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RED BANK: GODDESSES FROM BABYLON

The breathtaking paintings of Iraqi artist Saadi Babely go on display at the Oyster Point Hotel starting with a reception Thursday.

He hails from no less storied a place than Babylon — and we’re not talking Long Island. As a professor at Baghdad University and a member of the Iraq Freedom Art Movement, Saadi Babely escaped the regime of Saddam Hussein and its program of persecution of citizens involved in the arts, and would lose two of his siblings to Saddam’s troops. Educated in the United States, he made his way to Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and eventually back to America, where the mythological figure of the Babylonian goddess Ishtar would once again take flight in his paintings.

Inspired by the deep history of his homeland while remaining contemporary in style and theme, Babely’s paintings are the subject of the latest art installation at Red Bank’s Oyster Point HotelGoddesses: An Art Collector Shares His Bounty. The exhibit — one of two debuting in town during the coming evenings — opens with a public-welcome reception this Thursday.

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RED BANK: NO OYSTERS, BUT ELUSIVE EELS

The American Littoral Society hung bags of recycled oyster shells from docks on the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers in June to see if they would attract oyster larvae. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

After nearly three months, an effort to restore a once-thriving oyster ecosystem in the Navesink and Shrewsbury rivers has yet to detect the bivalve mollusk in the waterways, according to an update by the American Littoral Society.

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ON THE GREEN: ARTFUL ALTERNATE REALITIES

“March Hare” is among the “photographic fairy tales” by Jada Fabrizio on display at the Monmouth Museum in a solo show that opens Friday. (Click to enlarge.)

In an age of “alternative facts,” it’s worth remembering that artistically inclined individuals have been documenting their own alternative realities for eons, and the coming weekend offers more evidence that the gallery spaces of the Greater Red Bank Green are a prime hang for artists from scattered points on the real-to-unreal spectrum.
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RED BANK AREA: ART NEVER VACATIONS

Works by textile artist Lisa Lackey are on display through Sunday at the Monmouth Museum’s Nilson Gallery.

Vacation time is somehow never downtime for Red Bank-area artists and the spaces whose walls they festoon, and the mid-August interlude remains a busy one for visual creatives, with a number of exhibits opening or ongoing at venues around the Greater Green (even one that’s technically closed for the season).

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RED BANK: NAVESINK OYSTER STUDY BEGINS

Workers with the American Littoral Society drop a bag of recycled oyster shells into the river from the dock of a Red Bank home Friday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

An effort to restore a once-thriving oyster ecosystem in the Navesink River got off to a small start last week with the help of scraps from restaurant diners’ plates.

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RED BANK: SITE IDEAL FOR HOTEL, SAYS MENNA

vna-176-riverside-120716The VNA’s departure could put its headquarters building on the tax rolls. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03The VNA Health Group is quitting Red Bank, leaving behind a large empty building that could wind up on the tax rolls of a borough whose officials complain often about the high number of nonprofits.

Heck, it would even make a great hotel, Mayor Pasquale Menna tells redbankgreen.

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ON THE GREEN: WEEKEND WEATHER OUTLOOK

rb-sunrise-090916heat-forecast-090916Clouds lay above our beautiful Navesink River at dawn Friday, as seen from the Oyster Point Hotel in Red Bank. 

The weekend weather outlook for the Greater Red Bank Green includes continued muggy conditions through Saturday, with temperatures peaking above 90 degrees and possible thunderstorms, before we see a return to sunny skies and moderate temperatures Sunday, according to the National Weather Service(Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

RED BANK: MAYOR’S BALL II DRAWS A CROWD

philipson menna 050616rb mayors ball 050616 12Mayor Pasquale Menna, above right, welcomed Count Basie Theatre CEO Adam Philipson, left, and more than 200 other guests to the second annual Red Bank Mayor’s Charity Ball at the Oyster Point Hotel Friday night. Proceeds from the $125-per-head event were earmarked for the borough-based nonprofits Lunch Break and HABcore

Check out the photos from redbankgreen’s drive-thru of the cocktail hour, below. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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RED BANK: FOUR MAYORS… AND SOME FRIENDS

lee kuo 050115lock menna 050115The first-ever Red Bank Mayor’s Charity Ball brought together three ex-mayors, the current one and some 250 of their friends at the Oyster Point Hotel Friday night. Among those in attendance: former Councilwoman Sharon Lee and restaurateur Victor Kuo, above, and Pastor John Lock, with Mayor Pasquale Menna, at right.

Proceeds from the $125-per-head event were earmarked for the Red Bank Public Library and the Parker Family Health Center.

redbankgreen grabbed dozens of photos during the cocktail hour overlooking our beautiful Navesink River. Click the “read more” to see who else was there. (Photos by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

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RED BANK: A GATHERING OF MAYORS

mayorsThe three living former mayors of Red Bank — Benedict Nicosia, Michael Arnone and Ed McKenna — join Mayor Pasquale Menna as guests of honor at the first annual Mayor’s Charity Ball, going on May 1st.

Press release from Red Bank Mayor’s Ball Committee

Mayor Pat Menna is honoring three of his predecessors — and inviting the community — to the first annual Red Bank Mayor’s Charity Ball, scheduled for May 1st at The Oyster Point Hotel.

“Our committee is planning a great event and a fun evening, celebrating all things Red Bank,” noted the mayor.  “We are fortunate to have three former mayors — Judge Benedict Nicosia, Assemblyman Michael Arnone and Mayor Edward McKenna — still here in the area, and we will be honoring them for their public service.”

Other honorees include Red Bank RiverCenter, which will receive the Outstanding Community Service Award; the Two River Theater, the Cultural and Arts Award; Gerry Eisner, the Historical Legacy Award; Downtown Investors, the Urban Development Award; and Seals Eastern, the Manufacturing and Technology Award.

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BOONDOCKS LOBSTER SHACK WILL BE BACK

Hundreds of food lovers turned out at the Oyster Point Hotel in Red Bank Thursday night for a fundraiser to help Kelly Ryan rebuild her Hurricane Sandy-damaged restaurant, Boondocks Fishery. The Navesink Business Group organized the event, with participation by restaurants under the Red Bank Flavour umbrella.

Ryan, who had already raised $8,000 toward her $30,000 goal on indiegogo, told redbankgreen that sheetrock went up in her lobster shack – located on the Navesink River adjacent to Marine Park –  earlier Thursday, and she’s shooting to reopen May 14.

The Oyster Point, too, was knocked out by the October 29 storm, returning to normal operations in February. (Click to enlarge)

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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RED BANK: HOTEL AIMS FOR JANUARY RETURN

The surging Navesink River poured six feet of water into the hotel’s basement, knocking out electricity and other systems. (Photo by Wil Fulton. Click to enlarge)

By WIL FULTON

Almost a month after Hurricane Sandy slammed into the Jersey Shore, Red Bank’s Oyster Point Hotel remains locked and dark, a handwritten note taped to its front door telling visitors it will reopen “when it is safe to do so.”

The riverside hotel’s basement, the operational heart of the facility, was inundated with more than six feet of water in the storm. Even though flood gates were in place, the water levels exceeded them and entered the basement, destroying the electrical and communication equipment, said Kevin Barry, the hotel’s operating manager.

“We have flood gates that were set by the standards of the ’92 storm, but obviously the damage by Sandy was exponentially worse,” he said.

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HAMPTON INN HEARING POSTPONED AGAIN

By JOHN T. WARD

hot-topic rightThe Red Bank Planning Board put off testimony on a proposed six-story, 72-room hotel at the foot of Cooper Bridge for the third consecutive time Monday night.

But the not before the developer’s attorney raised a question about whether the plan’s foremost objector might have an ulterior motive for opposing the plan.

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RED BANK: JUST A BIT DAMP AT THE EDGES

Red Bank borough administrator and fire marshal Stanley Sickels, interviewed by redbankgreen in Marine Park Sunday morning, says the town escaped the wrath of Hurricane Irene.

That truck in the video is one that was donated to the town by the City of Long Branch last Thursday.

Check out more videos at redbankgreen’s YouTube channel.

HOTEL PLAN CLEARS FIRST HURDLE

hampton-inn-siteThe zoning board’s decision exempts the former filling station site from an ordinance that appeared to limit its use to residences. Planner Roy DeBoer, below, testified for the developer. (Click to enlarge)

deboer-051911A plan for a six-story, 76-room Hampton Inn hotel on the Red Bank anchorage of the Cooper Bridge advanced Thursday night.

Asked solely for an interpretation of a 2009 land use law that allowed only single-family housing along once-stately Rector Place, the borough zoning board unanimously ruled that the ordinance was not intended to apply to the proposed hotel site, long home to a gas station, and had been mistakenly included by the town council.

The plan, however, still faces substantial procedural hurdles, including requests for height and density variances, as well as a glaring question: should a site that the state Department of Environmental Protection says is too contaminated for housing, schools and hospitals have a hotel on it? Read More »