COOL SCHOOL VID ON RED BANK HISTORY

Lest we forget, Red Bank is still in its centennial year, and reminders of that milestone continue to pop up now and again.

The latest is the above video, shot and produced by four students, aged 14 to 17, who enrolled in the Count Basie Theatre’s Cool School this summer.

The kids, who did all the shooting, are Dylan Smart, Jenn Lewis, Mike Hagberg Jr. and Jack Calabro, says Yvonne Scudiery, the Basie’s director of education.

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BUT FIRST, AN OPEN HOUSE FOR THE PUBLIC

Basierow_9Basietheatre_7The aisle stanchion on row U, left; a view of the hall from the balcony, right. (Photos by Jim Willis)

After four months in dry dock, it’s back to the high seas of entertainment for the Count Basie Theatre Thursday night, with a concert by Bobby Bandiera and the Jersey Shore Rock ‘n Soul Revue, a show that kicks off a string of 40 shows in 40 nights.

Wednesday night, though, no tickets are required to get a close look at what $8 million in plaster, paint and other materials can do for a dowdy old rustbucket.

If you live in the 07701 zip code, you should have received a postcard two weeks ago inviting you to a reception Wednesday night. But if you didn’t get it or did but misplaced it, you can still get in, Basie officials tell us.

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DUB TO DEDICATE ROOM TO LATE HISTORIAN

Tj_mcmahon_roomMcmahon_tjThe first-floor dining room will be named for T.J. McMahon, right, seen in a Danny Sanchez photo.

The Dublin House, housed in a venerable old Monmouth Street structure that’s been going through major rehabilitation over the past several years, will name a newly reopened dining room in memory of the late historian and raconteur T.J. McMahon on Sunday.

The occasion is the annual meeting of Preservation Red Bank, which advocates for the protection of noteworthy homes and other buildings in town.

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NO-BIG-MISFORTUNE HOUSE

Fortune_house_808The former home of African-American journalist T. Thomas Fortune is safe — for now, that is.

There’s demolition work underway at the historic Fortune house property on Drs. James Parker Boulevard, but no reason to be alarmed, says unofficial Red Bank historian George Bowden, who’s been fighting to preserve the place.

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A ROOMFUL OF MAYORS

Img_4995Former Mayor Ben Nicosia was among the spotlight guests at a cocktail party Tuesday night at the Molly Pitcher Inn, where he and three other former Red Bank mayors — Dan O’Hern, Mike Arnone and Ed McKenna — were honored by Mayor Pasquale Menna.

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PARKER HOMESTEAD PLAN ADVANCES

Img_6417The Parker house, on Rumson Road, dates to 1667 and is the borough’s oldest home.

Little Silver officials took steps last week in their effort to preserve the 341-year-old Parker house, home of the borough’s founding family.

The Asbury Park Press reports that the borough hired Farewell Mills Gatsch Architects of Princeton

to perform a historic analysis and an operational feasibility plan to show that the borough can operate and use the homestead. The borough will pay $14,875 to match a grant for the work.

“They’re going to get it put on the historic register and apply for state historic grants,” said Michael Biehl, borough administrator.

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CENTENNIAL COCKTAILS WITH EX-MAYORS

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The big-splash events — the parade, the townwide picnic, the boat parade — may be past but the Red Bank Centennial Committee still has a few items on its dance card.

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One is a cocktail party in honor of the borough’s former mayors scheduled for Tuesday night at the Molly Pitcher Inn.

“We have four living former mayors, and the committee thought it appropriate, in our centennial year, to honor their many years of service,” says Mayor Pasquale Menna.

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The ex-mayors are Judge Benedict R. Nicosia (1963-1966), former state Supreme Court Associate Justice Daniel J. O’Hern (1966; 1969-1978), Dr. Michael J. Arnone (1982-1990), and Edward J. McKenna (1990-2006).

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Tickets to the two-hour event are $125 apiece. Proceeds will be used to fund a smattering of future centennial events to be announced, says Menna.

The event is open to the public and starts at 6p; cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Pamela Borghi at 732.530.2797 or Doreen Hoffmann at 732.530.2748.

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FORMER COAL & FEED BUILDING MAY GO

26_shrewsburyThe building has been at its location since the 1920s, says preservationist George Bowden.

A link to Red Bank’s past may soon fall to the bulldozer.

Sourlis International, owner of the Galleria, is looking into demolishing an old red barn it owns just across Shrewsbury Avenue from the shopping, dining and office complex, a company employee confirms.

“It’s a bit of an eyesore,” says manager Ted Whitehouse, who says the company is looking into state Department of Environmental Protection requirements to see if any apply to the demolition of the structure.

No permits have yet been sought from either the state or the borough, he tells redbankgreen.

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PICTURE RED BANK MINUS DORN’S PHOTOS

Img_0852The sign bears an icon resembling the Dorn’s Photo logo.

The business is gone now, and with it, the giant sign in the shape of an old-time bellowed camera. Condos are going up where Daniel Dorn Sr.’s camera and film shop used to be, on Wallace Street.

But the life and work of the lensman, whose movies and photographs documented life in Red Bank from the early 20th century, has been commemorated with a ceremonial renaming of the street to ‘Dorn Way.’

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CARVING OUT A PIECE OF THE LOST PAST

Img_0783Img_0745Rik van Hemmen, above, rough-hews a tulip tree log with a chain saw while Boris Kofman, left, begins shaping one end of what will become a canoe.

A giant tulip tree log that’s been lying on the ground outside the Red Bank Primary School for more than a year has begun its transformation into what local boating enthusiasts and historians hope will become a dugout canoe.

Rik van Hemmen of the Navesink Maritime Heritage Association is leading an effort to build the vessel the way Native Americans are believed to have made theirs in the days of pre-colonial America: by using controlled burning to create a lightweight but sturdy shell.

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NOT QUITE THE FIRST MOONWALK, BUT…

Img_8586Rare species sighted: Rumson Dems Michael Steinhorn, left, and Fred Blumberg march in the town’s Memorial Day parade.

“This is history being made here,” Michael Steinhorn was shouting from the middle of West River Road Monday.

He was referring to his participation, with running mate Fred Blumberg, in Rumson’s Memorial Day parade — a presence he says was the result of a “settlement” with the borough.

As previously noted, the council candidacies of Democrats Blumberg and Steinhorn constitute a political anomaly in Rumson, where Republican domination would appear to be all but complete.

No non-Republican is believed to have won elective office in the town’s 101-year history, and nobody can recall a Democrat having run for mayor or council since at least as far back as 1972.

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A CENTURY CELEBRATED IN TWO DAYS

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The parade thundered; the skies didn’t.

Red Bank’s two-day centennial celebration went off under a cloudless dome of blue Saturday and ended Sunday at 2p with just a hint of a drizzle.

Fairly perfect conditions, all things considered, for the thousands of parade-watchers and marchers who took part in Saturday’s old-timey parade through town, as well as for the estimated 1,700 residents and friends who gathered at Count Basie Field for a picnic, with music by the Red Bank Middle School band.

The threatened rain held off under gray skies Sunday as hundreds of onlookers lined the banks of the Navesink River for the brief flotilla of boats that wrapped up the weekend extravaganza.

As you might expect, redbankgreen was there both days. We took a few pictures. Wanna see ’em? Read on, and click on each to enlarge. (Thanks to Jessica Paviluk for three photos.)

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OLDEST NEIGHBORHOOD LOOKS TO FUTURE

Img_6517Residents of the proposed Washington Street historic district watched a laptop slide show featuring the 106 homes that would be included.

Proponents of a new historic district that would embrace Red Bank’s Washington Street neighborhood appeared to overcome the mild skepticism of about two dozen area residents who turned out at borough hall for a discussion on the topic last night.

Why, one resident wanted to know, did backers of the plan think they’d be able to attain their goal of district designation when, in the past, the borough council has been “hostile” to the idea?

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WASHINGTON STREET ON THE TABLE

Img_6421Nice old house on Washington Street.

Residents of a proposed Washington Street historic district are being encouraged to attend a presentation tonight on what the designation would mean.

The district includes Washington, upper Spring Street, Mount Street and parts of Wallace and Mechanic streets. It is believed to be the oldest residential zone in Red Bank.

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MARKING ANOTHER CENTURY OF EARTH DAYS

Img_4532Bob Sickles Sr. riding high on his 1948 John Deere MT tractor.

Eighty years old, and with a still-thick crop of hair, Bob Sickles Sr. sits at his son Bob’s desk and picks through a boxful of documents in his lap, many of them bearing the swooping calligraphy of ages past.

There are diaries, certificates, courtship letters — items that, while quaintly formal by today’s standards, convey an astonishing sense of intimacy with people long dead, their times relegated to history lessons.

“I have some letters that are 200 years old in this box,” Sickles says. Though he grew up in the house in whose attic his daughter Virginia collected them two summers ago, he’d never really looked at them, he says, and “there’s still more up there.”

The box came out because redbankgreen had dropped by to get the elder Sickle’s thoughts on the family centennial of the farm in Little Silver.

But in context, that milestone is easily dwarfed by the fact that this is only the latest century of an agricultural endeavor now in its fourth.

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FOR THE RECORD

Jacks

Here’s an event that comes this close to a naked cry for help: “Record Store Day,” a nationwide effort to call attention to independent retailers of vinyl and CDs.

Rejected slogan: ‘Please Feed the Dinosaur.’

Today’s New York Times cites the key numbers:

Some 3,100 record stores around the country have closed since 2003, according to the Almighty Institute of Music Retail, a market research firm. And that’s not just the big boxes like the 89 Tower Records outlets that closed at the end of 2006; nearly half were independent shops.

And there are few signs that the hard-goods sellers can survive the accelerating shift to the world of the music download. At best, it seems, today’s CD retailers will become much like the sellers of music on vinyl and wax: magnets for a small, devoted market of collectors, eking out money for supermarket sushi.

Still, as anyone who once spent hours perusing the racks of a record shop knows, it’s painful to watch the vanishing act. And so tomorrow’s event, which includes a live set by the Parlor Mob at Jack’s Music Shoppe on Broad Street, has a inarguable pull to it. Call it nostalgia, call it charity. Whatever. Why not just give into it?

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LIBRARY CEREMONY RESCHEDULED

The grand reopening of the Red Bank Public Library, scheduled for Saturday at 11a, has been pushed back to 12:30p, the Asbury Park Press reports.

The library will still reopen at 11, but official ceremonies will be delayed so as not to conflict with the 11a memorial service for Norma Todd, the longtime director of Lunch Break, who died April 3.

That service will be held at the Calvary Baptist Church on Bridge Avenue.

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BUNTING BOYS UPDATE: PAINTIN’ THE TOWN

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The celebration of Red Bank’s centennial is little more than six weeks away, and today’s Asbury Park Press checks in with one of the planning committee’s two Bunting Boys for a report on how plans to bedeck the business district in red, white and blue are going.

The committee’s goal is to unleash a display of colorful patriotism to rival the borough’s first-anniversary celebration in 1909, said Edward Zipprich, committee member, who has been canvassing businesses with other members to get them to participate.

“We’ve shown them how the town was dressed up in 1909 for the first anniversary,” said Zipprich, also a member of the Historic Preservation Committee. “The level of excitement has been terrific.”

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LIBRARY GRAND REOPENING SET

Img_2817Detail of the wall and ceiling in the restored New Jersey room at the Red Bank Public Library.

Two and a half months after wrapping up a major renovation job, the Red Bank Public Library is preparing for a grand opening event on Saturday, April 12, today’s Asbury Park Press reports.

The event kicks off at 11a and features tours, readings by unspecified local authors and a display of historical photographs of the library, which was formerly the home of the Eisner family. The Eisners made doughboy and Boy Scout uniforms at their sprawling factory on Bridge Avenue; that building is now home to the Galleria.

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PLAN FOR NEW BOROUGH HALL ADVANCES

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Rumson officials last night moved closer toward replacing the town’s Memorial Hall with a contract award for parking lot work, today’s Asbury Park Press reports.

The Borough Council also voted to bond an additional $1 million for the overall project, now forecast to cost $6.5 million, to cover the expense of incorporating the police station into the new complex, the Press reports.

From the story:

The council approved a contract with Lucas Construction Group Inc. of Old Bridge, which had the lowest bid of $375,016 out of 10 companies bidding on a project to relocate the current borough hall parking lot.

The bid came in lower than the engineer’s $411,000 estimate to build a new parking lot and prepare the old lot as a construction site, said Thomas Rogers, borough administrator.

That work could take an estimated four to eight weeks, he said.

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COMING SOON TO STORES: BUNTING BOYS

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We call them the ‘bunting boys’ because ‘The History Boys‘ is taken, and one of them is among the most vigorous 80-year-olds you’ll ever encounter (not to mention one of the most colorful wielders of the English language).

Ed Zipprich and George Bowden of the Red Bank Historic Preservation Commission are planning to canvas businesses with an offering of flags, bunting and other decorative accoutrements of old-timey American jublilees next week.

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Their aim? To bedeck the proposed route of the borough’s May 17 centennial parade with as much red, white and blue as the facades can handle, and thus revive a sense of the pride and community spirit that was far more in evidence a century ago.

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THIS ONE TAKES THE CAKE

RbcakeEd Zipprich’s civic-minded dessert, complete with iceboat logo.

Turns out Red Bank’s centennial did not go completely overlooked this weekend.

River Road resident Ed Zipprich and his partner, JP Nicolaides, threw a little party for neighbors and friends that featured the cake shown above.

In response to our posting earlier today — in which we asked “Where’s the cake?” — Zipprich tells us, via an email, “I have the birthday cake.”

(Doesn’t quite have the dark resonance of “I drink your milkshake,” but hey, it’s a party.)

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HAPPY B-DAY, RED BANK! ARE WE EARLY?

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Where’s Willard Scott? Where’s the cake? Where’s our SILLY PARTY HAT?

Red Bank Borough is 100 years old today!

Or next Monday, depending on which birth certificate you go by.

A century ago, on March 10, 1908, the New Jersey Legislature passed an act to incorporate Red Bank as a borough, “effective immediately.”

One week later the law “went into effect, when a certified copy of the bill was recorded at Freehold,” the weekly Red Bank Register reported in its March 18 edition.

The new law designated the form and powers of the government, which would consist of a mayor and six “councilmen” who, in addition to levying taxes, would have the authority to:

Stop animals from running at large.

Kill dogs running at large.

Stop fast driving.

Not to mention “license pedlers [sic], auctioneers, news stands, theaters, circuses, shooting galleries, bowling alleys, organ grinders etc.”

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