RED BANK: STREETS TAKE ON ETHNIC FLAVOR

john street block party 2014An antipasto, above, went with this year’s food from your heritage” theme at John Street’s annual block party. Below, plating up some southern fried chicken on Elm Place. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

elm place block party 2014 3The ritual end-of-summer block party is more than just a great excuse to hang out in the middle of the street, catching up with neighbors you’ve been too busy to see all summer. For many hungry Red Bankers, it’s an opportunity to sample a smorgasbord of eats from their neighbors’ kitchens.

Take Elm Place, which has been throwing an annual block party for at least 14 years now, according to resident Tom Labetti. For the latest edition, held Saturday, a 30-foot buffet table was laden with heaping plates of fried chicken, pulled pork, buffalo wings and other potluck  staples. But many of the neighbors PieHole spoke with seemed to be mulling around just waiting for Margaret Ilarraza to bring out the Puerto Rican chicken she makes every year.

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A FAMILY-STYLE BLOCK PARTY, OPEN TO ALL

family-reunionDale Bass-Weems helped organize a family reunion block party on Drs. James Parker Boulevard, shown in the background, on Saturday.

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

When Dale Bass-Weems, Anita Daniels and Jennifer Bennett — three childhood friends — came back to visit Red Bank last year, it was on the worst of terms. A friend had died, and they were reconnecting with a lot of their old pals in a funeral home.

It was a watershed moment for the three women who grew up on the West Side.

“We decided we were tired of coming home for a funeral. Why can’t we come back for better reasons?” Daniels, now of Asbury Park, said.

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BLOCK PARTIES CLOSE OUT SUMMER OF ’09

One featured a bounce-around, historical newspaper articles, a playful three-legged dog and the funk stylings of Red Bank’s own Shimmytang. The other was a quieter affair.

But the residents of both Elm Place and Hudson Avenue put a period on the summer in intimate style Saturday with block parties held just a couple of hundred yards apart from one another. The proof is in the pix.

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