Friday, April 29, 2011

Weekend is Fishin' Time

Actually, it's always time to fish in Cape May. But I needed a good photo as we head into the weekend. If you're gonna fish at the Point, try to be there before sunrise (as this picture demonstrates)... that's when the early fisherman catches the worm, or catches the Alexander Street jetty rat, or a skate, or a sea robin, or so the saying I just made up goes.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

An Article about the Cape May Canal

Margaret Montet writes about New Jersey, Cape May, and other locales as part of her free-lance travel writing. Earlier this week NJ.Com posted an article written by Margaret at this Shore Blog. Margaret writes about the Cape May Canal, and share some photos (like the one -->) and video. Thanks as always for the great work, Margaret.

photo of Cape May Canal and Delaware Bay beach by Margaret Montet

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Convention Hall Bids Opened Again

The Press reports that the City opened up the latest round of bids to build Convention Hall. This is the fourth effort to get it right. According to Mayor Mahaney, the City still expects the new Hall to be finished before Memorial Day 2012.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Down the Hatch!

The Cape May Brewing Company now has a website. They expect to brew their first batches of beer this May, so we all can try a brew this summer. Looking forward to it!

And totally changing the topic... all at once there are a bunch of new photos of the Lighthouse online... to see them, some of which are pretty neat, click here and here and here and here.

photo of WW2 Tower courtesy Cape May Brewery website

Monday, April 25, 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Still Looking for Bunnies?

... if you didn't find a bunny at Whiskers (see yesterday's post), then hop on down the street to The Wooden Rabbit.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Cape May Bunnies

If it's Easter, and you're looking for bunnies, head over to Whiskers.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

George Burns to Visit Cape May?

I have to imagine that vaudeville great George Burns visited Cape May at some point in his illustrious career. But now that he's gone, at least we know that a play based on Burns's amazing life is coming to Cape May. From the NJ.Broadwayworld.Com website comes this announcement of a show arriving in Cape May beginning on May 11:

Back by popular demand, renowned Broadway actor, Joel Rooks will reprise his critically acclaimed role of the lovable George Burns in the Tony-nominated Best Play, Say Goodnight, Gracie, beginning May 11, 2011 at the Robert Shackleton Playhouse of Cape May Stage. Written by multiple Tony and Emmy award-winning writer Rupert Holmes, Say Goodnight, Gracie, will also feature the acclaimed actress Didi Conn's estimable talents as the singular voice of Gracie Allen. Hailed by The New Yorker as both "touching and hilarious, and a showcase for an era," Say Goodnight, Gracie previews May 11, officially opens May 12, and closes June 18 at the Robert Shackleton Playhouse at the corner of Bank of Lafayette Streets in beautiful downtown Cape May.

Playwright Rupert Holmes celebrates the life of America's funniest centenarian in this life-affirming one-man show. Holmes, whose other Broadway credits include Curtains, Accomplice and Solitary Confinement, is the first person in theatrical history to win the Tony Award for Best Book, Best Music and Best Lyrics for his Tony award-winning musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood.

In this 90-minute production, director Roy Steinberg takes theater audiences on a guided tour through the 20th century, told through the eyes of Burns. Burns, the raconteur who savored each day from his impoverished youth on the lower East side to his career in Vaudeville, regales audiences with stories about his marriage to Allen, their rise to success on stage, screen, radio and TV, and ends his narrative touching upon his memorable "second time around".

Say Goodnight, Gracie is an unforgettable theatre experience, centering around one man's devotion to his wife: a woman who was his friend, his sweetheart, and his partner for life and beyond. A love story one hundred years in the making, it induces tears of laughter and compassion as it tells the remarkable adventures of Burns, a scrappy kid from the absolute poverty of New York's lower East Side (whose neighbors included Fanny Brice and The Marx Brothers) who fought his way with song and dance into Vaudeville. When Burns met the romance of his lifetime, the deliciously delirious Allen, the pair teamed up as both entertainers and lovers and rode a rainbow to stardom that led them on to the heights of Hollywood and into the homes of America.

And the critical acclaim speaks for itself: "George Burns came alive again for ninety wonderful, endearing minutes! I strongly recommend it!!" hailed Jeffrey Lyons for NBC, while Robyn Carter for CBS proclaimed it "a mesmerizing, career-capping achievement!" THE NEW YORK TIMES vows that "you'll be in heaven yourself, at least for ninety minutes" while THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS declares it "an endearing journey into the past that you'll find irresistible!"

But perhaps USA TODAY defined it best: "Say Goodnight, Gracie is an old fashioned love story in which the joy of being alive is the greatest love of all." Set the date now to meet George (and Gracie!) ... and remember again what life and love and laughter can be.

About the Cast
Joel Rooks first performed the role of George Burns on Broadway as understudy to the late Frank Gorshin. Other Broadway credits include Taller Than A Dwarf directed by Alan Arkin, The Tenth Man, The Sisters Rosensweig and the voice of the late night DJ in Frankie and Johnny in The Claire de Lune. Some of the many Off-Broadway productions he has done include The Secret Order, Rocket to the Moon, Jewtopia, Iron, Comic Potential, Requiem for a Heavyweight, Richard II, School for Scandal, After The Rain and the New York Theater Workshop's Obie award-winning production of More Stately Mansions. Films include It Runs In The Family, The Sightseer, Why George?, On The Run, American Blue Note, The Gig and His and Hers. TV Credits include Copshop, Ed, The Beat, Winchell, many appearances on all the various versions of Law & Order, and an assortment of doctors, lawyers and cops on several daytime dramas. He is a member of Ensemble Studio Theater, Circle East and New River Dramatists. He has been a guest teacher in the theater departments at NYU, the Mason-Gross School at Rutgers University and at the Hogeschool in Eindhoven, Holland.

Didi Conn is best known for her starring role in the film, You Light Up My Life, and as Frenchy, the beauty school dropout in Grease and Grease II. She recently commemorated the 20th anniversary of Grease by writing Frenchy's Grease Scrapbook- We'll Always Be Together. Ms. Conn has recorded hundreds of commercials for radio and television. She and her husband, composer David Shire, and their son, Daniel, divide their time between homes in NY and Los Angeles.

Ticket Information
Opening May 11, Say Goodnight, Gracie performances are Thursdays thru Sundays at 8pm with 3p.m. Saturday and Sunday matinees. Beginning June 1, performances run Wednesday through Sunday at 8p.m. and matinees on Sunday at 3p.m. through June 18 at the Robert Shackleton Playhouse of the Cape May Stage. Tickets are $35 adults, $30 seniors, and $15 students. Previews on May 11 will be half-price tickets. Call (609) 884-1341 for tickets and information or visit the theatre's website, www.capemaystage.com. Audio enhancement, wheelchair accessible seating, and large print programs are available with advance notice by calling the box office at (609) 884-1341.

Read more: http://nj.broadwayworld.com/article/Joel-Rooks-Returns-to-Cape-May-Stage-in-Say-Goodnight-Gracie-20110420#ixzz1K9kZqRtp

Looking forward to seeing this show!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Buh-Bye Sand?

CapeMay.Com has published a very interesting photo of the day that they've named "Erosion Redux." It's a shot of the Cove with some new cliffs of sand where sand had been pumped in at the Cove earlier this year. In other words, the tax money used to place that sand may have floated (again) out to sea. At least, I believe that's what CapeMay.Com is implying.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Here & There

Remember the Star-Ledger investigative story on the sinking of the Lady Mary? The reporter, Amy Ellis Nutt, has deservedly won a Pulitzer for her fantastic work on that story. Congrats!

The well-known motel/motor inn Colton Court was damaged by a fire last night. It appears nobody was hurt, although two cats were lost. That's Colton Court above in the photo.

The John F. Craig House proprietors update their blog this week with news about the Cape May Spring Festival.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Tourism Looking Up?

The AC Press says this year's tourism prospects are looking up. Let's hope so. Check out the article for changes at the Peter Shields and Marquis de Lafayette.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Hard to believe but in just a handful or two of Saturdays, this will be the look of the Cape May grand entrance way. And I can't wait, since I'll be either in the traffic or sitting at Lucky Bones, watching it slowly pass by!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Historian Ben Miller in Favor of Saving The Beach Theatre

Ben Miller (no relation), a well-known Cape May historian who writes about Cape May (his book The First Resort is available from Amazon and you can buy it buy clicking the link on the left side of the page), has previously been opposed to the Beach Theatre Foundation's efforts to save the Beach Theatre. In a stunning but happy turn of events, Ben has reversed his position. Ben has explained by way of letter/editorial quite convincingly why he now favors saving the Theatre. Here is Ben's letter/editorial on the subject, which I print verbatim:

Many of you know me as a Cape May historian, columnist for Exit Zero magazine, author of The First Resort and founder of the Donate My Weight campaign that raised thousands of dollars and tens of thousands of pounds of food for food banks across America. I’m a passionate guy and when I believe in something, I have a tendency to display that passion with my overwhelming support. A good example of this would be my frequent rebuttals of the Beach Theater Foundation’s attempts to save Cape May’s aging movie house.

The problem with being so enthusiastic is that sometimes, my fervor is misplaced. Sometimes I’m wrong and I have to eat my words. This is one of those times.

I based my original opinion on the preservation guideline that states a structure is only historic if it was built before the 1940s. I also mentioned there were many other buildings designed by the architect and theatres constructed by the original owner. I felt that these other buildings negated the clause that says a structure may be deemed historic if it is architecturally significant. Simply put, I was wrong.

The Beach Theatre was built in 1950, but it was also the most original theatre design William H. Lee ever created. His plans incorporated both colonial and Victorian themes and was punctuated by a unique, single-story storefront fa├žade. Lee typically designed classically-styled theatres like the Bryn Mawr Theatre in Bryn Mawr, PA (originally The Seville) and the Majestic Theatre in Gettysburg, PA. The closest thing to the Beach Theatre that Lee ever created was the Casino Theatre in Wildwood, which was demolished in the 1990s.

With regard to the first owner and developer of the theatre, William C. Hunt, the Beach Theater held a special meaning. The former New Jersey Congressman and Senator was a shining example of the proverbial “American Dream,” creating his own opportunity and building a media empire one theatre/newspaper/amusement pier at a time. Hunt began his storied career with a small Nickelodeon in Camden, NJ and ended with a signature theatre that has come to define his career… Cape May’s Beach Theatre.

Another of my previous concerns was a worry that money spent trying to save the Beach Theatre would cause a hardship for future generations and I commented that the cost of legal fees incurred fighting the Franks (current theatre owners) would be wasted. I said that other city projects would suffer as Cape May was forced to drain its coffers defending the theatre. Again, I was wrong.

One of the benefits of a historic designation is that it makes procedures for renovations and demolitions explicitly clear. Were the city to declare the Beach Theatre historic, the Frank’s contention that a demolition permit should have been issued would be a moot point. They could potentially claim they were treated unfairly by the city, but it would be virtually impossible to prove in a court of law because the historical designation speaks for itself.

Could you imagine what the city would look like today if the pioneers of preservation from the 1960s and 1970s worried about financial implications for the city should there be lawsuits. They thought big, had the courage of their convictions and we all know how things turned out for Cape May. Today the city is more popular than ever before, even more so than at the height of the actual Victorian period.

My final argument against preserving the theatre was that the Beach Theatre was in a condition that was beyond repair. I repeatedly questioned the notion of spending money to fight challenges on a possible historic designation, because the cost to return the theatre to pristine condition would prove to be astronomical. I argued that nobody would be willing to pay to restore the Beach Theatre and I labeled it a “lost cause.” I couldn’t have been more wrong.

While it’s true that the Beach Theatre is in bad condition thanks to years of neglect at the hands of its present owners, the theatre has not yet reached the point of no return. It can be saved. I’ve done some research and found buildings in much worse condition that have been renovated into showplaces. A perfect example is another of Lee’s theatres I mentioned earlier, the Bryn Mawr. Prior to the renovation, it was nothing but a shell of its former self. The theatre sat vacant and was nearly converted into a gym before preservationists stepped in and took control. Now, the Bryn Mawr is a thriving community theatre and a shining example of what the Beach Theatre could become.

To give another example closer to home, allow me to direct your attention to Cape May’s Physick Estate. Prior to its comprehensive renovation, the mansion was a broken-down mecca for vandalism and homeless people. Walls were deteriorated, floors were rotten and to quote a former White House engineer, it was only still standing “out of habit.” Today that building is the heart of Cape May and the center of the city’s Victorian renaissance. Millions of people have toured it and can attest to the magnificent work of the people who restored it.

It’s not by coincidence that I bring up the Physick Estate in my argument. The mansion was designed by acclaimed architect, Frank Furness, who mentored the designer of the Beach Theater, William H. Lee. Lee was an apprentice to Furness and honed his skills under Furness’s watchful eye in Philadelphia. It’s a significant connection that should not be overlooked.

In closing, I strongly urge everyone to support the efforts of the Beach Theatre Foundation and I implore the members of Cape May’s City Council to officially deem the theater a historic property. It is within the power of the City Council to save the Beach Theatre with a mere stroke of a pen and the building’s fate lies squarely on each of their individual plates.

The council has refused to act on the petition to declare the building historic. Unfortunately, their inaction could potentially allow a demolition permit to be granted by the city. Should they continue to avoid the issue, it would seem that each member of council could each be accused of the same “demolition by neglect” as the Franks. Nobody wants to be the one to bring Cape May to its knees, to be responsible for the city losing its coveted National Historic Landmark status. Call me idealistic, but I genuinely believe that the members of Cape May’s City Council sought their positions to make a difference, to be good stewards of the city and preserve it for generations to come.

This is their chance to secure their place in Cape May’s history by standing up and voting to preserve an important piece of it. All that stands between Cape May as we know it and the potential for it to become just another shore town is the will of council members.

Do the right thing, save the Beach Theatre!



If you agree with Ben, and want to save the Theatre, you can e-mail the City Council members at these e-mail addresses:

Dr. Edward J. Mahaney Jr., Mayor

Mr. Jack Wichterman, Deputy Mayor

Ms. Deanna Fiocca, Councilmember

Mr. William Murray, Councilmember

Ms. Terri L. Swain, Councilmember

If you believe in saving the Theatre, take the time to send some e-mails.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Easter and The Original Fudge Kitchen... Perfect Together

Where better to do your Easter Bunny shopping than at the Original Fudge Kitchen in Cape May? I linked to this commercial last year but it's worth another look. I am ordering those eggs this year for the rugrats. What about you?

P.S. And yes, this is more free advertising...once you become a Cape May institution, I suppose a little bit is deserved.....

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Blog for the Day

Desirous of Everything is a blog about "children and young adult's literature," according to its description on the web. The blogger visited Cape May this weekend, and she shared many nice photos from the visit -- from the driftwood pictured above on the Higbee side of town, to gardens, to homes, to the harbor, and most points in between. You can see the blog post (and photos) about and of Cape May right here.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

City Asked (Again) to Protect Beach Theatre

photo courtesy National Trust for Historical Preservation website

The Beach Theatre Foundation ("BTF") asked the City (once again) to pass the resolution previously passed by the Historic Preservation Commission and the City Planning Board designating the Beach Theatre as a historic site for purposes of the City's master list. I recommend clicking that link and reading the letter as it's a letter that sets out the major points of contention.

Has the City looked at combining the Theatre and the Convention Hall projects and making a newly-renovated Theatre a showpiece of Cape May? There's money set aside for the Hall, and perhaps the Franks would buzz off if paid a reasonable sum. Then the City can renovate the Theatre and make it fit both projects. Crazier things have happened.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Dan Leo has recently penned several new chapters of "RAILROAD TRAIN TO HEAVEN", THE UNEXPURGATED MEMOIRS OF ARNOLD SCHNABEL. Click HERE for the latest chapter in this work of blog-fiction set in Cape May 1963-ish; this chapter (like many of the other chapters) includes both old-timey Cape May references, Catholic humor, and the advancing (I think) of Arnold's story.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Jazz Festival + Kate Delany, What a Weekend

Kate Delany at the Brown Room
Congress Hall is getting in the spirit of this weekend's Jazz Festival and hosting Kate Delany at the Brown Room tonight. Kate's not exactly a jazz singer but my family and I think she is great, having seen her at the Brown Room last summer. Check her out! And for the Jazz Festival schedule, which includes Kevin Eubanks from the old Leno show, click here!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Beach Theatre Now Showing: Neverending Story

The AC Press reports that the fifth zoning board hearing regarding the Beach Theatre ended as the previous four did: TO BE CONTINUED. I don't think I ever saw Neverending Story, but that's how this story feels. And unfortunately, it appears that the public feels the same way, as the story reports that attendance of the public at these hearings is dwindling. STAY STRONG, PEOPLE! The next hearing on the Theatre is set for May 26th at 6:30 pm.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Trip Advisor Says Cape May a Top Ten Beach in the World

Read it here. This recognition is not surprising. Other than the fact that Myrtle Beach was ranked higher. How dare they!?!

Congrats to Cape May's tourism officials, who must have done yeoman's work to make this happen. Even though the beaches are fantastic, you don't end up on a list like this simply because you're deserving. Much work goes into that.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Check out Jen Miller's site for your Jersey Shore Fact of the Day

Down the Shore with Jen is a longtime popular blog about the Jersey shore. Jen Miller, the blog proprietess, has a new edition of her fantastic book about the shore coming out this month, and in honor of that she is running a daily blog-umn/column called "Jersey Fact of the Day." She started the column yesterday and her second 'fact of the day' is about Cape May. Jen's blog is always good but it looks like she is gonna kick it up a notch this summer. I recommend checking Down the Shore With Jen out everyday. And no, we are not related!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Next Beach Theatre Hearing Set for Wednesday, April 6 at 6:30pm

interior of Beach Theatre

The Atlantic City Press writes today that the next zoning board hearing on the Theatre is set for Wednesday at 6:30pm -- Cape May City Hall. If the historians finish their presentations/questioning, then the public will get the chance to speak. And then finally a vote.

I know I encouraged the public to come out this past week and then the public didn't get their chance to speak because time ran out. I still think it helps for people to show they care about this project. And with any luck the public will get their chance to comment this week.