Tag Archives: Superstorm Sandy

Looking Back: Donovan’s Sandy Demise

By Elaine Van Develde

Seven years ago it began. And when Superstorm Sandy stopped its swirling on the sliver of peninsula that is Sea Bright, it plopped the iconic Donovan’s Reef down in bits and pieces.

People of the Rumson-Fair Haven area mourned the loss to a relentless, remorseless Sandy. And when they were allowed to travel over the bridge into Sea Bright, many diehard loyalists of the tiki hut by the sea could be found just sitting and staring at what once was. They walked the sea wall looking for souvenir scraps reminiscent of their glory days at Donovan’s. They talked. They even cried.

Continue reading Looking Back: Donovan’s Sandy Demise

Focus: Sandy, Five Years Ago

It was the year that Halloween wasn’t. It was 2012 and Superstorm Sandy had pummeled the Jersey Shore. It decimated Sea Bright and destroyed low lying parts of Rumson. Fair Haven was a bit war torn and powerless.

Beach cabanas landed like Dorothy’s house to the Witch of the East on West Park lawns. Boats were hoisted by surging water onto dock tops and back yards. Gunning Island, in the Shrewsbury River, was loaded with the moored belongings of Sea Bright and Rumson people. Trees were downed. Transformers exploded.

Sea Bright residents were homeless. The beach was in the road. Sea Bright Rising began with some good-hearted burger flipping by Woody’s owner Chris Wood and chef Onofrio Moscato. The U.S. Army National Guard was parked in the Sea Bright municipal lot. There was no electricity.

There was a curfew. At nightfall, people scurried back into their homes, if there was anything left to go home to, like moles burrowing into cold, still night. Things were awfully dark. And Halloween was cancelled. There was no treat in Sandy’s trickery, just in the kindness of those who were good neighbors.

Take a look back … (and click to enlarge).

— Elaine Van Develde

Photos/Elaine Van Develde

Retro Sea Bright Beach Romp

A Sea Bright beach summer day after Superstorm Sandy
Photo/Elaine Van Develde

Oh, the recent cold snap after unseasonably warm days has unleashed an bitter chill in the air. It makes Rumson-Fair Haven area folks long for warm summer beach days in Sea Bright again.

And the revamp of Donovan’s Reef brings back memories of a Sea Bright ravaged by Superstorm Sandy.

So, the Retro Pic of the Day warms the heart and dank air with memories of fun in the sun at Sea Bright beach and the peninsula borough on the mend.

This snapshot in time takes us back to the summer Sandy and some kids making the most of a sunny day at the beach.

Know them? Remember those days?

— Elaine Van Develde

Focus: The Donovan’s Rebuild

When it comes to the rebuilding (and expansion) of the iconic Donovan’s Reef in Sea Bright, things are looking up … and out.

It will be five years ago this October that the mainstay locals’ summer hangout and RFH reunion spot was tossed and flattened to bits by Superstorm Sandy.

So its rebuild has been a particularly long-awaited one by townies and Rumson-Fair Haven area folks.

The plan is for the new, improved and indestructible Donovan’s to be open for business by the start of the summer season.

Much progress has been made to date.

Take a look and see for yourself …

— Elaine Van Develde

Retro Post-Sandy Donovan’s

There’s a lot of buzz about the long-awaited rebuild of Donovan’s Reef in Sea Bright after it’s untimely, untamed demise due to Superstorm Sandy’s merciless wrath in October of 2012.

Well, Donovan’s will be getting back in step with its summer traditions in a literally grande way.

So, the Retro Pic(s) of the Day offer a glimpse back to a winter about four years ago when Donovan’s was in bits and people came to mourn what was or was not left of the iconic hangout on the beach.

Take a look back and remember …

— Elaine Van Develde

Donovan’s Reef after Sandy
Photo/Elaine Van Develde

Sightseers looking at what’s left and mourning the loss of Donovan’s Reef after Sandy
Photo/Elaine Van Develde

Focus: Bringing Donovan’s Reef Back

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.

Take a look at the progress so far …

— Elaine Van Develde

Weathering the Storms: Resilient City Plan for Sea Bright Unveiled

Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), and partners from both the public and private sectors have unveiled the outline of a plan to ensure citizens of Sea Bright will be able to communicate and have access to energy and safe drinking water sources during an emergency, according to a press release.

The “Resilient City” plan for Sea Bright, announced on Dec. 12, Pallone said will serve as a model for other municipalities planning for future storms.

Continue reading Weathering the Storms: Resilient City Plan for Sea Bright Unveiled

Retro Sandy Heroes: Alabama Power

Four years ago there was an awful lot of darkness and confusion in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

Then came a band of power company heroes to shed some light and offer a whole lot of relief for weary residents in the Rumson-Fair Haven area who went without power for roughly two weeks.

The heroes were the guys from Alabama Power. They came into Fair Haven to save the day and get people plugged in and toasty, rather than burnt, again.

The reception was a warm, appreciative one. Fair Havenites flocked to Fair Haven Fields, where crews were anchored, bringing smiles, hugs and food.

It is remembered as a time of community in the truest sense.

So, the Retro Pic(s) of the Day take a look back to that time and its aftermath with photos of some of the Alabama guys, officials and neighbors.

Take a look back and remember …

— Elaine Van Develde

Retro Sandy-Ravaged Donovan’s

People walk the sea wall by Donovan's Reef in Sea Bright after Sandy, checking out what's left of the iconic spot. Photo/Elaine Van Develde
People walk the sea wall by Donovan’s Reef in Sea Bright after Sandy, checking out what’s left of the iconic spot.
Photo/Elaine Van Develde

Donovan's Reef after Sandy 2012 Photo/Elaine Van Develde
Donovan’s Reef after Sandy 2012
Photo/Elaine Van Develde

It was four years ago that the havoc wreaked by Superstorm Sandy left monumental wreckage in its wake in Sea Bright.

Once the ghost-town kind of calm settled in after the storm, people flocked from all over to witness the devastating damage done first hand.

One iconic spot that Sandy decimated, hoisting up its buildings and fiercely slamming them down onto twisted tar, was Sea Bright’s Donovan’s Reef.

Parts of the place were severed, flattened, scattered and, well, relocated by the merciless, angry surge of wind and surf.  A few remnants remained. People walked the sea wall to get a last look at scattered bits and pieces — mementos of what once was the gathering spot for generations of so many who grew up in the Rumson-Fair Haven area.

A piece of the sign out front with the remaining letters DO are what Sea Bright Mayor Dina Long clung to as she spoke to residents at a forum at RFH after the storm, updating them and giving her famous “DO” speech.

“Do is what we’re gonna do,” she said on that damp, cloudy Nov. 2 of 2012. “We’re gonna rebuild our town sustainably for the future a better Sea Bright than you saw before and not a different Sea Bright. Sea Bright is not gone! Sea Bright is it’s people!”

Donovan’s owners have since vowed to reopen. That is still the plans. The Tiki bar on the beach has been running for the past couple of summers.

— Elaine Van Develde