SEA BRIGHT: FOCUS ON STALLED BUSINESSES

A volunteer group wants to help owners of vacant stores spruce up their properties.  (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

A group of Sea Bright residents is asking the borough to reach out to businesses that have stalled in the post-Sandy recovery process.

With a campaign for sand replenishment, a fundraiser to replace lost beach equipment, an open-house on recovery construction and more efforts already under its belt, Seabrighters Embracing Action – a community group that formed in February to help the town and each other recover from Hurricane Sandy – is now turning its attention to matters of appearance.

“We’re asking the town to enforce the codes when it comes to businesses that aren’t cleaning up,” SEA founder Heather Bedenko said Tuesday night after the bimonthly borough council meeting. Closed businesses “are like black eyes on the town. We have businesses opening up between two half-demolished places,” she said.

Read More »

RED BANK: A TOUCHY-FEELY SIDEWALK SALE

Downtown Red Bank is always a great people-watching scene, and that was the case when bargainhunters flooded the sidewalks for the 59th annual Red Bank Sidewalk Sale over the past weekend. redbankgreen took these photos on Saturday. (Click to enlarge)
Read More »

RED BANK: SCAVONE TO LEAD RIVERCENTER

Jim Scavone, left, rockin’ promotional sunglasses at a Red Bank Flavour event last month with RiverCenter program director Amanda Lynn, center, and Visitors Center director Margaret Mass. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank RiverCenter kept it local, choosing interim director and borough resident Jim Scavone to lead the downtown promotion agency, the organization announced Tuesday night.

The selection of Scavone, who was RiverCenter’s operations manager prior to the April departure of Nancy Adams as executive director, marks a win for members of the search committee who urged their store-and-restaurant-owning colleagues to stick with in-house talent rather than bring in someone unfamiliar, people involved in the selection process told redbankgreen.

“The best man won,” said Tom Fishkin, RiverCenter’s vice chairman and owner of Readies Fine Foods on Broad Street.

Read More »

RED BANK: SHOWING SMOKERS THE DOOR

Amy Manor is closing off the vestibule to her design studio, above, because of damage she said has been done by nighttime smokers. Below, Manor with cigarette butts left behind the shop. (Photos by Dan Natale. Click to enlarge)

By DAN NATALE

Amy Manor is sick of blood, vomit, and broken windows.

She’s giving the vestibule of her eponymous Red Bank interior design studio, at 4B West Front Street, a makeover in reaction to damage that she says patrons of local bars have repeatedly inflicted.

At a cost of about $12,000, Manor is enclosing the vestibule.

The small cubby in front of the shop received particular abuse because of its ability to provide shelter to patrons of nearby bars. Partygoers have been known to huddle in the space during the winter to shield themselves, and their cigarettes, from the harsh elements.

Naturally, trouble ensued.

Read More »

RED BANK: KING DAY, IN SONG AND STRIDE

A commemoration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Pilgrim Baptist Church featured musical performances and readings by students from local schools. Below, Red Bank Charter School students went on a silent march downtown in honor of King’s message of peace.  (Photos by Danielle Tepper. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Monday was a day of celebrations as students from Red Bank area schools offered tributes to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the 84th anniversary of his birth.

Pilgrim Baptist Church on Shrewsbury Avenue hosted a Community Commemorative Celebration with an open-ended an invitation extended to anyone wishing to join in the event.

Due to a large number of performances, “it was a little on the longer side” said Pastor Terrence Porter. “Because we wanted to make sure we included all the kids.” Read More »

ARTIST HEADS DOWNTOWN

Jim McKenzie with some of his work at David Banegas Studio in Red Bank earlier this year. (Click to enlarge)

By DAN NATALE

The busiest bar night of the year for Red Bank’s Downtown club features a small display of works by an up-and-coming visual artist.

Jim Mckenzie, a 23-year-old from Hazlet, brings his wildly colorful, mystical, and quirky imagination in the form of digital prints and sculptures to the West Front Street watering hole Wednesday night while Brian Kirk & the Jirks put on their customary Thanksgiving Eve show, says Downtown music director Chris Masi.

Read More »

SEA BRIGHT RESIDENTS TO GET ACCESS TODAY

For the second time in four days, Sea Bright residents gathered in a stadium, this time in West Long Branch, to get updates on the storm cleanup Sunday. Below, Mayor Dina Long and Councilman James LoBiondo. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Sea Bright residents were to begin getting greater access to their homes Monday morning, town officials told them at another packed-grandstand meeting Sunday.

Though a massive cleanup and repair of public works infrastructure is proceeding more quickly than initially anticipated, “Sea Bright is not ready to be reoccupied,” Mayor Dina Long said at a townwide meeting held at Shore Regional High’s football field in West Long Branch.

Still, officials hope to allow unimpeded access to residents as early as Friday, said Councilman James LoBiondo, who has headed up the effort to cap leaking natural gas lines and remove hundreds of tons of sand from roadways.

Read More »

SEA BRIGHT: THE MORNING AFTER

Woody’s Ocean Grille owner Chris Wood sent us these photos he took in Sea Bright at the first light Tuesday, just hours after Hurricane Sandy all but obliterated the town. From left: the demolished remnants of popular oceanfront bar Donovan’s Reef; Ocean Avenue looking north from downtown; and Ship Ahoy Beach Club. (Click to enlarge)

Town officials said Thursday that Sea Bright would be off-limits to residents and visitors for seven to ten days as crews work to halt natural gas leaks and inspect structures for safety. As for the 14-month-old Woody’s, the owner says the restaurant came through the storm and will be back.

PARK IT: DOWNTOWN BENCHES GET MAKEOVER

Matt DePonti, below, reinstalls a bench on Broad Street in Red Bank last Friday after it was refurbished by his employer, Powerhouse Signworks. Seven benches that had been broken and held in storage were rebuilt, and all the others refinished, bringing the total downtown to about 40, said Powerhouse owner Jim Bruno.

Red Bank RiverCenter paid for the work, which cost just $1,000, said executive director Nancy Adams. (Click to enlarge)

ANOTHER EARLY TASTE OF SUMMER AWAITS

Almost five weeks after the start of Daylight Saving Time, the classic Reussille’s clock on Broad Street still hadn’t caught up Thursday. (Click to enlarge)

Red Bank’s most prominent downtown clock may be stuck in winter, but a spring season less than a month old is already aching to turn into summer, it seems.

After a couple of (more) warmish days Friday and Saturday, temperatures are expected to hit the mid-70s Sunday, and climb past 80 on Monday, according to the National Weather Service.

Here’s the forecast:

Read More »

RUMSON ALSO LIKELY TO SCRUB FIREWORKS

Scenes from the 2011 Rumson fireworks show, which was synched up with the Red Bank display upriver. (Photos by Dustin Racioppi. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

As go Red Bank’s Independence Day fireworks, so go Rumson’s.

For five years, the two towns put on simultaneous, mirror-image fireworks displays just miles apart on the Navesink River.

But the decision announced Wednesday by the KaBoom Fireworks organizing committee to shelve the Red Bank show in all likelihood means there also will be no fireworks anchored around the Oceanic Bridge between Rumson and Middletown this year, Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl tells redbankgreen.

“We’re probably not going to be able to go ahead,” he said.

Read More »

RED BANK FIREWORKS CANCELLED; SECURITY COSTS, INADEQUATE PUBLIC FUNDING CITED

Scenes from the 2011 fireworks show, when police presence was ramped up following widespread brawling and drunkeness in 2010. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s largest public event, the annual KaBoom Fireworks show, is off for 2012 and facing steep barriers to a return, organizers said Wednesday morning.

The nonprofit show’s executive committee, after several months of mulling, concluded about a week ago that the costs and challenges of staging the event, which draws an estimated 100,000 visitors to the borough each July 3, could not be met this year, chairman Tim Hogan told redbankgreen.

“It was a victim of its own success,” Hogan said, with increasingly bigger crowds  drawn to what was billed as the fourth-largest Independence Day fireworks celebration in America in terms of the number and size of shells lofted into the sky above the Navesink River.

“It was a big event,” he said. “It was a challenge to control the crowd and make sure we were providing security to the folks who came.”

Read More »

NICK CLEMONS & BANDITS TAKE DOWNTOWN

The Downtown in Red Bank was bumping and grinding Wednesday night as the Nick Clemons Band, led by the son of late E-Street Band saxman Clarence Clemons shared the stage and runway with the Daisy Dukes-wearing Bar-top Bandits.

Photographer Peter Lindner was there for redbankgreen.

(P.S. There’s a bit of a discussion underway on our Facebook page on whether events and pix like these are part of a societal ill that needs addressing. Pop on over if you’d like to weigh in.)

RACK ‘EM UP: BILLIARDS MAY RETURN TO RB

14-w-frontIf approved by the zoning board, a billiards hall called Lucky Break will move into the long-vacant storefront at 14 West Front. (Click to enlarge)

[This article was updated with new info at 12:25 p.m. Thursday, September 21.]

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna’s push for more after-hours activities downtown appears to be gaining momentum.

The prospective tenant of a West Front Street storefront that’s been vacant for more than three years is proposing to create a pool hall there, redbankgreen has learned.

Read More »

RED BANK RENEWS PUSH FOR LATE CLOSINGS

rb-late-nightBars and restaurants are doing their job keeping doors open late, some say, but more merchants must stay open to attract more visitors. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

As Red Bank continues to claw its way out of an economic hole it hasn’t seen since the we-don’t-like-to-talk-about-it Dead Bank days, Mayor Pasquale Menna tends to periodically jab downtown’s retailers with a reminder that it’s going to take work to bring Red Bank back as a top destination in the region and beyond.

Lately, though, he’s taken a firmer approach.

At a council meeting last month, when two requests for car shows on Broad Street appeared on the agenda, he paused from the typical rubber-stamping of such requests.

“This is a chance to tickle, pinch, smack our retailers to stay open on Sunday,” Menna said, and then pointed to Red Bank RiverCenter Executive Director Nancy Adams, who was seated in the audience. “Get the word out. Tell them to stay open on Sunday. I might start smacking instead of pinching.”

It was another lash at a limp horse he’s been flogging since before Red Bank’s business dipped with the national economy. For years, Menna has been urging merchants to move away from the nine-to-five mindset and keep the lights on after dark and on Sunday, when too many stores, he says, are closed.

Read More »

BALLEW BUILDING GOES FOR $1.5M

ballewThe three-story structure changed hands on July 1, records show. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The former home of Ballew Jewelers at has been sold, officially severing a relationship with Red Bank that lasted 124 years but sputtered to an anticlimactic end earlier this year.

Through an entity called LLC 36 Broad Street, Rumson resident Michael Morgan paid $1.5 million on July 1 for the three-story building at 36 Broad, according to Monmouth County property records.

Read More »

MASON OUT, LOVERSIDGE & VALET IN

frank-mason1Frank Mason, soon to be Red Bank’s former CFO, at his final council meeting Wednesday night. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank council members unloaded their attaboys on Frank Mason Wednesday, bidding a formal farewell to the borough’s outgoing finance chief, whose last day on the job is next Friday.

Mason, who’s taking the same position in Montclair, will be replaced, on an interim basis, by Bruce Loversidge, who held the position for more than 30 years before he retired.

Read More »

VALET UP FOR A VOTE IN RED BANK

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

park_it_021There soon could be fewer cars circling downtown Red Bank in search of parking spots if the borough council gives the green light to a proposal by Red Bank RiverCenter Wednesday night.

The business promotion agency, in an effort to pull in more visitors, hopes to try valet parking on a trial basis.

“It’ll benefit anybody whose customer doesn’t want to drive around or park themselves,” RiverCenter Executive Director Nancy Adams said.

Motorists who covet the six spaces on Broad Street that will be dedicated to the valet service might have a different take, however.

Read More »

KABOOMERS TOUT RETURN TO ‘FAMILY’ SHOW

kaboom-wfront-2010Spectators watching the  2010 fireworks from outside the Red Bank Public Library. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

The weekend extravaganza that is Kaboomfest kicks off Friday night, a three-day indulgence on the banks of our beautiful Navesink that includes rides, amusements, live music and one breathtaking pyrotechnics show that qualifies as one of the country’s largest.

There’s a lot to soak in of the borough’s lauded tradition, from parking to security, to where to catch the show and how to beat out after it’s done.

Your friends at redbankgreen have got you covered, and the articles below touch on all the facets of the show. Below is a shrunken version of those stories, providing a snapshot of what this weekend is all about.

Read More »

A GUIDE TO KABOOM, COMING & GOING

LargemapDowntown will be closed to traffic beginning at 4 p.m. Sunday afternoon. The train is the easiest way in and out of town the night of the fireworks, coordinators say. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

rb-trainIn addition to a powerhouse fireworks show, one guarantee for Sunday’s KaBoom event in Red Bank is the logjam of crowds and traffic that comes with it.

Tens of thousands of visitors stream into town by car, rail, on foot and by bike. Gridlock on the periphery of the central business district is likely before the show. Your “secret” path out of town afterward? Forget about it. It’s taillight city everywhere.

Below is a comprehensive rundown on what to expect, where to go and how to get in and out of town with the same amount of hair you came with.

Read More »

TEENS BUSTED FOR ROOFTOP GRAFFITI

authorities2bBy DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Two local teenagers were arrested in Red Bank Thursday after being caught spray-painting a downtown building, police said.

Thomas Ley, 18, of Rumson, was arrested and charged with criminal mischief and criminal trespassing, Captain Darren McConnell said. A 17-year-old male from Red Bank was also arrested and charged with the same crimes, McConnell said.

Police are also looking into whether the two may be involved in increased graffiti incidents within the borough the last two months.

Read More »

SOMETHING TO WALK AND WINE ABOUT

rb-restaurants-052711Citing last year’s success, downtown Red Bank restaurants will reprise Food & Wine Walk this summer, beginning Sunday. (Click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

As if last weekend’s Riverfest wasn’t enough to show off Red Bank restaurants, downtown promoter RiverCenter is cueing up a post-park foodfest of its own — an entrée into summer, if you will — reinstating a biannual tradition sprung last spring that brought the crowds into and sent them all about downtown Red Bank.

So, if you haven’t fully digested the lobster, filets and burgers of last week, RiverCenter’s got a suggestion: walk it off. And grab a glass of vino while you’re at it.

Read More »

THE SUNNY SIDE OF THE STREET

sidewalk-sunShannon Langbein, right, and a fellow hairdresser at Red Bank’s Chelsea Morning take advantage of an opening in the appointment book to lie in the sun on the sidewalk of White Street Tuesday. “Can’t miss a day of sun,” Langbein said. (photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

THE WEEK IN REARVIEW: MAY 15-20, 2011

chopper1A helicopter search Thursday was part of an investigation into the whereabouts of missing Red Bank woman. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Busy last week prepping for the rapture?

Whatever you missed is all here, below, waiting for you.

Read More »