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LINCROFT: FASHIONABLY, FESTIVELY LATE

MM galleryThe Holiday Gift Gallery at Monmouth Museum returns on Tuesday — and continues through January 11 — for the benefit of late-blooming gifters.

For something that seems to start as early as Back to School Days, the holiday shopping season never seems to have enough hours and days loaded up on the back end. It’s not so much that “we need a little Christmas, right this very moment” — it’s that we need a lot more moments, right now and on into the new calendar year.

It’s for straggling souls that one of the Red Bank area’s unsung treasures, the Monmouth Museum, maintains an annual Holiday Gift Gallery that offers up eleventh-hour shopportunities beginning Tuesday.

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RED BANK: FREE PARKING, STROLLING SANTAS

rb parking 121112Kiss the kiosks goodbye for the next two weeks:. Visitors to downtown Red Bank will get a pass on having to pay for parking starting Thursday and running through December 25. The annual moratorium applies to lot and curb spaces, according to Red Bank RiverCenter.

The downtown promotion agency will host an “open house” throughout the business district Thursday night, featuring store sales, refreshments, carolers, and the Barbizon Holiday Mannequins. New this year: strolling Santas, available to grace your selfies. (Photo by John T. Ward; click to enlarge)

RED BANK: THE GIRLS HAVE THEIR NIGHT OUT

101614gno29101614gno22Looking for all the world like the trendiest bag ladies you’ve ever seen, more than 200 women signed up for this year’s edition of Girls Night Out, held Thursday and sponsored by Red Bank RiverCenter and Riverview Medical Center. Discounted food and drink at a long list of restaurants, discounts in many stores and goodie bags were just some of the festive attractions. The warmer-than-usual weather was perfect for the ladies to walk around and enjoy the musical entertainment on the streets. Look below for more pictures. Were you there?   (Photos by Susan Ericson. Click to enlarge)

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RED BANK: JEWELER FEELING THE VIBE

alexandani 2 122013alexandani 1 122013Alex and Ani, the Red Bank jewelry store with crystals embedded in its walls for positive spiritual energy, has been feeling the spirit of the season in recent days, with so many customers that it has to limit the number who can enter at any one time, said store employee John Pal, who was manning the door Friday afternoon. Amanda Warnock, right, was there for some more bracelets. (Click to enlarge)

 

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)
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WEEKENDER: BARGAINS, BANDS AND THE BARD

Bargains line the brick walkways of downtown Red Bank for the annual Sidewalk Sale this weekend. Below, fans of the Haven find shelter at the Walt Street Pub Friday night. (Click to enlarge)

Friday, July 26:

RED BANK: Shop, rock & stroll through Red Bank for the 59th annual sidewalk sale. The weekend-long bargainfest lets shoppers snag clearance and sale items at shops throughout the downtwon. The sale runs 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

SHREWSBURY: Learn the basics of email at the Eastern Branch of the Monmouth County Library. The session is free and begins at 7 p.m. 1001 Route 35 North.

RED BANK: Chazz Palminteri stops by Count Basie Theatre for a special one-man performance of his play-turned-big-screen-hit “A Bronx Tale,” about a murder Palminteri witnessed when he was young. Tickets are $55, $65, $85, and $150. VIP tickets include a meet and greet with the star. “A Bronx Tale” begins at 8 p.m. 99 Monmouth Street.

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SEA BRIGHT: BOUTIQUE IN A BOAT SHOP

A straw clutch by Mud Pie is among the fashion items available in what had long been just a boating supply store. (Photo by Alexis Orlacchio. Click to enlarge)

By ALEXIS ORLACCHIO

After a rough off-season that included severe damage from Hurricane Sandy, the owners of Sea Bright’s Angler’s Marina & Beach Boutique, Fred Leonardis and his wife, Elizabeth, worked hard to reopen their Ocean Avenue shop.

“My husband has always believed that we are in a service business, a seasonal business, and that we need to be here for our customers,” said Elizabeth. “So we take that very seriously.”

Perhaps unnoticed by many motorists passing by, however, Leonardis has been developing a side project within the marina store to go along with the boating hardware: a beach-themed accessory shop selling everything from chairs, towels, tote bags and more. Her experience in retail sparked the idea for the accessory shop.

“I said ‘We should have beautiful beach bags, and we should have shoes,'” she tells Window Shopping the Green. “Last year, I brought in jewelry, and it just evolved.”

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RED BANK: FASHION OPTIONS ABOUND

Denim shorts on display at Dor L’ D’or, above, and a summer dress, below, at Emilia. Further below: a boot at Do L’ Do’r. (Photos by Lola Todman. Click to enlarge)

By LOLA TODMAN
Red Bank Charter School Intern

Women’s fashion is on the rise in downtown Red Bank. It may not be Paris or Milan, but you may have noticed new stores such as Lucki Clover and Bella Chic Boutique joining not-much-older merchants Dor L’ Dor, Rue RoyaleUrban Outfitters and stalwarts Backward Glances and CoCo Pari.

Or you may even be a customer of Emilia, one of three side-by-side women’s clothing stores to open on Monmouth Street in little more than a year.

So the pressing question is: why?

“Options,” said Blaise Lucarelli, manager of Dor L’ D’or, which opened in mid-2010. “When there are different types of women, there need to be options.”

Because of that need, there are also many different stores designed around age ranges, affordability, specialty clothing and other things that may define a specific type of female, said Lucarelli.

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RED BANK: A PRE-AISLE BRIDAL STROLL

A bride-to-be and her entourage pass a begowned model at Barbizon School of Modeling at the 2012 edition of Wedding Walk, above, and the trolley that makes the walk a bit less, um, pedestrian. (Click to enlarge)

Having hit on a good thing, Red Bank turns into Bridesville once again Sunday, swapping the green of last weekend’s Saint Patrick’s Day for miles of satiny white.

The occasion is Wedding Walk, and the idea is promote the town’s dozens of wedding-related vendors – caterers, liveries, photographers and more – as a one-stop fulfillment center for every bride-to-be’s Big Day needs.

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RED BANK: AFFORDABLE GIFTS AND GOODIES

What, she doesn’t have a wine purse? We can fix that. Read on. (Photos by Rebecca Desfosse. Click to enlarge)

By REBECCA DESFOSSE

Unsure of what gifts to buy this holiday season? Don’t fret. redbankgreen has been window-shopping downtown Red Bank in search of the perfect gift ideas for everyone on your list.

For example: your fashion-forward wine aficionado? Help her arrive at her next BYOB in style. At Red Ginger Home at 48 Broad Street, the wine purse shown above sells for $39 and includes a corkscrew for on-the-go bottle opening action.

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GIRLS (AND, UM, WOMEN) TO OWN THE NIGHT

Hundreds of women are expected to flock to downtown Red Bank for the inaugural GNO Thursday night. (Photo by Danielle Tepper. Click to enlarge)

By DANIELLE TEPPER

Ladies, it’s time to don a pair of fabulous heels and gather up the girlfriends for a night on the town – Red Bank’s first biannual Girls Night Out is here.

Hosted by Red Bank RiverCenter Thursday night, June 7, GNO will offer women the chance to take advantage of shopping discounts, dining and drink specials all over the downtown area. Participation is free.

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YOUNG SHOPPERS PRIME DOWNTOWN PUMP

shoppers-3Is it just us, or are more young people shopping in downtown Red Bank than in recent years? Below, Leanne Navarette of Backward Glances. (Click to enlarge)

By MOLLY MULSHINE

leanne-nAutumn Byrd, 14, may not have a driver’s license, but the Colts Neck resident  still finds a way to shop, eat and hang out in Red Bank whenever she can.

“My daughter is always like, ‘Let’s go to Red Bank, let’s go to Urban Outfitters, let’s go to Funk & Standard,'” Autumn’s dad, Avery Byrd, said as he paid for a purchase at Backward Glances recently.

Autumn eschews the mall in favor of Red Bank because of the town’s artsy feel, she said. “A lot of the styles I’m into, I can find here,” she said. “And I feel safe in this town.”

If any trend is apparent in downtown Red Bank this summer, it’s the return of teens and young adults, lured to modest-priced clothing stores and eateries, including relative newcomers Urban Outfitters, women’s clothing boutique Dor L’Dor and Mexi-Cali chow purveyor Surf Taco, as well as staples like Funk and Standard.

Merchants see the influx of teens as a rebuke to the idea that the town is becoming too upmarket and squeezing out younger shoppers and others with moderate incomes.

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ON DECK, MAYBE: NEW DOWNTOWN GARAGE

menna-010111Mayor Pasquale Menna says Red Bank has an “extraordinary” parking shortage that is crimping downtown businesses. (Click to enlarge)

After idling for several years, the possibility that Red Bank may get a second downtown parking garage is back in gear.

Though he never mentioned the word “garage” or “deck,” Mayor Pasquale Menna said Saturday that he would appoint a committee to explore ways to address what he called a perennial problem: “surface parking.”

“Everybody talks about parking, and they all say the mayor doesn’t talk about it enough, so let me stick my neck out,” he told an audience that packed the council chambers for the annual borough government reorganization . “Beginning this year, the council will be discussing initiatives that will carve out initiatives for parking on borough-owned properties in the business district.”

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FREE HOLIDAY PARKING TAKES EFFECT

rb-meterRed Bank has waived fees for parking in municipal lots through December 26, as per a request from RiverCenter, and the traditional moratorium went into effect Friday afternoon. Let the shopping begin! (Click to enlarge)

SECOND TIME A CHARM FOR FREE PARKING

metersThe Red Bank council approved a request from RiverCenter to offer free holiday parking, but not at curbside meters like these on Monmouth Street. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Two weeks after narrowly shooting down a perfunctory request from RiverCenter to offer free holiday parking downtown, the Red Bank borough council reversed its position Monday night.

“What’s changed?” Branch Avenue’s Stephen Hecht asked.

In addition to a minor tweak to RiverCenter’s request, Councilman Michael DuPont’s thinking, apparently.

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RED BANK TO BIZ OWNERS: STAY OPEN LATER

biz-closed11

Some merchants think too many downtown stores are closed at night. This photo was taken late Tuesday morning. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

Red Bank Mayor Pasquale Menna has ramped up his campaign get downtown business owners to stay open later.

He says the effort did not begin with last week’s Broad Street debut of Urban Outfitters — a clothing and housewares store that’s open from 11a to 9p Monday through Saturday and 11a to 8p on Sundays. But Urban is doing business the right way, Menna says, and he’d like to see more merchants follow suit.

“Retailing has changed, our society has changed and Red Bank is changing,” he said.

Given Red Bank’s amenities, with its bevy of late-night hot spots like bars and entertainment venues, it has always made more sense that many businesses, especially retailers, keep the lights on and the doors open after dark and on Sundays, Menna says.

But examples of missed opportunities to hook visitors are plentiful, he says citing two from last summer, when the Red Bank Jazz & Blues Festival, and later the Taste of Red Bank, drew thousands of visitors who found limited shopping options because stores weren’t open later or on Sunday.

“The businesses that succeed are the ones who are available when people are on the street,” Menna said. “We don’t have the luxury of shoppers out at nine in the morning. It’s a change in our society and sometimes we have to change our business model to keep our competitive edge.”

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SHOPPERS SAY URBAN’S GOOD FOR RED BANK

urban-shoppers

A trio of Urban Outfitters fans, led by Middletown resident Amie Falk, walk out of the store happy on its opening day Thursday. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

They  pulled the hulking glass door and trickled into Red Bank’s most anticipated business. They were greeted by a cadre of upbeat employees and set loose into a few thousand square-feet of the area’s newest hip retail wonderland.

And for those customers who hit Urban Outfitters in its first couple hours on Thursday, the experience didn’t disappoint.

“It was great,” said Amie Falk, of Middletown, summing up her shopping experience.

Falk arranged to meet with friends at the store for a morning of shopping, and by the time the group was finished, they came to a conclusion that will sound like music to local merchants.

“This store will definitely bring me to Red Bank more often,” said Darlene Weltman, of Atlantic Highlands.

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