[top.htm]

                                                     

The "DJ' may be gone, but Ol' Blue Eyes" music plays on

Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 07/4/06

BY NAOMI MUELLER
TOMS RIVER BUREAU

POINT PLEASANT BEACH As Elizabeth Rollins walked south on the Point Pleasant Beach boardwalk, she made only one audible comment: "It's good to hear that music again."

Rollins, 43, who lives in Staten Island and spent her childhood summers vacationing in a home her family rented at the Point Pleasant Beach boardwalk, was speaking about music coming from what is known simply as the Sinatra house.

It's the home where Paul R. Smith played Frank Sinatra's recordings from a pair of speakers set under the porch and another pair in the porch ceiling onto the boardwalk.

And, although Smith died in December 2002, the music continues to play.

During the offseason, it is played on the weekends, when Smith's children and grandchildren visit. In the summer it plays as frequently as it did when Smith was alive.

"It's nice that they still remember it, kind of bittersweet, actually," said Smith's daughter, Susan Stinneford, as she sat on a rocking chair on the porch of the home her father built for his retirement. Stinneford, who lives with her family in West Milford, Passaic County, said she was pregnant with her daughter, Sarah, when the house was built. Sarah is now 18.

A former chairman of Sony Music Distribution who retired in 1999, Smith believed Sinatra was the greatest vocalist of all time. He played Sinatra's music because he wanted to share the things he enjoyed with other people.

Smith and the music left such an impact on Point Pleasant Beach residents and visitors that people continue to pause in front of the house even when the music isn't playing.

"In all the years I've been doing this, I've only had one complaint," Smith told the Asbury Park Press in 2000. "Ninety-nine percent of the people who come by love it. Sinatra appeals to such a broad demographic."

Smith's love affair with Sinatra's music began as a teen-ager in St. Louis. While climbing the music industry ladder, Smith said, he amassed about 100 Sinatra albums, saw Ol' Blue Eyes perform numerous times and chatted on at least one occasion with the legendary singer.

"See," Stinneford said, as the music and lyrics of "New York, New York" resonated from the speakers to the boardwalk and a group of teens kicked their legs in the air like they were performing in "A Chorus Line." "They still dance. Isn't that great?"

 


Video: A Day at the Beach


Audio Slideshows: Then & Now

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sights and smells

As a child skipping along the Point Pleasant Beach boardwalk on a summer evening during the 1950s, I recall the smell of cigar smoke mixed with the salty air from the sea; the clicking racket of the wheels of fortune that spun, enticing the promenaders to take a chance on winning a huge stuffed animal; the rattling of the small roller coaster and the shouts and laughter coming from it; people lounging on the wicker rockers that faced the sea; and the bright lights that illuminated the arcade area.

Most of all, I recall the small locomotive that coasted along the sand from one end of the beach to the other, carrying those too weary to trek the boardwalk. Oh, how I dreamed to become the engineer of that train one day!

Janet McCoid

Spring Lake

 

 

Point Beach a family-friendly favorite

Rides, a tiki bar and sharks find a home on boardwalk

Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 07/4/06

BY NAOMI MUELLER
TOMS RIVER BUREAU

POINT PLEASANT BEACH The clothes may look different. The music has a fresh beat. Yet those who knew the Point Pleasant Beach boardwalk years ago say it wasn't much different than it is today.

The "Point Pleasant Beach (boardwalk) hasn't changed much," said Sal Marino, a Point Pleasant resident who wrote a book about New Jersey's boardwalks. "The businesses that are there do very well. The nightclubs are still alive. It was a family-friendly boardwalk years ago, and it still is today."

Even those who say they notice changes in the boardwalk are hard-pressed to name many of those changes. Of course there was the train, which long-timers remember running from Jenkinson's amusements to the Manasquan Inlet, and the saltwater pool, both of which no longer exist.

Yet for the most part, the Point Pleasant Beach boardwalk remains a favorite of families looking to spend the day, a weekend or even a week at the Jersey Shore.

Ten years after her second date with the man who is now her husband, Meridith Feldman remembers the moon. Little did she know, Feldman said, that she was at the site where Scott Feldman would propose.

Now Meridith, 31, and Scott, 33, take their children to the Point Pleasant Beach boardwalk.

"This was just always our hangout," said the Freehold Township woman. "I guess it still is."

The first Point Pleasant Beach boardwalk flimsy, "portable" wooden boards was built in 1890; those boards washed away two years later. It was not until 1915 that a fixed boardwalk was built between Philadelphia and Central avenues.

Since then, storms have repeatedly destroyed the boards. Yet with the exception of the storm known as the Hurricane of '38 which destroyed the southern end of the boardwalk, stretching to Bay Head it was always replaced. Two fires, both in 1975, damaged virtually all of the oldest buildings on the boardwalk.

In 1977, the Jenkinson family sold its business to Pasquale Storino. The sale was the beginning of the consolidation of most of the boardwalk's commercial property by the Storino family.

Most of the commercial businesses on the boardwalk continue to be owned by the Storinos. The area immediately south of Jenkinson's is owned by the Risden family. That family has owned the boardwalk since 1940.

William Risden, who operated the beach and owned it in part, died in December 2004. Since his death, the borough has been negotiating to buy that property.

Farther north, where the boardwalk ends, people often gather to watch the vessels coming and going through the Manasquan Inlet. The site is especially popular at sunrise and sunset. There are condominiums both there and off the portion of the boardwalk south of Risden's. There, it is much quieter.

The northern half of the boardwalk is primarily residential, with a couple of small open-air cafes that sell cheesesteak sandwiches, cheese fries and chicken tenders and an oyster bar with sushi. Benches where couples and seniors sit to enjoy a clear view of the beach and ocean line the boardwalk. Homes opposite the boardwalk are often the site of summer barbecues.

"It's great," said Kevin Hayes, an Oradell resident who owns a home on the boardwalk. "I sometimes sit here all day, looking at the ocean or watching the people. I can hear the bands at Jenkinson's, but it's not too loud. It's really pretty great here."

"We love the lights, the atmosphere, the dancing," said Laura Reid, a Freehold Township resident, as she sat on the stage of Martell's Tiki Bar, her feet dangling from the stage and a beverage in her hand.

"This is the best spot," said Melissa Riavez, a 29-year-old borough resident who was raised here and remembers visiting the boardwalk with her family. When she was younger, Riavez said, her favorite treat was getting ice cream and spending a pocketful of tokens at the arcade.

"It's really always been a favorite," she said. "The tiki bar, the ice cream, the arcade. It's all fun."

 

 

The northern half of the boardwalk is primarily residential, with a couple of small open-air cafes that sell cheesesteak sandwiches, cheese fries and chicken tenders and an oyster bar with sushi. Benches where couples and seniors sit to enjoy a clear view of the beach and ocean line the boardwalk. Homes opposite the boardwalk are often the site of summer barbecues.

"It's great," said Kevin Hayes, an Oradell resident who owns a home on the boardwalk. "I sometimes sit here all day, looking at the ocean or watching the people. I can hear the bands at Jenkinson's, but it's not too loud. It's really pretty great here."

"We love the lights, the atmosphere, the dancing," said Laura Reid, a Freehold Township resident, as she sat on the stage of Martell's Tiki Bar, her feet dangling from the stage and a beverage in her hand.

"This is the best spot," said Melissa Riavez, a 29-year-old borough resident who was raised here and remembers visiting the boardwalk with her family. When she was younger, Riavez said, her favorite treat was getting ice cream and spending a pocketful of tokens at the arcade.

"It's really always been a favorite," she said. "The tiki bar, the ice cream, the arcade. It's all fun."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Impressing the girls

My best memories of the Jersey Shore are walking along Point Pleasant Beach, the smell of french fries, cotton candy and funnel cakes filling the salty air. And playing Skee-Ball like the champion that I am, impressing all the girls andwinning them stuffed animals all night long.

Scott Kleinberg

Chicago

"Over the top" ride

My fondest memories of Point Pleasant Beach date back to 1965, when I was just 9 years old. My family consisted of my 5-year-old brother and my grandmother, whom we called "Oma." Well, my Oma took us to the rides every night. It was the best. We went into the Funhouse . . . and then my best friend, Geri-Ann Salzman, would come, too.

We would ride these cages for 25 cents to see if you could push them over the top. Well, we became pros going around and around forever. Even grown men couldn't do this! We even had an audience! These are the fondest memories of Point Pleasant Beach.

Lauren Hoffman

Barnegat

Burgers, fries, romance

Guy and I met on a blind date in 1991. We agreed the Point Pleasant boardwalk was a perfect second date, and we headed there for a fun yet romantic night-time walk.