Monday, May 12, 2014

The Jersey Shore After Sandy: 2014

I had. A weekend. Off.

I almost don't know what to do with time off because it's so rare for me. But on a sunny, dry, 80-degree day, I was itching to get outside. I needed to see the ocean.

I went to Long Branch, NJ, to walk for a few hours and snap some pictures. I was out to capture something strange yet charming.

For instance, the Jersey Shore is really great at preserving vintage billboards or building designs for ice cream, Italian ice, or other cold treats:

Also, I love this windmill, I want to live in this windmill, etc.

So I thought this would be a post about Jersey Shore kitsch, because who doesn't love that.

And then I actually got close to the sea. I was hypnotized.

Even the puddles were gorgeous:

OK, more kitsch:

I changed my mind about what to photograph, again. Because the Long Branch, NJ boardwalk is still in ruins at some points due to Hurricane Sandy. It is unnerving to see folks lounging around a shoreline that is still under construction.

But look. All these people! Out in their workout clothes, together or with their families, stretching their legs and enjoying the sunshine. So what if they have to jog between two sets of barriers? We can still smell the Atlantic.

Please enjoy some Italian ice on the crest of a wave:

So then, I think I'm going to write this post about being JERSEY STRONG and seeing signs of the shore being rebuilt, and families enjoying natural wonders even while a recovery is happening.

But I also happen to know that our climate is going to get more and more erratic in years to come. Part of me wonders why we're bothering to rebuild at all.

So this post is about all those things. The Jersey Shore is a weird and wonderful area, and a great place to look for funky vintage ads to photograph. Certain parts were hit hard during Superstorm Sandy. The devastation was heartbreaking and is still being rebuilt today. People are resilient; I am biased but I think Jersey people are especially tough and resourceful. I don't know how long the Shore will be a cultural phenomenon; I might be the last generation that gets to experience it.

I hope this isn't the case. We need to make a change.

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