Posts Tagged ‘Jersey Shore’

Laughing Gulls

I really like Sea Gulls;  They are raucous, clever, beautiful and so varied.  I used to think the only kind of Sea Gull was the one that looked like Jonathan Livingston Sea Gull.  But now, I spend time at the Jersey Shore I’ve come to know several varieties.  My favorite is the Laughing Gull.

Here's Laughing At You!

Here’s Laughing At You!

These sleek black-headed birds are seen in great numbers during the summer along the beaches and coasts of the Northeast.  Year-round they can be found around the Gulf of Mexico and the coasts of the Southeast.  They have long legs and fairly long wings.  Laughing Gulls eat almost anything, including food they catch or steal, handouts, garbage, and discards from fishing boats. They often congregate in parking lots, sandy beaches, and mud bars. Listen for their nasal, strident calls in flight, while feeding, and at rest.

Look for Laughing Gulls at the beach, especially during summer when their crisp black hoods and red bills make them easy to pick out from other gull species. You may also notice that their back and wings (the mantle) are considerably darker than common medium-sized gulls such as Ring-billed Gulls; this can also help you to pick them out from a crowd.



I like to feed the gulls any leftover stale bread I may have or those fried greasy crinkly things you get from the Chinese restaurant, they love them.  Anyway, my favorite gull to feed is the Laughing Gull.  They seem smarter than the others and they know it.   While hoards of gulls will gather on the sand below the dock where I am tossing the bread, each one trying to steal the piece that their neighbor has instead of going after a fresh one, the Laughing Gull disdains to join the crowd on the sand and circles me coming closer and closer.   He is quite happy to receive his bread in the air, swooping under it to catch it in his mouth or darting sideways to snatch it mid-air.  They will hover over my head like a helicopter waiting for me to toss a piece up in the air.

Murray Head has captured  fabulous photos of  these delightful creatures and I’m happy to share them with you.

Zeroing In For The Catch!

Zeroing In For The Catch!

Was It Something I Said?

Was It Something I Said?

Long Legs and Red Bills

Long Legs and Red Bills

OHHhhh My Dear!

OHHhhh My Dear!

Aerodynamically Perfect

Aerodynamically Perfect

So Much To Do So Little Time

So Much To Do So Little Time

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Did you ever wonder where things come from and where they end up?  Well, of course I’m not talking about something you bought in a store because we all know that item originated in China, Korea or Taiwan passed through the port of New York and ended up in Chicago!

Actually a friend of ours needed a curtain rod;  Not just any curtain rod, a certain kind that might extend the length of her oversized floor to ceiling window.  My husband prowled around all the obvious stores in the neighborhood and nothing was to be found.  He happened  to mention this when he was at the drugstore (and God only knows how you work that into a conversation) and the druggist mentioned he might have what we needed.  Why would the drugstore have a curtain rod?  Turns out, he owns the building and he is about to renovate the apartments  upstairs and invited Peter to go upstairs and help himself.  

It Looked Like This One

It Looked Like This One

He wandered through a couple of units and sure enough he found a lovely rod with finials and he removed the brackets that held and triumphantly returned home with his prize.  I took one look at it and said, “That won’t work”.  Sorry I deflated his balloon but facts are facts and it just wouldn’t fit.  

Naturally I wanted it to immediately find its way to the trash room but oh no, he thought it was good to throw out.  Once again for at least the 100th time, I remind him that items put in the trash room are hardly ever really thrown away.  First it has to get past the porters and the Super;  If they don’t need it or know of a tenant who can use it, it gets put out on the sidewalk with the bagged trash, BUT.  Things on the street in New York have a way of finding new homes for themselves long before the sanitation workers arrive.  However, apparently even this potential new life wasn’t good enough for this rod.  My husband wanted to give it to someone who needed it!

Naturally, if you know this household and the dynamics of our relationship, the rod hung around for a couple of weeks.  Finally I said,  “Enough is enough, out it goes”!  That certainly sent quivers through him and so I offered an alternative;  At least take it to the thrift shop and let someone who needs it, buy it.

It just so happened that he was on his way to New Jersey and so the rod, its brackets, a few books, two Beanie Babies and a stereo receiver and two speakers were sent to Habitats for Humanity in Asbury Park, NJ.  So as you think about it, the rod which began one of its lives in Manhattan will probably be holding up curtains somewhere on the Jersey Shore.

And there you have the life and times of a curtain rod or a weird version of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

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Of course it helps if you have a good eye for art or an artist’s eye that captures the art of everyday things.  My friend, Murray is an artist; He uses his eyes and the camera lens to capture the pure simplicity of the ordinary, the commonplace and when he takes the shot, it becomes art.  See for yourself.  The photographs were taken Thanksgiving weekend on the Jersey Shore.  There is beauty at the beach in the winter.  Without the maddening crowds, you can actually SEE more.


Destruction Destiny


I Walk The Line

I Walk The Line

I'm The King Of The World

I’m The King Of The World

Beach Berries

Beach Berries

Fair Feather We're Having

Fair Feather We’re Having

True North

True North

On The Second Day Of Christmas, 2 Cats A Sitting

On The Second Day Of Christmas, 2 Cats A Sitting

The Angry Eel

The Angry Eel

High Tide Geysers

High Tide Geysers

Libra Gulls

Libra Gulls

There is quiet beauty at The Shore!

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Today was a very Super Sunday!  First of all it was hot and sunny and a perfect beach day.  A sunny Sunday at the Shore is hard to beat.  Then there’s the soup;  This morning I got up early and made Gazpacho.  It’s the quintessential summer soup and a great Sunday night supper.  I love this recipe and so I made a huge batch, some for our dinner tonight and some for the freezer.  And since I think she’s reading the blog, I also put a small container of Gazpacho aside for Elinor.  If you would like the recipe for this Gazpacho, please see this prior post:  : https://pbenjay.wordpress.com/2011/08/09/gazpacho-or-th…ersey-tomatoes

After an afternoon of wave surfing, well actually it was more like trying not to get swamped by the rolling waves, we went home, showered and had a quick cocktail.  The best was yet to come…. Tonight promised us the biggest moon of the year.  The sky had been clear all day and so we planned on heading back to the boardwalk at the time the moon was expected to rise.  I’ve been wanting to watch a moon rise for the last couple of weeks.  Tonight had all of the aspects for the perfect moon rising, the time was good for us and of all the moons, this one was going to BIG, BIG, BIG!

We enjoyed sitting on the boardwalk which happened to be heavily populated as a whole bunch of people were sitting and standing around waiting for this spectacular site.  Everybody was talking about the Super Moon.  While we waited, the sun, no slouch in the spectacular department went down in a blaze of glory.

A Glorious Sunset In The Making

A Glorious Sunset In The Making

The moon rise web site said the moon would rise in the ESE direction and about 7:43pm.  I kept scanning the horizon looking for that thin red line to appear on top of the water in the distance.  Sometimes you can’t see what you’re looking for because what you’re looking for is a bit obscured and appears not as expected.  The red rim of the rising moon never graced the horizon BUT then about 8pm, there it was!  NOT on the horizon but rather quite a bit above the water line and not looking very red orange – it was a big fat round white ghost in the sky!  I guess the sky was not quite as clear as we thought, the cloud cover obscured the rising moon until it was a ways above the water.

The Ghost of a Moon

The Ghost of a Moon

As it rose higher and the atmosphere cleared, the moon not only got bigger, it got orange too!  It was quite the sight, that blushing man in the moon smiling down on us.  It loomed larger and brighter and it was like being in a planetarium because the moon hung there in the sky right in front of us and it felt like we were watching this phenomena in 3-D.

Big Red

Big Red

We called it a Super Moon, but it has had many other names over the years.  It’s a Mega-moon, a perigee moon.  Native American tribes that were basically fishermen noted this August moon as the Sturgeon Moon because ti was during the time of this full moon that the sturgeon were more readily caught.  It was also known as the Green Corn Moon and the Grain Moon by other Native Americans.  Also known as the Full Red Moon as it appeared when rising through a sultry haze.


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English: A street in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. ...

A street in Ocean Grove, New Jersey. Ocean Grove, New Jersey

The Great Auditorium Ocean Grove, New Jersey 

What do they have in common?  Just another wonderful weekend in Ocean Grove where there is always something happening!  And to think they used to call this place Ocean Grave.  Back in the days…. and there was a time in Ocean Grove where life was much more sedate and serene;  of course it still is if that is what you are looking for.  

There was a time when cars were not allowed on the streets of the town after midnight on Saturday.  Where did they go?  They had to be removed from the streets and not returned until Sunday night. This town has religious roots, founded by Methodists who to this day run the town so to speak.  In actuality the Camp Meeting Association which is the organization which ran the camp meetings – those retreats and spiritual renewal times and educational events that were the raison-d’etre for the formation of Ocean Grove.  Methodists from all over the country would travel to the Jersey Shore for a week or two of respite from city life and an opportunity to enjoy the fellowship of the universal Methodist community.   They built a Great Auditorium where services are held every Sunday BUT concerts are held every Saturday night of the summer.  Over the years we have seen some great talents of our times and tomorrow night we will go to the Doo Wop Concert which signals the summer is over.  

However, during the day tomorrow we are going to the Great Flea Market which is held every spring and summer.  Hundreds of dealers selling everything from vintage toys to towels, tee shirts to tea pots, antiques, artifacts and albums.  This event takes place on the wide grassy median of Ocean Pathway.  It’s quite a sight with the ocean in front of you and the Great Auditorium behind you.  

Even after almost 10 years I still am in awe of the beauty of this town.  Every day I feel like I’m living in a postcard or a movie set or a Norman Rockwell painting.  New is good, old is often better and to enjoy life in this throw-back-in-time town is wonderful, delightful and I feel very lucky or blessed (as one might say in Ocean Grove) to be able to reside there intermittently.  Life is good.

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I felt I had to write something more about what I saw two days when we finally got to the shore to check out our cottage and the town of Ocean Grove.  You’ve heard ALL the words on the news (that is if you have power to get the news) UNPRECEDENTED-UNBELIEVABLE-UNREAL-DISASTROUS-MIND-BOGGLING and on and on and on.

YES all adjectives apply.  Trying to keep things in perspective is actually easy this time around;  When I think of the food I lost, I think of the people who lost their homes.  When I think of the damage in my yard, I think of the people watched an angry sea surge over their yards and swallow them out and spit out sand where their lawns had been.  When I think of the shingles flown off my roof, I think of the residents of Breezy Point and Mantolooking whose homes were engulfed in fire.  When I was concerned about the slimy mud on the side of the house and windows, I only had to walk over to The Lillagaard Hotel where the tea room I ran is/was located and saw the layer of mud left in the kitchen and dining room left behind by the two feet of water that broke through the door and flooded the lower level.

YES, things are put in perspective, sometimes unfortunately at the expense of another’s loss and pain.

Yesterday we drove to the shore with our friends, Joe and Michael.  They were kind enough to drive us to Ocean Grove as they were going to check on their cottage.  My camera battery was dead and I had no power in NJ to recharge. Joe took a lot of photos and graciously forwarded them to me so I could post them on my blog.  This is what we saw in Ocean Grove on Wednesday!

NOT a rare sight around town

Storm surge deposited lamp post and debris across Ocean Ave

A boardwalk buried in sand

Ocean Grove NJ, fishing pier, fishing shack

Where there was once a Fishing Shack at the end of this pier!

sand piles, Ocean Grove, Ocean Ave

Mounds of sand left background-Had been on Abbott Avenue and was plowed to beach to open up the street!!!!

Ocean Grove, Jersey shore, boardwalk

Twisted railings, Note the sand is now level with the boardwalk!

Ocean Grove, Hurricane Sandy, Jersey shore,

View from the boardwalk-the piles of sand are from the streets to the west NOT washed and deposited over the boardwalk.

The Camp Meeting Association is holding a massive clean-up tomorrow (Saturday).  Our dear friends Dick and Jane who own The Lillagaard need our help to empty out the Tea Room and salvage what we can.  BUT we don’t have enough gas to get there and back and none to be had in New Jersey.  And we can’t get back into the City unless we have 3 people in the car! Do two cats counts as one person?

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After a night of howling wind, slashing rain and rattling windows, I woke up this morning to a new world.  The sidewalks of the Upper East Side were covered with leaves, large branches and in some cases whole trees were on the street.  People were out in huge numbers as the result of yet another day with no public transportation and most non-essential businesses closed!  Going out for breakfast in New York on the weekend or in this case a day off is practically a national pastime.  This morning we joined our friend, Gail for a late breakfast/lunch at Gracie’s, a coffee shop across the street.  The line to get in was out the door and to the end of the block!  Luckily Gail had gotten there before us and we were able to go right in and get a table.  I ordered one of my usual breakfast.  I said, “I’ll have scrambled egg whites on a toasted bialy with one slice of turkey bacon”.  The waiter said, “Just white or rye”.  I said, “Ok, I’ll have two poached eggs in a cup and…” at which point he interrupted me and said, “we only have scrambled eggs”.  So I laughed and said perhaps he ought to just write out the order himself!!!  So scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, rye toast and home fries was breakfast du jour.

Walked over to 87th St to watch the trees being fed into an automated garbage truck, not something you see around town.

Once back home an online, the horrors wrought by Sandy the night before began to reveal themselves.  Between fielding phone calls from friends around the country who were checking in on our safety and well-being and trying to access the internet to see what was written on Blogfinger, I watched the news.  Switching from NBC to ABC to CNN I was horrified by what I saw.  Massive destruction of the Jersey Shore!  Subway tunnels flooded and our own Eastside #6 line under water.  The crane still dangling over West 57th St.  My cousin Marian called me and asked if they could stay at our apartment on Wednesday as she is still banned from her building due to the threatening crane.

Extel, Billionaires building, Manhattan, W. 57th sT

How ONE Crane Ate A Neighborhood

Another telling photo, this one from Hoboken, NJ

Hoboken, NJ, fleet of taxis, Hurricane Sandy

The Yellow Submarines

Every borough was severely affected by Sandy. Below is a freak incident brought about by high winds and a stupendous storm surge.

Sandy took a wrong turn on Staten Island

Photo courtesy of (AP Photo/Sean Sweeney)

Late in the afternoon, I was able to go online at a friend’s house and view Blogfinger – THE DAY AFTER: Assessing the Damage

The following photos are from Blogfinger, a great source of community information.  If you read the comments, you will see how many home-owners such as myself rely heavily on the blog to find out what is happening in the town when we’re not there.  The bad news was right there in black and white. No power, more trees down, the board walk a twisted and buckled wreck, a former restaurant ripped open by the sea.

Ocean Grove NJ, boardwalk, Hurricane Sandy

Ocean Grove boardwalk covered in sand, benches strewn around like toys,

Photo by Paul Goldfinger

And then I called Jane at the Lillagaard to find out what damage had been done.  The news was NOT GOOD.  The storm surge broke the entry door to the Tea Room, not only pushing the door open but also bending the door frame.  Can you imagine the forces of nature at play with this ferocious Frankenstorm?  As of tonight the kitchen was still flooded and the Tea Room is closed till further notice 😦

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English: "V" icon as as symbol for v...

English: “V” icon as as symbol for vegetarianism/veganism. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not a Vegan or a Vegetarian however sometimes I make an entire meal from garden-fresh vegetables!  This weekend turned out to be one of those inspirational meal-making events.  I found a vegan recipe for Sicilian Chickpeas with Escarole and Carmalized Onions.  Sounded intriguing and decided it would be a great side dish.  After all it had a green vegetable and also chick peas which provided the carb factor.  Of course if we were real vegans that would have been the main dish, maybe the only dish and I would be a thinner person!  But I know my husband and he might say something like “is this the whole meal” ?  So I made him two salmon burgers and myself two veggie burgers.  Not vegan and in most eyes, not even vegetarian – it was those salmon burgers that did us in….

Saturday night turned into a different kind of culinary adventure.  We were at the shore battening down the hatches so to speak as were our friends, Joe and Michael.  Hurricane Sandy was on her way to the Jersey Shore and Governor Christie declared a State of Emergency that morning so we had a lot of work to do putting furniture away, tying down covers, securing everything and anything that might become a missile!  Joe called and offered to help us in any way, good neighbor and friend.  I suggested we might meet up for breakfast on Sunday morning.  Joe said how about a pasta dinner since he had a lot of gravy.  He’s Italian and I’m Italian and if you’re Italian you know what we’re talking about.  Sounded like a plan to me BUT I had my own ideas about the kind of pasta I was going to make.

I mentioned that I thought I would make a Pancetta and Fennel Pasta, a very delicious and elegant dish.  There was a notable silence at the other end of the phone and then I heard the words, ” I don’t like pancetta, what is fennel”?  REALLY?  After a bit of back and forth and some input from Michael in the background, it was agreed that I would make the pasta, they would bring some wine and dessert!  I still wasn’t sure that Joe would like this dish and he did mention Classico sauce SO I decided to make two pasta dishes; my own Pancetta and Fennel and also a bowl of penne and pomodoro sauce.  Add an arugula, grape tomato and red onion salad and a loaf of semolina bread and we were in business.  Turns out that Joe really was kinda, sorta kidding about the Classico sauce (he claims he doesn’t really  like it).  Well, he dug right into the Pancetta and Fennel and after a couple of  helpings, he  said it was delicious!  See I told you it was good!

The recipe for the Pancetta and Fennel dish can be found in a previous blog: https://pbenjay.wordpress.com/2012/08/28/pancetta-and-fennel-pasta/

Before I give you the Sicilian Escarole recipe, I have to tell you about the bonanza of desserts.  In true Jersey fashion, we had a dozen of Dunkin’ Donuts, many festively decorated for Halloween.  I will admit to eating a Boston Creme and at least half of a jelly doughnut.  AND then we had apple cake from Freedman’s Bakery in Belmar which was SOoooo good.  Thanks guys!

Sicilian Chickpeas with Escarole and Carmalized Onions

1  large escarole (1 1/2  lbs) I used a large bag chopped escarole

1/4 cup olive oil

2 medium onions halved and sliced thinly. I used 1  large Vidalia onion thinly sliced.

2 tsp sugar –  I used 1 tsp.

1/4 cup dark raisins

3 cups drained chickpeas – reserve 1/3 cup bean liquid

Heat oil over medium heat in large  saute pan.  Add onions and stir often till golden – about 15 minutes.  Add sugar and cook another 5 minutes till dark golden brown.

Add raisins and escarole.  Stir occasionally till leaves are tender, about 6 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper

Add chickpeas and their liquid.  Simmer till flavors have blended, about 3 minutes.  Adjust seasonings.


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If you are a follower of this blog, then you know we spend time on the Jersey Shore  and I have a category known as Art is Where You Find It.  Art is everywhere IF you have the eye to seek it out, the time to look for it and it helps if you have the ability to capture the sight on film or in this case, digitally.  Murray spent some of Columbus Day weekend with us and he disappeared for hours at at time, camera in hand.  Oh yes, and it really helps if you have an artistic eye for form, color and perspective.

This is the art that surrounds us;  It’s not hanging in a gallery in SoHo, we don’t have   the name of the artist but we do have the ART!

Sand Castle


Ocean Grove, Asbury Park, Jersey Shore, sunset at sea

Sunset at Sea-The Golden Hour

Ocean Grove, Asbury Park, Jersey shore, sea gull

Sea Gull and Street Lamp

jersey shore, ocean grove, asbury park

Boogie Board Art

art deco, Asbury Park, casino

Art Deco Craftsmanship-Casino Asbury Park

driftwood, solitary man

Solitary Man

Ocean Grove, Jersey shore, Canadian geese

Following the Leader

All photos courtesy of Murray Head

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Little Orphan Annie rescue cat

Belle De L’Ombre

Life is Good!  From homeless orphan on the Jersey Shore to pampered puss on Park Avenue!

Photo courtesy of Murray Head

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