RED BANK: FORTUNE SETS ‘BASIE 2020’ SKED

william count basie postersImages of William ‘Count’ Basie on display at the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center last week. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center, built to honor a pioneering African-American journalist with Red Bank ties, plans to spotlight the borough-born musical giant William ‘Count’ Basie through 2020.

The occasion is the 85th anniversary of the formation of the Count Basie Orchestra, which is still touring 36 years after its founder’s death.

Read More »

RED BANK: APARTMENT REVIEW BEGINS

red bank 121 monmouth stAn elevation showing the Monmouth Street side of the proposed Salerno project. (Rendering by SOME Architects. Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[UPDATE: The February 20 hearing for this project has been rescheduled at applicant’s request. No new date yet.]

By JOHN T. WARD

A proposed 59-unit apartment project should be allowed to exceed Red Bank’s height and density limits based on the objectives of the borough’s master plan, its architect testified Thursday night.

Read More »

RED BANK: APARTMENT PLAN UP FOR REVIEW

red bank 121 monmouth streetA rendering of the Monmouth Street side of the project proposed for the Monmouth Street site, below. (Rendering by SOME Architects. Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank 121 monmouth streetOn the Red Bank zoning board’s agenda Thursday night: a 59-unit apartment project proposed for the onetime site of Clarence ClemonsBig Man’s West rock venue.

Also up for review: a restaurant instead of a laundromat on Shrewsbury Avenue.

Read More »

RED BANK: COUNCIL WRAP

Mayor Pasquale Menna, seen here at the Town Light-up in November, kicked off his pre-council meetups with little advance notice. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

It was another quick night as the Red Bank council held its second regular session of 2020 Wednesday night.

A light agenda saw the governing body wrap up public business in under 30 minutes before going behind closed doors to discuss litigation and a lease.

Here’s a recap.

Read More »

MIDDLETOWN: GEORGE BOWDEN DIES

red bank george bowdenGeorge Bowden, right, with Historic Preservation Commission members Charles Nickerson and Michaela Ferrigine in 2016. Below, Bowden spearheaded the borough’s centennial celebration and parade in 2009.(Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank george bowdenGeorge Bowden, once dubbed “the Energizer bunny” of historic preservation in Red Bank, died at home in Middletown Sunday. He was 92 years old.

Galvanized into action in 2001, after the borough allowed the demolition of an old house on West Front Street, Bowden became a champion for old and neglected structures in town.

Not least of those was the T. Thomas Fortune House, which was resurrected from near-oblivion earlier this year, more than a decade after Bowden and others launched a campaign to save it.

Read More »

RED BANK: OLD BRICK BUILDINGS REVIVED

red bank nest 32 mechanic 112119 2The facade of Nest, at 32 Mechanic Street, the former Independent Engine firehouse. Below, Bottles by Sickles anchors an addition to the former Anderson Storage Building. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

RED BANK bottles by sickles 200 monmouth st.Two red brick buildings with deep roots in Red Bank have begun new lives in recent days – with assists from Brooklyn and Seattle.

One is the landmark Anderson Storage Building near the train station, where a wine shop owned by Sickles Market opened Sunday. And the former Independent Engine Company house on Mechanic Street is now home to a retail furniture store.

Read More »

FAIR HAVEN: PARK OPENS ON OLD HOUSE SITE

fair haven williams albert robards park Local officials lined the shoreline of the Navesink River for the park opening. Below, the house that formerly stood on the site, as seen in 2009. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

fh-williams-backMore than a decade after it began, an effort to turn prime riverfront property in Fair Haven into a park ended with a ribbon-cutting Tuesday evening.

Dubbed “Williams, Albert and Robards Park” for the successive generations of the family that lived there, the site at the northern end of Denormandie Avenue will now serve as a place for “contemplation,” Mayor Ben Lucarelli told several dozen onlookers at a brief ceremony.

Read More »

RED BANK: APARTMENT PROJECTS PLANNED

red bank 121 monmouth street A rendering of the Monmouth Street side of the project proposed by Michael Salerno. (Rendering by SOME Architects. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njSixty-nine new apartments would be built on the edge of downtown Red Bank if two projects pending before the planning and zoning boards  win approval.

One would replace a building that holds a place in rock ‘n roll history as the home of Big Man’s West, a club owned by late saxophonist Clarence Clemons.

Read More »

RED BANK: CARRYING THE FLAG TO REMEMBER

red bank mark otto 091119Red Bank resident Mark Otto nears the end of an 11-mile hike from Mount Mitchill in Atlantic Highlands Wednesday morning while carrying an American flag bearing the names of all those who died in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.

Read More »

RED BANK: REMEMBERING VICTIMS OF ‘MALICE’

red bank september 11 2019 darren mcconnellEighteen years after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on America, Red Bank Police Chief Darren McConnell led a pledge of allegiance for about two dozen participants in a memorial service held in Riverside Gardens Park Wednesday morning.

Read More »

ON THE GREEN: IN MEMORY

September 11 2001 memorial gif

Dozens of residents of the Greater Red Bank Green died in the horrific attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001.

Let’s not forget those who died, and their families.

FAIR HAVEN: CLUB LANDS HISTORIC LISTINGS

fair haven shrewsbury sailing yacht 080519The Shrewsbury River Yacht Club began in a one-story houseboat acquired by a group of vacationing actors in 1910. Below, an undated photo from the early days of the Players Boat Club. (Photo above by John T. Ward; below, courtesy of SRYC. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Shrewsbury River Yacht Club undated The bawdy entertainment culture that spawned it is long gone. So is the Red Bank houseboat that served as its first home. Even the name of the river on which it sits has changed.

But the Shrewsbury River Yacht Club, founded by a bunch of vaudevillians vacationing in Fair Haven more than a century ago, lives on. And now, the successor to the club’s original Navesink River gathering spot is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Read More »

RED BANK: HPC AIMS TO SAVE DOOMED HOUSE

red bank 95 east front st.The Victorian structure, now said to have been built before 1868, is slated for demolition. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njFive months after Red Bank’s planning board approved the demolition of a Victorian house owned by Riverview Medical Center, the borough Historic Preservation  Commission is hoping to save it.

Relying on newly assembled information showing the house at 95 East Front Street was older than previously believed — and may have belonged to descendants of a prominent industrialist — the HPC plans to ask the hospital to turn it into a “medical bed & breakfast.”

Read More »

RED BANK: A BRIEF BOUT OF ANGLOMANIA

red bank royal visit 1939 2A detail from the front page of the Red Bank Register’s June 15, 1939 edition. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njIt was a day unlike any ever seen before or since in Red Bank, turning hordes of area residents and visitors into Anglophiles, at least for a late-spring morning.

Imagine: an estimated 200,000 people jamming downtown Red Bank and the roadways through Little Silver, Fair Haven, Rumson and Sea Bright to catch a glimpse of king and queen of England.

Read More »

RED BANK: PARADE MARCHES BACK TO LIFE

Red Bank’s Memorial Day Parade, a onetime tradition that halted an indeterminate number of years ago, was back in full force Monday.

Under fabulously sunny skies, the Parks & Rec-organized event saw a stableful of therapy horses leading the way up Broad Street from Irving Place to the Veteran’s Monument on Monmouth Street. There, a short ceremony in commemoration of military victims of foreign wars was held.

Enjoy the 50-photo slideshow from both events below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

Read More »

RED BANK: FORTUNE CULTURAL CENTER OPENS

red bank fortune house Dozens of supporters gathered on the front lawn for the opening of the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center. Below, a view of the ceremony from inside the restored house. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank fortune houseMore than a century after the departure of its most famous resident, the T. Thomas Fortune House in Red Bank reopened Thursday as a cultural center dedicated to his mission of advancing civil and human rights.

Read More »