By JOANNE L. PAPAIANNI and DON STINE
The summer season started strong with a hot and sunny Friday and Saturday. On Sunday, however, everything changed.
The rain, wind and cooler temperatures kept people away from the beaches.
Peter Mantas, manager at Langosta Lounge and Pop’s Garage on the Asbury Park beachfront said, “It was a wonderful, busy weekend. But we have had 60 percent of what we should have had.”
Mantas said Friday and Saturday were busy but many people left on Saturday afternoon.
“It would have been tremendous,” he said.
But Mantas was happy with what he saw and predicts a successful summer.
“Its going to be the best summer ever. There were so many new people, new faces, it’s all the hype,” he said referring to the national and international positive publicity the city has been receiving.
Mantas also said the Langosta Lounge and Pop’s Garage will both be open for food until midnight on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights this season.
John Esposito, owner of the Beach Cinema in Bradley Beach, said Friday and Saturday were OK but Sunday was packed.
“We were mobbed on Sunday,” he said, when there was a matinee and evening show. “We were very, very busy.”
Esposito said there are three shows on Friday and Saturday.
The movie, “The Book Club” is getting good reviews from customers and he said word of mouth has brought many viewers in.
He is keeping it for a third week.
“One woman came and said I already saw the movie and I brought my friend,” he said. “It’s an excellent word of mouth movie.”
Esposito said the theater hasn’t had a good word of mouth movie in a long time.
Next up at the theater is “Ocean’s 8” with Sandra Bullock.
Asbury Park Beach Utility Manager Gary Giberson said despite the uneven weather the city’s beaches brought in about $20,000 more than last year’s Memorial Day weekend, which had similar weather.
Giberson said of the $90,000 brought in about 60 percent represented season beach pass charges.
“Well we didn’t have the best weather,” he said, “but we had a very pleasant weekend.”
Giberson also said there were no incidents involving the water which was a chilly 60 degrees.
“The kids enjoyed it more than the older people,” he said.
Giberson said he is looking forward to next weekend and is keeping an eye on the weather through television and the Weather Bug app.
“But sometimes you watch different stations and you get different forecasts. So we try to figure it out,” he said.
Executive Director of the Asbury Park Chamber of Commerce, Sylvia Sylvia-Cioffi said she is getting good reports from merchants.
“The rain did not hamper business; there were good crowds of people coming down,” she said.
Sylvia-Cioffi also said the bands scheduled to play at the Stone Pony Summer Stage were moved to Convention Hall instead.
“That’s very Asbury Park to make sure that the show goes on,” she said.
She added that maybe people came because the winter was so long and dreary.
“People came anyway, not sure if it was because the winter was so awful or Asbury Park is so cool,” she said.
“I know a good Memorial Day weekend is pivotal for merchants, but being a glass half full kind of person I’m optimistic we will be having good weather for the remainder of the summer. I’m going to order good weather,” she said.
Ali Kennedy, owner of the Asbury Park Roastery, said business at her beach location in Convention Hall was good overall, but the rainy Sunday definitely put a damper on sales.
“It rained, it was chilly, not what you hoped for but all things considered it went OK with us,” she said.
But, she said “Saturday was amazing, everything we hoped it could be.”
Having to move the concert planned for the Summer Stage at the Stone Pony to Convention Hall also helped business.
They stayed open until 7:30 p.m. and concert goers were inside.
“That helped us out,” she said.
Kennedy is looking forward to a productive summer but said, “I’m hoping this pattern of rainy weekends goes away and turns to sunshine.”
In Ocean Township, Poplar, Harvey and Whale Pond Brooks all overflowed their banks Sunday morning and caused about five or six roads to be closed off until the water receded.
“But in the morning, it was rough. All three brooks could not handle the water, which was 4.5 inches over an eight-hour period. It was just too much water volume,” Mayor Christopher Siciliano said.
He said most roads were reopened in the early afternoon.
The township’s William F. Larkin Golf Course, off Wickapecko Drive in the Wanamassa section, suffered a financial hit from the rainy weather, as did the township’s pool complex, off W. Park Avenue.
“We didn’t exactly have the grand openings we were hoping for, especially at the pool. But you can’t beat Mother Nature, as they say,” Siciliano said.
The pool complex now has a new water-activity park for young people, which was to be debuted this weekend.
But the mayor said there was a very nice crowd at the township’s annual Memorial Day ceremony at the municipal complex.
“It was a great turnout and I think it showed that people still know what Memorial Day is really for,” he said.
Neptune had few problems during the rainy weekend weather, according to Business Administrator Vito Gadaleta.
“A couple of sink holes developed on a few residential properties and EMS responded,” he said.
The rain also ended in time for the Neptune Memorial Day Parade to proceed from the municipal complex into Ocean Grove.
And Gadaleta said he hopes the rainy weekend is not a portent of things to come.
“Rainy weekends are never good for business at the Jersey Shore and it’s supposed to rain again this weekend. Hopefully this is not setting up a pattern for the summer,” he said.