The Jersey Shore is a special place where year after year, people spend their summers with loved ones building sand castles on the beach, playing games on the boardwalk, riding the rides and eating cotton candy and funnel cake. It’s a place that holds a great deal of memories and sentiment for many and is why so many people were devastated after Hurricane Sandy tore through the North East about eight months ago, destroying and damaging the shore towns including homes and businesses.
The storm caused approximately $37 billion in damages in New Jersey alone, according to a recent Reuters’ report, with thousands of homes and business damaged and destroyed from the super storm. It has been a long road of recovery and while there is still much work to be done, the shore towns have come a long way and have worked hard to open up again for the summer months.
With 130 miles of shoreline, New Jersey relies heavily on tourism for generating revenue and to keep the economy strong, especially during the busy season from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend. This year, to help kick off the summer and let people know that the shore was open and ready for business, Governor Chris Christie and President Barack Obama spent time down the shore during Memorial Day Weekend making appearances on the boardwalk and attending ribbon cutting ceremonies.
Summer is here and while many people are still reeling from the devastation that Sandy brought to the area, it’s important to help drive tourism to the shore towns that are now up and running. Many of New Jersey’s beaches and boardwalks are open for business; here is a quick update on some of your favorite beaches (you can find a full update on all beaches here):
Asbury Park – The boardwalk, which was damaged during Hurricane Sandy, has been repaired and Convention Hall, Paramount Theater and the Stone Pony are all open again.
Belmar – The 1.3 mile boardwalk has been rebuilt with synthetic wood and there will be mobile restrooms and vendors this summer. The pavilions that were damaged during the storm will not re-open until 2014.
Lavallette – A place where 95% of homeowners suffered damage from the storm, opened beaches on the ocean and bay this past weekend on June 22.
Sandy Hook – This area received $5.5 million in federal aid and will have three beaches open this summer
Seaside – This popular shore town experienced great damage during the storm however according to Governor Christie, 80% of businesses are now open. The Casino Pier, home to the now famous Jet Star rollercoaster that was seen in post-Sandy photos, is partially open with 18 news rides however the Fun Town Pier is closed for the season.
While a great deal of progress has been made, there is much work to be done for local businesses and people trying to repair and rebuild their homes. There are still ways to donate — visit Jersey Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau’s website and Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief Fund for donation and volunteer opportunities. You can also purchase a book published by the Asbury Park Press called, Sandy: The Jersey Shore in the Eye of the Storm, where all profits from the sale of the books will be donated to the American Red Cross Jersey Coast Chapter and the Jersey Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau.
One of the best ways to help out this summer is by simply heading down to the shore this summer, eating at the local restaurants and shopping at the local stores. It’s important to support the local businesses to help both the economy and business owners.
Do you have an update on a Jersey Shore town that you would like to share? Please post a comment below or post on our Facebook page.