WASHINGTON April 28, 2013- As May approaches and the weather turns warm, consider spending some vacation time along the Jersey Shore. Tourists can help revitalize and restore this economy, badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
Six months ago Hurricane Sandy, the most intense storm of the 2012 season, made an unimaginable left turn over the Atlantic Ocean and crashed into New Jersey. It flooded the New Jersey coastline causing an estimated $29.4 billion worth of damage and washed away much of the tourism that would help pay for it.
Damage of this magnitude had never been seen in New Jersey before. Over 2 million households lost power, 346,000 homes were damaged or destroyed and 37 people were killed.
The Jersey Shore suffered the most severe winds and surf from the storm. On average the beaches were 30 – 40 feet narrower after the hurricane.
The barrier island communities on Long Beach Island were devastated by Sandy. Although there were no fatalities, this area has been declared ground zero of the storm with damage estimates for this one area reaching $1 billion.
The Jersey coast is suffering from the misperception of continued flooding and devastation. The most damaged areas of New Jersey are residential locations, not areas frequented by tourists.
Although some facilities may remain closed, most beach towns at the Jersey Shore are confident they will have beaches open by Memorial Day.
For example, although Atlantic City casinos were forced to close on October 28th as the storm approached, the tourist districts were protected by sand dunes and were barely touched by the storm. The casinos reopened by the end of the week.
However, because the boardwalk in an area ½ mile away had the boardwalk severely damaged, 40% of Americans believe – incorrectly – that the Atlantic City boardwalk has been destroyed. This belief has led to the casinos revenue dropping 28%, the most in 34 years.
Not only has Atlantic City’s boardwalk not been destroyed, but it is expanding. The Steel Pier will debut 8 new rides this year, including a 200 foot Ferris wheel with climate controlled cabins.
On May 24th Resorts Casino Hotel is opening a new $35 million Margaritaville complex and later this summer, the Tropicana is opening an addition three restaurants at their property.
Most of the beach communities are rebuilding and expect to be up and running by Memorial Day.
An area that is already active and booming is Asbury Park. Downtown was not damaged by the hurricane, so those restaurants and hotels remained open. The boardwalk has undergone repairs and has reopened along with many of the businesses. Their beaches are scheduled to open on May 18.
Music is an important part of Asbury Park’s culture with many famous musicians finding their way through here on their way to fame, including Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and Patti Smith. The Stone Pony, one of the world’s best known music venues announced a Rebuild & Rock summer stage series coming this summer.
Another area that is well on its way to recovery is Jenkinson’s boardwalk in Point Pleasant. After months of renovation the boardwalk reopened on February 1st. Shortly after, the much loved aquarium, gift shop and sweet shop opened their doors again. And just recently, the Pavilion Arcade, Franks Fun Center and Pavilion Fast Food opened as well as the ride park. Everything will be open and operational by summer.
Casino Pier in Seaside Heights was hit terribly hard by Hurricane Sandy. Yes, the Jet Star roller coaster still sits in the Atlantic Ocean, but construction has begun on a new boardwalk and officials are confident that it will be completed by Memorial Day.
The New Jersey Shore has every type of food imaginable, but some are the foods of summer that make a beach vacation memorable. On the boardwalk the hot dogs, steak sandwiches, huge pizza slices and fresh squeezed lemonades are not to be missed. And don’t forget the salt water taffy which was originally produced and marketed in Atlantic City. For the more adventurous, at the Jersey Shore you can find anything fried. Some of the most popular are Oreos, candy bars, pickles and kool-aid.
To truly eat like a local, don’t pass on a Pork Roll sandwich. Pork roll is a breakfast meat rarely found outside of New Jersey or Philadelphia. It is often compared to SPAM. A Jersey Breakfast consists of a breakfast sandwich on a bagel or hard roll with pork roll, egg and cheese.
Plan a trip and bring the kids, they will show you how to have a great time at the shore. Not only will you have a great trip, but your tourist dollars will help those areas still in need.
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