Saturday, December 31, 2011

Five More Favorite Posts from 2011

Yesterday I featured five blog posts from the first half of the year that were a bit personal.  Today's posts, from the second half of the year, are more universal.

1. Fourth of July, Cape May Style - July started out with a bang this year.  Fourth of July in Cape May this year was HUGE.  Bigger crowds than ever.  This post was one of several of mine over the holiday weekend, a weekend which saw those visitors googling up information on the smart phones about the CM holiday events and landing repeatedly on my blog.  Hundreds and hundreds of visitors, for a blog that on a good day one year ago would have...say...25 or so.  A fun weekend.

2. Beach Theatre Foundation Tries to Save Beach Theatre - I followed the Beach Theatre Foundation (BTF)'s efforts to save the Theatre throughout the last few years. That effort ended this year when the City political leaders decided the Theatre was a part of history the leaders did not care about.  There were a number of small surprises involved with the failed effort -- the City's shutting down the Zoning Board of Adjustment's hearings on the matter, the City caving to the threat of Franks Theatres' litigation efforts, Judge Armstrong's ruling against the BTF, among others.

Perhaps a lesser-noticed but no less surprising circumstance to emerge from the debacle was the way certain non-elected city leaders criticized the efforts of the BTF to save the Theatre.  That these critics only took this public stance after the effort to save the theatre failed seemed a peculiar -- and unnecessary -- attempt to add insult to injury.  From this vantage point, the BTF certainly didn't deserve the unfair criticism it received after the fact.

Kudos to the BTF for fighting the good fight, even if it ultimately was in vain.

3. Hurricane Irene - This blog's visit numbers went crazy as Hurricane Irene approached.  Thankfully, Irene did not damage our favorite little beach town.  Check this post out for some videos of the damage, taken by "Cape May Point Chris," a new Twitter friend...which brings me to my next post...

4. Twitter/Louisa's Restaurant - I discovered Twitter this year, and I'm glad I did.  You cannot get better, and faster, information about Cape May anywhere else.  The Cape May denizens on Cape May love Cape May as it stands today. One of my favorite Tweet-ers is Louisa of Louisa's Restaurant, who's featured in the above post.  John Cooke, of the Cape May Chamber of Commerce, is another legend of the Cape May Twitter.  Check them out.

5. Cape May Time Machine  and Remembering Cape May -- Finally, if you love Cape May as it stood in the past, you must get acquainted with the Cape May Good Times social site included within Facebook.  Cape May Historian Ben Miller, and Cape May locals too many to count, have created a Facebook group that amazes everyday.  Photos from nearly 150 years ago? Check.  Photos of the Admiral throughout its lifetime? Check.  Photos of people and places long gone but not forgotten? Checkmate.  You must check this group out if you love Cape May.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Next year I will try once again to update each and everyday.  Please leave me a comment or two if you like it! I know I have visitors -- I want to hear from you!

Happy New Year!!!!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Five Posts from the First Half of 2011

I did a review of my favorite posts in 2009, but failed to do so in 2010.  So, here is my bi-annual review of my favorite posts from the year.  These are posts from January through June 2011. Tomorrow I'll feature the second half of the year, which was a bit more eventful.  Without further ado, and in no particular order...

On June 14th I wrote a personal blog entry about what starts and ends my favorite type of day in Cape May: Sunrise~Sunset at the Point.  My son and I start the day at dawn, fishing at the Alexander Street Jetty. Catching a fish or two is gravy -- it's spending the time with my son at the most peaceful place on Earth that makes this morning special.  And then, regardless of what we do the rest of the day, ending the day with Marvin Hume's flag ceremony at Sunset Beach as the sun sinks into the bay.  I wonder if I'll ever find a more perfect day than one that begins and ends at the Point.  I doubt it.

That same month the world lost a giant of a man when it lost Clarence Clemons.  His passing is related to Cape May in that: 1) he is a legend of the Jersey shore; 2) his saxophone, and his lead singer's voice, dominated the summer of 1984 in Cape May; and 3) this is my blog and I can do what I want.  I'm not much of a Lady Gaga fan but I do appreciate that she featured the Big Man on her most recent album, on the song named Edge of Glory that gave Clarence one last chance to reach the top of the charts.  Listen for his solo; it brings a tear to my eye.  I don't think it's an accident that song has more soul than most any other song I've heard by this latest pop diva... and I give her immense credit for recognizing the immortal talent Clarence had. Rest in peace, big man.

Probably not new to you, but new to me in 2011 was Harpoon Henry's Restaurant in North Cape May.  We celebrated Father's Day there, and were dumbfounded that such a great restaurant was hidden away where seemingly few tourists know about it.  We went a second time for good measure, and can't wait to hit it again this summer. If you haven't been there, you need to go.

If you've been reading this blog a while you're familiar with Terry O'Brien and his world-famous Terry'oke. I may not be as famous as his most famous Terry-oke-singer (that would be Anne Hathaway), but my family and I loved our chance to shine on his stage at Congress Hall's Boiler Room.  You need to try Terry'Oke if you have not tried it yet -- and this is coming from someone who had never done karaoke previousy!

And finally, I featured the old La Mer Golf Course earlier this year.  I got a lot of feedback from that post, and even ended up corresponding once or twice with the now-grown-up daughter of the La Mer owner.  I remember her when she was a little kid and I was a bit older, playing the video games for hours that La Mer had sitting next to the golf course.  Based on the many replies I got to that post, the La Mer Golf Course is one of the truly missed things-to-do in Cape May.

Tomorrow I will feature the second half of the year, including a visit from a hurricane, and other fun memories.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

This and That

The Press of Atlantic City often does a good job profiling local business people.  They've done it again with this nice article about the owner  of The Antique Doorknob in West Cape May. Give it a read and find out more about one of the more interesting stores in the Cape May area.

In other news, Taylor Swift has been in town this week.  Thanks to Jersey Shore Jen for the 411.

Tomorrow I will write the first half of my end of year blog post featuring my favorite stories of the year! Don't miss it!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Recycling the Past

I wrote this short essay below as a blog "guest post" on a friend's blog several years ago when blogs were still sort of new. Perhaps it's not exactly on point for the "Cape May Blog" but it is on point for the season.  So without further ado,

One Lawyer's Question This Christmas: Why Is It Them, Instead of Me?

"Well tonight thank God it's them, instead of you."
--from the song Do They Know It's Christmas, written by Bob Geldof, sung by Bono.
I don't know what Bob Geldof was thinking exactly when he wrote that rather arrogant (to my American eyes) lyric, but as of late the line has weighed on me. The line cuts me to the bone. If you are reading this weblog, you are blessed beyond any measure many people in this world could ever imagine. You may be a 'social work' lawyer, making pennies on the hour in relation to the time you put in to your job. Or you may be a legal 'master of the universe' (to steal and misapply a phrase from Tom Wolfe), making scads of money doing mergers, or commercial real estate, or class-action work, or defending same. Most likely, you're somewhere in between the two.
Regardless of where you fall on this professional continuum, more than likely I know what you do during much of your workday. You stare at a computer. You type. You dictate. You make phone calls. You avoid phone calls. You meet clients. You find clients. You fire clients. You research. You read. You write. You e-mail. You argue. You marshal evidence. You record. You go to court. You win. You lose. You settle. You think.
Lawyers get complained about, and do a great deal of complaining themselves. We whine about how hard we work. We moan about how little respect we often get from the public. I've gotten to know lawyers in all shapes and sizes, yet both the former and latter are consistent complaints up and down that professional continuum above-mentioned.

 Meanwhile, there are Iraqis driving down the road waiting for a makeshift roadside bomb to blow up their auto.

Meanwhile, there are thousands of motherless children wandering the desert of Sudan, fleeing a brutal government which seeks to exterminate them.

Meanwhile, there are dissidents jailed in Cuba indefinitely for speaking against the government.

And meanwhile, in Ethiopia, the land which spawned the song quoted above, more than 3/4 of the population lives on less than two dollars a day.

Today. I sit here in front of my computer, and look out the window at a marvel of Mother Nature, an intracoastal waterway populated by birds of more species than I know, fish which jump out of the water with alarming frequency, dolphins, and vessels which are astounding for many reasons, not the least of which is their beauty and elegance.
This Christmas night I'll ask God ... no, I will demand of God: why is it them, instead of me?

And after hearing His answer and failing to understand, I'll give Him thanks, just as Bono and Bob told me to do, when I was a child.

Merry Christmas and thanks for stopping by the Cape May Blog.  Bless you and yours.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Post-Employment Benefits for Me, but not for Thee

According to this story in the AC Press--

Cape May, Cape May Point officials want New Jersey to end unemployment benefits for seasonal workers  --

city officials in both Cape May and Cape May Point believe life guards should not receive unemployment during the off season.  I thought these benefits were both well known and well accepted but according to the story, the mayor of Cape May Point had no idea such was the case.  Cape May Mayor Ed Mahaney and City Manager Bruce MacLeod both support the idea of eliminating these benefits, as well.  Their point is that once you are no longer working for the city, you should no longer receive benefits from that prior employment.

Apparently it's not much money when compared to those cities' budgets but the city officials feel this is a place to make a stand on principle -- eliminating benefits for those who guard the lives of tourists and locals alike during the summer.

 Money is tight these days and every penny must be accounted for, according to MacLeod and Mahaney. Mr. Mahaney says in the story:

“Our position is these seasonal employees have applied for a seasonal job. They know there is no employment after a certain date,” Mahaney said.

You have to have a great deal of respect for principled politicians like Mayor Mahaney and City Manager Bruce MacLeod.  I anticipate the next move Mahaney and MacLeod will make is to eliminate any sort of post-employment benefits -- like say, pensions -- that they receive.  Once these city officials have moved on from their job, neither of them should be paid, if I understand their principled stand correctly.  They applied for a job and they know there is no employment once they leave their jobs -- those are Mayor Mahaney's words, after all.

Please let me know when MacLeod and Mahaney renounce any pension benefits to which they were formerly entitled.  Every penny must be accounted for in these tough economic times.  And these two men of principle are just the men to set an example for the rest of us.

ADDENDUM:  It has been brought to my attention that some readers of this post believe I am supporting the Mayor and City Manager's decision to seek to terminate unemployment benefits for seasonal workers like lifeguards.  Apparently my sense of humor and sarcasm are too subtle (or my writing skills are terrible).  I am criticizing the Mayor and City Manager in this post, as I'm sure they would not renounce any pension benefits they have (the City Mgr has pension benefits, I am not sure the Mayor does).  My point is that there are many better places to cut costs than on the backs of the unemployed seasonal workers.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Science Teacher in Cape May

Doyle is a science teacher in Bloomfield NJ who has a place either in Cape May or on the bay. I have featured his blog before; here's his most recent post about Cape May.

That's his hand pictured up there (the human one).

Friday, December 16, 2011

Random Cape May by Tumblr

Tumblr is the blog for hipsters or something like that. I've looked at it a few times over the last year or so; I suppose my favorite Tumblr site is the famous: Mallory's Clothes, which reviews what Mallory Keaton (Justine Bateman) wore on each and every episode of Family Ties.

With photos.

Inexplicably, the site is fascinating.

If you liked Family Ties (who didn't?), then you will probably NOT want to click that link unless you want to spend several hours reading the blogger's comments on Mallory.

Since I'm way too old to be a hipster, I don't really get Tumblr for the most part. But if you click this link, you will get to see each and every Tumblr post that includes a "hashtag" for Cape May (#cape may). I discovered the great photo above by clicking that link. Click through and see if you can find something you like. But I warn you that the stuff is pretty random, although usually related to Cape May.

And again, don't click the Mallory's Clothes link unless you have nothing to do for the next two hours.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Preserving the Franklin Street School

Preservation New Jersey takes a look at the recently-finished effort to preserve theFranklin Street School in Cape May.  The article is worthwhile reading. Here's a portion:
Designed in the Colonial Revival Style by the architectural firm of Edwards and Green of Philadelphia and Camden, the Franklin Street School opened in September 1928 as an elementary school for Cape May’s African-American children.

The school was converted to an annex for Cape May City High School after segregation in New Jersey’s public schools was banned in 1947. It was used as a municipal storage area for some time, and through the years, fell into a state of disrepair. Advocacy efforts by the Center for Community Arts (CCA), a multicultural arts and humanities education association, led to the school’s designation as an African-American Historic Site by the state of New Jersey. The Franklin Street School was also distinguished as a contributing building within the Cape May National Register Historic District in 1995 for its significance to local African-American history.

In January 2002, CCA took their recognition of the importance of the Franklin Street School to Cape May’s history a step further, signing a 25-year lease for the school building with the City of Cape May. Currently, the Center is working with the city to rehabilitate the school for use as a community cultural center and the focal point for African-American heritage tours of the area.  Funding from grants and various organizations will assist CCA in their vision to create a permanent educational center, housed in one of Cape May’s most significant historic landmarks.
Read the whole thing.

Photo of entrance to Franklin Street School Courtesy African American Heritage Preservation Network.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Let's Keep the Christmas Videos Rolling

Since I've linked to the Herald's Christmas video, and CapeMay.Com's most recent Christmas video, today I link to a video taken last Christmas that includes many of the beautiful B-and-B's, like the Mainstay, the Abbey, and many others.  It ends with an absolutely breathtaking lighthouse at sunset.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hospitality Night 2011

I featured the Herald's Christmas video yesterday, so why not feature CapeMay.Com's Christmas video today.  CapeMay.Com's video below was taken a few nights ago as the City of Cape May celebrated Hospitality Night. It features in part the proprietor of Swede Things (hence the photo above).  Enjoy...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Shelton College Blast from the Past

The Cape May Good Times Facebook group provided a link to this treasure from the past: a Shelton College Pamphlet, featuring Reverend McIntyre and photos of the Admiral (the "residence for women") and Congress Hall (the "residence for men").

 So what is the photo above? That's a portion of a google maps bird's-eye view of what remains of Shelton College today. Those nondescript buildings in the upper left corner are the buildings that made up much of Shelton "campus" (when you don't include the hotels and Angel of the Sea, etc.) To calibrate yourself, this is the eastern side of Cape May -- the bottom right corner is the beginnings of Poverty Beach, where Beach Drive ends. If that doesn't help you to understand the photo, then perhaps you know Cape Roc Condominium? That's Cape Roc and it's light-colored expansive parking lot in the bottom middle of the photo. But I insist that you click on the link above to the Shelton College pamphlet. It is a riot.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sunrise, Sunset

I can never get enough of good Cape May sunrise and sunset photos. Thankfully, the internet keeps washing more of them up on my shore. A Photo Addict's Showcase is a blog dedicated to gorgeous photography, and that's where I found the four photos above. The photos are the work of Victoria, a retiree who loves Cape May. You can see these photos and read about their creation right HERE.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

If You Like Food and Will Travel, then Head to Cape May

A foodie blog named Likes Food, Will Travel recently visited Cape May and that trip produced a very
nice review of the Lobster House. I have to agree with the reviewer that scallops at the Lobster House are really exceptional.

Monday, December 5, 2011

New Blog on the Block

Seriously Southern Jersey - We're Talking Exit Zero is a relatively new blog about Cape May.  Based on this Welcome Post, the blogger -- a local -- has been blogging pretty regularly since September 2011.  You can read his opinions on Cape May's best pizza HERE, and Cape May's best surf shops HERE.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Catching up after a few days

A 3-day hiatus for the blog may be the longest in its history. Sorry about that. A few stories I missed:

 The Atlantic City Press lets us know that the Cape May Brewery officially opened earlier this week. This is a great story and I can't wait to see the many successes in store for the owners of the brewery.

 Last night the City of West Cape May held its annual parade; read about it HERE in the Cape May County Herald.

And finally, the City lost another long-time member of the community: Larry Muentz, owner of Alexander's Inn. Rest in peace, Mr. Muentz.