Over the extended holiday weekend Ocean Grove resident Lenora Gonzales left her home on Broadway to drive to a barbeque in Neptune. When she returned later in the afternoon she had to park seven blocks away from her home.
“There were jams everywhere. I expected the entire town to sink,” she said jokingly.
That same day in neighboring Asbury Park Jennifer Schulman, who owns and operates a business in the city and has a city parking permit, tried to go to the Asbury Park beach with her four-year-old son. She eventually had to turn away because she could not find a parking space.
And while Schulman, who is vice president of the Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce, thinks it’s great that so many people are coming to the city, there is always a little downside.
“It’s my job to promote Asbury Park and I am so happy that the city is rockin’ and is a top destination once more,” she said. “I hope everyone comes to enjoy our city by the sea and love it as much as we do. However, I must take a brief moment to say I can’t wait for September and the beauty of having parking again.”
Asbury Park Mayor John Moor also noted that parking was an issue with many having to find spots west of Main Street. But the popularity of the city should come as no surprise he said, since it seems every week the city is receiving a new accolade from being named one of America’s coolest small cities to receiving a $237,000 grant for a new streetscap.
“Every week it’s something positive,” he said. “It’s scary. We’ve been on a roll.”
Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce Director Sylvia Sylvia-Cioffi agreed.
“I couldn’t have ordered better weather from Mother Nature herself,” she said.
Sylvia Cioffi said the downtown was bustling by 10:30 a.m. as she was putting up balloons at businesses participating in First Saturday.
“It’s like people just got up and went downtown for brunch and then went shopping,” she said.
She also said in the 100 years that the city has had a fireworks display this was the best in memory.
“It was the nicest display I remember in decades. People were standing on the new footbridge. It was wonderful,” she said.
Grove Chamber of Commerce President Laura Massaro had that the historic district was packed with people over the weekend.
“It was a mob scene. The cold weather is gone and we are back on track. The beach is packed, the inns are full, and businesses seem to be doing well. Traffic into town is on an upswing,” she said.
She said that weekends have been very good so far but that more weekday traffic would be a good thing. Massaro said that June was slow due to the rain and poor weather.
While recognizing that parking in Ocean Grove is “always a troublesome thing,” Massaro said people still seem to be coping with the problem.
“People seem to be finding spots,” she said.
Chamber officials said riding a bike or taking the train are always great alternatives to get to local beaches.