By CAROL GORGA WILLIAMS
Someone once coined the phrase “life is a beach” but for Asbury Park resident Gary Giberson, it is more like a sacred calling.
In his 79 years, Giberson has walked about as a beach bum and surfer dude, turning his passion into a career, moving through the ranks from a 1960s era lifeguard to his current metamorphosis as beach utilities manager for nearly one mile of what Giberson says is unabashedly describes as one of the best parcels of sand meeting sea out there. And his is not a minority opinion of one, he notes.
In a Travel + Leisure piece updated in April, Asbury’s beaches are among the 25 best and Giberson aims to keep them that way especially as the Memorial Day holiday approaches.
“Stretching about a mile along New Jersey’s Atlantic coast, Asbury Park Beach is a lively, clean, white-sand beach,” the publication notes. “Sunbathing, swimming, surfing, fishing, and people-watching are favorite activities here. It’s backed by a historic beachfront boardwalk bustling with restaurants, bars, fast food, and interesting shops, in addition to a splash park and miniature golf. The Silverball Museum boasts more than 600 working pinball machines dating back to the 1930s. And just across the street is the fabled bar, The Stone Pony, made famous by locals Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi.”
That is the iconic description. But Giberson and Mayor John B. Moor find much more to be enthused about as opening day looms.
“As far as the summer season goes, it depends on two things “Moor explains. “”You either have great employees or you have the cooperation of Mother Nature who gives us good weather,” Moor said. “We already have the good employees.”
The city may not be as glamorous as describes in the tourist magazine but they know one thing with certainty: Asbury Park rocks and it would not be were it should be without it waterfront where progress and tourism as a happy couple.
If you need ore hard information about this destination, do the research yourself through the use of QR codes installed on some lifeguard station chairs, Moor said. A QR code works similarly to barcodes at the supermarket. Each QR code consists of black squares and dots that represent different pieces of information. When scanned, the unique pattern on the barcode translates into data that people may read,.
“It is a new innovation we’ve come up with to the add to the things we’ve improved upon, Moor said.
The city also spruced up the Seventh Avenue playground areas adjacent to the waterfront.
In Bradley Beach Mayor Larry Fox said after a rough spring in terms of weather “I think we may have turned the corner; and we are completing all the necessary preparations for our summer visitors.”
Fox said the public works and the public safety teams are ready.
“ One slight change in our beach badge sales is that we are selling weekly badges for $45. We hope this is a good option for multi-day or weekly renters,” he said. “Our beach badge sales are ahead of last year and have been “brisk” last week and this week, as expected. We have staffed up our seasonal Beachfront team- Lifeguards, Badge checkers, Police “special” officers, and more. We are fortunate to have many return employees.”
The Memorial Day Parade is 10 a.m. Saturday starting on Ocean Avenue (south end) and proceeding north. The Promenade will have vendors Saturday and Sunday. The Memorial Day ceremony is Monday at 11 a.m. at Riley Park on Main Street.