Archive for the ‘Hurricane Sandy memories’ Category


Ocean Township. October 28, 2012. 8:37 am. By Paul Goldfinger ©

Ocean Township. October 28, 2012. 8:37 am. By Paul Goldfinger ©  Click to enlarge this peaceful autumn day.


JIM BRYANT    Original soundtrack of West Side Story

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Ocean Grove at Fletcher Lake. October 31, 2012. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

Ocean Grove at Fletcher Lake. October 31, 2012. 2 days after Sandy.  Paul Goldfinger photo ©


JOHN PIZZARELLI.   ” I Remember”  (bossa nova album):

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Portion of the boardwalk from about Heck south to Bradley. Note new flower beds.  June 4, 2015. Blogfinger photo. ©

The South End wooden Boardwalk extends from about Heck  Avenue to Bradley Beach.  Note new flower beds, recently placed as an Eagle scout project. June 4, 2015. Blogfinger photo. ©

Repaired old boardwalk just south of the Pavilion.  6/4/15 Blogfinger photo

Repaired old wooden  boardwalk  just north of the Pavilion. 6/4/15 Blogfinger photo

By Paul Goldfinger,  Editor @Blogfinger

For those of you who don’t walk the boards in OG very often, especially since Sandy hit in October 2012 and then since the ribbon cutting in July 2014, you might be surprised to find out that there are significant portions of the old boardwalk still intact to the north and to the south.

Areas of boardwalk that survived Sandy  were protected by preexisting rubble and metal bulkheads.  At the North End, the original boardwalk remains, with some repairs, extending from the Pavilion north to Sea View Avenue where it meets the asphalt path that extends to the Casino. 

Wooden boardwalk meets asphalt at Sea View Avenue. (looking north) Blogfinger photo ©

Wooden boardwalk meets asphalt at Sea View Avenue. (looking north) Blogfinger photo ©

Another stretch of retained wooden boardwalk is at the South End.  You can see in the photo above that there is a nice 2 1/2 block run of traditional wood boardwalk that stretches from south of Heck Avenue to Bradley Beach.  

Those areas of original wood boardwalk did require some repairs, and now they are a monument to history.  

Sandy destroyed the Middle Beach area, and the region that had to be rebuilt extended north to the  Pavilion and south around the beach offices.  It was estimated at the time that 60% of the boardwalk was irretrievably damaged.  The first part that was fixed was near the offices and the pier.  The North End received a temporary asphalt path.

The severely damaged pier was repaired to a limited extent, and its recovery is enjoyed today, with wooden boards,  on a daily basis, although there is no fishing at the OG Non-fishing Pier.  Unfortunately, in an act of inconsistency and flip-flopping, FEMA refused to consider the pier as part of our Boardwalk Public Boulevard.

Once FEMA relief was approved and money raised by the Together Fund and by a Neptune bond offering, the new Trex Middle Beach  Boardwalk was installed in 2014.   It was built after careful attention to engineering challenges.  The OG Camp Meeting Association deserves praise for doing the job right, and we must specifically admire the fortitude and resolve of Dale Whilden, Ralph del Campo and Bill Bailey—CMA officials.

Along with the new Trex boards, new cement access walkways, stairs and other related structures were put in place. Sand dune reconstruction was started,  and now the new season has begun.

During the Memorial Day weekend, a delighted beach and boardwalk crowd enjoyed the reborn and still evolving Oceanfront.

The North End boardwalk work  is on the launching pad, and Neptune Township has provided temporary funding until FEMA writes their check.  That work will begin after the summer season when the asphalt trail will be replaced.

Major dune grass planting will be done this year. The CMA is seeking volunteers for that project.

South End island. Ocean Grove beachfront.  June 4, 2015. Blogfinger photo. ©

South End island in the sun, adjacent to the Boardwalk, at Broadway.     This “triangle” was saved by the Beautification Project after considerable Sandy damage.  Ocean Grove beachfront. June 4, 2015. Blogfinger photo. ©

Take a walk over to the Boardwalk this season and appreciate what was not destroyed by Sandy and the fine work which continues by those involved in all aspects of the rebuilding  at our beachfront.

In some ways, the Sandy devastation made Ocean Grove better; and especially we must recall and admire the spirit of volunteers, citizens, contributors, OG organizations, fundraisers, and those politicians in Neptune, Trenton and Washington who helped in the recovery.

It is said  that “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.”  That idea holds true in Ocean Grove.

SHIRLEY MACLAINE:   Music by Cy Coleman; words by Dorothy Fields.

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Nov. 3, 2012.  Ocean Grove beach.  Paul Goldfinger photo ©  Click to enlarge

OLD CROW MEDICINE SHOW  (A tribute to John Denver)

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October 30, 2012, 7:45 am. Rear of Great Auditorium.  Paul Goldfinger photo ©.

October 30, 2012, 7:45 am. Rear of Great Auditorium. Paul Goldfinger photo ©.

GA roof on the morning of  Tuesday, October 30, 2012. Paul Goldfinger photo. ©

Great Auditorium  roof on the morning of Tuesday, October 30, 2012, one day after Sandy hit. The photo does not show the front side damage.  This portion of the roof is on the north side.     Paul Goldfinger photo. ©

BF roof story Nov. 5, 2012

BF roof story Jan 14, 2014

The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association is ready to complete work on the Great Auditorium roof, but they have had daunting problems deciding about which material to use.  Their plan had been to obtain zinc coated stainless steel material, but manufacturing challenges have prevented that.  JP Gradone, COO of the OGCMA, sent us the comment below in response to a Blogfinger inquiry yesterday.

“Our insurance company has recently agreed to pay for the installation of a temporary EPDM rubber roof on the damaged area while we continue to work closely with the insurance company to find a permanent solution to resolvethe situation with the roofing material.  The temporary roof was completed this week  and gives the Great Auditorium an excellent short-term solution while we carefully determine the best material for the permanent roof.”

EPDM rubber roofing on the south side.  Blogfinger photos

EPDM rubber roofing on the south side. Blogfinger photos

EPDM rubber roofing on the north side.

EPDM rubber roofing on the north side.


One year ago we wrote about the Woody Allen movie “Stardust Memories.”  Here is a link to that article because it shows the Great Auditorium decked out as the Stardust Hotel for that 1980 film which Allen considers one of his best.


And for this article about the GA roof, here is a version of “Stardust,” a song by Hoagy Carmichael,  that was performed by Louis Armstrong in the movie.

But now, in 2015, we present a contemporary jazz version of “Stardust,” an instrumental, by Warren Vaché on trumpet  (a Jersey boy,)  Derek Watkins, and the Brian Lemon Quartet.




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Shark River Hills.  November 1, 2012.  Comitteeman Randy Bishop comforts a resident after scavengers try buy her furniture drying outside.   By Paul Goldfinger

Shark River Hills. November 1, 2012—two days after Sandy hit.   Committeeman Randy Bishop comforts a tearful resident after scavengers try to buy her furniture drying outside. By Paul Goldfinger  @Blogfinger.net ©

MAUDE MAGGART  sings Irving Berlin:

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Ocean Grove, New Jersey  By Paul Goldfinger ©

Ocean Grove, New Jersey By Paul Goldfinger © Click left

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

In a huge announcement today, the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association disclosed that  “we are now an official FEMA project.”  According to Camp Meeting COO J.P. Gradone, “The funding is there, and we will receive 90%”  just like all the other Jersey Shore towns who were given Sandy disaster aid.

A meeting was held today at CMA headquarters  which was attended by representatives of FEMA,  our 4th District Congressman Chris Smith, and state historic and environmental officials.

All in attendance agreed that there were some hurdles in the road ahead related to environmental and historic permits, but everyone pledged to “fast track” those barriers so that work on the Middle Beach phase one project could begin.  These permissions relate largely to the fact that the middle boardwalk has to be placed 30 feet to the west to get it behind the existing bulkhead as protection against future storms.

Most of the planning has already been completed thanks to the anticipatory work done by the CMA’s engineers and advisors.  Once permits are done and FEMA has approved the plans, bids will go out and a time-table set up.

FEMA will agree to the entire budget of about $3.2-3.3 million. Phase one will cost $1.4 million, and the CMA should be able to be reimbursed for at least some of the $500,000 already spent at both ends of the boardwalk.  Meanwhile, the Neptune Bond issue will be completed soon.

Down the line, the other phases will be implemented including the fishing pier and the north end accesses.

Mr. Gradone told Blogfinger, in an exclusive interview,  that everyone at 54 Pitman Avenue is thrilled, and certainly this result vindicates the persistent and optimistic approach of those at the Camp Meeting Association along with Neptune Township officials, Together Fund people, Governor Chris Christie and his staff, Rep. Chris Smith, State Senator  Jennifer Beck, State Assemblywomen Caroline Casagrande and State Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini.

We wondered what all those political people were doing  and now we see the result 15 months after Sandy clobbered our beachfront.

This is the before picture of Middle Beach.  The after picture is in our minds.   PG photo

This is the before picture of Middle Beach. The after picture has suddenly materialized  in our minds. Paul  Goldfinger  photo, 2013.   ©

Some citizens in Ocean Grove thought that it was ridiculous to keep reapplying for help, but  acting COO Ralph delCampo, President Dale Whilden, and Director of Operations William “Bill” Bailey were steadfast in their persistence and positive approach. They refused to give up, and they just kept trying, along with the help of many consultants and experts guiding the way.

Mr. delCampo was a powerful leader for the effort, and his wonderful mediation and people skills kept the good ship “Ocean Grove” on course.   He was the John Phillip Sousa for our town marching band as they accomplished something that was so difficult—to change the mind of a huge federal agency, and they did it with intelligence, patience, good humor, and honesty, and perhaps some skid greasing by friends behind the scenes.

At Blogfinger, commenters berated us for repeatedly beating the bass drum to the rhythm of justice and common sense, but to be honest, we could not bear the illogic and unfairness of it all.

As with the recent FEMA eligibility decision, it will take the Camp Meeting Association some time to pull all the loose ends together, but victory is won, and the people of Ocean Grove are vindicated.  This is a great day for our little town.

JOHN PHILLIP SOUSA and THE MARINE BAND:  “The Stars and Stripes Forever”

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They came to help.  Ocean Grove beach. Morning. 11/3/12.  Paul Goldfinger photo ©

College kids volunteer after Sandy.  Ocean Grove beach. Paul Goldfinger photo ©


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..and the walls came tumbling down.  Auditorium roof pieces on Nov. 3, 2012.  All photos © by Paul Goldfinger

“..and the walls came tumbling down.” Auditorium roof pieces on Nov. 3, 2012. All photos © by Paul Goldfinger. Left click all our photos.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

FEMA–REGULAR FUNDING SECTOR: The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association has submitted their second appeal to FEMA. Ralph delCampo, interim COO, OGCMA, told Blogfinger that his team has been working with “just about every elected official at multiple levels of government” including Neptune Township, NJ State legislature, Governor’s office, our Representative in Congress—Chris Smith, and our Senator Menendez. He also specifically mentioned Assemblywomen Angelini and Casagrande along with our State Senator Jennifer Beck.

We should have a response about our appeal around Thanksgiving time.

Mr. delCampo says, “We are trying to address every avenue we can and to leave no stone unturned.”

Based upon advice from consultants experienced with FEMA and Katrina, the CMA has been advised to request an oral presentation to FEMA in Washington, D.C. The CMA contacted them, and “FEMA agreed to a face to face.”

That should happen in October or November. Among the consultants who are helping is Ocean Grover Eileen Kean. Mr. delCampo says that she has “a lot of connections to a variety of government agencies.”

Nov 3, 2012.  Many volunteers showed up.  PG photo ©

Nov 3, 2012. Many volunteers showed up. PG photo ©

FEMA SPECIAL FUNDING SECTOR: It turns out that there is a separate funding section within FEMA that handles grants. A few weeks ago, three officials from that group visited Ocean Grove and met with CMA. The officials were given a tour and a presentation of the CMA re-design plans for the ocean front including bulkheads, boardwalk, sand replenishment, pier reconstruction and dunes. Mr. delCampo said that the visitors were “very helpful and interested.”

NEW JERSEY SOURCES OF FUNDING: The Governor’s office has referred the CMA to the State Department of Transportation which has grants of $200,000-$400,000 that we can apply for. That is being looked into.

TOGETHER FUND: So far this effort has brought in $1.265 million.

Volunteers came from all over.

Volunteers came from all over. © PG photo

GETTING READY FOR CONSTRUCTION: A parallel effort is going on in order to be “ready to go” when financing appears. The CMA met last week with their construction engineering firm in order to revisit the estimates and obtain bids for the Boardwalk. “We want to be proactive,” he said.


1. Middle Beach

2. Area north of Sea View Avenue

3. Rebuild the Fishing Pier (“This has always been part of our plan.”)

–A decision will not be made vis a vis the Fishing Club “until

there is clarity” regarding related issues.

4. Redevelop the North End

EXTEND THE FISHING PIER FURTHER? The CMA may get some “outside funding” to go another 30 feet, but we need some more engineering assessment of pilings out there. Maybe the pier can get over the water soon.

BEACH REPLENISHMENT by the Army Corps of Engineers. They are now in Manasquan and will head north. They should reach this area some time in autumn. The last time the beach was replenished was 2001, and the A.C.E. has engineering plans to use in order to get us back to pre-Sandy levels

AUDITORIUM: The new roof materials will be ordered shortly, and the roof should be done by year end.

Nov 3, 2012. A ray of hope:  the first fisherman returns to the OG beach.  PG photo ©

Nov 3, 2012. A ray of hope: the first fisherman returns to the OG beach. PG photo ©

Here is a link to another photo of the resolute fisherman, above.   Fisherman photo

From the Broadway show “Mame”

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Great Auditorium roof damage after Sandy.  OGCMA photo

Great Auditorium roof damage after Sandy. OGCMA photo

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

On Saturday July 6, it reached 103 degrees in some parts of Monmouth County, but at 7:00 p.m. in the Youth Temple, the AC was working fine for the Town Meeting sponsored by the OGCMA. About 150 people attended along with CMA officials and representatives of major town organizations.

The meeting was run by CMA executives Dale Whilden, Ralph delCampo and Bill Bailey. Their goal was to “combat mis-information”—to review the “situation” in terms of what has been done so far and what has not. They summarized the history of the Sandy damages (“like a war zone,”), the rebuilding accomplishments to date, and some construction and planning details. Mr. Bailey showed impressive aerial photographs that helped us visualize the destruction from a unique perspective.

Early on, the storm came from the southeast--later from the northeast. This is the south end of OG.  OGCMA photo

Early on, the storm came from the southeast–later from the northeast. This is the south end of OG. OGCMA photo. Click left for more detail

This is the middle-north section of OG after Sandy  OGCMA photo

This is the middle-north section of OG after Sandy OGCMA photo

But it was not all old news—below are some highlights of new news:

1. Engineering: The CMA has been consulting with engineers who are experienced with storm ravaged beaches. The reasons for the varied damages along our beachfront relate to structural differences. At the north end, starting at the Pavilion, is a rubble wall (a jetty under the sand) which was built in 1953, which protected that area. In the middle, where most of the damage was, they found a vertical imbedded metal wall, but unfortunately, the boardwalk had been built in front of it in 1992. FEMA paid back then but didn’t allow the boardwalk to be rebuilt 25-30 feet to the west. That mistake will be corrected this time. At the south end, there was some protection by metal bulkheads.

2. Pier: The American Fence Company* will close down their operation in Pennsylvania on July 22 and will return for five days with a crew of 22 to complete the lengthening of the pier another 80 feet, with railings. They will also complete some work at the north end.

3. FEMA: The CMA has been working with consultants who are expert at navigating the twists and turns at a large government agency like FEMA. Mr. del Campo says, “The assumption is that FEMA will fund 75% of the cost at the oceanfront and that the TOGETHER campaign will provide the rest. We are more optimistic than in the past.” There also is the possibility that the financing from FEMA will be for 90% of the cost. Here is a link to our recent article about FEMA appeal #2. Appeal #2

It is anticipated that this appeal will be reviewed in Washington, unlike the last two that were assessed at the regional level.

4. Allies: The CMA has met with the Governor’s office. They have been following the situation and they are interested in helping. Neptune Township has “been very supportive and very involved ” in our quest for FEMA help. All local elected officials will be contacted to help. Mr. delCampo specifically mentioned Congressman Chris Smith and State Senator Jennifer Beck. Our allies can help the CMA explain the uniqueness of OG’s boardwalk to FEMA officials. It is much more than just recreational.

5. Q and A. There was one noteworthy moment of holiday verbal fireworks when Hank Savage angrily attacked the CMA for not having a “Plan B” if government funding fails to materialize. He correctly pointed out how the absence of a boardwalk is affecting so many people in so many ways. He said that Ocean Grove “looks like the Dresden of the Jersey Shore.” He refused to accept Mr. delCampo’s explanations and said, “That is not a plan.” Mr. Savage suggested that Plan B should be some type of negotiation with Neptune Township to take over the beachfront.

Mr. delCampo responded by saying that the planning has been extensive and that there were some aspects that could not be discussed publicly at this time.

A woman stood to say that perhaps OG was rejected by FEMA because the CMA had “denied Constitutional rights to gays.” This question materialized after a number of speakers had praised the new cooperative relationship between the CMA and OGU. Mr. delCampo sidestepped the topic by telling her that the CMA has been eligible for funds all along. The denial of funds is about the boardwalk designation as recreational.

6. MISC: The sand on the streets recurs because of the wind and large amounts of uncompacted sand (due to loss of dunes). Neptune Twp is responsible for cleaning the streets. Lighting at the beachfront needs to be improved, but JCP&L is the limiting component, and they are “swamped” with work. The north end building on the boardwalk is privately owned, but the owner is committed to rebuilding. The TOGETHER fund will be co-sponsoring a town picnic in July (OGU is the other sponsor,) and there will be a summer ball in August.


OGCMA press release July 5, 2013

American Fence Company BF article*

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