Gov. Murphy, with state Sen. Vin Gopal and Asbury Park Mayor John Moor, stopped by three boardwalk businesses during a stop in Asbury Park. In each, he asked about the history of the businesses and highlighted different aspects of their businesses. The boardwalk weather was sunny with a strong wind. (Several times the governor mentioned how bright it was.) The first two businesses, Tony’s Sausage + Cheese Steaks and Asbury Galleria, are in re-furbished shipping containers.
Kristina Bannon, owner of Tony’s Sausage + Cheese Steaks
Gov. Murphy walked behind the counter as employees made cheeseburgers and sausages on the flat top grill. “Oh this looks good,” Gov. Murphy said.
“Are you ready for the summer?” the governor asked Kristina Bannon.
“I’m ready for the summer. Are you?” Bannon said. “Absolutely,” Gov. Murphy replied.
“I’ve waited all winter for the summer, Bannon said.
Kay Harris, owner of Asbury Galleria.
Harris, who is president of the Asbury Park Historical Society, showed Gov. Murphy her merchandise, which features the “iconic images of Asbury Park.” It includes coasters, beach items, such as “Greetings from Asbury Park” beach towel; as well as mugs, shot glasses and mouse pads. Murphy also looked at Asbury Park ornaments featuring Convention Hall’s Paramount Theatre and the Carousel House.
“He (Sen. Gopal) and I are working on a $100 million boardwalk fund to rehabilitate and update and basically make more resilient all of our incredible boardwalks up and down the shore,” Murphy said.
Murphy asked Moor “John, you’re boardwalk’s in good shape here, right?” 80% is, the mayor responded. The remaining 20% “isn’t bad” and the city will be applying for the funds, Moor said.
“That’s about the case in a lot of places. Big stretches are in good shape but there are places where it’s not,” Murphy said.
Moor told the governor that he was “looking for it (the fund) to be retroactive because last year, we spent $1.2 million before this.”
To Harris, the governor said, “The more vibrant the boardwalk is clearly the better your business is, right?” “Absolutely,” Harris said.
Tim McMahon, co-owner of The Break Restaurant.
McMahon and his partners in BarCo purchased the former Langosta Lounge in February. They did a “real quick three week remodel” and reopened as The Break, McMahon said.
“It’s been fantastic,” McMahon said to Murphy’s question of “how’s business?”
The tour ended at the Low Dive, which also was purchased by BarCo. The governor, Moor and Gopal sat at the bar for glasses of water.
“I think we’re bracing for a record summer based on the indications,” Murphy said. “We look at rentals, housing sales, rentals, expected travel. A really good summer.”
“It’s feeling like it already,” McMahon said.
David Willis, Asbury Park Press
Tanya Breen, Asbury Park Press