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NJ Monthly Editor: Jersey Shore Beaches Ready for Visitors

5-21-14

New Jersey Monthly has just issued its annual look at the Jersey Shore. Editor Ken Schlager told NJTV News Anchor Mary Alice Williams that there have been many renovations made along the Jersey Shore and the beaches look great, fresh and ready for visitors.

An article in the magazine described some of Wildwood’s 1950s hotels as having “charmingly, tacky aesthetics.” Schlager said that in the 1950s and 1960s there was an explosion of building of motels in Wildwood and they had rocket imagery, bright lights and neon colors. He said that a lot of those places had been destroyed but about 20 years ago, Wildwood decided to save the motels. He said that there are a lot of beautifully preserved, renovated, incredibly cool motels. Schlager said there are about 60 of them in the historic district there.

Schlager said what’s new in a lot of the shore towns, after Hurricane Sandy, is that a lot of places have been freshened up. He said that in Ocean and Monmouth counties, there are new boardwalks and pavilions. He said there are new pavilions in Avon, Spring Lake and Bradley Beach. He said there is a lot of renovation down the shore and the beaches themselves have been built up and renovated. He said that the beaches really look great, fresh, exciting and ready to greet the visitors.

Schlager said that he has been surprised about how quickly some of the shore towns have gotten back into shape, which is good news. The bad news, he said, is that some towns have a long way to go, particularly in Ocean County around Ortley Beach, Normandy Beach, Lavalette and Mantoloking. He said that those towns are doing their best and people who like to go there and rent should feel free to do it because the beaches are usable. He said that the roads are being worked on and those projects are promised to be ended by the summer. He said that what you would find there are a lot of cavities where homes were destroyed and a lot of homes still under construction.

“I think it is important that people from Jersey, in particular, go down there and show support for the shore. The businesses are open,” said Schlager.

When asked what the allure of the Jersey Shore is, Schlager said that for many people who grew up in New Jersey, the shore is their childhood and their roots. He said that he talks to people that go to places that have been in their family for generations or the beach that they have gone to since they were kids. He said that the amazing thing is that so many of the shore towns, like Wildwood and others, have maintained the look and feel from 20, 30 and 40 years ago and he thinks that people love that.

When asked how, as a reporter, he can cover an area that is so long and diverse, Schlager said, “It is tough. You have to put a lot of people to work on it. The tricky thing for New Jersey Monthly, is we actually have to do our seasonal issues, like the shore issue, a year in advance. So all of the reporting and photography that are in this June issue were actually done last summer.”