RED BANK: MURPHY ‘PAUSES’ INDOOR DINING

Patrons of the Dublin House in Red Bank gather at its outdoor Temple Bar on June 20. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Tapping the brakes on his economic restart effort, Governor Phil Murphy indefinitely postponed a planned resumption of indoor restaurant dining Monday.

The move is “prudent” in the face of rising COVID-19 infection rates in other states, Murphy said at his daily briefing on the pandemic.

He also cited “overcrowding, a complete disregard for social distancing, [and] very few if any face coverings” at some New Jersey bars that he did not name.

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RED BANK: NEARLY NEW CALLS IT QUITS

After 27 years in business, Janice Brown has closed the Nearly Newly clothing store on Monmouth Street. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallAfter a career as a Pan Am stewardess, Janice Brown found her second act in 1993 as a Red Bank retailer, selling stylish vintage clothing.

But in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Brown has decided to close the shop.

Read all about the end of the Nearly New Shop and other changes downtown in this edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn.

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RED BANK: PLAZAS RETURN FOR WEEK TWO

red bank broad street plazared bank broad street plazaAfter a widely praised start last week, pedestrian plaza dining and shopping on Broad Street in Red Bank returns for week two starting Thursday night.

Under the economic restart effort, Broad Street between West Front and Wallace streets is closed to vehicles from 3 p.m to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday evenings, and Monmouth Street between Broad and Maple Avenue is closed all day Sunday.

But after daytime sunshine, the weather forecast for Thursday evening is iffy, with evening showers possible, according to the National Weather Service.

What happens if it rains? Does the street reopen to vehicular traffic? No, and merchants make the call for themselves whether open, close or resume operations when passing summer showers threaten, as detailed by redbankgreen here.

Here’s the extended forecast for the Greater Red Bank Green.

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RED BANK: PREPPING FOR PLAZAS

With the first of two unprecedented pedestrian plazas set to debut in downtown Red Bank Thursday night, prep work was underway on Broad Street earlier this week.

Above, a crew from Powerhouse Signs, under contract with Red Bank RiverCenter, installed in-tree uplighting that owner Jim Bruno said he hoped will create a “Greenwich Village vibe” for outdoor diners and shoppers. At right, code enforcement official Frank Woods checked  a sidewalk café for its distance from the curb.  

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ON THE GREEN: RESTAURANTS REOPEN

little silver edie's 061520After a nearly three-month shutdown except for takeout, restaurants on the Greater Red Bank Green began reopening as sit-down, outdoor-only eateries Monday.

Even with the weather a bit on the cool side, “it’s nice to get of the hospital,” said a Riverview Medical Center employee sharing lunch with colleagues at Robinson Ale House in Red Bank, above. Read More »

RED BANK: RESTAURANTS HUSTLE TO REOPEN

red bank danny murphy 061120Danny Murphy, owner of Danny’s Steakhouse, with the safety guide he prepared for his employees. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

HOT-TOPIC_03Their industry battered over the past three months by the COVID-19 pandemic, Red Bank’s restaurateurs are now scrambling for a toehold on recovery.

With partial reopenings slated to begin Monday, they’re training staff in a host of new hygiene procedures. At the same time, some are also racing to shift operations into two new shopping and dining plazas being created downtown.

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RED BANK: RETAIL DAMAGE, BUT HOPE, TOO

red bank forge alex montaperto 052020Alex Montaperto in Forge, her English Plaza shop, which hasn’t opened though it’s been ready for nine weeks. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge)

By JOHN T. WARD

retail churn smallWith the dust settling from one of the worst economic blows in American history, the damage to Red Bank’s retail scene is starting to come into focus.

Business shutterings and aborted lease deals are on the rise – no surprise – but there are also a few glimmers of optimism.

Read all about some of the changes downtown in this edition of redbankgreen‘s Retail Churn.

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RED BANK: FOOD FEST CANCELLED

The International Beer, Wine & Food Fest scheduled for Sunday in Red Bank has been cancelled in the face of a forecast of heavy rain in the afternoon. There’s no rain date.

RED BANK: DEVELOPMENT ISSUES AT THE FORE

downtown red bank njRed Bank RiverCenter’s new strategic plan for the central business district is scheduled for unveiling Monday night. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[See correction below]

By JOHN T. WARD

Three issues that could alter the look and feel of Red Bank for generations arrive at key inflection points Monday night.

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RED BANK: WHITE STREET FIXES OUTLINED

The makeover plan would affect English Plaza and the stretch of White Street from English Plaza to Broad Street, above. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s chaotic English Plaza and White Street area may become a part-time oasis under a concept plan unveiled Wednesday night.

Working with a $500,000 zero-interest loan from the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Red Bank RiverCenter also aims to make the space safer for pedestrians an motorists, officials told the borough council.

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RED BANK: INDIE FILMS TO LIGHT UP SCREENS

The trailer for ‘I Am Another You,’ a documentary about a young man who chooses to live on the streets, screens as a free, community-welcome entry at this week’s Indie Street Film Festival. Below, artist Ron Haywood Jones‘s mural for the festival at 97 Broad Street remained unfinished Tuesday morning because of rain interruptions. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

Its community mural may still need some finishing touches, thanks to uncooperative weather. Still, the third annual Indie Street Film Festival kicks off in Red Bank Wednesday evening, ushering in a five-day rush of innovative cinema, movie talk and parties.

A project of the filmmaker cooperative Indie Street (working in partnership with Red Bank RiverCenter), the festival spreads decidedly non-Hollywood magic across the borough’s theaters, restaurants, night spots, and even the middle school auditorium. And there’s a free, community-welcome screening mixed in among the orange-pass-only fare.

Check out the festival schedule below; information about passes and tickets can be found here.

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RED BANK: WORDS AND MUSIC IN THE PARK


Five thousand strong, music lovers found a few hours of respite from everyday noise when the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra played an open-air concert in Red Bank’s Marine Park last summer.

This Sunday, the NJSO returns to the park with another free show, where those in attendance will also get a chance to connect to the borough’s history via the written word.

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RED BANK: OYSTERFEST IS PARTY TIME

The soulful vocals of Remember Jones, below, add to to the vibe when Guinness Oysterfest returns for an eighth annual stand Sunday. 

While efforts are underway to restore oyster populations in the local waterways that once boasted them in abundance, Red Bank celebrates the opening of oyster season by, well, opening a few thousand oysters — not to mention a beverage or two.

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ON THE GREEN: CATCH THESE OUTSIDE

The reverb-drenched surf rock sounds of  the Sharkskins close out the concert season on the Fair Haven Municipal Dock Thursday night.

From star-kissed surf and free-range country to plein-air pickin’ and fresh-air film, the season of outdoor diversions remains very much in effect on the Greater Red Bank Green. We’ve got the roundup of public-welcome events under the summer sky — and over the next seven days and nights — all of them free as a breeze.

It all starts tonight, weather permitting, with the latest installment of the Summer 2017 Movies in Riverside Gardens Park series, sponsored by Red Bank Parks and Recreation and brought to you by Shore Flicks.

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RED BANK: NEW CHAIR FOR VISITORS CENTER

Two River Theater marketing director Courtney Schroeder is the new chair of the board for the Red Bank Visitors Center. (Photo by Danny Sanchez)

Press release from Red Bank Visitors Center

In a recent press release, the Red Bank Visitors Center announced the appointment of Courtney Schroeder as the Chair of the Board, for the nonprofit organization founded in 2002.

A magna cum laude graduate of Wagner College, with a BS in Arts Administration and a double minor in Dance and Spanish, Schroeder has for the past six years held the position of Director of Marketing at Two River Theater. Prior to landing at Two River, she worked in the development wing for Ballet Hispanico in New York City.

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RED BANK: SIDEWALK SALE RETURNS

The dress code is casual and parking is free as the annual bargain bonanza returns to downtown Red Bank starting Friday. (Photo by Trish Russoniello. Click to enlarge.)

In fast-moving, forever evolving, Retail Churn-ing Red Bank, well-entrenched local traditions are increasingly rare. So when it comes to a decades-spanning institution like the Red Bank Sidewalk Sale, the benefit can be as much about providing continuity for longtime locals as it is about the thrill of discovery for relative newcomers.

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RED BANK: INDIE FILM FEST GETS UNDERWAY

Lead festival organizer Jay Webb, right, with guests at Wednesday night’s opening reception on the patio of the Count Basie Theatre. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

With a display of carved-surfboard art, a New Jersey premiere screening of Dave Made a Maze and a DJ’d after-party at three separate venues, the second annual Indie Street Film Festival officially got underway in Red Bank Wednesday evening, ushering in a four-days-and-nights slate of screenings, panels, workshops and get-togethers with an admirable “Cannes-do” spirit.

A project of the fillmajer cooperative Indie Street (working in partnership with Red Bank RiverCenter), the sequel to last year’s inaugural event looks to make a long-running “tentpole franchise” of the venture. It’s a multi-venue happening that offers plenty of reasons to visit the borough’s theaters, restaurants and nightspots — or even its best-kept-secret middle school auditorium — during that time of year when the beaches make their biggest bid for buzz.

Take it here for info on individual event tickets and festival passes — and read on, for a rundown of goings-on between through Sunday. Read More »