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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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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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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Parade_2The kind of parade George Bowden dreams of: scads of bunting throughout town, with perhaps a giant balloon strapped to the roof of a motorcar, as seen in this undated photo from Helen C. Phillips’ “Red Bank on the Navesink.”

After a late start, plans for the two-day Red Bank centennial festival next weekend are largely in place, organizers say.

The celebration of Red Bank’s 1908 designation as a borough kicks off with a parade through the heart of town on Saturday, May 17, followed by a free picnic for residents at Count Basie Field.

A day of maritime celebration follows on Sunday, with an armada of boats on the Navesink River, a flyover of ultralight airplanes and activities and displays in Marine Park.

And there will plenty of bunting, says one of the Bunting Boys, George Bowden. He tells redbankgreen that more than 60 buildings on and near the parade route have purchased banners for display.

“All of a sudden, things are coming into pretty fast focus,” says Bowden.

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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.


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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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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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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Img_3671Centennial logo design winner Alexis Holiday is a fourth-generation Red Banker.

The winner of a contest for a logo to commemorate Red Bank’s first hundred years is a 14-year-old Charter School student who only recently began dabbling in Adobe Photoshop, the computer application in which she created her design.

Her entry was the unanimous choice of a panel of judges from among 30 or so designs by professional and amateur illustrators, “from very tender-aged people to those who are not-so-tender-aged,” Mayor Pasquale Menna said in a ceremony at Borough Hall last night.

But Alexis Holiday’s logo seems all the more fitting given how closely her own heritage is tied to that of her hometown.

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Mayor Pasquale Menna has picked an executive at Red Bank-based Hovnanian Enterprises to chair the annual KaBoom Fireworks on the Navesink committee.


His pick: Peter Reinhart, a borough resident who’s senior vice president and general counsel at the publicly traded homebuilding company.

The company’s year-old headquarters is located at the river end of Maple Avenue, a primo fireworks-watching location. The grass amphitheater next to the building is the site of a big-ticket “Light Up the Night” catered party.

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For a guy who just turned 80, George Bowden has a lot of energy. Some of it gets steered into his passion for trying to preserve old buildings in Red Bank as chairman of the borough’s Historical Preservation Commission. Some he expends on his favorite pastime, fishing.

But that still leaves Bowden with juice to spare, and he’s eager to burn it up getting the town ready for its 100th anniversary next year.

Problem is, not much is happening on that front in terms of guidance. And that’s making Bowden nervous, given the narrowing window of opportunity to plan something special.

“It’s been sort of dead in the water,” Bowden told redbankgreen recently, noting that an event planning committee appointed by Mayor Pasquale Menna earlier this year has had just one meeting. Bowden’s a member, but not heading it up.

“My concern is that here’s a tremendous amount of work to be done, and I have trouble pedaling a bicycle without a chain,” Bowden says.

Menna tells us he understands Bowden’s antsiness, but says there is progress being made.

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Considering its dire implications, the news earlier this month that a Red Bank house had been had been designated one of New Jersey’s 10 most endangered historic sites was oddly encouraging to a near-octagenarian with a weatherbeaten voice and fu manchu straight out of the ’60s.

Oddly, that is, because inclusion on the list put together by Preservation New Jersey provides no guarantees that the house will be saved. It offers no legal leverage against a present or future owner who might decide to knock the house down. There’s no money in it, either.

In sum, the appellation is as toothless as a newborn.

Yet George Bowden was ecstatic. He’d known that the house, once the home of pioneering African-American newspaperman T. (Timothy) Thomas Fortune, might land on the list, but asked that that not be publicized until it was official, after which “we can blow it sky high,” he told redbankgreen with characteristic enthusiasm.

Once it was announced, Bowden started making plans to leverage the endorsement of historians across the state. He began planning outreach to community groups, leaders of African-American congregations — he’s even reached out to Oprah. Whatever it takes to get the word out.

“You can try to prevent it through the press, or local support,” he says, “but there’s no legal groundwork for preventing demolition.”

“He’s like the Energizer bunny,” says Ed Zipprich, a candidate for council this year who serves on the borough’s Historical Preservation Commission that Bowden heads.

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Republican Grace Cangemi’s first two hours as Red Bank’s newest council member Monday night were marked largely by the air of civility that has dominated the governing body’s meetings this year.

“I have a great deal of respect for Mayor [Pasquale] Menna, and I look forward to being part of his administration,” Cangemi said in her opening remarks as she filled the seat left vacant by the January resignation of Kaye Ernst.

“I think we’ve made the right decision, and I think you’ll be a credit to the residents of Red Bank,” Menna replied, as a packed council hearing room looked on.

Later, though, came the first, brief burst of verbal fireworks since Menna took the gavel from his predecessor as mayor, Ed McKenna. And he had to use it, too — not that it did any good.

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