Archive: March, 2012
Amy S. Rosenberg
Bo Diddley, Bo Diddley's at the Seaside Bar
We'll run barefoot in the sand, listen to his guitar
-Bruce Springsteen, Seaside Bar Song
So it's bar week on the blog looks like. Last night, Bruce Springsteen, (left, photographed by Inky photog Michael Bryant), reprised his awesome little tune Seaside Bar Song at the Wells Fargo (calm down, he opened with it last time he was in Philly), and you know, speaking of Seaside Bars, I ran across this nice bit of news from the Showboat Hotel and Casino. With Revel opening next week with a new philosophy about their location (look, an ocean!), Showboat is also changing its focus to welcome what's right outside their door. Located at the famously great surfing spot of States Avenue, Showboat announced this week it was transforming its first floor Club Worship into a new Worship Surf Bar, which it hopes will be an apres-surf hangout for lifeguards, surfers, beach goers and their groupies. Don Marandino, the head of East Coast operations for Caesars who usually has a good feel for things, said in their statement: "Delaware and States Avenue has always been a prime location for regional surfers, since way before my days as a lifeguard in Brigantine. With Worship Surf Bar we wanted to crate a really affordable and legitimate surf and sports hangout that would cater to a flip-flop-kind-of-crowd."
Driving back over the Margate causeway and bridge was a bit of a shock yesterday. I love that drive, the egrets, the ospreys, the wooden pilings in the water with the birds on top, the fallen piling that looks like the cross as it was being carried by Jesus through Jerusalem - man, don't get me started! It's beautiful. Usually the only sign that irritates me is the one informing me that I must pay a toll and, frequently, that the amount of that toll is going up. But yesterday, I got to see the fun new light up ginormous billboard errected in front of Gilford's Marine, bigger and more annoying than any of the old billboards that mar the view. Aw, come on, really? The land is part of Egg Harbor Township, one of those odd boundaries things that stem from EHT once being all of Atlantic County and the towns seceding and drawing their own boundaires. Mayor Sonny McCullough of Egg Harbor Township told me yesterday: "I wish it wasn't as high as it is. It's in compliance withour zoning. There's not much you can do about it. i have discoursaged this type of high profile signs in other areas of the township."
Sigh. I guess maybe market forces can discourage this type of thing, like what business would want to advertise on a billboard that will mostly annoy people on their way to the beach? And who would want to patronize a business that ruined their view so clumsily like that? Or maybe we'll just get used to it like everything else.
A few summers ago I was in Sea Isle City to do a feature on the Jersey Shore's nicest meter maid (she gave you a second chance), and the entire city was basically shut down. Streets were closed off and it seemed everyone was attending a funeral. Who in a seashore town would inspire such an overwhelming show of mourning that even my meter maid, Regina, was detailed to the funeral? Was it the mayor? The chief of the beach patrol? A real estate developer? A city founder? No, of course not. It was Billy Perry, 47, a beloved bartender from the Deauville Inn in Strathmere since he was 22. And it got me thinking, is there anything more beloved than a neighborhood watering hole at the Jersey Shore? Think Robert's in Margate, or the late, great Maloney's (which inspired the dubiously comic near tragic bar-to-bar bike race that was mercifully stopped when Maloney's closed), Fred's in Stone Harbor. Or the sadness that accompanied the closing of Moore's Inlet in North Wildwood.
With all the talk about Ocean City voting on a BYOB ordinance, I was struck in the last couple weeks how quickly locals and down for the weather second homers embraced then new Vagabond Kitchen and Taproom, which sits on Wellington Avenue across from the Bay just over the Ventnor/Atlantic City line in Atlantic City. But really, it's fast become Ventnor's bar. (Ventnor allows BYOB and has a few liquor stores, but no liquor licenses). It's interesting to watch new restaurants come and go at the shore, some become instant beacons and others open with great hopes but may as well have a keep out sign on the door. The Vagabond, which is owned by the same people who own Back Bay Ale House at Gardner's Basin and the nearby Scales restaurant, is just one of those places that instantly clicked. Maybe it's the very impressive run of craft beers on tap or the fact that everyone driving into Ventnor passes it and can look in and see people sitting at their big square bar. Maybe people in Ventnor were tired of going to tap-less Robert's. Whatever, the place has become instantly the coolest spot not-quite-in-town. Already, being in Ventnor seems like a hipper place to be. The first time I was in there, a gentleman got a bit rowdy and was trying to start a fight with a hipster-craft-beer type, but finally, he just agreed to leave. The next day, he passed my husband on the Boardwalk and came over to apologize. We still have no idea who he was. But there you go, a bar so nice and friendly, even the jerks apologize the next day. It also provided a nice spot (at a table not at the bar, with a diet coke) for a teenager and her mom to nurse some adolescent break-up blues. The burgers are pretty good too.
Jacqueline L. Urgo
OCEAN GATE, N.J. — This tiny town on the south bank of the Toms River took a giant leap forward - at least with regard to green energy - four years ago when it became the first municipality in New Jersey to install its own wind turbine.
Leap number two arrived Thursday when the town installed a second turbine. It will use the fierce winds that sweep off the river and the nearby Barnegat Bay (renowned among sailors who use the spot for competitions) to harness enough power to generate electricity for its firehouse and water treatment plant. The $750,000 cost of both projects has been funded through federal energy grants and low-interest loans.
While some residents have complained about the “swoosh” sound the giant blades sometimes make when the turbine is running, Mayor Paul Kennedy said the payoff in the form of a more efficient government was well worth it.
Jacqueline L. Urgo
In response to a blog item on the beach-access issue, we got a call from Larry Ragonese, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection.
He correctly notes that the Christie administration’s effort to revise access regulations comes after a court ruling that threw out the “one-size-fits-all” regs imposed on beach towns during the Corzine years.
Avalon successfully sued the DEP in Superior Court in 2007 to overturn access rules the borough termed “onerous.”
Jacqueline L. Urgo
From Jacqueline L. Urgo: Debate continues over one of the Jersey Shore’s hot-button issues: beach access.
This week, the state Department of Environmental Protection formally proposed amendments to its “common sense” rules for access to the state’s beaches, bays and waterways.
“Providing ample access … is a fundamental right for all residents of New Jersey and the driving force behind these rules,” DEP Commissioner Bob Martin said in a statement.
Jacqueline L. Urgo
WILDWOOD — Two years ago, this Cape May County resort offered a moving tribute to veterans on Memorial Day weekend with the dedication of its stunning Vietnam Veterans Memorial, built with donations from the community and construction work donated by local labor unions.
But this star-spangled community may just outdo its own sense of patriotism this year when it hosts its first “Celebration of Heroes Festival” from May 25 to 27. It is being billed as a festival “Saluting America’s Military Service Men, Women & Families.”
Organizers say it will include a USO-style show, a military parade, live music, celebrity entertainment, fireworks and family fun. Several hundred thousand military personnel and their families are expected to attend.
Jacqueline L. Urgo
When the factoid emerged this week that tourism is the Garden State’s third largest industry behind pharmaceuticals and chemicals, it just seemed so hilariously Jersey.
Of course it’s not so amusing that tourism has slipped to third place after running neck in neck with pharma for years – it would probably be better for a lot of people looking for jobs in the Garden State if even more vacationers visited our lovely beaches or gambled in our casinos. Tourism supports about 312,000 jobs in New Jersey, generating about $9.56 billion in wages.
Without the $9.2 billion tourism generates in federal, state, and local taxes, each household in the state would have to cough up with an additional $1,400 a year in taxes, officials said.