Archive for October, 2012

October 31, 2012

We’re back! (Sort of.)

Oh look, there's a tree in the garage. And the residents rent this house, I heard from some neighbors.

So how did you fare through this storm?!

All of the photos in this post were taken near/around my parents’ neighborhood in Ocean Township (Monmouth County, NJ), where I’m staying. Their development is more or less near the top of a hill, so flooding isn’t a huge problem in this immediate area. Trees, on the other hand…

Oh so that's why Bowne Road is closed.

We just got our electricity back. Thank goodness for underground wires! My family was lucky: we only went ~42 hours without power, and we have no major structural damage to the house.

I haven’t been to my own apartment in New Providence since Hurricane Sandy started. But because it has overhead wires, and because it was out of power for ~6 days after Snowtober, I can’t imagine it’ll regain power before next week. (There go all my frozen veggie burgers.)

Second floor is pretty damaged, there.

When the electricity went, our phone line— Verizon Fios, fiber optic— ran out of battery after a few hours, and we were without phone, too.

“No problem,” we shrugged, “we still have cell phones.”

NOPE. Twenty-five percent of AT&T cell towers were down, and calls weren’t going through… but we eventually discovered that we could send texts. (So I showed my parents how to text.)

Stop sign is down. Oh and also a giant tree. Thank goodness it missed the house!

If you can read this, you have internet access, so you can see photos of what’s left of the shore towns. I’m just looking at these photos for the first time, and crying, “I just jogged down the Belmar boardwalk last week!” (The Belmar boardwalk is gone.)

Here’s what the Belmar boardwalk USED to look like:
meter & shadow

All these names that keep popping up in the news are my hometown stomping grounds: Asbury Park, Long Branch, Belmar… it’s really weird to hear these town names on national channels. And they’re… destroyed?

I want to go look at the beach for myself, but (a) apparently several towns aren’t allowing people east of the NJTransit train tracks (which are about 1-2 miles inland in this area), and (b) a lot of traffic lights are still unpowered, which makes driving at all a little sketchy.


My family went to our local Wegman’s supermarket yesterday… where apparently EVERYONE in town was, too.

The parking lot is NEVER this crowded!

Wegman’s had generators and solar power, so they had electricity, supplies, and ice!

Fun times at Wegmans, after the storm crippled us all!

I was wondering about the scraps of metal strewn about the parking lot, but didn’t give much thought to them; my dad noted that there no longer seemed to be any cart corrals. OH. Apparently the cart corrals were shredded to bits.


You can probably find this all for yourself, but here are some links I’ve been looking at:


  • All over the internet, really, but here’s something to get you started: Fox9 and Yahoo






Let us know— how’d you make out?

October 29, 2012

We’re all photographers

Nothing can stop New Jerseyans from coming to the beach!

Everyone loves a hurricane!

Well, no, that’s not true, but I’m definitely not the only New Jerseyan curious/ stupid enough to go take pictures on the beach in tropical storm conditions.

(This photo was taken this morning. I’m weathering out Hurricane Sandy three miles inland from the Jersey Shore. For New Providence storm information, check out

Today, pretty much everything was closed (in anticipation of the hurricane), but it was barely raining yet. Stir-crazy already, my mom and I decided to go out and see what the beach looked like.

Just to, y’know, look around.

First, we tried to go to Ocean Grove, but we were met with patrol cars lining Ocean Avenue and chasing people away with their lights and megaphones.


Disappointed but optimistic, we scuttled over to Bradley Beach (the next town, about 200 feet south), which did NOT have cops out.

The Ocean Grove fishing pier was getting battered pretty badly, and it wasn’t even high tide.

Ocean Grove fishing pier: Still there on Monday morning

Ed., 10/31/12: Apparently the building in the photo above was washed away just a few hours later. I went back and got photos.

The storm is still pretty far away, though.

As of 11:00AM, Monday October 29, 2012: Areas potentially being affected by the sustained winds of tropical storm force (in orange) and hurricane force (in red). Image from the National Weather Service.

I’m not sure how long my electricity and internet will hold out— and I ain’t goin’ out to take photos in the middle of a hurricane— so I may miss a day or two.

October 29, 2012

Yesterday’s prep

This post regards Ocean Grove’s Hurricane Sandy preparations, before the storm hit. For photos of how Ocean Grove fared AFTER Sandy, see a more recent post.

Mound of sand at Ocean Grove (presumably for beach protection), looking north

For fear that I’ll be unable to (a) post anything today for lack of electricity, and (b) go outside in a hurricane to take photos, I’m setting this up early, which means it’ll be old news by the time you see it. So it goes.

In preparation for Hurricane Sandy, Ocean Grove created some large walls of sand, presumably to protect its beaches.

Here’s what the hurricane beach protection looks like if you look south:
Ocean Grove, Hurricane Sandy beach wall preparations, looking south


…as opposed to what a southern view normally looks like:
Ocean Grove, looking north, January 2012


When I visited Ocean Grove right before Hurricane Sandy, there were a bazillion curious people out taking photos (like me!), and the wind was whipping us all to pieces.

Residents were busy filling sandbags and nailing boards over their windows.

I hope everyone’s preparations are holding up.

October 28, 2012

Preparing for the storm

This post regards Ocean Grove’s Hurricane Sandy preparations, before the storm hit. For photos of how Ocean Grove fared AFTER Sandy, see a more recent post.

Ocean Grove Auditorium, NJ, 10-28-12: "Our God is BIGGER than Sandy! PRAY!"

Ocean Grove Methodist Auditorium, Sunday, 10-28-12: Boarding up the Jersey Shore in preparation for Hurricane Sandy.

Yeah, so, many of us in New Jersey are a little uneasy about this upcoming Hurricane Sandy/ Frankenstorm thing.


Hurricane Sandy’s predicted cone of uncertainty. New Jersey’s right smack dab in the middle! Image from National Weather Service.


Hurricane Irene sucked. Snowtober sucked. And the articles I’ve read make Hurricane Sandy out to be some horrible monster of a Perfect Storm that’ll be even worse than either one.

Weeks ago, I requested Monday (10/29) and Tuesday (10/30) off from work, so that I could housesit/dog-sit for my parents on the Jersey Shore while they went to Washington, D.C. At the moment, their train to Washington will probably be canceled, so they may stay put here in NJ. Which leaves me with the question: where should I weather out the storm?

Map of NJ. Note where I live, and where my hometown is.


MY PLACE (New Providence)
PROS: Inland
CONS: Overhead wires

MY PARENTS’ PLACE (My hometown)
PROS: Underground wires
CONS: 3 miles from the Atlantic Ocean (there’s a Weather Channel representative reporting live from the Asbury Park beach, which is pretty much exactly where they live)

I’ll keep you guys as updated as I can, but for other news, check the National Weather Service, your local Patch, the Weather Channel,, and any other sources you may have.

If I miss a day, I probably don’t have power.

October 27, 2012

Newark, 7:31AM

Scenes from New Jersey Transit: Newark by dawn

At some point, I had aspirations of compiling a photo project titled “Scenes from New Jersey Transit.” It would be a collection of photos of New Jersey, all taken from the windows of New Jersey Transit cars. You’d behold the beauty of New Jersey! You’d enjoy the limitations of photos taken through smudgy green-tinted train windows! You’d laugh! You’d cry!

You’d… roll your eyes at another amateur trying to make her mark on the world with sub-par photography?

I don’t know that the project will ever be appealing to anyone but me, but it is a bit of ongoing self-indulgent fun.

This one, of Newark, shot from the North Jersey Coast Line, is from November 2011. I’m a little out-of-date, but I imagine the scenery hasn’t changed that much in the past year.

October 26, 2012

Lock it up

Yes, it is a lock on a tree.

There was a story behind this at some point.

In the absence of any proof whatsoever, allow me to hypothesize:


Possibility #1: Someone found a lock and absentmindedly fastened it to the nearest tree branch.


Possibility #2: A mad scientist invented teleportation.

In his premature excitement to test his invention, he grabbed the nearest non-glass thing on his desk— a lock— and jammed it into the teleporter.

The teleporter exploded.

The mad scientist was never seen again, but an inexplicable pair of glasses mysteriously wound up on a chain-link fence.

The lock, or a similar one, was found fastened around a small pine branch. Most never questioned it, because the local Absentminded Lock-Fastener walked her dog through this neighborhood every morning.

October 25, 2012

Great egret!

What a great egret! No really.

This is a great egret! No, really, it’s a Great Egret. At first I thought it was a snowy egret, but it looked kind of big. I was right! (It happens sometimes.)

I was also proud of myself for not overexposing the egret. Every time I’ve tried to take pictures of white birds, the scene overexposes, because exposure is taken from the AVERAGE of all tones in the frame. Since most of the frame is really dark, the camera is like “WHOAAAAA this is DAAAAARK I can’t see anything! OMG let’s brighten this up so we can see it!!!” and in so doing, the poor white bird, a tiny speck in the camera’s eye, is considered too insignificant for the camera to even CONSIDER, so it gets brightened up with the rest of the frame.

I spot-metered this time (so the camera’s exposure was only based on the average exposure within a tiny central spot, instead of the average exposure of the entire huge frame), and I think it came out okay. Hey photographers: is that how I’m s’posed to handle this situation?

Confession: this was photographed way outside of New Providence, because I’ve made it a current goal to see and photograph as much of New Jersey as possible, because why not. Are ya’ll okay with this?

October 24, 2012

Fungus on a log

Fungus on a log. Oh yes.

Sometimes I just get fascinated by fungus on a log.

October 23, 2012

Summit Playhouse 2

The Summit Playhouse!

I gave a brief history of the Summit Playhouse nearly two years ago, and I mentioned its role in Summit’s Library shortly thereafter… but now, as part of Union County’s Four Centuries weekend, I’ve been given an enthusiastic tour of the interior by John Bauer (who, with his sister Nancy Boucher, is integral to the restoration and upkeep of the historical aspects of the playhouse).

Do I have a lot to add to the original writeups? Well, no, not really. But what the heck, I’m excited.

Here’s a timeline for ya:

  • 1874: Summit Library Association formed. Books were kept in the back of a store, in a private home, and in a school. Classy.
  • 1889: George Manley (a big historical name around here, pronounced “manly”) offered the library association a funny little triangular plot of land…George Manley's land contribution to the Summit Library

    …if they could raise the funds to build a building on it.

    They raised $3,720, which was enough for Mr. Manley!

    The proposed building was designed by Arthur Jennings in the Richardsonian Romanesque style.

  • 1891: The first Summit Library building opens, but it’s corporate-owned: neither free nor public.The Summit Playhouse... as the Summit Library.
  • 1901: After nearly a decade of mamby-pamby discussion, the corporate stockholders gave the library to Summit, and the city put $150/year in public funds towards supporting it as a public library.
  • 1911: The new Carnegie Library was opened a few blocks away, rendering the tiny old library obsolete.
  • 1918: After seven years of vacancy, the Summit Dramatic Club leased the old library from the library association for $1/year. (Yes, ten dimes, I didn’t leave off a zero.)Summit Playhouse... as a playhouse. And with real stairs.

    (Note the original stone steps. I don’t know when that changed, but there is talk of replacing the playhouse’s current tacky wooden stairs with something more architecturally appropriate.)

    The playhouse association blacked out most of the building’s windows with brick and concrete, to prevent light leakage during performances; many of those original blackouts remain today (and some were just added within the past few years).

  • 1960: The Marjorie Jefferson Auditorium addition was built, which tripled the size of the stage (and gave the building all kinds of weird leaks forever after).Blue = now; red = before. See how much bigger the stage is now?
  • 1961: Joan Rosé Thomas painted murals in the back of the auditorium.Summit Playhouse auditorium (1960), and murals by Joan Rosé Thomas (1961)

    (When Mr. Bauer gave me a tour of the playhouse, he emphasized— repeatedly— that “Joan Rosé Thomas” was not “Joan Rose Thomas”; there is an accent aigu over the E. And now you know.)

  • 1967: After 49 years of accepting $1/year from the playhouse association, the library association rolled its eyes and said, “this is ridiculous. Take the darn place, it’s yours, have fun.”(Actually, Roig 2005 says this happened in 1938; the 1967 story comes from Hageman 2004. I don’t know who’s right.)
  • 2005: An elevator and restroom were installed for accessibility.

And THAT is pretty much all I know about the Summit Playhouse’s history.



Hageman, Robert A. (2004). “Summit Playhouse: A cultural heritage.” The Summit Historical Society.

Meola, P.E. (1998). Images of America: Summit. Arcadia Publishing: Charleston, SC. ISBN 0738563307.

Roig, Magaly. (2005). “Playhouse puts accessibility first.” Cultural Access News. pp. 6-7.

Union County Office of Cultural and Heritage Affairs. (2012). “21. Summit Playhouse, 10 New England Avenue.” Four Centuries in a Weekend: Historic Sites Tour. p. 36. [pamphlet.]

October 22, 2012



I’ll stop with all the autumn-themed posts soon enough, I promise. I actually have a backlog of photos that qualify as interesting-but-not-terribly-beautiful-and-therefore-I-need-to-write-an-explanation-of-why-they’re-interesting, but writing takes effort (whiiiiiiiiine). I’m hoping to roll into that as soon as time and patience allows.

(This is Vernon Avenue in Summit. That’s a bridge for the train in the background.)

%d bloggers like this: