But you can dip your toes in the water for free before 9am or after 5pm!
Memorial Day weekend on the Jersey Shore! Time for everyone to put Sandy behind them and start enjoying the unofficial start of summer!
Unfortunately, the unofficial start of summer has been about 55F at best. Nobody wants to lay out in weather like that.
Today, at least, the sun is out; it’s been rainy and overcast for the past two days. But all the boardwalkers and joggers are dressed in sweatshirts, long pants, fleece jackets, gloves. It’s not beach weather.
Shore towns have pushed themselves to rebuild hurriedly, to be ready for tourists and beachgoers and commerce-bringers at the beginning of the summer season… and the summer season comes with a tiny fizzle.
Well. Shore towns will have the rest of the summer to catch up, I hope.
Depending on your source, the North End Pavilion may or may not be a remnant of Ocean Grove’s 1911 North End Hotel complex.
I don’t know whether the remaining North End Pavilion structure (such as it is, after Sandy; until now, it’s always held a variety of quaint beach shops) is a recreation of the original North End Hotel, or a façade of the original. Any shore residents want to weigh in on this?
EDIT: My dad posited that this is definitely the original structure because it looks like the original. But I’ve seen cases where replicas and homages of historic buildings are erected after the original is no longer there, and I was skeptical. I did a little extra digging, though; turns out he’s right. There are some photos of the 1978 demolition on Blogfinger that show how they carefully preserved this one little section of the complex.
According to that same link (Blogfinger is a great resource for all things Ocean Grove; it’s like NPDP but way better), after the North End Hotel was torn down, the site was slated to be turned into a retirement community. Never happened, though.
P.S. The top photo also shows off Ocean Grove’s brand-new asphalt walkway. Ooh la la.
Despite Ocean Grove being denied FEMA funding for rebuilding its boardwalk, the construction continues anyway. The Ocean Grove beach offices/ restrooms/ base of the fishing pier is one of the lucky sections to get a revamped boardwalk out of the deal.
Apparently this new boardwalk is a composite material. (Whether to use wood or composite for the new boardwalks has been the source of controversy in other shore towns [most notably Belmar].)
They’ve done a lot of construction since January:
Which is all great progress from what Sandy wrought:
They’ve cleaned up the rest of the area pretty well, so the lifesaving boat was likely dragged and intentionally placed here recently. I guess it’s one of those icons of Sandy, a reminder, a curiosity we can show the kids.
The Casino serves as the bridge across Deal Lake between Asbury Park and Ocean Grove, linking the two boardwalks. The structure itself is still fenced off, but sources say that it’ll be open for Memorial Day.
Currently, people can get from Asbury Park into Ocean Grove by detouring around the Casino onto the beach (which probably won’t work after Memorial Day, when you have to start paying for beach access).
The sand drops off into the ocean right about where the old demolished Casino foundations end, so circumnavigating this area isn’t entirely safe anyway, but it’s our only option at the moment. Here’s hoping for better access in two weeks!
My mother tells me those rocky things on the beach that we’ve always called “jetties” are technically called “groynes.”
But sheez Louise, when you talk about groins on the beach, rock structures aren’t what come to MY mind… but hey, to each his own.
For as long as I can remember, the Ocean Grove fishing pier has featured a cute little fisherman dummy, who just sits there, fishing.
Of course, the Ocean Grove fishing pier no longer exists, courtesy of Sandy.
But there’s still a little fisherman dummy there.
“Wow,” said my dad, “someone went to a lot of work to strap that guy up there.”
“Nah,” I said, “they could’ve just walked down what’s left of the pier. Piece of cake.”
“No, look at it,” my dad replied, “this remnant of the pier isn’t connected to the rest of pier at all. They’d need 20-foot-long arms.”
He’s right. Hot damn.
YOU CAN CRUSH OUR PIER, SANDY, BUT YOU WILL NEVER CRUSH OUR LITTLE STUFFED FISHING DUMMIES. Ha!
(I wish I could read those signs posted next to him. The lower sign starts with “Every,” but I can’t read the rest.)
EDIT, MAY 2013: The fisherman dummy has a name: Ralph.
He was first put on the pier in 1992, by Bob Borders and Carol Boniello, when it was rebuilt after the Halloween nor’easter. Sandy took him out, somewhere to sea. So Borders and Boniello put a spare little Ralph as a symbol of good will.
Tracey James, who photographed the installation, explained why.
“Ralph is an acronym for ‘Rising Above the Long Pier of Hope,’” she said.
—Mark Di Ionno, April 2012, “Despite FEMA denial, Ocean Grove bands together for Sandy rebuilding,” NJ.com
And the sign apparently reads “Down the Shore Everything’s All Right.”
Well, even if I can’t give you recent photos, I can at least give you a few decent ones. Only every once in a while, though. Wouldn’t want to spoil you.