Well it was a cold and even slightly snowy January day, so we went to the beach. Son A. hadn’t been to NJ in over two years, and wanted to see what was what. A lot has been cleaned up, but the amount that still has to be done is staggering.
We begin our tour in Highlands, NJ, just inside of Sandy Hook. A low-lying tidal area where in ancient times people made their living digging clams, it was absolutely hammered with a something-like-twelve-foot tidal surge during Sandy. There are a lot of good restaurants down there, and I was happy to see that Havana seems to have survived. But our sentimental favorite, The Clam Hut, looks like a goner.
You walked along the gangplank out onto the patio deck out back, where the open-air bar led out to a bunch of picnic tables on the pier. Is there any better place to eat fried clams or fish than perched out above the salt water?
We saw many homes there even now boarded up, with dumpsters parked alongside, and with huge piles of moldering shingles, wallboard, furniture and other building materials.
I was doing the driving, so I don’t have that many photos to post, but I’ll do my best.
Sandy Hook, from up above, looks erased. When we visit Ocean Grove a little further down you’ll see an example.
Sea Bright was a cute and thriving little town. Here’s what it looks like in more normal times.
Click on the yellow icon of the man to go to the street view, then pan around to see the storefronts. Every single one of these stores had the windows blown out, and are now all covered with plywood.
Driving along the shore road, NJ Rt. 36, there are sections with high sea walls, like here (again, look at the street view):
Many of the wooden staircases that lead over the seawall were destroyed. But not only that, imagine a tide washing over that wall, across the street, and blowing out windows in the houses across the street.
Asbury Park fared better. The Berkeley is open, but the Boardwalk is fenced in and suffered some damage.
You can see hunks of lumber, and notice how the stainless steel fence railing has been broken.
Here’s the Paramount Theater, where they’re repairing a big stretch.
Not all of the destruction was a human cost. The natural beauty of a lot of the shore has been wiped clean, as I saw at Sandy Hook. Humor me again by going into the street view below, and pan around towards the ocean.
All of that vegetation between the road and the water — beach roses, sea grasses, lavender, cacti — has been destroyed. Only sand is left there now.