The heartbreaking scenes of Hurricane Sandy’s devastation on the Jersey shore are almost too much to bear. New York, Manhattan, Virginia, the Carolinas, Rhode Island, Maryland, Delaware – the whole Eastern Seaboard – share in the disaster, surely the worst of its kind in modern history.
I’m married to a Jersey girl and have become familiar with the phrase “the Jersey shore.” In Texas, where I grew up, we went to “the beach.” But in New Jersey, Cherie went “to the shore.” And the Jersey Shore is the best there is. I’m not talking waves, swells, sets, surfing categories. I’m just saying for an outing to the ocean, the Jersey shore is it.
New Jersey takes abuse of all kinds from comedians, and particularly from New Yorkers – and that abuse is passed down to listeners who believe what they hear, even though these comedic images of Jersey are nothing more than fiction. In reality, New Jersey is a beautiful state, and the Jersey shore in particular is a beautiful place, treasured not only by those from the state of New Jersey, but by New Yorkers and visitors from all over the world who come to enjoy the clean sandy beaches, the cold Atlantic, and the boardwalks that give the area its unique character.
Hurricane Sandy changed all that. The storm hit hard as it moved onshore at Atlantic City and moved on to wreak havoc for 500 miles in several directions. Boardwalks disappeared, 80-mph winds and torrents of sand inundated picturesque seaside communities.
So when you hear about the “Jersey shore,” understand that it holds a special place in people’s minds: fun at the ocean, romantic boardwalks lit up at night with roller coasters and ferris wheels, the smells of foods of all kinds being prepared. A day at the shore, sadly, won’t be the same for quite a while.