I woke up today in the NJ suburbs near Rutgers, on an extended stay with my friend Jack. As I posted elsewhere, we started Sunday 9/11/16 with a stirring memorial service at the Marlboro memorial park.
From there, Jack showed me “the Jersey shore”. A couple of scamps, trolling for trouble in his corvette. Watching me enter and exit the low slung power car offset any allure we might have to the opposite sex, but putting the windows down made for an escape from the troubles of life.
First stop Point Pleasant and the world’s first Jersey Mike’s subs (known back then simply as Mikes). My pilgrimage honors Jesse and the gang at Oldsmar’s JM shop, that we keep busy and that keep us stocked in JM points. JM locn#1 is now a training center for franchisees, and no longer open as a store.
From there we headed to Point Pleasant beach and its boardwalk. Overpriced beer and deep fried food, a fun house and aquarium, and people walking and enjoying their Sunday. Oddly, the beach itself was pay-for-use (adults $9, Sundays $10) with no access before or after hours. I’m told most Jersey beaches are pay during the Memorial Day to Labor Day season. This raises a controversy when using tax money for sand renourishment when they are “privately owned” under this lease / fee arrangement. I was shocked to see somebody “own” a beach and other nearby communities, like several along Pinellas beaches, tried to privatize, limit and block beach access.
We stopped in Asbury Park for lunch, the town famous for New Jersey’s own Bruce Springsteen. The Stone Pony is famous, as is the nearby convention hall music venue, and famous “E Street” runs nearby (along with 10th Ave of the more obscure “10th Ave Freeze Out”). We stopped for lunch at Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten, for fantastic German cooking and its 3 dozen taps of draft beers from Germany, Austria, and Czech Republic among others.
But I most enjoyed our time upstairs, on the roof dining area, surveying the area around Wesley Lake and its famous swan pedal boats. The large 4 story buildings crowding out tiny preexisting homes. The mixed use retail & residential next door. Neighborhoods through the area held multi-million dollar mansions of modern, traditional, colonial, and cape cod styles, and it was nice to see where areas of current construction followed designs to match historic look and feel of their neighborhoods. I was also surprised that a NJ Transit train stopped a few blocks from the beach, so commuters from around the area could duplicate my visit without a car, if you packed water for a walk in hot summer weather.
Jack promised me a “New Jersey sunset”, with a wink and a grin, and took me to the EvenTide Grille further up the shore in Sea Bright. Its on the west side of the peninsula portion of Monmouth county, as land heads north toward Sandy Hook. The Shrewsbury Bay allows the sun to set on water and the surrounding marina was stuffed with boats enjoying access to the bay and even distant ocean access. Tonight the NYGiants played so people sipped beer and wine, watched TV’s and socialized, and played out a scene in any Florida patio bar. But in the mid-September air in New Jersey was the fact that it was “past season” and that the good weather was winding down, and that we should enjoy these last few weeks before cold weather. AND I was advised to go for a swim in the Atlantic as the water is still plenty warm.
The surroundings seemed more familiar, and I eventually realized I had done one of my after work zip and zap drive by tours, now 20 years ago, when working out of the Iselin office. I’m sure I went to get a picture of the Atlantic ocean and Monmouth University and then scampered back to the hotel. The most historic buildings seemed familiar, and Jack reminded me that Hurricane Sandy had devistated much of this area, now some 4 years ago. It was a great time on the shore, and I experienced great friendly people at every stop.