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: MURPHY ‘PAUSES’ INDOOR DINING

Patrons of the Dublin House in Red Bank gather at its outdoor Temple Bar on June 20. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Tapping the brakes on his economic restart effort, Governor Phil Murphy indefinitely postponed a planned resumption of indoor restaurant dining Monday.

The move is “prudent” in the face of rising COVID-19 infection rates in other states, Murphy said at his daily briefing on the pandemic.

He also cited “overcrowding, a complete disregard for social distancing, [and] very few if any face coverings” at some New Jersey bars that he did not name.

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RED BANK: NEARLY NEW CALLS IT QUITS

After 27 years in business, Janice Brown has closed the Nearly Newly clothing store on Monmouth Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallAfter a career as a Pan Am stewardess, Janice Brown found her second act in 1993 as a Red Bank retailer, selling stylish vintage clothing.

But in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Brown has decided to close the shop.

Read all about the end of the Nearly New Shop and other changes downtown in this edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn.

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RED BANK: PLAZAS RETURN FOR WEEK TWO

red bank broad street plazared bank broad street plazaAfter a widely praised start last week, pedestrian plaza dining and shopping on Broad Street in Red Bank returns for week two starting Thursday night.

Under the economic restart effort, Broad Street between West Front and Wallace streets is closed to vehicles from 3 p.m to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday evenings, and Monmouth Street between Broad and Maple Avenue is closed all day Sunday.

But after daytime sunshine, the weather forecast for Thursday evening is iffy, with evening showers possible, according to the National Weather Service.

What happens if it rains? Does the street reopen to vehicular traffic? No, and merchants make the call for themselves whether open, close or resume operations when passing summer showers threaten, as detailed by redbankgreen here.

Here’s the extended forecast for the Greater Red Bank Green.

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FAIR HAVEN: NO DUNKIN’ ON OVER EASY

fair haven over easy 061620Over Easy Kitchen plans to open in space vacated by Bike Haven nearly four years ago. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njNo angry crowds, no predictions of traffic jams or children being run over by cars.

A restaurant proposed for Fair Haven’s Acme shopping center had a far easier time winning approval Tuesday night than its prospective neighbor, a Dunkin’ coffee shop that divided the town for months.

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RED BANK: PREPPING FOR PLAZAS

With the first of two unprecedented pedestrian plazas set to debut in downtown Red Bank Thursday night, prep work was underway on Broad Street earlier this week.

Above, a crew from Powerhouse Signs, under contract with Red Bank RiverCenter, installed in-tree uplighting that owner Jim Bruno said he hoped will create a “Greenwich Village vibe” for outdoor diners and shoppers. At right, code enforcement official Frank Woods checked  a sidewalk café for its distance from the curb.  

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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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ON THE GREEN: RESTAURANTS REOPEN

little silver edie's 061520After a nearly three-month shutdown except for takeout, restaurants on the Greater Red Bank Green began reopening as sit-down, outdoor-only eateries Monday.

Even with the weather a bit on the cool side, “it’s nice to get of the hospital,” said a Riverview Medical Center employee sharing lunch with colleagues at Robinson Ale House in Red Bank, above. Read More »

RED BANK: RESTAURANTS HUSTLE TO REOPEN

red bank danny murphy 061120Danny Murphy, owner of Danny’s Steakhouse, with the safety guide he prepared for his employees. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Their industry battered over the past three months by the COVID-19 pandemic, Red Bank’s restaurateurs are now scrambling for a toehold on recovery.

With partial reopenings slated to begin Monday, they’re training staff in a host of new hygiene procedures. At the same time, some are also racing to shift operations into two new shopping and dining plazas being created downtown.

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RED BANK: RETAIL DAMAGE, BUT HOPE, TOO

red bank forge alex montaperto 052020Alex Montaperto in Forge, her English Plaza shop, which hasn’t opened though it’s been ready for nine weeks. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallWith the dust settling from one of the worst economic blows in American history, the damage to Red Bank’s retail scene is starting to come into focus.

Business shutterings and aborted lease deals are on the rise – no surprise – but there are also a few glimmers of optimism.

Read all about some of the changes downtown in this edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn.

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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: 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: WHITE STREET DISRUPTION FEARED

red bank kristen winters 051820Kris Winters says her White Street shop, Cabana 19, was just getting back on its feet from last year’s streetscape disruption when the pandemic hit. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

park it 2020

A Red Bank construction project looms large for some business owners as they start to crawl out from under one of the worst economic crises in American history.

They’re pleading for “empathy” as they try to avoid a third consecutive blow in one year.

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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: MARKET REOPENS AS DRIVE-THRU

red bank farmers market red bank farmers marketThe Red Bank Farmer’s Market reopened Sunday, with some changes to limit the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.

The foremost modification: the market is now temporarily a drive-thru only, with customers encouraged to pre-order their purchases.

Kurt Poehler, above, and his crew from Spring House Farms were ready with arrays of colorful fruits and vegetables.

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FAIR HAVEN: HARDWARE SHOP REOPENS

fair haven hardware harvey shoomanStore owner Harvey Shooman speaking with customers Tuesday morning. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Testing the waters in the COVID-19 era, Fair Haven Hardware reopened for business Tuesday morning – with some new rules for employees and customers to observe.

“We don’t know how this is going to work out,” co-owner Harvey Schooman told redbankgreen. “So we’ll see how it goes.”

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ON THE GREEN: TRANQUIL SCENES ABOUND

fair haven harding bird sanctuary 040720red bank scenes 041220 A rare Redshirted Strollerpusher was spotted in the Harding Bird Sanctuary in Fair Haven Tuesday afternoon. A more common sight these days: a man with takeout dinner unconcerned about his safety crossing car-free Broad Street in Red Bank. 

Three weeks in, the COVID-19 shutdown of non-essential activity has turned the normally bustling Greater Red Bank Green into tranquil, nearly empty streetscapes, offices and shops. Check out the pictures below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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