Right now I’m tasting pizza. Sausage with peppers and onions. Waffles and ice cream. These are the things that make up the Jersey Shore. Kohr’s. Rita’s Italian Water Ice. Three Brothers. Those are just some of the names of food establishments that have populated the boardwalk at Seaside Heights for a long, long time.
Until Sandy, the sometimes-hurricane, sometimes-tropical storm that devasted one of my favorite places in the world.
I married into a Seaside family; it was always their shore of choice. Almost every year, when we made our trip to New Jersey, we visited Seaside at least once. We’d all pile into a car or two, packing plenty of change for the parking meters, and plan out our food stops on the way there.
In fact, it was just under three months ago when we walked the boardwalk from one end to the other, all the way to Funtown Pier. We watched as young children delighted in the roller coaster. We posed for family pictures next to Mighty Mouse. And, of course, we stopped frequently at our favorite places to eat.
The pictures of that roller coaster now covered by water, the news reports of the damage done, and the knowledge that hundreds of businesses are, today, wondering how or if they should rebuild—they are enough to make a fan of the real Jersey Shore cry.
But New Jersey isn’t known for tears. It’s known for resilience, and a matter-of-fact approach to life that will serve them well now. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s vow to rebuild should be taken seriously.
Because there are still people who haven’t had one of those giant slices of pizza . . . who don’t know the thrill of folding it and savoring the flavors. There are still people who haven’t watched, with mouth watering, as sausage with peppers and onions are mixed on the grill and served up in a bun. There are people who don’t yet understand how hot waffles and cold Hershey’s ice cream are one of the combinations made in heaven.
The Jersey Shore has to bounce back from Sandy. I can already taste it.
For images of the before and after damage, click here.