By Lauren Wanko
There were lots of winners this morning on the boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach. Others stopped for a funnel cake, a ride on the roller coaster or a stroll down the boardwalk.
“I’m really excited. I feel like there has been great restoring already,” said Paramus resident Valerie Picinich.
The good weather attracted the sun worshipers grateful to be back on the beach.
“Everything’s back like it was last year, like nothing ever happened. They did a good job here,” said Jack Jaccarino of Toms River.
“The tourism season as far as the whole summer season is a short season so you really need as many people to come and visit as possible,” said Cindy Claus, director of Jenkinson’s Aquarium.
Sandy didn’t destroy the entire boardwalk but Jenkinson’s lost most of its inventory and equipment. Basements were inundated with flood waters.
“With us having been closed and having to rebuild a lot of our things, there is a lot of work we did behind the scenes to get ready. We want to now showcase it. We want everyone to say, hey they are open, come back. There’s been so many misconceptions about us being closed and not ready and we are,” Claus said.
“It’s a year that’s very hard to measure in all my years of doing this. The obstacles that we’re up against I’ve never been up against before,” said Jenkinson’s Games General Manger Mark Malland. “I’ve been through fires where things were burned right to the ground. To start halfway and recover, it’s a tremendous accomplishment from where we’ve come in eight months.”
Louis Johnson made the trip from Middlesex to spend the day at Martell’s Tiki Bar. Sandy destroyed their pier but it’s completely rebuilt.
“The fact that they’ve recovered so fast and so quickly, we’re very happy to come down and spend whatever money we have on drinks at the Jersey shore, definitely Jersey strong,” Johnson said.
“It’s a huge part of our business and our customer base really wanted it. The photos that I was putting on as we were rebuilding — Facebook, Twitter, all of that, they loved it. It’s the mainstay of our businesses, it’s a mainstay of this town, and it’s one of the driving forces of Point Pleasant Beach,” said Ed Brannagan, assistant general manager of Martell’s Tiki Bar.
Back on the beach tourists lounge under umbrellas and dig in the sand.
“As long as they’re back up and running, we’re here. There’s no reason not to be here and enjoy the summer and enjoy the weather. I mean this is the place to be in the summer,” said Bridgewater resident John DeBari.
DeBari rents a house in Point Pleasant Beach every summer. Sandy didn’t impact his plans this season.
“I mean there’s a lot of houses not up and running but the ones that are up and running are fixed up. Everybody’s ready to enjoy a great 2013 summer,” Bari said.
“It’s nice to see people out, it’s nice to see people with smiles. This is a relief agent, the boardwalk. It’s an entertainment facility and I think people enjoy coming here,” Malland said.