towns across the US ready their boardwalks, beaches and storefronts for the
annual crush of summertime tourists, opening New Jersey’s 130 miles of coastline
– a key seaside destination for New Yorkers and Pennsylvanians as well – has
required far more work than unfurling umbrellas and firing up the grill.
2012, Superstorm Sandy demolished miles of beach along the US Eastern seaboard and
left thousands of residents without homes or places of employment. But few
places were hit as badly as the Jersey Shore, where the storm made landfall.
But in the
seven months that have passed, more than one billion federal dollars have been
allocated to the response and recovery of the popular summer vacation
destination – made famous by its waterfront casinos, towering roller coasters
and reality television series – with nearly 500 agencies working towards disaster
relief. While some of the shore’s most beloved areas, including Point Pleasant
Beach and Seaside Heights, were among the most devastated, efforts to have
these beaches open for Memorial Day (27 May) are moving along with success.
destruction wrought by Superstorm Sandy has brought this community together
like never before. There is a much keener sense of appreciation for what we
have here,” said Tom Dunphy, managing editor of Restoretheshore.com, a non-profit
organisation working with local charities to rebuild the area. “People don't
realise how much progress has been made. The beaches and boardwalks will be
ready to go.”
area of recovery has been for homeowners, many of whom are still waiting on
building directives from federal agencies and payouts from insurance companies.
As these communities, especially Monmouth and Ocean counties that bore the
brunt of the storm, work to rebuild, tourists should expect to see an
overwhelming sense of pride and positivity in addition to a wide-open rental
of advice I would offer to tourists is to reach out to local realtors,” Dunphy
said. “There are plenty of great places available for weekly or seasonal
organisations like Restore the Shore, Friends of
Seaside Park and Hometown Heroes
have received support and funding to
help provide immediate relief for local families, business and communities,
with exciting events including the Restore
the Shore Music Festival on 18 May on the beach in Seaside Park featuring
local bands that welcomed several hundred people to the area to see the
progress that’s been made to the oceanfront, and the ongoing Sandy Castle project, where professional
sandcastle builder Ed Jarrett is attempting a Guinness World Record for the
tallest sand castle (above 50ft) at Jenkinson’s Beach in Point Pleasant.
planning a trip, here is the status of some popular areas along the shore:
Sandy Hook, Monmouth County
the six beach areas in town, B, Gunnison and North Beach, are scheduled to open
Memorial Day weekend, while the Gateway
National Recreation Area, a popular hiking, fishing and camping area, has
been open since 1 May. Ferry services from downtown Manhattan to Sandy Hook will
begin the weekend of 30 June and continue through 2 September.
Long Beach Island, Ocean County
Repairs to the
beaches along this 18-mile island known for its summer rentals are on schedule
for completion by 18 May. The island’s popular Thundering
Surf Waterpark will open 25 May, with the Thundering Surf
Adventure Golf Courses already open for the season.
Point Pleasant, Ocean County
on Jenkinson’s Boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach is on schedule for completion this
summer. The boardwalk’s most popular attractions, including the Jenkinson’s
Aquarium, Entertainment Complex and South Amusement Park, are open for
Seaside Heights, Ocean County
will be able to access the famous mile-long boardwalk that needed to be
completely restored after the storm on Memorial Day weekend, though some additional
work will be required after the holiday. The Seaside Heights “JetStar” roller coaster,
an iconic shoreline image that once sat on the Casino Pier, was removed from
the ocean on 14 May, the same day that Britain’s Prince Harry toured
Wildwood, Cape May
Located at the
southern end of the shore, Wildwood’s five miles of beaches are free and open
to the public. The two-mile boardwalk, named among the Top 10 American
Boardwalks by Sherman’s Travel in 2009, includes three seaside
rollercoasters and a beachfront waterpark, and the city’s well known Sightseer
Tram Cars is also open.
Get more beach updates and news from the
shore leading up to Memorial Day.