Students set to storm the shore

May 6, 2014


The restoration of the Jersey Shore after Super Storm Sandy has come to signify ‘Jersey Strong’ for many seasonal tourists.

It was the summer of 2013.  It was a hot day, but the car was cool and Kelsey (’15) rested her head against the window pane watching the landscapes roll by mile after mile.

As she drives down the causeway to her favorite place, Long Beach Island, she listens to Good Time by Carly Rae Jepsen and Owl City.

“There’s no better feeling then having the windows down with your sunglasses on as you’re approaching the island,” Kelsey says.

Kelsey has been renting the same house in Beach Haven, NJ annually for 17 years. “It’s my family’s favorite place to go and we look forward to it every summer,” she says.

For Kelsey it’s a nice break from the normal routine in Glen Rock and a good spot to relax and enjoy the company of family and friends.

I always over pack so much and end up having three full suitcases by the time I’m done.

— Kelsey ('15)

The days leading up to the trip consist of a flurry of packing, last minute purchases, and the occasional forgotten item.

“I like to pack a bunch of bathing suits, sunglasses, a lot of sun block, and basic summer apparel. I always over pack so much and end up having three full suitcases by the time I’m done,” Kelsey says.

Kelsey’s family rents the house for 2 weeks each year.

“We like to have many people come visit us while we are staying there,” Kelsey says, “We have family-friends stay a couple nights, and my brother and I like to bring our friends down too.”

Another beach-goer, Kate Kelly (’15), goes to her Grandmother’s house in Point Pleasant each summer. “Her house is small but serves its purpose; I actually enjoy how small it is… it gives it a beachy feel whenever I’m there,” Kate says.

There is never a dull moment there because it’s so alive with tourists and locals and things to do.

— Kate Kelly ('15)

She described Point Pleasant as a quaint town with rows of small houses right next to each other with sand instead of pavement.  Kate says, “You really feel close with all your neighbors, that’s what I love about it most.”

“There is a boardwalk with an aquarium and many games and places to shop and eat,” she says. “There is never a dull moment there because it’s so alive with tourists and locals and things to do.”

The long walk to the beach proves a peaceful break for the Glen Rock High School beach-goers over the summer months.

Kate goes to Point Pleasant with all of her family and sometimes brings down her friends. She loves being there with people because she says, “It bring everyone so much closer.”  She has a bunch of younger cousins that come as well.

Kate’s favorite ride to go on is ‘The Moby Dick’ at the amusement park. She loves how high up the ride goes and how she can see the whole Island from the top. “The Moby Dick is always the first ride I go on with my cousins,” she says.

Throughout the summer Kate likes to bring down her friends. “When I go to visit Kate, it’s always the highlight of my summer, there’s so much to do,” says Sarah Hayek (’15), one of Kate’s close friends. Her friends usually take day trips down because it’s only an hour and a half away from Glen Rock.

Sarah says, “Whenever we go to Point Pleasant, we bring a lot of food, tanning lotion, and a smile.” All of her friends love going on the rides and enjoying the boardwalk. Their favorite attraction is the mini roller coaster. “We love it because it snaps a picture in the middle of the ride, and it’s always funny to see our faces,” Kate Kelly says.

Lee Maitner (’15) and her family rent a house in Brick, New Jersey every summer. “We stay for around a month usually, and it’s so much fun,” she says. Brick is located on exit 90 off of the Parkway, so, with traffic, it takes them around an hour and 45 minutes to get there.

They rent a house that is right on the beach and has a pool in the backyard. Lee says, “I love having both right there because, some days, I’m only in the mood to go to the pool. And some days I enjoy going to the beach, so I get the best of both worlds.”

One of Lee’s favorite activities to do in Brick is going para-sailing.

High in the sky, these para-sailors have school work as the last thing on their minds. (Photo Credit: Lee Maitner)

“There is a motor boat that takes you from the bay into the ocean with a group, you can go up with either one, two, or three people,” she said. “You are strapped into a seat and are slowing brought into the air, when you are all the way up, the boat goes full speed.”

The parasailing trip in the air is around 30-minutes and one can see the whole township of Brick from the air. “At first I was really scared,” she recalls. “But once I was up there, it was an amazing experience and I’m happy I got a chance to do it.”

Every summer, Lee tries to get another family member to try it out.

“It’s so much fun to watch my cousins go parasailing for the first time, so I can see their reactions and how much they love it,” Lee says. Lee even got her 7-year-old cousin to go with her, and she loved it.

She says, “Parasailing is my favorite thing to do when I’m here, and I want my family members to enjoy it just as much as I do. It has now become a new tradition in our house to go every summer.”

Yet when Lee’s not taking to the sky, she finds time to enjoy some of the local fare.

“My favorite place to eat on the Jersey Shore is Surf Taco, my whole family enjoys it,” Lee says. The Maitner family goes frequently when they are visiting. It has a ‘chill vibe,’ and it primarily serves Mexican-style food.

Lee says,” Whenever I go, I get the Baja Bowl.”  The Baja Bowl comprises grilled chicken, rice, beans, mushrooms, peppers, onions, lettuce, cheese, and Pico de Gallo all served in a bowl with chips. “I only eat Surf Taco in the summer because it reminds me of the beach, and you can’t find one near Glen Rock.

But on October 29th, 2012 the devastation of Hurricane Sandy stuck New Jersey.

New Jersey was in a state of chaos, especially on the Jersey Shore, in preparation for the storm that was about to hit. Shelves in local grocery stores were cleared, and, beginning on October 26th, areas started receiving notice to start to evacuate their homes. Almost 509 schools were closed on the 29th and 30th.

I think the image that got to me the most was seeing one of the Seaside Piers in the ocean.

— Sarah Hayek ('15)

Lee Maitner says, “Initially I thought that the storm wasn’t going to be that huge, until the day that it started. It was a scary experience during the storm and left disastrous results.”

Sandy Ripped through the Jersey Shore, destroying thousands of homes, causing 75 direct deaths, and creating $65 billion in damage for the US.

“I’ll never forget staying up all night praying for those whose homes were in jeopardy of destruction. I hoped that my grandma’s house would stay up strong because it is so little,” Kate Kelly says. Families did not know what had happened to their homes over the following days and waiting to find out was difficult.

The shore continues to be rebuilt as another tourist season quickly approaches.

Slowly, towns allowed people to visit their homes. Pictures and videos started popping up on the Internet that would show the fate of the area.

“We were all sitting in my basement and we would start to see pictures and see just how horrifying this storm was. Thousands of homes and local businesses were destroyed to the ground,” Kelsey recalls. “It was really difficult to look at all these images knowing that me and my friends’ homes and favorite places could be ruined.”

“I think the image that got to me the most was seeing one of the Seaside Piers in the ocean,” Sarah Hayek says.

“I have grown up on the Jersey Shore, making it a huge part of my life. Seeing all of these areas ruined was horrible.” Kate says.

Throughout all this devastation, however, New Jersey, came together as a state to help those who had suffered. People were handing out food, blankets, and other emergency assistance.

Waves for Water is a hurricane relief initiative that was created for donations to help with reconstruction. The Robin Hood Foundation provided concerts to raise money to help with the storm.

There is still so much to be done to mend all the desolation, but with the help of these organizations and volunteers the Jersey Shore is on its way to recovery.

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