"There is both an enormous strength within the community and an unparalleled attachment throughout the world for Asbury Park", says Mayor Ed Johnson. "Everyone has their own "Asbury story" whether it's from their childhood or from just this past summer. It's everyone's town and that support is greatly felt and appreciated. We also recognize throughout the city that Asbury Park fared remarkably well compared to those in surrounding towns and we would like to extend our thoughts to our neighboring cities".
The response time and coordination of efforts throughout the City of Asbury Park has been significant. The Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce launched a landing page on its website listing all reopened businesses in the Asbury Park area within days of the hurricane and the Asbury Park Boardwalk had work crews out in full force with cleanup and repairs within hours of the settling winds. The Mayor of Asbury Park, Ed Johnson, was sending out social media posts every few hours during and post Hurricane Sandy alerting the community to free meal programs, power updates and available community services, such as children's programs and many Asbury Park stores and restaurants were opened for business, even with limited power. Support at the county and state level also allowed Asbury Park to keep its residents and businesses informed, hopeful and moving forward. Both Governor Christie and Lieutenant Governor Guadagno visited Asbury Park shortly after the hurricane to assess the needs of the community.
The Asbury Park Boardwalk redeveloper, Madison Marquette, as well as waterfront store and restaurant owners were immediately assessing needs and prepping the waterfront area for a reopening. In late 2007 and early 2008, Madison Marquette redeveloped many of the waterfront pavilions and historic music venues and now in the face of this adversity continues to stand firmly committed to the boardwalk and to the City of Asbury Park. "We are looking to open to the public as soon possible and as a company we are experienced with rapid timelines for repair and redevelopment,"
Madison Marquette's Director of Marketing and Events, Pasqualina DeLucia, states, "the Asbury Park Boardwalk is also moving forward with our holiday programming. The popular holiday tree lighting in the iconic Grand Arcade will take place on November 24th with the Asbury style tradition of Roller Derby to follow in Convention Hall. Also, any temporarily displaced store owners on the Boardwalk will be able to set up a temporary spot in the Grand Arcade as part of our Holiday Bazaar, so you won't miss out on your APBoardwalk favorites". DeLucia continues, "We still want to provide a shorefront destination surrounding the holidays that will allow for some levity and holiday cheer during what are some trying times for so many. It's a holiday retreat and it was important for us to make it happen".
The business community in Asbury Park continues to have a positive and festive outlook for the holiday season. Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jackie Pappas notes that, "preparations for the holiday season are well underway and the whole community is coming together with several reflective and fun events planned to make Asbury Park the bright light on the Jersey Shore that leads the way for our neighboring towns to rebuild by." A 'Lights on the Lake' solidarity event is planned for Nov 30th as well as our annual First Saturday tree lighting featuring a day of family activities. Fans of the Jersey Shore are invited to wear red or white to our tree lighting on Dec 1st and be part of a panoramic photo from the downtown looking east to the AP Boardwalk. Asbury Park will continue to offer year-round dining, shopping and events as well several fundraising efforts to help those with loss in all of our shore communities. "The collaboration between our Downtown, Main Street and Boardwalk communities and non-profit partners has been extraordinary"
Of course, in addition to being a premiere seaside destination, Asbury Park is a Music Mecca with venues such as the iconic Paramount Theatre, Convention Hall, The Saint, Chico's House of Jazz, Asbury Lanes and the legendary The Stone Pony. As the city "Where Music Lives", you will find that little can stop the power that lies in the arts in Asbury Park. Venues are reopening this weekend with both national acts and amazing local talent. It's a tight music community and many local musicians are also coming together to raise money for local charities.
Asbury Park continues to stand solid and is grateful for both its good fortune in Sandy's wake and also for such a strong community (and extended community). The "Jewel of The Jersey Shore" remains shining.
For more information, please contact the following: For the Asbury Park Boardwalk, contact Angie Sugrim at email@example.com or visit apboardwalk.com. For The Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce, contact Jacqueline Pappas at executivedirector@