RED BANK: PLAZA PLANS REWORKED

princeton parklet 2018 2.jpegA public parklet on Witherspoon Street in Princeton. Red Bank officials plan to allow parklets for designated restaurant use. (Photo courtesy of Planet Princeton. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njAmong a series of adjustments, Red Bank’s economic reopening committee has scrapped the Sunday pedestrian plaza on Monmouth Street.

Instead, the Broad Street plaza, which has drawn large turnouts three nights a week since debuting June 18, will become a four-day affair with the addition of Sunday operations starting this weekend, Red Bank RiverCenter executive director Laura Kirkpatrick tells redbankgreen.

At the same time, plans are in the works for “parklets,” or temporary seating structures, to be built in parking spots outside a handful of downtown restaurants, including three that participated in the aborted Monmouth Street plaza effort.

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RED BANK: BACK IN BUSINESS, OUT FRONT

red bank bistro 061520Reopening after almost three months to the day after they were ordered shut down in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Red Bank restaurants drew numerous diners to their outdoor tables Monday night.

“It’s like normal – almost,” said Charlie Lyristis, co-owner of Bistro, on Broad Street, above. At right: a note left at tables for customers of Pazzo, on West Front Street.

See additional photos as restaurants resumed with sit-down, outdoor-only service under order of Governor Phil Murphy below.

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RED BANK: PLAZA DETAILS STILL IN THE WORKS

red bank monmouth street 060220Monmouth Street between Broad Street and Maple Avenue would become a pedestrian plaza all day on Sundays as part of a recovery plan. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njDetails for turning two downtown Red Bank streets into part-time dining and shopping plazas hinge largely on pending clarity from Trenton, borough officials said Tuesday.

On a Zoom/conference call with merchants, borough officials said they need information from Governor Phil Murphy on key issues before they can finalize plans for allotting sidewalk and street space among restaurants, retailers and others.

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RED BANK: HOTEL PLANS PHASED REOPENING

red bank oyster point hotelThe Oyster Point will reopen Monday, while its sibling, the Molly Pitcher Inn, will remain closed. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Easing back to life from its COVID-19 lockdown, Red Bank’s Oyster Point Hotel plans to launch a phased reopening Monday.

But amid uncertainty over wedding and business-event bookings, the hotel and its sibling Molly Pitcher Inn now have to “reinvent” themselves, company vice president Kevin Barry told redbankgreen Friday.

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RED BANK: STREET CLOSINGS FOR DINING OK’D

red bank broad street 032720Broad Street would be closed from the intersection with Front Street, above, to Wallace Street three nights a week under the plan. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njTwo major streets in the heart of downtown Red Bank would be closed to traffic to allow mid-street dining and shopping under action taken by the borough council Wednesday night.

The economic recovery measure needed lightning-fast approval so the business district “can to be ready the second we get the call” from Trenton about expected loosening of COVID-19 restrictions, said Councilwoman Kate Triggiano.

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RED BANK: DINING ‘PLAZAS’ ON THE TABLE

Customers dining in the sidewalk seating area of Robinson Ale House on Broad Street in 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank officials have formed a committee to “creatively expand outdoor capacity for restaurants and retail sales” as the town embarks on a post-COVID-19 recovery.

One idea the committee is expected to chew over: use of public spaces for outdoor dining.

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RED BANK: PICKUP PARKING ZONES SET

red bank pickup parking 051820Downtown shoppers will be able to park in designated spots for quick pickups from restaurants and retail stores throughout town. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

park it 2020

With merchants starting to emerge from the COVID-19 lockdown, Red Bank officials unveiled a temporary parking plan Monday aimed at helping them regain an economic toehold.

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RED BANK: STEWARTS DONATE YEAR’S HARVEST

Comedian Jon Stewart and wife Tracey Stewart have donated this year’s harvest from their Colts Neck farm to Red Bank’s Lunch Break to help the nonprofit meet the rising demand for food assistance in COVID-19 crisis. (Video and photo courtesy of Lunch Break. Click to enlarge.)

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RED BANK: FRESH TAKE ON FOOD INSECURITY

red bank kitch organicKitch Organic, on Leighton Avenue, is offering donation-powered “Kitch Kares” deliveries of organic groceries, below. (Click photos to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Kitch Organic in Red Bank plans to roll out a new offering to help fill a void in the COVID-19 crisis: food packages that emphasize fresh vegetables and fruits rather than non-persishables.

The idea: to address rising food insecurity with healthy, organic produce and dairy products, said borough Councilwoman Kate Triggiano, who hatched the idea with Kitch owner Joe Durso.

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RED BANK: GETTING FED, AND HELPING TO FEED

red bank lunch break 042020.JPGThe kitchen at Lunch Break remains busy preparing grab ‘n go meals as well as meals for delivery to the homebound. (Photo courtesy of Lunch Break. Click to enlarge.)

[UPDATE: The Parker Family Health has paused its monthly food distribution, so that entry has been removed from this list.]

With job and income losses in the COVID-10 crisis, food insecurity is spreading, and Red Bank-area charities are stepping up to help ensure no one goes hungry.

At Lunch Break in Red Bank, for example, volunteers have distributed 65 percent more meals and 56 percent more groceries since March 16 than in the comparable 2019 period, said executive director Gwen Love.

Here’s a starter list of charitable efforts to feed the hungry in Red Bank, with links to make monetary donations. This list will be updated periodically.

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RED BANK: SCAVONE TO LEAVE RIVERCENTER

scavone menna red bank, nj,Jim Scavone, left, with Mayor Pasquale Menna and Visitors Center director Margaret Mass at the opening of RiverCenter’s offices on Broad Street in October, 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Jim Scavone, who led Red Bank RiverCenter for the past six years, is leaving the downtown promotion organization.

He won’t be going far, though: he’s taking a job at Hackensack Meridian Health at Riverview Medical Center, just on the edge of special improvement district he managed.

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RED BANK: IN LIMBO, ‘DREAMERS’ HEAD TO DC

red bank daca dreamersCristian Aparicio, Deysi Avila and Itzel Perez Hernandez have all attended Brookdale Community College under their status as DACA ‘Dreamers.’ (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njWhile the Supreme Court heard oral arguments Tuesday on the Trump Administration’s move to rescind protections for undocumented young immigrants, a busload of them from Red Bank planned to be out on the streets of Washington, D.C.

The court’s decision “is make-or-break” for them, said Itzel Perez Hernandez, a 26-year-old borough resident who is among the some 700,000 ‘Dreamers’ still afforded protection under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, better known as DACA.

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RED BANK: FOOD TRUCK BAN TO CONTINUE

red bank riverside avenue gas stationA proposal would have allowed food trucks to operate on underused property outside the downtown, including the vacant gas station at Riverside and Bridge avenues. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njA push to end Red Bank’s ban on food trucks ran out of gas Wednesday night.

Over the objections of one of their colleagues, council members sided with owners of brick-and-mortar restaurants, who say trucks would unfairly undermine them while rewarding other property owners for neglect.

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RED BANK: FOOD TRUCKS UP FOR DISCUSSION

johnny's 1 111113John Yarusi risked a summons when he parked his Johnny’s Pork Roll truck on Wallace Street in a short-lived experiment test of borough law in 2013. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njIs Red Bank ready at last to unlock the gates that keep out food trucks?

The idea of easing restrictions on food truck operations came up at last week’s borough council workshop meeting, as it has in the past. But this time, it’s not being summarily rejected by the agency that promotes the downtown business district.

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LITTLE SILVER: BAG & STRAW BAN PENDING

little silver plastic bagsThe Carvel store on Prospect Avenue would be the first in the chain to drop plastic straws and cups, says owner Jessica Newman. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njWith a recycling problem taking hold across America, Little Silver appears set to become the first town on the Greater Red Bank Green to ban plastic straws and store bags.

An ordinance introduced last week has the reluctant support of local retailers, borough officials say.

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RUMSON: INCOME & WEALTH RANKINGS SOAR

rumson nj hedge 2015Rumson is now one of America’s top 20 wealthiest towns, Bloomberg reported Wednesday.

In a ranking of average annual household income, the business news organization said the borough had an average of $303,542, and ranked 19th nationally, up from 38th in 2018.

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RBR: FORUM ADDRESSES IMMIGRATION CRISIS

brenda codallos, itzel perez, michele alcaldeImmigrant advocates Brenda Codallos, left, and Itzel Perez listen as attorney Michele Alcalde speaks at RBR Thursday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njThe political conflicts that rage over immigration will eventually be settled by today’s young people, who overwhelmingly believe immigrants are good for America, a guest speaker at Red Bank Regional High said Thursday.

Until then, however, the fears of immigration opponents must be met with data that demonstrates the economic benefits of immigration, he and others said.

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RED BANK: NEW RIVERCENTER VISION & HQ

scavone menna red bank, nj,RiverCenter executive director Jim Scavone, left, with Mayor Pasquale Menna and Visitors Center executive director Margaret Mass at the office’s opening last week. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njRed Bank RiverCenter embarked on a new mission last week.

The manager of the town’s special improvement district nailed down a fresh set of priorities that calls for greater emphasis on leveraging the town’s Navesink River waterfront as a draw for visitors and investors.

It also opened its new offices to Broad Street.

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