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Reports are stating that 80% of the famous boardwalk (and the shops and "shacks" that run along it) was completely destroyed. This was the exact same place where Governor Christie did a photo opp with Prince Harry, in May.

Boardwalk Fire Erases Months of Rebuilding at Jersey Shore
Kate Zernike
New York Times (Page A1)
September 13th, 2013 (edition)

Nearly a year after Hurricane Sandy devastated the Jersey Shore, a boardwalk that was just rebuilt was ravaged by fire on Thursday, as a blaze that began at an iconic ice cream shop quickly engulfed businesses along a stretch of beach in two towns.

Flames and black plumes of smoke shot high above the Boardwalk in Seaside Park, where the fire began after 2 p.m. Within hours, strong gusts of wind swept the fire north along the adjoining Boardwalk of Seaside Heights, where a roller coaster had sat mangled in the ocean for months and became a symbol of the storm’s damage.

Funtown Pier, nearly destroyed by the hurricane, collapsed in flames. And nearby, the fire appeared to have ruined a historic carousel that had been painstakingly restored after the storm and reopened just months ago. In all, about 20 businesses over a six-block stretch were almost completely destroyed, Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey said at a news conference. Local officials suggested that number was too low.

Standing in front of emergency vehicles in Seaside Heights, he called the blaze “unthinkable.” When he heard the news, the governor said, “I said to my staff, ‘I feel like I want to throw up.’ ”...

…The fire was a devastating setback to an area that could little afford one as it struggled to get back on its feet nearly a year after Hurricane Sandy. The towns, along a sliver of barrier island, suffered the worst of the storm’s damage...

The Island Beach Peninsula--perhaps the hardest-hit piece of land when Sandy battered the state last Fall--also known as the Barnegat Bay Peninsula, is, by far and away, my favorite place on the Jersey shore. I spent some of the best times of my late teenage life on that 20-mile strip of land. And, I grew to appreciate that microcosmic piece of heaven the more I learned about it over the years. Seaside Heights and Seaside Park, on the (Route 35) strip, is the quintessential "Jersey Shore" that the rest of the world thinks of when they hear that term. But, when you drive just a few moments north, you hit some of the most beautiful and most expensive beach communities on the east coast, like Bay Head and Mantoloking (virtually wiped out last Fall, it is was occasionally noted as the most affluent community in the state, depending upon the numbers in a particular census); a vacation spot in in the not-too-distant years past to the likes of Katharine Hepburn and James Gandolfini, it was also the Summer home of Richard Nixon when he was Vice President under Eisenhower.

Yes, Mantoloking and Bay Head, to this day, are home to the one percent. But, Seaside...well, Seaside was and is the definition of "Summer" as far as the ninety-nine percent that live in the Garden State are concerned. Growing up, there we all were, side-by-side on this little sliver of land, hanging out at many of the same places and just enjoying the "Shore." (Like never having to pump your own gas, anyone from New Jersey will tell you there's no such thing as, "the beach.")

Personally, I'm pretty upset about this, tonight; but, then again, I'm from New Jersey; so, I will get through it. Hopefully, and with a little help, all of those heartbroken, devastated souls in Seaside Heights will, too.

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