Peeling paint and rotting wood at the Red Bank train station have preservationists worried about “demolition by neglect.” (Click to enlarge)

Red Bank’s Historic Preservation Commission has gone on the offensive against New Jersey Transit, owner of the borough train station, for what it calls apparently “intentional” lack of maintenance.

The agency’s failure to replace a failing asphalt shingle roof or do basic painting on the circa 1875 structure constitutes “demolition by neglect,” leaving the building in “such a deteriorated state that Transit will insist they have no other option other than to demolish the structure,” the commission says in a letter presented to the borough council Monday night.

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Today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit keeps it in the borough’s business district, where Red Bank RiverCenter has a hand in a couple of events that just might have you seeing red — or ghosts, even.

The shades and phantoms come courtesy of Jersey Shore Ghost Tours, who inaugurate a brand new series of Red Bank Walking Lantern Ghost Tours this Friday night, a series that continues through Halloween with a rendezvous point at The Dublin House — home to the famous house haunter Mrs. Patterson (as well as some decidedly robust spirits).

We talk to Tabitha, the woman behind the ectoplasmic excursions, getting the details of how this whole thing came about — along with a preview of a local ghost story from a pretty surprising source.

It’s all there, along with the latest Orb sightings, in Red Bank oRBit!


fh-williams-backThe Charles Williams House, dating to the mid-19th century, will be the site of an estate sale on Saturday.

Fair Haven officials expect to hold a final debate and vote next Monday on whether to float a bond to buy and raze one of the oldest homes in town to create a riverfront park.

Meantime, on Saturday, the owners of the house built by free black man Charles Williams in 1855 are planning to sell its contents at what promises to be an unusual yard sale, redbankgreen has learned.

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Residents of DeNormandie Avenue have raised traffic and parking concerns about the proposed conversion of the riverfront residence to a park.

In response to concerns raised by neighbors, Fair Haven officials last night put off voting on a plan to fund the $1.2 million purchase of a one-acre parcel on the Navesink River, according to a report in today’s Asbury Park Press.

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fh-williamshouseWith its million-dollar view of the Navesink, the Charles Williams house would be razed sooner or later, locals appear to agree. Below, a weathered medallion on the doorframe marks the structure as a Century House.
(Click to enlarge)

It’s a homestead that links Fair Haven not only to its roots as a riverfront village, but to the bedrock of its identity as a place where African Americans made their homes even in the days of slavery.

The Charles Williams house, built overlooking the Navesink River in 1855, has remained in the same family without interruption, pre-Emancipation right through the death of its most recent occupant, who lived there for 90 years.

Her name was Winifred Julia Decatur Robards, and she died one year ago this week at the age of 92, adding to the rapid erosion of the borough’s small black community.

But years before her death, she and her two sons saw the end of the line coming, and planned to put the house up for sale. And now, it appears the Williams house will indeed fall to a bulldozer at the behest of its next owner: the borough of Fair Haven itself.

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Don’t look now, but some of your neighbors are up to some pretty extraordinary things — and in today’s edition of Red Bank oRBit, we call on a couple of them.
First, there’s Cara Salimando, a Little Silver resident who’s just finished her junior year at Red Bank Regional and a talented singer-songwriter who’s going to be very visible around area music venues this summer, including two appearances during this weekend’s Wave Gathering festival in Asbury Park. We talk to the 17 year old performer about past influences, future plans — and a little present in the form of a major-label recording contract.


Next, oRBit docks at River Road Books in Fair Haven, where Rumson resident and veteran sailboat skipper William H. White pays a visit to read from and sign copies of the latest in his series of historical high-sea adventure novels, When Fortune Frowns. It’s a ripping-good read drawn from the controversial circumstances and completely bizarre aftermath of the infamous HMS Bounty mutiny. We chat with the author for a bit of background on Cap’n Bligh and Mr. Christian, an opinionated overview of sailing the Two Rivers, and a tantalizing hint about his next project.

All this plus sexiest TV news anchor Jack Ford, here on the only website that dares to be bullish on bookish people — Red Bank oRBit!


Noworbiting_iconBudDornToday’s Red Bank oRBit offers up a double feature that spotlights
the return of a local classic and a coming-attractions trailer for one of
the most highly anticipated sequels in cinema-buff circles.

First, we finally get around to answering the question, ‘Whatever Happened
to the Red Bank International Film Festival?’ Seems that the RBIFF for 2008
is a GO, even though it’s no longer 2008 (and it’s not going to be presented
in Red Bank). In any event, we’ve got the details on the long-awaited return
of the Freedom Film Society folks, who are planning a whole slate of
blockbuster activities that you’ll read about first right here.

After that, it’s a trek down Memory Lane, as we take a closer look at the
1930s celluloid curiosity ROMANCE AND RED BANK, the hyper-local production
created by Red Bank’s own Bud Dorn (at right) and his dad.

Unlike most other
media types, we’ve actually sat through the thing, and we’ll tell you
everything you needed to know — without the need for any spoiler alerts, of course.

The balcony is open, philm phreaks, ONLY in Red Bank oRBit.

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Corzine o'hernGov. Jon Corzine presents the folded flag from the casket of former Daniel J. O’Hern to O’Hern’s widow, Barbara, as family and friends look on outside St. James Church on Saturday. (Click photos to enlarge)

Red Bank bid farewell to one of its most accomplished sons Saturday, when Gov. Jon Corzine and luminaries from the state’s legal system gathered for the funeral of former borough mayor and New Jersey Supreme Court Justice Daniel J. O’Hern

O’Hern died of brain cancer on Wednesday at age 78 at his home in Little Silver — though reading those those words would likely have sent him around the bend, his son, John suggested.

“A few years ago, he grudgingly moved [from Caro Court, in Red Bank] less than a
mile away to Little Silver,” John O’Hern told a packed house at at St. James Church, where his father was a lifelong communicant. “The move about
killed him.”

He said his father made his mother promise at the time that his obituary would
still read, “Daniel O’Hern, of Red Bank, New Jersey.”

The hearse bearing the O’Hern casket passes under the crossing of the ladders arranged by the Red Bank Volunteer Fire Department.

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Dub doorA heated tent awaits the throng of full-time and part-time Irishmen for today's St. Patrick's Day celebration at the Dublin House. Below, a view of the recently completed first-floor bar. (Click to enlarge)

Dub interior 2

Patrons of today's St. Patrick's Day celebration at the Dublin House in Red Bank are in for an eyeful if they haven't popped in since last year.

A top-to-bottom renovation of the historic structure that houses the Monmouth Street establishment — a project that began four years ago and continued without shutting the business down — has just been completed, says co-owner Eugene Devlin.

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Last week’s ‘Where Have I Seen This?‘ featured three views from the site of Shrewsbury’s Allen House, a history-drenched property that dates to the late 17th or early 18th century and functioned for many years as a tavern.

Now maintained by the Monmouth County Historical Association (and open for free tours May through September), it’s at the northwest corner of what’s known as ‘the historic four corners’ intersection of Broad Street (Route 35) and Sycamore Avenue.

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Pnj3Attendees found seats wherever they could, even on the stairs of the restored former Anthony Reckless homestead, better known as the Woman’s Club of Red Bank.


Money woes are putting the brakes on pet projects all over New Jersey, but that didn’t stop historical preservation activists from packing the Woman’s Club of Red Bank on Saturday.

It was standing room only at the annual meeting of Preservation New Jersey, the membership-supported historic preservation organization that in 2007 dubbed Red Bank’s T. Timothy Fortune house one of of the state’s ten most-endangered historical properties.

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IMG_7210Don Abrams of Little Silver breaks down his 'icebird' after the first sail of the season on the Navesink Wednesday afternoon.

A couple of ice boaters took to the Navesink River yesterday afternoon after the ice reached the requisite four inches.

One of them, Don Abrams, a member of the North Shrewsbury Ice Boat & Yacht Club, tells redbankgreen it was the first time this season that anyone had sailed the river.

But the ice was a bit rough, and coated with too much snow for his liking, he says.

A recording on the club's 'iceline' (732.747.5665), updated Wednesday evening, reports Navesink ice of three-to-five inches, with areas of as little as two-inch thickness.

Needless to say, anyone with an itch to go out on the ice is urged to take precautions.

Will the ice last, with daytime temperatures rising above freezing today and tomorrow?

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ObamawitnessesThe new president recited the oath of office, and Red Bank tuned in.

They interrupted their usual routines and silenced their lunchtime chatter to watch, their eyes drawn to television screens and the making of what all agreed was American history.

redbankgreen gathered the impressions of witnesses to the inauguration of
President Barack Obama at four Red Bank locales yesterday: Pilgrim Baptist Church and Frank Talk Art Bistro & Books on Shrewsbury Avenue; the Bagel Station on Monmouth Street; and Zebu Forno on Broad Street.

Read on to get a taste of what was being thought and felt.

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6thdistrict_2Red Bank voters lined up at dawn on Nov. 4 to participate in the election that today puts Barack Obama in the White House as the 44th President of the United States of America.

Among the one to two million Americans expected by D.C. police to be present is 88-year-old Elmer ‘Ace’ Godwin of Shrewsbury, one of the surviving Tuskegee Airmen, the African-American pilots who fought in World War II.

Today’s Asbury Park Press has an article about the airmen and their thoughts on today’s main event.


Pilgrim Baptist aired the final McCain-Obama debate on a large screen in the worship hall in October. A live inauguration screening and luncheon will be held in the church basement.

Of the many takeaways from the election of Barack Obama as president, Rev. Terrence Porter, pastor of Red Bank's Pilgrim Baptist Church, sees in it hope for a renewal of the idea of community service.

"I'm not a politician, but I think it began eroding around the time of Reaganomics and what came after that," he says. "People weren't as concerned about the working class."

With a former community organizer in the White House, Porter says he's enthused by the possible return to a sense of responsibility for those who need a hand.

In that spirit, Pilgrim Baptist is opening its doors to all comers for an inauguration luncheon in its basement Tuesday morning. And Porter is hoping that senior citizens in particular will gather to watch the swearing-in, so he's arranging to shuttle them from Red Bank Senior Citizen Center to the church and back.

"My heart's desire is that our senior citizens will be able to say, when looking back on this historic event, 'This is where I was,'" he says.

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and visitors raised their voices in song during a commemoration of
Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the First Presbyterian Church.


In the same church where Martin Luther
King Sr. preached in 1971, a group of Red Bank-area ministers led more
than a hundred area residents in a lively tribute to his slain son last night.

Guest speaker Rev. Donald Warner – a longtime Red Bank Regional High superintendent who now lives in Florida – reminded the audience of mankind’s “history of killing the dreamer.” But addressing the late civil rights leader whose birthday is celebrated as a federal holiday next Monday, Warner said, “we will fulfill your dream.”

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RocketIn case you missed it…

The New Jersey section of the New York Times had a feature story yesterday on the Rocket, the monster ice boat (shown at right) that’s been restored by members of the North Shrewsbury Ice Boat and Yacht Club down on the Navesink River.

From the article, authored by Red Bank’s own Colleen Dee Berry:

The Rocket, a behemoth Class 1 iceboat with a backbone of 50 feet and
900 square feet of sail, is poised to take the ice, after a lengthy and
loving restoration. There hasn’t been an iceboat of this size on the
Navesink in decades. “Pray for ice,” said John Holian, president of the
nonprofit Rocket Ice Yacht Foundation. “We need 10 to 12 inches.”

And speaking of ice…

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Connors_juneJune Connors (nee Evans) strikes a familiar pose at the McKay Gallery last month. The original shot is below. (Photo above courtesy Liz & Bob McKay)

She’s frozen eternally in a moment of school-spirit optimism, a girl in cheerleader regalia from another era.

But even after her picture went on public display as part of a Red Bank centennial event in late November, the show’s curators, and the artist who supplied the image, didn’t know for sure who she was.

Now, the mystery has been solved, and the woman who was that girl has been reacquainted with the image. 

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Today’s the last chance for motorists to cash in their Garden State Parkway tokens.

Today’s Asbury Park Press reports that token holders have brought 180,000 tokens into the New Jersey Turnpike Authority offices in Woodbridge to redeem them, at 33 cents apiece, since the program began. They’ve come in rolls, baggies, envelopes and even a little purple basket, according to reporter Larry Higgs.

By today’s deadline of 1:30p, another 20,000 tokens are expected to be cashed in.

That number pales by estimates of several million tokens still in circulation — tokens [authority spokesman Joe] Orlando figures probably went to the junkyard in the ashtrays and between the seats of cars traveling on that highway in the sky.

“The vast majority of tokens are never to be seen again,” he said.

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Stairsshadows_5x_7Cheerleader5x7“Stairs and Shadows,” above, by Warner White of Fair Haven, might have made a good ‘Where Have I Seen This?’ (See below for location.) At right, a shot by an unknown photographer; the young woman is believed to be June Evans of South Street, whom the McKay Gallery is trying to locate.

Weather-permitting, the heart of downtown Red Bank will be thronged on November 28, as it is the night following every Thanksgiving, for the annual tree lighting and Holiday Express concert.

Now, Bob & Liz McKay, owners of a photo studio and art gallery upstairs at 12 Monmouth Street, have decided to throw an additional attraction into the festive mix: the opening of an exhibit of photos and paintings to celebrate the borough’s centennial.

The display will offer a range of viewpoints, from decades-old photos from the Dorn’s Classic Images collection to shots taken in recent weeks expressly for this show.

Artists include “people who have never shown in their lives all the way up to George Tice, an internationally famous fine art photographer,” Bob McKay tells redbankgreen.

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