RED BANK: LOBSTER BOAT BURNS ON ICE

rb boat fire 021214 1The Fidder seen from the Cooper Bridge as it burned early Wednesday morning. Below, the icebound vessel on January 26. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

navesink ice 012614 2The Fiddler, a mysteriously anchored boat that drew curious skaters, iceboaters and walkers out onto the frozen Navesink River in recent weeks, seemed to defy nature.

How long, people wondered, could it avoid getting crushed in the grip of ice between Red Bank and Middletown?

Well, if the so-called ‘lobster boat’ was doomed, few might have foreseen that it would meet its demise this way.

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WEAR A SNUGGIE, BUT BRING AN UMBRELLA

rb sofa 013014After a week of frigid temperatures, a sofa left at the curb on West Street in Red Bank appears all set for the first-ever cold-weather Super Bowl Sunday. But the game could turn out to be a rainy affair, as temperatures rise into the high 40s over the next three days, according to the National Weather Service forecast. (Click to enlarge)

ARCTIC COLD LINGERS

With temperatures in the teens, our beautiful Navesink River was a white wonderland for iceboaters and strollers willing to step out onto hardened water between Red Bank and Middletown Wednesday. Thursday started off with wind-chill temperatures six degrees below zero, and a forecast high of 30 degrees. (Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: ICE RETURNS TO THE NAVESINK

After a three-year absence, four-inch ice retuned to our beautiful Navesink River over the weekend, enabling members of the storied North Shrewsbury Ice Boat & Yacht Club to take at least the smallest of their racing toys out for a spin. Larger craft, along the lines of the Rocket, that were more typical in the early decades of the 134-year-old Red Bank club, will have to wait for ice in the eight-inch range.

The ice also enabled skaters and plain old pedestrians to take a stroll on the river and  check out the Fiddler, a lobster boat anchored at mid-river and now hemmed in by hard water.

Club members hope to host a regatta named for longtime club member John Darling next weekend, and the National Weather Service forecast looks favorable for the ice to remain. For word on its condition, call the club’s iceline at (732) 747-5665. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

WEATHER: THIS IS WINTER?

navesink fog 122313 2Clouds above and clouds below as fog lay like a blanket on our beautiful Navesink River Monday morning, as seen from the home of a redbankgreen reader from Riverside Towers in Red Bank. Expect rain, possibly heavy at times, and temperatures in the mid-50s, according to the National Weather Service. (Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: WELL, SHUCKS, OYSTERS FOR T-DAY

Jamian oyster 112413 2Jamian LaViola of Jamian’s demonstrates how to properly and safely shuck an oyster in a video on redbankgreen‘s PieHole food page.

PIEHOLE logoEver since our conversation a few weeks ago with food history author Karen Schnitzspahn, when she spoke how abundant oysters used to be at Red Bank’s bars and taverns, PieHole has had bivalves on the brain.

So we grabbed a dozen Maryland oysters and headed over to Jamian’s Food & Drink for a lesson in how to shuck an oyster without requiring a trip to the hospital.

Check out the video here.

RED BANK: HAPPY SHUCKING THANKSGIVING

Jamian LaViola of Jamian’s shows PieHole how to shuck an oyster. Click here to watch if the video isn’t displaying on your device.  (Video by Brian Donohue. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

Ever since our conversation a few weeks ago with food history author Karen Schnitzspahn, when she spoke how abundant oysters used to be at Red Bank’s bars and taverns, PieHole has had bivalves on the brain.

Since then, we’ve been craving the cold and briny mollusk so much that we’ve decided oysters ought to be on our Thanksgiving table this year.

To see what kind of preparation would be involved to get oysters ready for Thanksgiving, we stopped by the Lusty Lobster (the folks who bring Red Bank the oysters for Oysterfest) and picked up a dozen Maryland oysters ($5/dozen) so that we could hone our shucking skills before the big day.

But mere seconds into our first attempt at prying open a shell, we were fumbling through the medicine cabinet for band-aids and combing through our Facebook friends to see if anyone could show us how to shuck an oyster without requiring a trip to the hospital.

Jamian LaViola from Jamian’s Food and Drink on Monmouth Street in Red Bank answered the call.

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NAVESINK RIVER: GRABBING A QUIET BITE

fishing 101713An unidentified fisherman took a rowboat out onto our beautiful Navesink River between Red Bank and Middletown early Thursday afternoon. Using his lunch hour to catch some supper, perhaps? (Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: FROM ROOF TO ROOF-OF-MOUTH

Jamian LaViola grabs some herbs from the rooftop garden over the restaurant’s kitchen. (Photo by Jim Willis. Click to enlarge)

By JIM WILLIS

At Jamian LaViola’s eponymous Red Bank bar and restaurant, Jamian’s, patrons are apt to arrive on beach cruisers or skateboards, and if they come by car, there’s a good chance there’ll be a surfboard or two strapped to the roof.

That neighborhood vibe now extends to Jamian’s menu, with some produce coming from as nearby as a small garden atop the Monmouth Street restaurant and LaViola’s backyard garden in Navesink.

This summer LaViola is harvesting greens like romaine and frisee from the home garden and using them in the kitchen.

“We just brought in some lobster, and we’re making a fresh lobster salad tonight,” he told redbankgreen last Friday. “Will I use some of my fresh greens for that? Yeah, absolutely because it will make it just that much better.”

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RED BANK: TA-TA, LAYLA

The vessel had to be torn apart in order for it to be removed. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A sailboat that got stuck at Maple Cove in Red Bank during Hurricane Sandy was finally removed Monday, more than eight months later.

Sammy Fitkin, a supervisor with the post-disaster debris management company Crowder Gulf, had hoped to just float the vessel, called the Layla, out on a high tide. But the tide never got high enough, as it did during the storm that brought it in, and the boat lay against the promenade in the mudflats at the foot of Maple Avenue.

“The water wasn’t here to do it,” Fitkin tells redbankgreen. “So this was our only option.”

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RED BANK: FIRST SIP OF SUMMER

Red Bank unveiled a new, two-day summer event called Sippin’ on the River over the weekend. redbankgreen was there the first night to capture the sights as thousands flocked to Marine Park for great food, a little beer or wine, and good company beside our beautiful Navesink River. Were you there? See who you might know in our 50 photos.

RED BANK PLANS $600K BULKHEAD BOND

Borough officials maintain the language of a 1937 deed requires that the existing bulkhead be maintained. (File photo. Click to enlarge)

By SARAH KLEPNER

Though there’s a dirt-cheap alternative that would never need repairs, Red Bank officials plan to spend nearly $600,000 to replace two decrepit Navesink River bulkheads, including one at the public library.

The first hearing on a $596,000 bond ordinance to cover the costs of the work is scheduled for Wednesday night’s council meeting.

The move has been opposed for two years by environmentalists, who have urged elected officials to instead allow for a natural, “living” shoreline to reestablish itself at the library site, on West Front Street.

“It’s so disappointing,” said Kathleen Gasienica. “You can’t get grants for bulkheads, but there are plenty of grants for a living shoreline,” which relies on the stabilizing effects of plant life to minimize erosion.

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RED BANK: WRECKED BOAT TO GO, FINALLY

The battered sailboat Layla has been junking up the view from Maple Cove for almost eight months. (Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

A wrecked sailboat that’s been lodged against the tiny boardwalk at Red Bank’s Maple Cove since Hurricane Sandy is finally about to cleared away.

Sammy Fitkin, a supervisor with the post-disaster debris management company Crowder Gulf, plans to assess as early as today whether the battered vessel, called the Layla, can be floated out on a high tide or if special equipment will be needed to remove it, he tells redbankgreen.

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SPRING 2013: RED SKY OVER RED BANK

Sunrise on our beautiful Navesink River Wednesday, as seen from the foot of Maple Avenue in Red Bank. A pleasant day weatherwise is in store, with partial sunshine and temperatures peaking in the mid-70s, according to the Weather Channel. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge)

RUMSON: SPRING SPLASH

Hundreds of hardy swimmers took to the perfect-70-degree waters of the Navesink River from Rumson’s Victory Park for the eighth annual Nav-e-Sink Or Swim distance festival Saturday morning. Funds raised were to be donated to a Melanoma Awareness campaign. More photos after the jump… (Click to enlarge)

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RED BANK: CLAY COURTS STILL CLOSED

Rich Nicoletti at Red Bank’s clay courts, which remain out of commission seven months after Hurricane Sandy. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Rich Nicoletti first hit Red Bank’s clay tennis courts in 1955. A few years later, he became assistant to the facility’s tennis pro. In 1990, he was named pro, a title he holds to this day.

“It’s safe to say I easily spent a quarter of my life down here,” Nicoletti said recently, standing on the red clay surface in Marine Park. Rarely, though, has he seen the courts as ravaged as they were by the churning waters of the Navesink River, just feet away, during Hurricane Sandy.

The courts, he said, “were just completely dug up” by the roiling river.

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RED BANK: BAR’S OPEN AT THE OYSTER POINT

The Pearl Restaurant and Lounge reopened late last week for the first time since Hurricane Sandy knocked the hotel out of commission. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

The last time redbankgreen visited Red Bank’s Oyster Point Hotel, a handwritten sign was taped to the front doors telling would-be visitors that the hotel and restaurant/bar would reopen “when it is safe to do so.”

Nearly three months later, the Oyster Point took a step forward in its rebuilding plan with the reopening of its posh Pearl Restaurant and Lounge – much to the delight of regulars and new customers alike.

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SENIORS GET A NEW TAKE ON BURGERS

Residents and staffers at the Atrium line up for burgers and fixings Wednesday. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

The chef from Beasty Burgers, one of Red Bank’s suddenly-ubiquitous burger joints, popped in at the Atrium at Navesink Harbor Wednesday to showcase his restaurant and teach the senior-citizen residents a thing or two about the state of the modern burger.

Mike Ross gave a short presentation on his innovative menu and cooking methods, and also offered advice on spicing up old favorites while letting the residents and Atrium workers sample some of his delicious burgers and side-dishes.

“Everyone knows that french fries go with burgers – it’s pretty much a given nowadays,” Ross told a packed conference room at the luxury high-rise on Riverside Avenue. “At Beasty, we try to show people that there are so many great complements to burgers besides the standard order of french fries.”

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SAILING ON THROUGH WINTER

The calendar might say winter, but some sailors from the Monmouth Boat Club decided that sunshine, temperatures in the mid-40s and an ice-free Navesink River made for fine racing conditions Sunday. The outlook for Monday and the rest of the week is much the same or warmer, according to the Weather Channel. (Click to enlarge)

FOG ON THE NAVESINK

As though poured from a decanter, a thick fog filled the air over our beautiful Navesink River shortly before 4 p.m. Monday, as seen here from Riverside Gardens Park. (Click to enlarge)

RED BANK: PRIMARY SCHOOL STILL UP IN AIR

A dumpster loaded with discarded carpeting and other material sits outside the Red Bank Primary School, which remained closed Monday. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

After two weeks, Red Bank Primary School students were able to finally make their return to school Monday – just not their own school.

Displaced students attended a morning session at the middle school, before the middle school students arrived for an afternoon session.

The primary school, adjoining the Swimming River, was built on marshland, and suffered major flood damage as a result of Superstorm Sandy two weeks ago. According to Superintendent Laura Morana, over two-thirds of the school’s flooring and carpeting were rendered unusable in Sandy’s wake.

“The school has been in existence for over 40 years,” Morana told redbankgreen, “and this by far the worst damage we’ve faced as a result of weather.”

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RED BANK: A SURGE IN SEARCH OF POWER

With power on along the west side of Broad Street, Starbucks was packed with laptoppers at noon Thursday. Below, an unidentified man tapped into the grid courtesy of a vacant storefront. (Click to enlarge)

They’re hungry for power.

With tens of thousands of homes still without electricity on the Red Bank area, data-starved residents are swarming facilities with electricity, wifi and, ideally, coffee Thursday.

Starbucks in Red Bank was packed at noon, nearly 24 hours after power was restored to parts of the downtown.

Other businesses are encouraging the public to stop by and charge up.

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