By DON STINE
Nicholas Ralph Aldarelli Jr., of Interlaken, better known to friends as “Uncle Nicky,” died Sat., April 11. He was 67.
Born in Asbury Park in 1952, he graduated from Our Lady of Mt. Carmel grade school in Asbury Park and Ocean Township High School. He was a well-known bartender at area restaurants, including Jimmy’s in Asbury Park and The Elbow Room in Bradley Beach. He was also an avid golfer.
Asbury Park’s Dr. Angelo Chinnici said he was best friends with Aldarelli since kindergarten at Mt. Carmel School on Bangs Avenue.
“We did everything together. And we have always remained close – he is like a brother to me. He was one of a kind. He had the biggest heart and he was a genuine person- what you saw was what you got,” he said.
Chinnici said the Aldarelli family “has a legacy of philanthropy” in Asbury Park.
“During Christmas or other holidays, the family would throw their house open to everyone. I remember his father bringing two busloads of nuns to the boardwalk- they spent the whole day on the boardwalk,” he said.
“My heart is broken – Nicky was my best friend,” Chinnici said.
Garrett Giberson, Asbury Park fire official, was a close friend of Aldarelli’s and is taking his death “very personally.” He said his family and the Aldarelli family knew each other even before he was born.
“But the first time I really got to know Nicky was at the Adriatic restaurant (Asbury Park) over 25 years ago, but I had already known him through (family) connections,” he said
Giberson said one of Aldarelli’s unique traits was being very generous to people and always making sure everyone sitting at his bar knew each other.
“Nicky was quite colorful- he just loved people and loved being around them. He always made sure you knew the person sitting next you- and that you also knew the person two or three seats from you. He wanted you to know the people around you. That was one of his unique traits. I have met so many people and have so many connections because of that- he had an overwhelming hospitality,” he said.
As far as the personal loss, Giberson said he will have to deal with it.
“It’s just going to be overwhelming- just overwhelming the number of people that will miss him. He was like family to me and I am sure other people feel the same way. Just a great guy- an overall great guy,” he said.
Stanley Tokic, the owner of the Adriatic Restaurant on Kingsley Street (now Kim Marie’s Eat ‘n Drink Away), said that Aldarelli was a friend and customer for many years.
“He was a good customer and supported my business for years. I remember him as a good person- always. He was a friendly guy and easy to get to know. I had known the family for years,” he said.
Asbury Park Mayor John Moor went to Ocean Township High School with Aldarelli and also worked with him at Ducky’s on the Asbury Park boardwalk, a popular hot dog and hamburger eatery in the 60s when they were both teenagers.
“He was always smiling and we always had a good time especially at the Speak Easy Room at the Royal Manor (Wall Township),” Moor said.
The two also hung out at Freehold Raceway and at one point they babysat for Lorna Luft, Judy Garland’s daughter when they were staying in Asbury Park.
Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 virus no services can be held but a memorial service is planned for a later date. For more information go to the Buckley Funeral Home website here.