Sandy Levels Social Barrier on Jersey Shore

Rich and Poor Towns United in Misery and Determination

Force of Nature: The Jersey shore has long been plagued by divisions between rich and poor towns. Sandy hit them both equally hard.
getty images
Force of Nature: The Jersey shore has long been plagued by divisions between rich and poor towns. Sandy hit them both equally hard.

By Reuters

Published November 04, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Asbury Park and Bay Head are two towns on opposite ends of the Jersey Shore’s socio-economic spectrum - one with many poor people, the other with professionals in lucrative Wall Street careers. Superstorm Sandy has swept away many of the differences between the two.

Asbury Park is a faded dowager seaside resort, still struggling to recover from the race riots in the summer of 1970, white flight, a weakened tax base and, more recently, the great recession. Some storefronts facing the ocean were boarded up as Sandy closed in on the town. Other buildings were boarded up long ago.

Ten miles (16 km) away, Bay Head is a much smaller community where financiers and hedge fund managers own multimillion-dollar vacation homes and make a 70-mile (112 km) commute to Wall Street. A Hollywood studio chief with a Bay Head home captivated his neighbors for many summers with a party attended by celebrities such as Meryl Streep, Oprah Winfrey and Alex Trebek.

Sandy’s destructive winds and epic ocean surge lashed New Jersey indiscriminately, killing 24 people and ripping up shorelines and close-in neighborhoods in hundreds of towns. Neither wealth nor social station protected anyone.

After Sandy, the famed boardwalk in Asbury Park serenaded by favorite son Bruce Springsteen needs major repairs. Its restaurants and arcades - doing well these past few years during a nascent revival - are shut indefinitely.

In Bay Head, many stately Victorian homes overlooking the beach were so smashed that dozens are condemned and cannot be reoccupied. Some just disappeared.

After the storm has come a silver lining. Like residents all over the state, people in Bay Head and Asbury Park were concerned mostly for one another.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.