Monday, May 26, 2014

Five Years Ago Today

The sun dawned on a new Cape May blog five years ago today.

Five years ago today, I started this little Cape May blog.  I think the internet under-served fans of Cape May back then.  We had CapeMay.Com, and CapeMayTimes.Com, but neither of these websites updated regularly at that time (other than a photo of the day feature that CapeMay.Com published (and continues to published)). Cape May Star & Wave's internet presence was inexplicably awful (still the case today although the recent hiring of Jack Fichter is promising). Exit Zero had little consistent internet presence (again, despite fits and starts on the internet and a surprising merchandising ability, EZ's inconsistent internet presence is still the case today). There were writers who focused on the Jersey Shore, but nobody on the 'net spent time on Cape May each and every day.

For years -- really, for about the eleven years preceding the introduction of the blog -- I found myself searching the internet each morning for new Cape May news.  I am addicted to #CapeMay news. I don't know why. But it's better than being addicted to alcohol or drugs. It's fairly harmless.

So after thinking about it for quite a while, I started a blog with the intent to fill that daily Cape May internet hole. I didn't have delusions of grandeur. I knew I wasn't going to replace the main sources of Cape May news (the Atlantic City Press being the most consistent source of good Cape May news). But I thought that other Cape May obsessives had to be looking for news every day online.

And I was right. I slowly and steadily built an audience, to where by July 4th 2011 I received hundreds of hits a day looking for Cape May scheduling news. I also gave my opinion on the news of the day, and that caught the eye of the editor of Exit Zero.  So I took my blog and started blogging at Exit Zero.  And then wrote a few columns for Exit Zero, to boot.  I even got a mention in New Jersey Magazine's feature on Cape May a few summers ago.

But over these same five years, social media took off. Facebook existed in 2009, but the "Facebook Group" didn't take off until 2012 or so.  The Facebook group "Cool Cape May" is a great source for continually-updating Cape May news. And that group, as good as it is, pales in comparison to the Godzilla of social media.  The Godzilla known as Twitter.

I love Twitter. I know many people don't understand it, but I get my news from Twitter. If something big is going on in the world, it will hit my Twitter stream. And if there's something big going on in the worlds of my interests (the law and Cape May), then I'll find out from Twitter, as well.

And Twitter has made me CapeMay friends in a way that the blog did not. I made a few new friends with the blog, no doubt. But I've met people that I got to know electronically through twitter (hello, @CookeCapeMay!), and I've made relationships that go beyond the 0s and 1s that make up the digital world.   I hope to set up a Cape-May-centric TweetUp for this July, & meet some more members of the Cape May twitter-verse.

So five years on, you will still find me updating my Cape May Blog, although perhaps not as often and as regularly as I did a few years ago. I will still update it - and perhaps even bring back the weekly "sign of the day" feature, or little things like that to make the visit worthwhile. But in the meantime, I encourage you to follow me on Twitter - @capemayblogger - for the latest and greatest in Cape May news.  More often than not, I may not break the news, but I'll re-tweet the news before you see it somewhere else.  And I'll try to give you my own little spin on that news, as well.

Last but not least, below you're find my first blog post five years ago.  Thanks for stopping by! I hope you'll stick around for the next five years!

If you've landed here, it means you and I share an interest -- Cape May. If you know me, you might strike the word "interest" and insert "obsession." I can't argue with that. I'm going to use this blog to highlight the places on the internet where you can address that Cape May obsession, and often learn something in the process. I may also use it to share a photo, or a story or two.

Above you will see the sun rising adjecent to the old World War II Lookout Tower that has just been retrofitted for tourism. That photo pre-dates the recent fix-up that took place. Yes, the Tower is in Cape May Point. I will not make distinctions between Cape May, Cape May Point, West Cape May, etc., for purposes of this blog. I may note that the location or site featured is not in Cape May proper, but Cape May is as much a state of mind as a place.

Anyway, in case you don't know, there's a story below (written by Susan Tischler of CapeMay.com, more about that site and that great writer later) about the "new" Lookout Tower that is obviously quite old. I have driven, walked, and ridden my bike past it many times, and it's fun to know that now I can check it out up close and personal.

And again, Welcome! 
Fire Control Tower No. 23 Grand Opening
By Susan Tischler • May 20th, 2009 • Category: Look at This
Grand Opening Ceremony for the World War II Lookout Tower

Lower Township - The Grand Opening Ceremony for the World War II Lookout Tower (Fire Control Tower No. 23) was held Saturday, May 16 at 10 a.m. Local World War II veterans were present and honored. A dove release was made to honor their service to our country. Dignitaries included Freeholder Leonard Desiderio, Congressman Frank LoBiondo, Senator Jeff Van Drew, Assemblymen Nelson Albano and Matt Milam, representatives from the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts (MAC) and those involved with the restoration project.

Fire Control Tower No. 23 was part of the immense Harbor Defense of the Delaware system known as Fort Miles. Built in 1942, the tower was one of fifteen concrete lookout towers that helped aim batteries of coastal artillery, stretching from North Wildwood, N.J. to Bethany Beach, DE. Four were in Cape May County, N.J.-the towers located in North Wildwood and Wildwood Crest were torn down and a third tower is located inside Cape May’s Grand Hotel, Beach and Philadelphia avenues.
With the Tower restored, visitors can climb to the sixth floor observation platform at the top and see equipment used to determine firing coordinates for massive guns on both sides of the Delaware Bay. Each level of the tower includes interpretive panels and photos that explain the tower’s function, as well as Cape May’s important role in homeland defense during World War II. The third level of the tower is dedicated to the brave men and women from the Cape May area who served during World War II and contains the “Wall of Honor” as well as “Cape May’s World War II Honor Roll.”
The World War II Lookout Tower is located on Sunset Boulevard in Lower Township near Cape May Point. The tower is open to the public daily; times vary.

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