What would a Donovan’s Reef reopening be without a spotting of its unofficial, or official, mascot — the iconic guy about town everyone knows as Dizzy Dave?
Well, lots of area folks were there for Sunday’s (delayed from Saturday) grand reopening. And, while it was pretty packed and running into Dave was tantamount to playing a giant game of Where’s Waldo, one devout Donovan’s fan, Gerry Ryan, found him and struck the classic pose.
Ryan’s wife, former Red Bank Councilwoman Grace Cangemi Ryan, grabbed the photo op and shared it with Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect.
Rumson Mayor John Ekdahl told us he was there as well, but, no roving photographers seemed to capture him, either. He said he did not see Dizzy. “It’s surprising that I didn’t,” Ekdahl said on Memorial Day. “He’s pretty hard to miss!”
The new place got a thumbs up from the mayor. The Ryans and all other locals and fans we spoke with gave the new Donovan’s rave reviews.
It was like a scene out of The Wizard of Oz, with a wicked witch of a storm dropping a house on the spirits of Rumson-Fair Haven area locals. It was the scene of what many might call the Superstorm Sandy crime that devastated the Sea Bright peninsula and wiped out a decades-long iconic spot — Donovan’s Reef.
When the coast was literally clear of the storm’s wrath, locals flocked to the site to see what Sandy had spit out and left behind. They cried, reminisced, meditated on the jetty and gathered tiny scraps of memories made at the longtime RFHers’ hang-out.
The Retro Pic(s) of the Day take us back to Donovan’s in the aftermath of Sandy.
Laying on the ground were decades worth of remnants from a hut by the sea where many milestone memories were made. On the cusp of the iconic spot’s reopening, people wonder if the new and expanded hut by the sea will be a place to DO it again? Time will tell. Locals are poised for the fresh start. But, they always seem to look back on the good ol Donovan’s days.
What is your favorite Donovan’s memory from years gone by?
After many fits and starts, that day, save for any unforeseen issues, now appears to be set. It’s Saturday, a Twitter post confirmed, though with a praying hands emoji.
“4+ years ago we were washed away 😪 thanks Sandy,” a post on the Donovan’s Facebook page says. “NOW, there is light at the end of the tunnel. You can sit at the inside bar & take in this amazing view! Can’t wait to see you! Hope for no delays and we open MDW!”
Take a look at the progression since Sandy in the below photos …
It’s been more than five years since Superstorm Sandy tossed and flattened the iconic Donovan’s Reef in Sea Bright.
In the aftermath of the storm in which the Atlantic Ocean met the Shrewsbury River over the small peninsula town, all that was left of Donovan’s was a tossed building, a shell of the main bar, restaurant equipment, torn up pavement and wood — lots of wood — in scattered piles. What remained of its sign were the letters D O … found on the ground by Mayor Dina Long.
The letters became symbolic of the can-do attitude Sea Bright residents and business owners embodied in the tough months, even years, of rebuilding ahead.
There was a year without Donovan’s. Then there were a few years of an open Tiki bar on the beach.
Now Donovan’s is coming back — bigger, higher and stronger — for its first summer as a rebuilt area legend.