 1930, relocated to the Broad Street site in 1949 and operated there continuously until it shut down in early 2013. There’s some more history here. (Photo by Michael McMahon. Click to enlarge)

A VERY SPECIAL DELIVERY TO LUNCH BREAK

Jon_Schwartz_hands_keys_to_Gwen_LoveOn behalf of the Monmouth County Automobile Dealers Association, Jon Schwartz of Schwartz Mazda hands over the keys to a brand new refrigerated truck, to Lunch Break executive director Gwendolyn Love.

Press release from Lunch Break of Red Bank

Thousands of neighbors in the local area have come to count on Lunch Break to deliver meals to community members in need, as well as to collect donations for their busy food bank facility. Just before Labor Day, a group of Monmouth County business leaders made a special delivery of their own to the Red Bank-based nonprofit — a donation of a brand new refrigerated truck.

Lunch Break executive director Gwendolyn Love took delivery of the truck, donated by the Monmouth County Automobile Dealers Association. Charter member Jon Schwartz personally handed over the keys to the Hino truck to the director, who said, “We are speechless.”

“This new truck will enable us to ensure we can serve fresh, quality, nutritious food to our neighbors in need,” said Love. “It will also ensure there is minimal disruption in serving meals during our expansion and transition into our new building. It’s wonderful.”

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M’TOWN LIONS HOST AUTO SHOW, MOTO MEET

1910 T Shrews McKennySome fabulous flivvers (like this wood-bodied 1910 Ford Model T) have been featured in past editions of the annual Auto Show and Motorcycle Meet at Middletown Shopping Center. The ninth annual event chugs into the Route 35 plaza on Saturday, October 11.

Press release from Middletown Lions Club

For the ninth consecutive year, the New Jersey Blind Citizens Association (NJBCA) and the Middletown Lions Club Foundation will co-host a charitable and family-friendly Auto Show and Motorcycle Meet in the parking lot of Middletown Shopping Center, located at the intersection of Route 35 and New Monmouth Road. Scheduled for the hours of 2 to 6 pm on Saturday, October 11 (with a rain date of Sunday, October 12), the event which will help fund programs for the blind and visually-impaired and other sight-related initiatives.

Members of the public are invited to attend the free afternoon of activities which will feature show cars of all types, motorcycles, vendors, and entertainment for adults and children. All classes of vehicles — including classic, stock, custom, antique, hot rod, collector, imports, luxury, muscle, and trucks — are encouraged to enter, in addition to all classes of motorcycles. All event proceeds will support the charitable programs and initiatives of both NJBCA and the Middletown Lions Club Foundation.

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RED BANK: HOLY DOUBLETAKE! IT’S BATMAN!

rb batman 081414 6rb batman 081414 2Spoiler alert for fans of the cable show ‘Comic Book Men,’ shot in and around Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash on Broad Street in Red Bank: a future episode will feature a race between the Batmobile and the Green Hornet’s Black Beauty, shot Thursday afternoon on Bridge Avenue in Gotham Red Bank.

And who was riding shotgun for a faux Batman? None other than onetime Batman portrayer Adam West himself, now 85 years old. Andres Verde of Red Bank, above, got a selfie with West, following one take of the low-speed race. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

RED BANK URGES INTERSECTION UPGRADES

accident-022210Emergency responders working to save a Staten Island woman who was run over at the intersection in 2010. She later died of her injuries. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Red Bank officials are backing a Monmouth County push for safety upgrades to the intersection of Broad Street and East Bergen Place, where a Staten Island woman was run over by an SUV four years ago.

In a July 2 letter to the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority, Mayor Pasquale Menna gets behind a request by Monmouth County for funding to improve the intersection, where Menna said there have been at least 34 accidents since 2010.

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RED BANK: A BITTERSWEET RETURN

Sunday’s Doc Holiday Car Show in Red Bank’s White Street lot was bittersweet for the members of the host Liberty Hose fire company, who lost their century-old firehouse in a sale by the borough earlier this year. Fifty-year member Herk Forgione said the company was “very, very sad” to lose its home. But the volunteer firefighters were glad to be back for a few hours Sunday, overseeing an annual fundraising show that attracted some 280 gleaming classics and lots of families. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

SEA BRIGHT: BOONDOCKS MAY DOCK HERE

sb station 012513Kelly McRyan, below, hopes to convert the former auto repair garage above into a takeout seafood restaurant.  (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

kelly boondocks 042813Red Bank’s Boondocks Fishery may soon have a sibling operation in Sea Bright.

Owner Kelly McRyan is eyeing the former site of Sea Bright Service Station at the foot of the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge as a second location for her popular riverfront eatery, she tells redbankgreen.

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LITTLE SILVER: SHELL TAKES EX-EXXON SPOT

ls shell 041314The former Exxon station at Branch Avenue and Willow Drive in Little Silver, vacant for several years, is about to reopen as a Shell station. Owner Rafi Awan could not be reached for comment, but a borough employee said the station had applied for a certificate of occupancy and appeared ready to open.

The intersection once boasted four filling stations. Only a Citgo station remains. (Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: CINNAMON SNAIL PLAN SQUASHED

cinnamon snail 2 051213Red Bank has seen the last of the Cinnamon Snail, at least until next year’s Farmers’ Market at the Galleria, says mobile chef Adam Sobel. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Plans for a mobile food truck to set up in downtown Red Bank on Sundays through December have fallen apart as quickly as they came together.

Vegan chef and Cinnamon Snail owner Adam Sobel tells redbankgreen‘s PieHole that town officials threw up bureaucratic requirements Friday that would be impossible to satisfy in time for the truck to operate in the Monmouth Street parking lot of Teak restaurant, as planned.

An unidentified borough employee told a Snail employee that the truck would need a peddler’s permit, the type of license issued to roving ice-cream trucks, Sobel said Saturday afternoon.

“It seems bizarre that we would have to do that just to operate on a different piece of property,” Sobel said. “It’s silliness.”

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RED BANK: LET THERE BE TRUCK FOOD!

cin-snail1The vegan magnet Cinnamon Snail will have a temporary home beside Teak, thanks to a little help from PieHole. (Photo by Peter Lindner. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

PIEHOLE logoAs the final Sunday of this year’s Red Bank Farmers’ Market wrapped up in November, Cinnamon Snail food truck entreprenuer Adam Sobel was confident  he’d be able to continue serving his vegan truck food to loyal followers, telling PieHole that he’d remain at the Galleria parking lot every Sunday through the month of December.

But earlier this week, Sobel put out this urgent message on Twitter:

tweet_cinnamon_500_213.PNG

Now, thanks to the intervention of PieHole, the Snail appears to have found a temporary Sunday home – in downtown Red Bank, a place not seen as friendly to four-wheeled purveyors of fine cuisine.

Is this the breakthrough truck food fans on the Green have been yearning for?

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RED BANK: GOING GREEN? TRY ‘GOING FREE’

ptak 2 101513Peter Ptak gasses up his gasless car with free power supplied by his solar energy system. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

By all outward appearances, Pete Ptak may be the greenest guy on the Green.

The Red Bank resident has racked up his West Westside Avenue home with solar panels, just as he did with two houses across the street when he owned them and another he still owns.

In fact, he recently went through a major upgrade, replacing his panels with newer ones that suck up tons more power from the sun than the older ones, and adding others to his backyard shed.

Now, having cut his household utility bills to less than zero, he’s putting that free juice to work when he’s on the move. He claims to have the only Toyota Rav4 EV all-electric car in New Jersey. And thanks to the hardware on the roof of his house and shed, it costs him nothing to fuel.

But to Ptak, it’s not about saving the planet. It’s about saving money.

“I don’t care about being green,” Ptak tells redbankgreen. “The green I care about is the green that comes out of my wallet.”

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FAIR HAVEN: PEACE, GOOGLE WIZARDS


If you look really, really closely, you’ll see there’s a girl in the back seat of the car giving the Google Street View camera a peace sign as it did its thing on Oaklawn Road in Fair Haven. Thanks to the eagle-eyed Katie Katzgrau for spotting her. But did the omniscient Google see her?

The author of this article finds Street View “borderline creepy,” but whoever is behind Funny Google Street Views on Tumblr has a different, um, viewpoint. Your thoughts? (Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: ITALIAN EATERY EYES 28 BROAD

28 broad 070512Last rented by Primas Home Café furnishings, 28 Broad Street is the intended home Patrizia’s, an Italian restaurant. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Rcsm2_010508Downtown Red Bank could be getting a sizable new restaurant.

Dubbed Patrizia’s, the family-style eatery would take over the space at 28 Broad Street vacated almost two years ago by Primas Home Café, according a fresh filing with the borough planning department.

Retail Churn also has news about plans for a large greengrocer and 20 homes one block east of Broad Street; a planned relo by a downtown florist; and a seller of high-end used cars revving to come back to town… all after the ‘READ MORE.’

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RED BANK: IF IT MOVES, THEY’RE ON IT

Limousine, ambulance, utility truck, boat: set a bunch of kids loose in a parking lot full of large vehicles, with license to touch them, and they will touch, alright – and clamber and crawl, as the folks from the Monmouth Day Care Center saw on Saturday at their annual on Touch-a-Truck day at the Red Bank Middle School.  (Hover over picture to pause slideshow)

WEEKEND: IDEAS, MUSIC, FOOD, ART & TRUCKS

kirk jirks 2 100211Local faves Brian Kirk and the Jirks, above, return for the fourth Red Bank Guinness Oyster Festival on Sunday. Below, Touch-a-Truck parks it at the Red Bank Middle School Saturday in a fundraiser for the Monmouth Day Care Center. (Click to enlarge)

Friday, September 20:

IMG_0008 (745x1024)LINCROFT: Carpe diem at TEDxNavesink, where attendees will get to experience 25 live talks in addition to livecast sessions from the “TEDxCity2.0” conference. TED is a nonprofit organization devoting to sharing “Ideas worth Spreading.” The nine-hour day is filled with sessions on topics like redrawing our oceans, repicturing paradise, remapping the self and more. The sold-out event runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Brookdale Community College Performing Arts Center and is followed by a light reception. Newman Springs Road.

RUMSON: The second annual Canterbury Arts: A Tapestry of the Arts show features works by New Jersey artists, with all proceeds going to Outreach Grants to benefit Lunch Break, Family Promise, HABcore, 180 Turning Lives Around and more.The three-day exhibition kicks off Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Saint George’s-by-the-River Episcopal Church. Tickets include a wine, beer, and hors d’oeurves/dessert and admission to all days of the show. Reserve tickets in advance. Tickets are $10 day admission, $40 reception (in advance), $50 at the door. 7 Lincoln Avenue.

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RED BANK: WALGREEN’S PLANS DRAW CONCERN

rb walgreens 3 091613Red Bank resident Patricia Meenan asks a question as engineer Dan Dougherty and attorney Marty McGann, in white shirt, look on. Below, a rendering of the proposed store. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

rb walgreens 2 091613A long brick wall, traffic flow and merchandise deliveries emerged as early concerns as the Red Bank Planning Board took up the question of whether to allow a Walgreen’s pharmacy on Broad Street Monday night.

At the first of several expected hearings on the proposal, an engineer for he developer sought to depict the proposed 14,200-square-foot store as an improvement on what was there for decades: the now-closed Rassas Buick showroom, opposite the foot of Maple Avenue.

There will be less impervious ground cover, more greenery and better vehicular access, according to engineer Dan Dougherty.

But questions from board members and the public reflected concerns about the store’s size, placement and more.

“Garfield Place will be 137 feet of brick wall,” said nearby resident Art Ziemanis.

“A 137-foot brick wall standing 37 feet at its peak – it just doesn’t seem to fit the site,” said Monica Boscarino.

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RED BANK: DRIVE-THRU CHANGE SAILS THRU

rassas 7 052213The change will not apply to a proposed Walgreen’s store at the former site of Rassas Buick, officials said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_01A change to Red Bank’s law on drive-thru businesses got quick service Wednesday night.

Setting aside opposition by the lawyer for a proposed Walgreen’s pharmacy and by Coffee Corral owner Russ Crosson, the council gave unanimous approval to a zoning change that requires new drive-thrus to be located 100 feet from a residential zone.

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LITTLE SILVER: PILLARS OF THE COMMUNITY

ls fox hill 090513ls fox hill 082913The entry to Fox Hill Drive at Branch Avenue in Little Silver got a widening recently, but the distinctive pillars there have been retained, thanks to the reconstruction of one that was demolished in the process. (Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: INSTANT, ‘FREEZY’ ICE CREAM

Andrew Deming makes ice cream to order with liquid nitrogen. A regular at the Red Bank Farmers Market, the Freezy Freeze truck will have a spot in the food truck court at this week’s Appetite event at Count Basie Theatre. (Video by Alexis Orlacchio. Click to enlarge)

By ALEXIS ORLACCHIO

freezy freeze 051213Sugar, spice and… liquid nitrogen? Red Bank’s Freezy Freeze is putting a chemistry-class spin on the traditional ice cream truck.

With the help of liquid nitrogen, what starts out as milk, cream and sugar quickly transforms into creamy, dense ice cream. Photographer-turned-ice cream man Andrew Deming, 37, gives his daughter, Molly, credit for his current profession and blossoming food truck.

“This is all her idea,” said Deming, who said he took the now 7-year-old into an ice cream shop that made ice cream with liquid nitrogen. “She said that being an ice cream man would be a great job, because I always get to make people happy.”

The Deming family began to make ice cream in the kitchen of their Red Bank home, and not long after, decided to bring the frozen treat to the Red Bank Farmers Market.

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