PARK IT HERE FOR FREE MUSIC & MOVIES

thespringstandardsThe Songwriters in the Park series brings the Spring Standards, above, and former Bongos member Richard Barone, below, to Red Bank. (Click to enlarge)

richardbaroneIt’s been the backdrop for more wedding party photos than any local scenery this side of the “hobbit” pergola at Deep Cut Gardens, the setting for school commencements, and the preferred parking place for the borough’s distinctive holiday ice boat. A place for kids to congregate on weekend nights, and a place for candlelit vigils and makeshift memorials in the days following 9/11.

Ever since Riverside Gardens took shape on the former site of the long-gone apartment house of the same name, a generation of Red Bankers has wondered how they ever got along without the West Front Street park along the Navesink. No more so than in the weeks after the end of the school year, when the waterfront walkways host a beach-blanket brigade of neighbors in search of some music and movies, under the setting sun and stars. It all comes to you courtesy of the hardworking folks at the borough’s Department of Parks and Recreation, working in concert with sponsors and co-organizers public and private.

It’s that warm and breeze-kissed time of year when the municipal government — the people who normally incur your wrath over not filling in potholes fast enough — gets to fill your evenings with music and all-around good vibes.

Beginning this week, Riverside Gardens will see the return of three proven and popular attractions — Movies in the Park, Jazz in the Park and Songwriters in the Park — all presented free of charge (with complimentary river sunsets) throughout July and much of August. It’s a slate of entertainments that was preceded by an appetizer in the form of June’s LunchMusic series — and the menu continues, right after the break.

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