While You Were Away 2015

A bit of breezy chat about the island’s happenings
from Labor Day 2014 through Memorial Day 2015 written by Dorothy Kulisek & Meg Corcoran
“If we had no Winter, the Spring would not be so pleasant.”
~Anne Bradstreet, early English poet

Before winter took hold of the calendar, we by-the-sea happily took hold of “The Second Season,” starting our autumn days by breezily shifting from sunny skies and sultry temperatures to shorter days and cooler nights. As tradition dictates, we honored the Irish in all of us, had a feast at the Olde Time Italian Festival, found the music within during the Fabulous ‘50s and witnessed the skies light up at the Hereford Lighthouse Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony. We gave thanks for our many blessings, appreciating even more the glow emanating from that infamous Ferris Wheel during those otherwise dark nights. We, of course, created the sandiest of Wish Lists, asking Santa for light snow (for scenic as opposed to shoveling purposes) and an ever-present sun hovering nearby to remind us that clouds can never conceal our preternaturally bright abode. We knew hidden deep beneath those winter days, spring was patiently waiting to make its pleasant presence known (so we could politely give Old Man Winter the boot in place of more fashionable flip-flops).
As the chilliest of seasons makes way for the sunniest of times, we’re reminded that “Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind it.” (thank you, Scottish writer Samuel Smiles). Before we journey toward another hopeful, sunny Wildwood season, we interrupt your regularly scheduled seaside break for a brief reflection on all the newsworthy events that occurred in our storybook town, from the bay, to the beach and the boardwalk, and everywhere in between, While You Were Away. . .

Snowy sunrise at Hereford Lighthouse

Snowy sunrise at Hereford Lighthouse


About Town
The 7th Annual Seafood & Music Festival, scheduled for October 4th, was cancelled due to inclement weather.
The Greater Wildwood Chamber of Commerce will host a Wildwoods Music & Food Fest on Saturday, May 30th along Atlantic Avenue between Schellenger and Wildwood Avenues. The FREE, family-friendly festival will have live music, crafts and food vendors.
wildwood sign beach balls
A Sign of the Wildwood Times
The Wildwood sign, located on the Boardwalk at Rio Grande Avenue, was completely refurbished and resurfaced in the fall of 2014. The 19-foot-high landmark sign, affectionately known as ‘the Hollywood sign of the East Coast,’ has become a must-see sight since its presentation in 2008.
Lives Well Lived in the Wildwoods
Reverend Thomas Goslin, a retired minister and long-time Wildwood Crest resident, died on September 13, 2014 in Modesto, California, where he resided following the death of his wife, Julia. Mr. Goslin graduated from Wildwood High School and maintained a residence, as well as a place in his heart, in Wildwood Crest following his move to California.
Frank Feraco passed away on September 15th, 12 days after the death of his wife, Connie. Like Mr. Goslin, the long-time residents made a big difference in our small town. As school teachers at Wildwood High, the Feraco’s, who were the proud parents of nine children, had a profound effect on the lives of their students as well as on the seaside community they loved. To celebrate her love of Wildwood, Mrs. Feraco shared her Easter memories in the very first issue of The Sun that was published on April 1, 2004!
Former North Wildwood Mayor Bill Henfey, who served from 2006 to 2013, sadly passed away on October 21st at the age of 65. He had been ill since the fall of 2013. He retired in 2013, wanting to spend more time with his family. Henfey, affectionately nicknamed, “Blacktop Billy” due to all of the road work he accomplished while in office, was dedicated to the community and to improving the quality of the town for its residents. More than 75 infrastructure projects were completed during his time in office. From street work to seawall and sewer reconstruction, Henfey continually worked toward the improvement of the town he loved. He is also recognized for persuading the Cape May County Municipal Utilities Authority to switch to single stream recycling, a move that has saved municipalities thousands of dollars.
Prior to his role as mayor, Henfey was a North Wildwood councilman and spent 20 years in municipal office. Before his commitment to elected office, he was a patrolman for the North Wildwood Police Department for nine years, then a detective.
bill henfey park sign
Henfey, a successful businessman, was inducted into the New Jersey State League of Municipalities Elected Officials Hall of Fame in March 2014 and has been credited as being “the driving force behind the City’s purchase of the 8th Street Field,” which now bears the name, “Bill Henfey Park.”
The tract includes a city block of almost 2.3 acres bounded by 7th, 8th, Central and Atlantic Avenues. According to Mayor Patrick Rosenello, the diocese has allowed the public to use the privately-owned open space for the past 60 years. Although the park will still be used by Wildwood Catholic, it will now be a public park and will also remain the only emergency landing site for medical helicopters on the island.
Included in the plans were upgrading the softball field on the eastern side of the tract, constructing a new basketball court, two playgrounds for different ages, benches and pavilions, a long-jump pit, all new fencing and planting the block with shade trees. There is also a multipurpose field for soccer, field hockey and other sports as well as a new building, which will house offices, restrooms, first aid, and equipment storage areas.
Requests are already coming in for use of the new park.
To honor the man who had such an impact on the city of North Wildwood and his newly named park, Rosenello stated, “We want to have the whole community use it.”
A Lasting Legacy
Former Mayor Anthony Catanoso passed away on November 21th at the age of 97. Catanoso was North Wildwood’s longest serving mayor, holding office from November 14, 1958 to January 1, 1985. In 1928, 12-year old Tony and his family moved to North Wildwood. Phyllis, his wife of 66 years, stated her father-in-law opened the first Italian grocery store in North Wildwood, possibly the first in Cape May County, where the nine Catanoso children worked. For 20 years, future mayor Catanoso owned his own store, the Central Shop at 17th and Central, complete with soda fountain and patent medicines.
While in office, Catanoso was credited with the construction of the recreation/community center, constructing the first sea walls as well as a police station and obtaining the grant for Allen Park. According to former city employee Steve Murray, Catanoso created the original plans for the restoration of Route 147 into North Wildwood. The renovation of the Hereford Inlet Lighthouse is recognized as one of his prized achievements. Murray stated Catanoso was a forward thinker when it came to historic preservation, even ahead of Cape May’s hard work.
Catanoso’s contributions are lasting and far reaching. Current North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello, who knew Catanoso for many years, said that the city of North Wildwood is the great place it is today because of Catanoso’s 27 years of loyal service. Catanoso kept in touch with the new mayor, offering insights as well as history into North Wildwood, a town he loved and made a much better place for generations to come.
Other Notable Passings
Beloved Fudgy Wudgy Man Andy Markee died on November 11th. He was a fond beach fixture and a welcomed sight on a hot summer day, selling his frozen treats within a rolling cooler along North Wildwood’s beach.
Anna Zuzulock, age 99, died November 23rd, 3 months shy of being a centenarian. She will be fondly remembered by her family and friends for her lucky love of “BINGO” as well as her Wildwood businesses over the years, including the original Crest Hardware Store on Aster Ave., the Colonial Restaurant and Anchor Inn.
Joe Russo on riverjoe russo Teenager
Joe Russo, lifelong Wildwood resident and former owner of Russo’s Bar and Restaurant, died on January 12th. Russo, along with his sisters, owned Russo’s in Wildwood for over 50 years before selling the business in 2008. Look for his story tribute in the next issue written by his son, Joseph.
Tom Jorgensen, 95, passed away on February 24th. Tom, who posed for our cover of the 2008 Holiday edition of The Sun (along with his trusty fishing gear), was a Norwegian immigrant and graduate of Wildwood High who had a deep love for fishing and the sea, as well as being one of the most beloved baseball coaches in the history of Wildwood Little League.
Don Long, who along with his wife Dorothy, opened Duffer’s Ice Cream Parlor & Restaurant and Miniature Golf & Arcade over 40 years ago, passed away on February 25th. He is remembered for being a loving father, grandfather and husband with a true work ethic and good-natured sense of humor, and loved to enjoy a good meal and his favorite dessert with his wife and family at Duffer’s.
Joseph Jay Larkin of Larkin’s Restaurant passed away peacefully on March 14th with his loving family by his bedside. Although born in Lansdowne, PA, Mr. Larkin was raised in Wildwood, where he attended Wildwood High School.
Suzanne Mahoney Cusella, a much-loved member of the community, died March 15, 2015 following a long battle with cancer. Born in Philadelphia, she was a proud seaside resident for the past 42 years. Over the years, she worked as a waitress for many local restaurants before becoming a treasured employee at J. Byrne Insurance Company for more than 27 years. She is survived by her husband of 42 years, Nino, two sons and daughter-in-laws, and three grandchildren. She will be sorely missed by her extended family, friends and colleagues. She will be remembered for her warm and loving spirit and for her true passion for shore living.
Peter Yecco, 90, passed away on March 21st. He was born in Paulsboro, N.J., raised in Philadelphia and moved to Wildwood in the 1940s. Mr. Yecco retired in 1991 following 45 years of employment with the City of Wildwood. He was an officer in the Wildwood Police Department and held the title of City Clerk for 18 years. He also owned and operated Burger Spot In North Wildwood during the late 1970s. A devoted family man as well as an industrious worker, Mr. Yecco is survived by his loving wife of 65 years, Helen Marie, a son, three daughters and 11 grandchildren.
A Fond Remembrance
Kaitlin Anzelone, who tragically passed away at the age of 20 in the summer of 2005 after a seven-month battle with leukemia, was fondly remembered at a ceremony held in September at Maxwell Field, courtesy of the City of Wildwood in conjunction with Wildwood High School. Aside from her brilliance on the soccer field, Kaitlin is best known for her other athletic accomplishments at Wildwood High School. She was part of three state and four South Jersey championship basketball teams as well as a part of a Cape-Atlantic League championship softball team at Wildwood before playing three sports as a freshman at Division III Rutgers-Camden University.
comets wall
A SUNsational Shoulder Season
The Fabulous ‘50s and Beyond Weekend, held October 17 and 18 courtesy of the Greater Wildwood Chamber of Commerce, remains an integral part in a long-held effort to build tourism during the “off season.” A public relations campaign was started in the 1970s to shine a spotlight on the Wildwoods during the fall season, now referring to that “off” time of year as “The Other Season” and “The Second Season.” The event featured a performance by the Bill Haley’s Original Comets in recognition of the late Bill Haley, who popularized his hit “Rock Around the Clock” in performances at the Starlight Ballroom and the Hofbrau House. It’s been said that the group performed every summer from 1950 to 1955 at the Hofbrau, which later became the site of the Beach Terrace Motor Inn. The Wildwood festivities paid homage to that song. Motels and hotels boasted 98 percent occupancy during those times.
Soon, others were onboard looking to increase “The Shoulder Season,” welcoming the Irish and Italian festivals, Captain Kidd treasure hunts and Mummers brigade and string band weekends and various parades that earned the Wildwoods the label, “Parade Capital of New Jersey.”
Swinging back to the 11th Annual Fabulous ‘50s and Beyond Weekend, the two-day celebration harmoniously paid tribute to the Wildwoods’ part in the birth of rock ‘n roll. The celebration began with a dance party featuring the Nifty ‘50s Dance Band with David Christopher and DJ Ralph Warzy. Saturday afternoon included outdoor fun and music during the free Fabulous ‘50s Street Fair at Fox park. The fair highlighted a classic car show, a Doo-Wop ‘50s Bus Tour and several vendors offering ‘50s memorabilia, food and more. The Saturday night concert, which took place in the Oceanfront Arena at the Wildwoods Convention Center, featured Bowzer’s Rock ‘n Roll Party hosted by Bowzer, formerly of Sha Na Na, who presented a musical line-up featuring Johnny Tillotson, The Tymes, Gene Chandler-The Duke of Earl, Fred Parris & The Five Satins, Bowzer & The Stingrays, and, of course, the Bill Haley’s Original Comets.
crowds 50s 3 62 tbird
Artistic Moments
Susan Daly, a Northfield-based artist who has created murals for Atlantic City casinos and restaurants for over 30 years, brought her artistic talents to Pacific Avenue to complete the Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority’s second Icon Wall Mural on the side of Alumni Grill at Oak and Pacific Avenues. In May 2014, Peter Bieling created the first mural of Bobby Rydell, located on Roberts Avenue and the Boardwalk.
Ben Rose, GWTIDA’s director of marketing, explained the authority’s commitment throughout the winter months to identify other walls that can be painted with Wildwood icons. The GWTIDA received many different responses when they sought out Wildwood fans on Facebook and its website, asking who or what they thought made for iconic Wildwood pieces. Tracey DeFault, executive director of the Greater Wildwoods Chamber of Commerce, was thrilled with the mural, believing it will help rejuvenate the downtown. The chamber’s office is situated within the building it is painted on. The mural’s unveiling kicked off the Fabulous ‘50s and Beyond Weekend with Bill Haley and His Comets last original members Joe D’Ambrosio and Dick Richards in attendance.
A Fresh Start for the Fresh Air Home
Attorney Ron Gelzunas, along with his wife Angel Daniels, of North Wildwood, and his Cape May County charity, the Children’s Fresh Air Home, have been providing disadvantaged children a shore vacation since 1896. Gelzunas believes, “It’s bigger than that. It’s not just a vacation. It’s an opportunity to take a child and show them there’s more to the world than the difficult, narrow circumstances in which they live. It opens their horizons and shows there are better things out there. This is sort of a life-transforming event.”
The $1.5 million renovation of the four-story guesthouse on 11th Avenue in North Wildwood will include a new, handicap accessible elevator and central heat and air conditioning, enabling the charity to develop its operations beyond the summer.
Dog Beach Days
With the start of a new, dog-friendly year, the city approved the site for the North Wildwood Dog Park to be located between 24th & 25th Avenues on the beach. Details, including design, were being planned with the help of residents and City Council members.
Business Update
A bit of Italy on Bennett Ave. The Ravioli House, located at Bennett & NJ Avenues in Wildwood Crest, is celebrating 45 appetizing years, making it one of the oldest, longest-running restaurants owned and operated by the same family. Owner Teresa DeSanctis, who opened in 1970 alongside her late husband Tony, is honoring the auspicious, delicious occasion by adding a new bar to the back of the restaurant in the Pastry Shop. The new addition will offer a coffee & espresso bar in addition to a full service bar (and their always) full line of homemade Italian pastries, allowing customers to enjoy appetizers and drinks before the main course, or after-dinner dessert & drinks.

On the Move
Crabcake Hotline relocated to 115 E. 17th Avenue in North Wildwood with indoor seating and bigger, better, and, naturally, more delicious plans for the Summer of 2015.
On March 2nd, Petals Flower Shop moved to their new location at 202 E. Rio Grande Ave., next to their sister store, Total Image Salon. In addition to free parking, the new studio features an expanded showroom complete will all new products. It’s Lovely!
Jim & Brandy Johnson expanded their Avalon Coffee Five Mile Beach Café, located in North Wildwood, to Wildwood Crest’s former Petals (next to Ocean Outfitters Surf Shop) on Cardinal & NJ Avenues.
More Java News Located on the corner of Maple & NJ Avenues across from the Wawa is a new concept and a coffee lover’s dream called “One-Cup Joe,” offering hundreds of coffee selections.
North Wildwood Shirt Shop moved from 7th to 18th & NJ. Be sure to check out their vintage throwback mural (in the works) featuring a few local faces as well as their new Ocean Rescue inventory.
Rapunzels on the Boardwalk, home of Cathie’s Critters, and Fresh Eire relocated 3 blocks south from 19th to 22nd Avenue with twice the former store’s size and inventory.
Winterwood Christmas Shoppe opened a 2nd boardwalk location at the former Love to Cook store. Ho! Ho!
Tony Luke’s is now offering island delivery for the mouth-watering crowd.
Best Boutique Business
Mary Rosenello Clark opened her first Vagabond Boutique on Pacific Avenue more than 30 years ago. Now Clark, along with her business partner, Megan Murphy has expanded their treasures in Olde City Philadelphia at 37 N. 3rd Street between Market & Arch. Although they are sadly no longer a part of adorning Pacific Avenue, their latest gem of a store was recently voted Philadelphia’s BEST Boutique.
South Dock meets Key West
Bill and Megan Bumbernick are the new owners of the South Dock Marina & Cafe, North Wildwood’s only waterfront dining, located at 10th & the Bay. Honoring the best of island living, their goal is to infuse a Key West style atmosphere into the marina with the help of palm trees and the picturesque scenery. Along with expanding the patio deck, they have added dinner to their menu that features Annie’s famous crab cakes. In anticipation of a busy summer, the pontoon boats were recently refurbished while the bait and tackle shop is now fully stocked.
Itswell Yoga Studio on 9th & NJ Aves. & Jersey Shore Adventures are partnering with Grace & Glory Yoga & OC Paddleboard for a Paddle, Poses & Pints event that will include a beach yoga class, SUP lesson/tour, SUP Yoga and of course, all be followed by a pint at Cafe Luciano’s on Tuesday, July 28th.
Tucker’s Pub, located at Atlantic & Wildwood Avenues, has a new owner and a new name. The Old City Pub, a building that first housed the Wildwood Title & Trust Company back in the early 1900’s, has undergone major interior renovations in preparation for the upcoming summer, with a revamped menu and all-new dining features.
Your Sign & Flag Shop, also known as “The Flag Shop,” located at New Jersey & Walnut Avenues, was recently demolished. The longtime landmark was an inconspicuous business that travelers often caught a quick glance of on their way in and out of town. As is sometimes sadly the case with old, quiet establishments, its absence may receive more notice than its presence often gathered. No word yet on what will take its place.
Many hungry patrons will be happy to know that Bonelli’s has reopened for the season!! Bonelli’s Market, family owned and operated since 1929, has been well known in the city of Wildwood and a staple on Pacific Avenue. The self-billed “Home of the Old World Hoagie” third-generation meat market, was founded by Gaetano Bonelli, who emigrated from Italy. His son, Richard ran the market following his father’s death in 1969. After college, Richard’s son, Jonathan returned to the family business, taking it over when his father passed away in August 2013.
The End of a Delicious Era
After two years of being closed due to Hurricane Sandy, Nino’s Restaurant, formerly located at 201 W. Walnut Avenue in North Wildwood, took over Groff’s Restaurant, located at 423 E. Magnolia Avenue, bringing an end to a 90-year Wildwood era. We will miss Groff’s family style dinners, their famous homemade pies and the nostalgia we experienced while dining in what felt like a trip back in time. We are sure that Nino’s will be serving their same delicious italian dinners in their new location.
City Improvements
The City of Wildwood appropriated approximately $3.3 million in bonds to be used on improvements, including new playground equipment for Fox Park, firearms, a new recording system for the police interview room, computer system upgrades, police and fire radio equipment and initial funds for capping the Back Bay landfill and renovations for the Young’s Avenue boardwalk bathroom. Several items were set to be reimbursed with resources from FEMA and grant funds.
Rising above the Floods
For residents of West Wildwood, being connected to the larger Five Mile Island by a single two-lane bridge has caused many problems connected with back-bay flooding, especially in the event of an emergency. Emergency management services and the borough’s firehouse reside on low ground on Neptune Avenue, making entry by emergency vehicles to the community during flooding a serious problem. As a result, South State Inc. received a contract for the FEMA grant-mitigation of Neptune Avenue. The flooding project will elevate the land in the area, granting emergency vehicles better access.
A Smoother Park Boulevard
With the intent of a smoother ride, Mayor Troiano addressed having Park Boulevard, which has become a main access road through town, paved from Rio Grande to 26th Avenue. Drivers have dealt with sections of uneven pavement and construction detours for the past few years. Although business owners were eager to have a smoother street to travel down, some expressed concern over the chaos construction over the past year has caused. Troiano stressed that while some sections of the street were closed, city-posted signs indicated that local businesses were opened.
North Wildwood Notes
Joseph Poretta Builders was granted a $308,000 contract to build Bill Henfey Park. Fred Shiavone Construction will finish the site improvements for $491,264.
North Wildwood received a $400,000 grant for streetscape enhancements on Olde New Jersey Avenue, the hub for the city’s festivals and entertainment. Included in the project will be new street lighting, as well as an archway, along with ripping out and replacing the parking lot at Spruce and Olde New Jersey with new lighting.
Council voted to extend for another year its shared services agreement with Wildwood for tax assessor, Jason Hesley, who works in North Wildwood two days a week and in Wildwood three days. North Wildwood pays 40 percent of Hesley’s wages while Wildwood pays 60. The cities equally split his benefits.

Snowy sunrise at Hereford Lighthouse

Snowy sunrise at Hereford Lighthouse


The Nature’s Beauty Book
The gardens at Hereford Inlet, which were designed by Steve Murray in 1986 and hold over 200 plant varieties in various garden rooms, are now beautifully captured in “Gardens of the Garden State,” a book by Susan Lowry and Nancy Berner featuring the top New Jersey gardens.
Public Works Adds On
Mayor Patrick Rosenello announced the hiring of four new fulltime Public Works employees, but mentioned the total number of employees was down. The number of employees was reduced to 20 fulltime and one supervisor, which is down from 38 when Rosenello took office. When Rosenello was first on council approximately 11 years ago, the number was that high. As work was underway on the 2015 budget, they planned on hiring more temporary and seasonal Public Works employees and less full time with more workers needed in the summer.
A Farmer’s Market Delight
On August 30, 2014, a grand finale celebrated the successful first season of the Downtown Wildwood Farmers Market. Along with free parking, visitors were treated to DOO WW magnets and tote bags as well as a live performance by Alicia Cacci Caprioni and Bill Caterini of “HAPPY,” collaborators on the album (Don’t Be A) Bully-Tolerant Songs for Young Folks.
Crowds were welcomed at the Farmers Market held on the corner of Pacific and Schellenger Avenues every Saturday morning in the summer. During the finale, visitors were greeted by a balloon artist and stilt walker as live music courtesy of 98.7 The Coast played as they loaded up on a wide variety of fresh products.
The Farmers Market won the “Best New Attraction” award from the Wildwood Chamber of Commerce and “Best of Free Time” award from Catamaran Media.
The Grand Re-Opening of the Dowtown Farmers Market will take place Saturday, May 23rd from 8am until 2:30pm. Be sure to pick up your new Free DOO WW magnet design! Through September 5th, the weekly market will be providing fresh fruits and vegetables, Prepared and Specialty Foods, baked goods, plants and flowers, meats, cheeses, and more along with music & Family Entertainment.
The Boardwalk Press
A Colorful Ferris Wheel Feat
Anthony Canzano, an audio visual technician for Morey’s Piers, had the creative task of designing an 11 minute, computer-controlled light show to be displayed on the giant Ferris wheel on Mariner’s Landing Pier. The impressive project was expected to take approximately a month to be completed. For the displays, the Ferris wheel contains 92,400 LED lights.
The lights of the Ferris Wheel brilliantly light up the island as the seasons are creatively commemorated, with a ghost and a pumpkin illuminating Halloween, a tree and Santa brightening up Christmas, a green shamrock at St. Patty’s Day and the Easter Bunny shining the way to spring!
Kong rises
Shore Surveys and Kong Mania
The always-innovative team at Morey’s Piers conducted a Kong survey when creating Surfside Pier’s 60 feet + high recreation of an unforgettable attraction. On the advice of their participants, they altered the gorilla’s appearance to a less-scary, more Wildwood-friendly version. Featuring the Eighth Wonder of the World in an “I love WW” t-shirt, riders will circle Kong on a journey through KONG & Co. located under the ride where they can shop for skate apparel, KONG gear and Morey’s Piers merchandise, and of course, chocolate covered bananas.
A Swinging Design
The Kiddie Swings on Mariner’s Landing not only got a new paint job, but now feature pictures of happy little riders courtesy of photos people graciously submitted of their kids on the swings.
Artful Awards
Morey’s Piers won the Judge’s Choice Award for [artBOX]. Make sure to pay a visit to this creative and adventurous pier.
Creative Wildwood Collection
David Macomber, resident artist for Morey’s Adventure Pier’s artBOX, has been bringing his unique, artistic touch to several seaside projects, including The Wildwood Collection, which consists of a series of artworks, clothing and home goods. The Wildwood Collection was inspired by the Wildwood stories Macomber has been told over the years and has been described as an expression and homage to our quaint community. The collection will eventually include prints, posters, mugs, clothing and housewares at all three of the Morey’s Piers shops, including the new KONG & Co. at Surfside Pier and the [artBOX] gallery shop. It’s an artistic way of bringing a bit of summer by the sea home!
An Eventful Beach Move
For more than a decade, the Wildwood beach has graciously played host to local events. Due to a lessened threat of flooding, lower permit fees and an accommodating government, the spring and fall Beach Jam will be relocated to the North Wildwood beaches between 18th and 22nd streets. All three of Morey’s Piers will remain open for both events.
The remainder beach events, including Beach Blast soccer, will still be held on the beach in Wildwood.
Gentlemen Race
The Oilers Car Club presented its Race of Gentlemen, relocated from North Jersey to our grand beach after Hurricane Sandy, raced on Oct. 3rd to the 5th, 2014. The event featured a collection of cars and motorcycles from the 1920s and ‘30s battling it out on the beach. The Friday night pre-party was reminiscent of a scene right out of “American Graffiti!”
New Wildwood event for JEEPs
The New Jersey Jeep Association was formed to allow Jeep owners to get together and truly experience Jeep ownership in a fun, family atmosphere. This new event will be held on the beach here in Wildwood, NJ June 19-21st, Father’s Day weekend 2015! That’s right in Wildwood, NJ!!! The event was held before in Ocean City, however they needed more space, so Wildwood wins out again because of our big beautiful beaches. This could only mean one thing! Bigger beaches means more Jeeps! The event kicks off on Friday night at Fox Park.
Bidding for Ice Cream
In January, Wildwood received two bids for a beach ice cream concession, which will considerably enhance the city’s earnings from 15 individual licenses. The city had 15 annual vendor permits to distribute to qualified military veterans or exempt firemen. Putting beach ice cream sales out to bid will enable the city to achieve over $100,000 in 2015 and over $300,000 during a three-year contract. The highest bid was from Popsy Pop, LLC. at $324,224 for three years.
Each year, North Wildwood offered 10 ice cream vendor licenses, with available licenses being presented to the next person. North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello stated the city is going to changeover from individual ice cream vending licenses to a bidding process.
A Frosty Plunge for a Friendly Cause
NJ Special Olympics Polar Bear Plunge took place on January 17th with the air temperature hovering at 29° (14° with wind chill) and a water temperature of 38°. It was the first time in its nine-year history that the event topped 1,000 participants with over $300,000 raised for the “Special Olympics” organization.
Beach Campers
Morey’s Piers set up camp on Adventure Pier on Oct. 4th to host Boardwalk Bunk-Down, its first outdoor sleepover on the pier. Guests got cozy under the Great White roller coaster, enjoying a movie and popcorn as well as a visit to Morey’s S’mores Bar.
A Big Beach Bonfire
The Anglesea Irish Society, in conjunction with the Greater Wildwood Jaycees, supported the 5th annual Bonfire on the Beach on Oct. 25th at 1st and Surf Avenues. The blazing occasion attracted a record-breaking crowd of over 1400 people.
Where the Beach Meets
Beach Meet, the only multi-event meet in the country to be held entirely on the beach, will take place July 17th through the 18th. The 2-day competition will consist of Pole Vault, Long Jump, Triple Jump, Shot Put and an individual mile run. Participants and family members can take advantage of an exclusive discounted weekend package to Morey’s Piers Amusement Rides and Raging Waters and Ocean Oasis Waterparks courtesy of Beach Meet along with a Saturday night picnic at Rendezvous Beach Picnic Pavilion. Contact beach.sports@moreyspiers.com
Celebrating America’s Favorite Youthful Pastimes
The Wildwoods have proudly become a Mecca for Youth Sports during the fall and winter months, with sports continuing into 2015 making for a jam-packed calendar of wrestling, soccer, gymnastics and more. The National Cheer Tech Cheerleading Competition, Boardwalk Basketball Classic and youth wrestling duals are just a few of the events that keep the Wildwoods Convention Center just as busy during the winter months as they are in the summer.
Among the many events, ‘Battle at the Boards’ Basketball Tournament, presented by Crest Saving Bank, was held on December 23rd. In addition, the United States Futsal Federation hosted the Northeast Futsal Regional Championship February 14-16 in the Wildwoods Convention Center’s Oceanfront Arena.
Spring and summer events include the Special Olympics NJ Spring Sports Festival Basketball Finals and the Dance Xplosion Dance Competition.
Major League
Lower Cape May Regional High School graduate Matt Szczur was promoted to the Chicago Cubs after playing the current season for their triple-A-affiliate in Iowa City. In recent years Szczur, 25, became the third former Cape-Atlantic League player to reach the majors, following Mike Trout (Millville) and Darren Ford (Vineland). Matt made headlines in 2010 when he donated peripheral blood cells to a then 19-month old leukemia patient.
Proving that he’s also a romantic, Matt turned a November 2013 trip to New York even more memorable for his girlfriend, Natalie Cooper, a true Broadway lover. In town to see her grandmother’s favorite Broadway show, “Chicago: The Musical,” Matt proposed to a shocked Natalie in the presence of cast members before the show started. The couple married in November 2014 in Philadelphia.
A Century Celebration
Beth Judah Temple in Wildwood, Cape May County’s only active synagogue, remembered its 100th anniversary the last weekend in October with several events honoring the congregation’s history. A crowd consisting of old and new members was on hand in front of the Pacific Avenue landmark to dedicate two commemorative plaques, the first on behalf of the city of Wildwood, the second memorializing the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Beth Judah Temple.
State-of-the-Art Library Time
Construction on the 10,000-square-foot Wildwood Crest branch of the Cape May County Library is expected to be completed by the arrival of tourist season. The new state-of-the-art, glass-enclosed library, on the site of the former Hereford Masonic Lodge on Atlantic Ave. between Columbine & Wisteria, will have an enlarged children’s area, two study rooms, a large and small meeting room, outside deck, enclosed reading area, a larger room for all library materials and free WiFi. One block away on Ocean Avenue resides the small memorial library (complete with comfortable lounge chairs and an ocean view).
Vision 2015 a Dream?
Approximately five years ago, Wildwood tourism and business officials proposed their Vision 2015 plan, a calculated road map that identified virtually 50 development projects meant to entice new business and tourism to town, a dream blunted by funding realities.
Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr. explained the city primarily needs to draw new businesses to the downtown to back the projects outlined in Vision 2015 as the city worked on offering a tax abatement program to encourage new businesses.
Patrick Rosenello, mayor of North Wildwood and executive director of the Downtown Wildwood Business Improvement District (WBID) said all of the plan’s major projects are progressing in some way with the exception of the “Destination Station” parking facility. The city planned to sell the Pacific Avenue parking lot intended as the site of the project, and Rosenello said the WBID did not plan to make an offer. He explained the ultimate goal of the 2015 plan wasn’t just to offer a timeline for major development projects, but rather an agreement for businesses, tourism officials and the city to work toward.
One project intended for the New Year is the connector at Cedar Avenue from the city’s Boardwalk to the downtown, with the state Department of Community Affairs granting Wildwood $400,000 to reconstruct ramps along the boardwalk to make them amenable with the Americans with Disabilities Act. City officials said a fraction of the grant would be used to fund the first phase of the Boardwalk Gateway Connector.
One of the only projects to be accomplished in the 2015 plan was the Boardwalk and bike path connector at Cresse Avenue, which was partially funded with money from Wildwood Crest’s UEZ program.
Turning Back Time on Pacific Ave.
In conjunction with the Wildwood Business Improvement District’s façade enhancement initiative in Downtown Wildwood, the WBID has given the Wildwood Historical Society the funding needed to install an antique clock in front of the George F. Boyer Historical Museum in Downtown Wildwood. The “Center City Plaza” clock once stood at the corner of Atlantic and Oak Aves., in front of the Casino Arcade. The clock was in storage for 25 years until A.B.S. Sign Co. began donating their services to bring it back to working order.
It is expected that the refurbishment and installation will be completed just in time for everyone to see as they visit Pacific Avenue this summer! Save the Date! The Postcard & Antique Show at the museum is Saturday, June 13th.
Cleaning Up the Town
Wildwood City Council met in February to address a cleaner town and fresher air. In an effort to deal with dilapidated or abandoned buildings, City Council launched an ordinance which addressed demolishing decaying buildings no longer fit for safe occupancy. According to a 1942 state law, municipalities have the right to demolish buildings deemed unlivable.
Creating a Cleaner Community
In reference to New Jersey’s Smoke Free Air Act, which prohibits smoking in indoor and public places on the grounds of public or non public elementary or secondary schools, North Wildwood City Council introduced an ordinance prohibiting smoking at Bill Henfey Park, Allen Park and Oak Avenue and 15th Street playgrounds in North Wildwood, making the places where people, in particular children, meet smoke free.
Working toward a Safer Environment The residents of Marina Bay Towers, the senior citizens complex located on New York Avenue in North Wildwood, have endured poor living conditions and endless legal trouble in their effort to make their residence a cleaner, safer environment. Mayor Patrick Rosenello stated the complex’s great potential has sadly never been reached due to its complicated legal ownership. Rosenello maintained the city’s primary concern was for the residents. Promises to the city as well as to the residents, he explained, hadn’t been reached.
Changes ahead for Wildwood Crest Beaches? In an effort to combat storm damage, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers planned to build a 16-foot high dune from the 2nd Avenue jetty in North Wildwood south to Raleigh Avenue in the Diamond Beach section of Lower Township. The Borough Commission, however, remained concerned more dunes would block ocean views and public beach access. The Crest beaches, Commissioner Don Cabrera explained, are different from many beach communities due to the beaches’ and dunes’ size. The dune system could block out their ground-level winding bike and walking path along with public-access breaks in the dunes, which give visitors broad beach and ocean views, while offering less handicap beach access.
With the borough and the Army Corps in discussion, the construction was cautiously scheduled for 2017, awaiting approvals and congressional funding.
5th St Ramp washout again 92815
A Joint Venture
Due to erosion from winter storms, the beach entrances from 3rd through 6th Aves. in North Wildwood were blocked off. A joint project was planned with Wildwood to temporarily repair the problem while saving the community hundreds of thousands of dollars. While the Wildwood beaches have too much sand, North Wildwood doesn’t have enough. Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano and Wildwood’s Public Works Department were pleased the towns could work together to resolve the problem. North Wildwood is paying for the undertaking through its capital fund.
The joint project, which hopes to be completed by mid-May by city workers, involves moving 75,000 cubic yards of sand.
While a larger beach replenishment project by the Army Corps of Engineers for all of Five Mile Beach, including the reconstruction of the North Wildwood beach, is being planned, it will not get started until 2017.
Snowman yoga
Wildwood Weather Report
Weather can often be erratic in our coastal town, as the media (and knowledgeable locals) attempt to predict its next course of action. After a typically hot summer, autumn was breezy and beautiful, ultimately making way for those inevitable clouds that rolled in to announce winter’s arrival.
A Noreastern greeted an otherwise fair weathered fall season the second week of November when an extreme cold front moved in, making locals feel as though winter had arrived five weeks too early.
The weather cooperated for the traditional Halloween and Trunk or Treat as families on Olde NJ Ave & at Crest Pier decorated the backs of their vehicles and dressed up in creative costumes, forming an informal block party.
The weather fell just below the snow belt on November 26th, the day before Thanksgiving and the busiest travel day of the year.
A Noreastern caused bad beach erosion in North Wildwood on December 8th and 9th. We discovered nature is not always family-friendly when that mighty ocean rolled away one of our favorite beaches in just one day!
Light snow (approximately 1”) fell on January 14th, making for a pretty winter scene with no shoveling necessary.
Two inches of snow fell on January 21st in the afternoon just in time for making the perfect, afterschool snowman.
Heavy rain pounded the coast on January 26th, leading the way to what the media predicted would be the Storm of the Century. Only Not! After stocking up on bread and milk, we awoke to one inch of snow, quickly turning Storm Juno into the “Juno Blizzard Bust.”
Storm Neptune arrived just in time for Valentine’s Day and President’s Weekend, not with flowers and chocolate but with 40 mph winds, an inch of snow Saturday night and two inches on Monday with temperatures in the single digits throughout the long weekend.
The February 21st winter storm tragically resulted in a fatal car crash on the North Wildwood bridge.
Before the month ended, over six inches of snow fell on February 26th, adding more (unasked for) winter white to the scenery.
March most definitely came in like a lion on its first day, as Sunday morning snow turned into an icy Sunday evening, leaving locals wondering, ‘will it go out like a lamb’? (unlike the never-ending winter of 2014).
March 5th began with heavy rain and ended with 7” of heavy snow, as the winter of 2015 lingered on. . . more March Madness continued as the first day of Spring (20th) bought a wintery mix of snow & rain all day, and then snow flurries on March 28th. With wind chills in the teens on the morning of the 29th, it was safe to say that March came in and went out like a lion.
Easter came early on April 5th, bringing glorious weekend weather in time for opening day on Morey’s Piers and many boardwalk shops. The beautiful weekend weather pattern continued through the month of April, until winter returned to make its final appearance on the last weekend of the month bringing frost warnings and freezing temps.
{Hopefully, the sun is shining warm upon your face as you sit enjoying this long, expectant issue of The Sun. }
Freezing Temperatures Blended with Hot Pizza ~ Sam’s Pizza opened on the coldest day of the winter! Just in time for Valentine’s Day and President’s Weekend, Sam’s Pizza opened on February 13th, welcoming crowds in from the light snow and 40 mph winds (making for what felt like 2 degree weather). The opening of Sam’s has become an annual community event and an indication that spring can’t be far behind. Storm Neptune, however, had other ideas, sending cold boardwalk strollers running to get their first hot slice of the year!

CFAH raising
Give the Gift of Summer
You may have noticed a lot of activity at the corner of 11th & Surf Ave. in North Wildwood over the past few months. In January, the Children’s Fresh Air Home (CFAH) kicked-off the first phase of a long-planned renovation effort to restore its century-old home.
Since 1923, the Home has opened its doors to more than 20,000 children in need throughout the New Jersey and Philadelphia region. The summer respite is a Jersey-Shore mainstay for those who would otherwise never have a chance to experience the joy and beauty of the sun, sand, and sea – truly a gift that every child deserves.
A few years ago, CFAH temporarily closed its doors to focus on a costly, but urgent, renovation to the exterior and interior of the Home. And in 2014, CFAH launched a major fundraising initiative – the Capital Campaign – to fund a massive, $1.2 million construction project to restore and reopen the Home. Mayor Patrick Rosenello of North Wildwood has recognized and supported CFAH’s mission through his role as Honorary Chairperson of the Capital Campaign Committee. His involvement, along with the continued dedication of CFAH’s working board, has positioned the home to take some critical steps in the renovation process, including the recent lifting of the home and the construction of a new foundation.
Much of this work has been generously donated by local and regional businesses, including Ross Denham Construction of Cape May and Paul Marconi and U.C.I., a private construction company based in Lansdowne, PA.
This summer, CFAH will continue to host its successful interim program, “If Just for a Day”, enabling hundreds of young people from regional organizations to experience a fun, carefree day at the beach in North Wildwood. From community events to raffles to summer day trips, CFAH is working tirelessly to ensure that its mission continues – now and in the future. Over the next several months, the organizations plans to participate in several campaign fundraisers throughout the region.

How You Can Help
CFAH has presented each of us with a great opportunity – the ability to give back for all of our treasured memories at the Jersey Shore over the years. Whether you attend an event, buy a raffle ticket, volunteer your time or resources, or make a donation, you can help give the next generation of CFAH recipients the unique gift of summer.
CFAH heavily relies on the financial support of donors throughout the region as well as the in-kind support of many local businesses and organizations to continue its mission. Donations can be made by mail to the Children’s Fresh Air Home at P.O. Box 413, Haddonfield, NJ 08033 or online at www.freshairhome.org
The Travelers have Spoken
The Wildwoods were named the overall U.S. winner in the Trip Advisor Travelers’ Choice ‘Destinations on the Rise’ and Conde Nast Traveler’s list of 10 Best US Destinations for Hotel Deals this Summer for 2015. John Siciliano, executive director for the Greater Wildwoods Tourism Improvement and Development Authority, spoke of the tremendous honor the recognition has created as well as the GWTIDA’s dedication to making the Wildwoods a popular family vacation spot. Siciliano is expecting another good season for the Wildwoods and said, “Every time there was a snowstorm, the phones would start ringing. If it was a cold winter day, they’d start thinking of those summer days on the beach.”
Rollercoaster Roadwork
A trip to the shore took on the effects of a rollercoaster ride as the two-year project on the Garden State Parkway to replace traffic lights at three intersections with full interchanges worked toward a 2015 completion. The new ‘traffic light-less’ highway will surely be a fun way to start your Wildwood vacation.
Ghost Hunters
During their first public event at the Paranormal Tour at the Wildwood Shore, a group of inquisitive Cumberland County teens shared what they discovered following a summer spent exploring strange happenings at the George F. Boyer Wildwood Historical Museum. John A. Pacelli, along with Clay Borneman of Cumberland County, founded The Teen Paranormal Society, a subgroup of Great Northeastern Paranormal Research. According to Pacelli, the group was able to capture a few abnormalities during their gathering.
Lessons in Island Life
Dean Lyon and Jeff Walden of the Atlantic Surf Organization and Ocean Outfitters Surf Camp paid a visit to Margaret Mace Elementary School’s 4th and 5th graders to discuss ocean safety, surfing, weather conditions and the island’s geography. School officials said Walden, who coordinated the program with physical education teacher, Lisa Kobierowski, presented students with several fun occasions that were exclusive to island living. The week ended, naturally, with a day at the beach, where Lyon and Walden and other ASO members taught surfing lessons.
Italian-American Festivities ~ Guess Who’s Coming to North Wildwood?
Not to be missed the last weekend in June is the Italian-American festival in North Wildwood sponsored by the Knights of Columbus Lady of the Rosary council # 2572 . It is a great time with free entertainment all week end featuring Vegas entertainer Tony Sacca and groups like The Corner Boys, TreBella, Sonny Averone Jr. and Johnny Bones doing a Martin and Lewis Tribute. Of course our own Philly Cuzz will be there. This year’s Grand Marshal is none other than The Invincible Vince Papale. It is a family affair with free games and prizes for the kids and the meatball race is always a million laughs. It is open to everyone so bring your team and sign up. Beer, wine, lots of special italian food, craft vendors, raffles… all for a good cause, so who could ask for more. Throw in the sun and salt air and just a chance to be oudoors “down the shore” and you won’t want to miss this fun summer event. Check out the ad for full details.
Country finds a Home in Wildwood
The Anglesea Irish Society will present “Boots at the Beach,” Southern New Jersey’s largest country music festival, on the beaches of North Wildwood Friday, September 18 to Saturday, September 19. Country bands and dj’s will be appearing in every bar in the North Wildwood entertainment district. The district is proud to be the first home to Boots at the Beach Country Music Festival. The event promises to feature many of the East Coast’s biggest up-and-coming country music artists. The family-friendly festival will also offer specialty foods and drinks, vendors and of course, live country music on an outdoor stage.
feb ice bergs
Conclusion
Beach lover and author Sandy Gingras once said, “At the beach, life is different. Time doesn’t move hour to hour, but mood to moment. We live by the currents, plan by the tides and follow the sun.” Following the belief that beach (and by extension, boardwalk) time cures all ill moods, we hear at The SUN plan on spending our mindful moments wisely. What a summer we have before us! There’s the Downtown Wildwood Farmer’s Market to get us healthy, Yoga on the Beach with Itswell to help us get our Zen, and the North Wildwood Italian-American Festival to keep us well fed! We can always count on an island-wide lineup of Concerts under the Stars, keeping a series of songs in our hearts all summer long, the Boardwalk Craft Shows making us the most creative shoppers and, of course, the Wildwood Talent Showcase displaying our greatest gifts. Christmas in July with Santa Clause is naturally on our Summer Wish Lists as well as a starry visit with the always-entertaining Harlem Globetrotters. We plan on working up an appetite satisfied by some fine boardwalk dining, for traveling by bike and by tram car, enjoying some family-friendly and thrill-ride hoping, one-of-a-kind shopping and, of course, for catching the most glorious Friday nights fireworks display.
We intend to take copious notes and while we can’t wait to share our Summer of 2015 stories with you, our fellow shore lovers and SUN friends, we look forward to talking about your summer adventure tales when we meet again between the pages and by the sea.

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