Bartender Erin O’Keefe makes a Long Island Ice Tea while customers, some still in beach garb, make themselves comfortable on the deck over the river. (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)
By SUSAN ERICSON
Timing it just right, PieHole showed up for happy hour at BeachWalk’s Tiki Bar recently to find beers in hand and fishing poles in the Shrewsbury River for a snapper derby competition.
Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright has its fair share of bars, but this might be the only one where you’ll find children and adults competing for bragging rights and the prize of an overnight stay at the attached motel. More →
Located next door to Melonhead in a space that most recently housed the Black Swine restaurant, which moved to a larger spot a block away, Gigi’s turns out to be owned by familiar faces: chef Kenny Gambella and his wife, Kelly, who also own Sonny’s Sandwich Shop just down the street.
Taking some of the best features from other fast food joints on the Greater Red Bank Green — such as the ordering system at Jersey Mike’s Subs, where you watch as your plate gets prepared conveyer-belt fashion— and Surf Taco, where light menu options offset the heavier ones, Bubbakoo’s creates quick meals prepared from fresh, made-in-house ingredients. More →
A jam-packed Island Bowl from Melonhead in Sea Bright. (Photo by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)
By SUSAN ERICSON
Ravenous after a recent walk on the beach, PieHole headed to downtown Sea Bright in search of the newest kid on the block: Melonhead, whose menu basis is the acai (pronounced ah-SAH-ee) berry, a super fruit native to the Amazon.
How did partners and Monmouth County natives Nick Frangipane and Steve Barnett come to be acai acolytes on Ocean Avenue? Theirs is a story that begins on a surfing trip in Costa Rica and continues through Brazil, Puerto Rico and other stops on the planet.
In a scene reminiscent of the early hours of Hurricane Sandy, a paddleboarder made the most of opportunity and took to the streets of Sea Bright Tuesday morning. “The wind is rough,” he told redbankgreen as he worked his way past the Sea Bright Supermarket.
Many of the borough’s side streets were flooded in the convergence of a wind-driven downpour and Shrewsbury River high tide, as were stretches of Ocean Avenue, which remained open to traffic. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
A car sits in the center of Waterman Avenue, its emergency lights still flashing, moments after its driver was rescued Tuesday morning. Below, a pickup truck abandoned near the boat ramp on Avenue of Two Rivers. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
One motorist was rescued and another abandoned his inundated truck as the worst flooding to hit Rumson since Hurricane Sandy swamped low-lying areas of Rumson, police Chief Scott Paterson said Tuesday.
Borough police rescued an unidentified female motorist from her car after it became stuck in floodwaters on Waterman Avenue at about 11 a.m. Paterson tells redbankgreen.
The tiny borough plans to deploy a police officer devoted to enforcement of pedestrian safety laws. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long admits it: she has wigged out on motorists who don’t stop for pedestrians in crosswalks on the town’s main drag.
“I’ve been known to yell at cars on Ocean Avenue,” she tells redbankgreen. “When I see somebody blow through a crosswalk, especially if there’s a child waiting to cross, I’ll be like, ‘what is wrong with you? Do you not see the kid standing in the crosswalk?’ I have been known to do that.”
Now, the tiny oceanfront borough, though it is starved for cash as it continues to rebuild from the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, is taking action.
Bidders arriving, above, and inspecting the interior of the Ocean Avenue building. (Photo by Colby Wilson. Click to enlarge)
By COLBY WILSON
Things are looking up for Sea Bright. The hurricane-ravaged town isnt merely rebuilding what was wiped out by the storm its moving forward and attracting investors willing to bet on its future.
Case in point: the former home of Adrenaline Fitness.
On Wednesday morning, a dozen prospective buyers showed up to place bids on the three-story multi-use building at 1054 Ocean Avenue. Within a few minutes, five of them bid up to the property from an opening $500,000 to $700,000.
Rumson resident Christina Galinos walked away with the prize, for $720,000.
I love the location, and I just think that Sea Bright is a great town that has so much potential, Galinos told redbankgreen afterward. Its going to come back even stronger. Id love to be a part of that.”
Dave DeScenza, above, and his daughter Nicolette, below, restoring the family bocce court on Memorial Day. (Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
The most recent interval between summers was particularly trying for the DeScenza family of Sea Bright.
Like their neighbors, the DeScenzas saw their North Beach home of 34 years, and an adjoining cottage, flooded and heavily damaged during Hurricane Sandy.
One week later, Dave’s wife, Nancy, a longtime member of the borough school board, succumbed in her 10-year battle with breast cancer.
But on Memorial Day, DeScenza, his daughter Nicolette, and his brother John put in a full day’s work under the sun restoring their regulation bocce court, across Ocean Avenue from his year-round residence.
“The neighbors kept asking when we were going to bring it back,” a cheery DeScenza said. “Sometimes, they asked without words,” he added, miming with a shrug and upturned hands.
State Department of Transportation dumptrucks leaving Sea Bright at midday Monday after several days of sand removal work. (Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
The northern stretch of Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright, closed to all but local traffic over the weekend because of seawall breaches, reopened Monday afternoon.
But damage to the wall caused by unusually high tides following last Wednesday’s snowstorm means that the borough may be holding its breath during similar weather events until the wall is repaired, Councilman Read Murphy tells redbankgreen.
A concept plan discussed by Monmouth County Engineer Joe Ettore, in Sea Bright below, shows a proposed new alignment for the bridge and approach. The existing bridge, in white, would be torn down. (Photos by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)
By WIL FULTON
Sea Bright residents will face yet another extended bridge closure after the one that’s scheduled to begin next week, but there’s no reason to freak out just yet its still at least eight years away.
Representatives of the Monmouth County Engineering Department were in town Wednesday afternoon to host a public information session designed to offer updates and receive feedback on plans to replace the current Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge over the Shrewsbury River.
According to county Engineer Joseph Ettore, the project is still in its first stage, what the department refers to as concept development, and it will still be roughly 8 to 10 years at least before ground is broken on the new span.
Local restaurateurs banded together on short notice Sunday to provide some gourmet chow to the firefighters, cops, first aiders, other volunteers and contractors who’ve been keeping Sea Bright safe and hustling to get it back in shape in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
After wading waist-deep into churning water on Ocean Avenue during the storm on Monday, photographer Peter Lindner returned to Sea Bright on Saturday, along with redbankgreen‘s John T. Ward, to document the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Here are 150 of Lindner’s shots. Some of Ward’s pix on are redbankgreen‘s Facebook page.
Lindner and Ward were permitted into town by local officials, who were in their second day of ferrying Sea Bright residents into town, by dumptruck, to give them just a few minutes to collect pets, medicines, clothing and other personal items from their homes.
Residents and sightseers wait on the Rumson side of the Shrewsbury River for authorization to enter Sea Bright Wednesday morning. (Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Anxious residents and a steady stream of wannabe gawkers poured into eastern Rumson Wednesday, hoping to be allowed into storm-wracked Sea Bright.
But Rumson police, abetted by a Monmouth County sheriff’s officer and a handful of National Guardists, continued to bar access to the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge, citing widespread hazards in the sandbar borough.
Deep sand, building debris and natural-gas leaks make it impossible for anyone other than emergency workers to be allowed in, officials said.
“One match, and a whole block could go up,” a sheriff’s officer who asked not to be identified told redbankgreen, citing the leaks.
redbankgreen photographer Peter Lindner waded in up to his waist to get pictures of Hurricane Sandy smashing into Sea Bright on Monday. Our slideshow also includes some post-storm shots from the Rumson-Sea Bright Bridge.
James and Paul LoBiondo, owners of Surfrider Beach Club, flank attorney Thomas Hirsch Tuesday night as the council deliberates approving a liquor license transfer to the club. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)
By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
A liquor license transfer from a defunct restaurant to a Sea Bright councilman’s family business reignited a long-simmering feud Tuesday night as the two sides exchanged barbs about greed and hatemongering.
In the end, Surfrider Beach Club, owned by Councilman James LoBiondo’s family, walked away with approval by the council minus his own vote to transfer the liquor license from Gaiters restaurant to the beach club. But the move raised fears among neighbors that it will cause an increase in traffic and, as one business owner and nearby resident said, “opens some very nasty doors.”
A home on Bingham Avenue in Rumson displays a row of miniature American flags in recognition of Memorial Day, which is Monday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)
By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
Memorial Day is this Monday, signifying not just a long weekend and the unofficial start to the summer season, but most importantly a holiday to pay tribute to the American soldiers who’ve died in service to the country.
Here’s a roundup of Decoration Day events around the redbankgreen.
Sea Bright Administrator Maryann Smeltzer will retire at the end of June. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)
By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
Maryann Smeltzer was born in Long Branch, and for the last dozen or so, has lived with her husband of 39 years in West Long Branch.
Her allegiance, by logic, would be to one of those towns.
Not so for Smeltzer, who’s spent the last 31 years, with a break, making a daily trip up Ocean Avenue to Sea Bright Borough Hall, working her way up from a part-time secretary to borough administrator.
“Whenever I talk about my town, [husband Richard] thinks I’m talking about West Long Branch, but I’m talking about Sea Bright,” she said. “Sea Bright will always be my town.”
Smeltzer, who turns 60 on June 2, will retire from her town at the end of June.
The state Department of Transportation is expected to wrap up a months-long roadwork project on Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright this week. The work, which got started in early March, includes resurfacing the roadway between the bridges that connect the borough to Rumson and Highlands, and installing new curbing, borough Administrator Maryann Smeltzer said. Targeted completion date is Wednesday, she said. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)