New Jersey

28 Festivals at the Jersey Shore This Summer


All illustrations by Steven Salerno



May 26-June 14: The 30th annual celebration features an a cappella group, symphony orchestras, chamber singers, a brass band, a tribute to Cape May pianist George Mesterhazy and a champagne jazz brunch. Times, prices and locations vary.

Aug 16-18: The Asbury Park-based surf-music record label Hi-Tide hosts daytime activities and nighttime concerts at Asbury Lanes. Cool off at the Asbury Hotel pool party, sip cocktails during the rooftop happy hour, and show off your moves in the twist contest. Bands include Los Freneticos, the Delstroyers and Asbury Park’s own Black Flamingos. $30-$55.

Aug 24: Tunes from live musicians fill the salt air. Food, craft vendors and spectacular fireworks add to the fun. 1-9 pm; free. Great Lawn, Long Branch Boardwalk.

July 12: 9 am-2 pm; free. Wildwood Crest Beach at Heather Road (609-523-0202).

July 17: 8 am; free. Rain date July 18. 18th Avenue Beach, Belmar.

June 8: Tap into fun with more than 30 breweries. Watch live brewing and try hatchet throwing. Session 1: noon-4 pm; session 2: 6-10 pm; $40-$45; designated driver, $5. Fox Park.

June 22: Blues, brews and barbecue! What better way to enjoy summer? 10 am-6 pm. Emlen Physick Estate (609-884-5404).

June 15-16: Get your fill of fish and vino at this inaugural fest. A live band and a deejay keep crowds grooving. Families can play cornhole, Kan Jam, Jenga and Connect Four. Sat, 2-10 pm; Sun, noon-6 pm. Byrne Plaza.

Aug 1-4: Bring your appetite to the 25th annual bivalve bash. You’ll find succulent seafood, landlubber options, clam-shucking contests and more at Huddy Park.

Aug 31-Sept 1: This Labor Day-weekend shellfish soiree promises live entertainment, 150 craft vendors, 25 food vendors and children’s activities. Sat, 11 am-8 pm; Sun, 11 am-6 pm. Along Ocean Avenue.

June 6: Traipse through historic homes and buildings. 10 am-3 pm; $35-$40. (732-449-0772)

June 15: Admire four private waterfront abodes. 11 am-3 pm; $30.

Aug 9: Step inside historic residences, a tent home and an inn. 10:30 am-4:30 pm; $35-$40. (732-774-1869)

July 31 6 pm; rain date Aug 1. Procession starts at the Wildwoods Convention Center.

Aug 8 10:30 am. Procession starts at 6th Street and the boardwalk.

June 8-9: Chow down as live music plays and cocktails and craft beer flow. Cash only in bar areas. Brighton Park.

June 28-30: Great grub, plus craft vendors and live music. Fri & Sat, noon-9 pm; Sun, noon-7 pm. Kix McNutley’s.

June 6-9: Named in honor of Old Barney, Long Beach Island’s 11th annual cinema celebration features screenings, panel discussions and filmmaker meet-and-greets. Times, prices and locations vary.

July 20: Watch 80 super-short films (less than two minutes) from local and international filmmakers under the stars at the Atlantic Highlands Marina. 6 pm, live bands; 9 pm screenings; Free. 1 Simon Lake Drive.

June 29: Learn to limbo and hula, discover shells and sea creatures during the Beach Walk, jam out to live music, take sand-sculpting lessons and enter the volleyball tournament. Eat your fill of fare and chill out in the beer-and-margarita garden before the bonfire and family movie at dusk. 8 am-10 pm; no beach tags required, activity prices vary.

June 29: Have a fintastic time with fellow merpeople. Browse vendors selling mermaid art and accessories. 2 pm; $10 to enter costume contest. Bradley Park.

June 17-20: Mibsters (marble shooters) ages 8-14 knuckle down (literally) for 1,200 games over four days. Who will be crowned the new Marble King and Queen? 8 am-noon, daily; free for spectators. Wildwood’s Ringer Stadium at Wildwood Avenue and the beach.

July 4: A food festival, craft sale and street fair all in one. Enjoy all-day live music, kids’ entertainment and a master sand-sculpting exhibit. Of course, Independence Day isn’t complete without patriotic pyrotechnics. 10 am-10 pm. Long Branch.

July 12-14: Two festivals mean twice the fun in North Wildwood. National meat masters face off while blues artists play. The weekend includes a craft beer garden, cooking classes and a vendor market. Olde New Jersey Ave.

Aug 30-Sept 2: Be amazed by aviation aerobatics, learn about historic aircraft, fill up on food- truck fare, and quench your thirst in the beer garden at Naval Air Station Wildwood. $12-$16. Cape May Airport.

Aug 3: Crack open a crustacean and a cold one on the Emlen Physick Estate grounds. Live music, an old-fashioned Victorian circus with jugglers and acrobats, and craft vendors add to the fun. 10 am-6 pm. Cape May.

July 12-14: Sample meat-free bites, hear from speakers, attend the fashion show and watch cooking demos. The keynote speaker will be Red Bank-bred Harley Quinn Smith, a singer, actress and vegan advocate. $8-$20. Showboat Hotel.

July 13: Decorated boats coast down Great Egg Harbor Bay along the parade route from the Ocean City-Longport Bridge to Tennessee Avenue. Bayfront homes dress up for the affair, too. Spectators line the waterfront and a fireworks display closes the festivities. 5:30 pm.

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Historic Home, Once a Hub of Black Activism, Reopens in Red Bank


New apartments peek out behind Maple Hall. Courtesy of Tyler Osborn



In the first decade of the 20th century, a stately house with a mansard roof on the west side of Red Bank was a gathering place for African-American intellectuals and activists working to secure the rights their nation denied them.

“This was the hub,” says Walter Greason, a Monmouth University professor and the president of the T. Thomas Fortune Foundation. The foundation oversees the T. Thomas Fortune Cultural Center, which officially opens May 23 in the meticulously rehabilitated house. “This was the vision of what [Fortune] thought was possible in terms of racial equality in this country.”

Timothy Thomas Fortune was born into slavery in Florida in 1856 and rose to become the influential editor of the New York Age, the leading black newspaper of its time, and the founder of the National Afro-American League. “Before there was the NAACP or the Niagara Movement, there was Fortune,” says board vice president Gilda Rogers, referring to the civil rights organizations that followed Fortune’s group. “He’s been called the bridge to the modern-day civil rights movement.”

Fortune lived for 10 years in the Red Bank home he called Maple Hall. Despite the efforts of a small group of preservationists, the house was on the verge of demolition in 2016 when local developer Roger Mumford came forward with a plan. He would build a 31-unit apartment building (with Mansard roof) at the rear of the 1-acre lot, and restore Maple Hall at the front. “What I try to do,” says Mumford, “is find economic solutions to things that I believe in.” He would not disclose the cost of the restoration.

Fortune was a close associate of many prominent African-Americans of his era, including Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, Ida B. Wells and Marcus Garvey. Fortune’s “core message,” says Greason, was a belief that “African-Americans can stand on their own feet and create their own independent institutions if not obstructed by racist violence, terrorism and policies.”

The new cultural center is intended as a venue for discussion and advocacy—much as it was in Fortune’s time. Says Rogers, “We want to be able to bring some of that kind of energy there again.”

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Can Jersey Keep Its Top STEM Students?


STEM Scholar Anna Prilutsky networks with Kevin Campos, an associate VP at Merck, at the STEM Scholars Industry Conference in February at NJIT. Courtesy of The Research & Development Council of New Jersey



Can New Jersey retain its best and brightest? That’s the essential issue addressed by the Governor’s STEM Scholars, a 5-year-old program focused on inspiring students in the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering and math—and helping them recognize the opportunities for talented and innovative STEM graduates in New Jersey.

A public-private partnership among the Office of the Governor, the Department of Education, the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, the Research & Development Council of New Jersey and private industries, the program identifies top STEM talent and introduces those students to the state’s vast STEM economy. The goal is to retain that talent in the state.

“Developing, mentoring and retaining STEM talent” is a top priority for the Research & Development Council, says council executive director Kim Case. “The Governor’s STEM Scholars program, the penultimate point of the STEM pipeline, fulfills this role.”

The first step is to spread the word about the program to eligible New Jersey students—particularly those in underserved communities. “According to the National Skills Coalition, between 2017 and 2027, the number of STEM jobs will grow by 9 percent in New Jersey,” says Rebecca Lubot, the Governor’s STEM Scholars program director for the council. “These jobs,” she continues, “require scholars to start developing specific skill sets. The STEM Scholars program is working to solve this issue by making the thought leaders of tomorrow aware of career opportunities in government, academia and industry.”

Students in grade 10 through doctoral candidates, who have a 3.5 GPA or above, can apply at govstemscholars.com by June 15 to be considered for the following academic year. Students are required to submit a transcript, and letter of recommendation, share what areas of STEM they are interested in and write a short essay. Applicants are reviewed by academics and private-industry partners with an eye toward leadership potential, diversity in geography and background, and applicant interests.

The scholars selected to participate in the program spend the academic year attending STEM conferences, participating in team-based research projects, and networking with New Jersey STEM professionals, policymakers, educators and researchers. Teachers and industry leaders mentor the undergraduate and graduate students, who in turn mentor the high school students. The research projects are judged at the end of the program; some of the scholars get to brief legislators on their findings at the State House in Trenton.

At this year’s fifth anniversary commencement May 11 at Kean University, diplomas signed by Governor Phil Murphy will be presented to 80 scholars. Senator Cory Booker will deliver a congratulatory video, and the governor has been invited to speak.

NJIT has three scholars in this year’s cohort. “Growing the pipeline that supplies the STEM workforce is essential for economic prosperity,” says NJIT president Joel S. Bloom, Ed.D. “The Governor’s STEM Scholars Program makes an important contribution toward that effort.”

Other industry partners of the program include Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson; the PSEG Foundation; and Eatontown-based Subcom, a global supplier of undersea communications systems.

Some partners are already seeing the benefits of the program. “The Governor’s STEM Scholars students are making a significant impact in their communities and leading change across New Jersey,” says Barb Short, chief diversity officer, foundation president and senior director of corporate citizenship at PSEG.

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Camden Celebrates Walt Whitman’s 200th Birthday


Poet Walt Whitman called Camden his home from 1873 until his death in 1892. His roamings around New Jersey included a day trip to Atlantic City, which inspired him with its “uninterrupted space.” Bettman/Getty Images

“I celebrate myself, and I sing myself,” Walt Whitman declared in Song of Myself, one of his earliest poems. Camden is taking that sentiment to heart with a celebration of the legendary poet’s 200th birthday on May 31.

“Camden gave Whitman an environment where he could reflect on the world,” says Leo Blake, curator of the Walt Whitman House, a National Historic Landmark. Born on Long Island, Whitman moved to Camden in 1873 at the age of 53, staying with his brother, George. He purchased his house at 328 Mickle Boulevard (now 328 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard) in 1884 for $1,750. During his Camden years, Whitman published Specimen Days, a collection of essays that includes his observations about the Civil War, and updated his most famous collection, Leaves of Grass, three times.

Whitman also found time to explore South Jersey. Two of his poems—Patrolling Barnegat and With Husky-Haughty Lips, O Sea!—were inspired by visits to the Jersey Shore. He made a day trip to Atlantic City by train in January 1879. A horse-and-carriage ride on the beach left him marveling at “the uninterrupted space, shore, salt atmosphere [and] sky.”

The poet’s impact was international. Irish authors Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker visited him in Camden. Wilde, then 27, met with Whitman in January 1882, and the two discussed their craft over homemade elderberry wine. Wilde was unrestrained in his praise of Whitman. “Of all your authors, I consider Walt Whitman the grandest and noblest,” he told the Boston Herald.

The Camden celebration includes legacy tours of the Whitman house from May 22–June 8, and “Democratic Vistas: Whitman, Body and Soul,” an exhibit of photos, paintings, glassworks and sculptures that runs May 30–December 7 in the Stedman Gallery on the Rutgers-Camden campus. For a complete list of events, visit whitmanat200.org/calendar.

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Good Greek Fare, Lackluster Service at Olive & Ivy Mediterranean Kitchen


Octopus appetizer at Olive & Ivy. Photo by Shelby Vittek

Our meal at Olive & Ivy Mediterranean Kitchen, a Greek-inspired BYO in Eatontown that opened earlier this year, got off to a rough start.

I was meeting my good friend Julia, a native Jersey girl who grew up in Monmouth County but now calls Los Angeles home, while she was back in town visiting family. It was a Tuesday evening and the large, modern restaurant wasn’t even half-full. Yet we were seated off in a corner, away from the rest of the tables—and as such, out of the single server’s sight.

It took several minutes for him to greet us, and even longer before he poured us water. When I put our BYO bottle of wine on the table and asked for two wine classes, he demanded to see our IDs. I thought he was joking, as male servers sometimes do when you’re a table of two younger women. But he didn’t back down, not even after I told him I’d just purchased the bottle of wine down the road at Circus Wines in Red Bank.

Five minutes after being carded, which felt more like a way for him to learn our names or where we lived, he finally remembered to bring us wine glasses, disappearing before we could put in an order for appetizers. The exchange irked me, making me feel like an unwelcome guest. But I didn’t want to ruin the few hours I had to catch up with my friend, and so we delved into the food.

Olive & Ivy boasts a Mediterranean menu of mezze, mousaka, kebabs and seafood. There’s also more American items, like burgers, pork chops and steaks. We started with the saganaki ($12), flaming Greek kefalograviera cheese that’s lit tableside and drizzled with lemon olive oil; and the grilled octopus ($18). The cheese hadn’t fully softened before the flame went out, but it was still cheese, and so we devoured it. The octopus was slightly overcooked, chewy and tough instead of tender and soft.

Scallops and Shrimp Santorini at Olive & Ivy. Photo by Shelby Vittek

Our mains quickly followed. Julia ordered the scallops ($30), which came with five pan-roasted scallops over small rounds of polenta and basil. She remarked about how happy she was to be eating good East Coast scallops again, which you don’t find easily on the West Coast. But the entrée didn’t seem substantial enough, plated more like an appetizer than a main event. I opted for the Shrimp Santorini ($30). Served in a cast-iron dish, it consisted of prawns in a garlicky tomato sauce over rice, with crumbled feta on top.

Almost two hours had passed since we’d walked through the doors, and while the food was fresh and enjoyable, our hospitality experience hadn’t improved. We passed on dessert, and asked for our check, which was over $100. If that’s what it costs for an average dinner for two, with no alcohol included, a restaurant should really pay more attention to their guests, and treat them as such.

After settling up, we decided to continue catching up over a beer at an Irish pub in Red Bank, where we were greeted with a warm, friendly atmosphere and more.

Olive & Ivy, 78 Route 35, Eatontown; 732-389-0000. Open Tues-Sun for lunch and dinner.

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Local Teen Uncovers Family Histories—and Secrets—for Curious Clients


Medford Lakes High School senior Eric Shubert has made a business of genealogy, researching family trees for more than 1,000 clients. Photo by Jauhien Sasnou



Eric Schubert’s friends call him “the world’s oldest teenager,” and maybe they have a point. The 17-year-old senior at Shawnee High School in Medford Lakes runs a thriving business in a field that’s more likely to attract people planning for retirement than fielding college acceptances. When he isn’t studying or volunteering (he helps oversee two nonprofits), he spends his time tracing family histories and tracking down long-lost relatives. He launched his company, ES Genealogy, in early 2016, and over the past three years has unlocked family mysteries for hundreds of clients across the country.

Those mysteries might have been unsolved were it not for a bout of pneumonia Schubert suffered in fourth grade. Stuck at home for days, he felt as sidelined by boredom as by his illness. His mother saw an advertisement for the genealogical website ancestry.com and suggested he check it out to pass the time. “I was always interested in history,” says Schubert, who had already committed to memory all the presidents and their terms of office in chronological order. “As soon as I figured out that genealogy was history, I was hooked.”

Initially, he concentrated on tracing his own family history, discovering, for example, that his family surname wasn’t originally Schubert, but Grzegorzewski. (“Thirteen letters, very Polish,” he says. “My grandfather changed it before he got married.”) But after four years, he figured he had learned most of what there was to know about his personal ancestry. He might have given up his hobby for good, but luckily, he needed a job.

“At 15,” he says, “there wasn’t much I could do.” So either he or his mother—the two can’t quite agree on this point—decided he should find out if folks in the community might want to hire him to research their family trees. “I thought it was a great idea,” Schubert recalls, “but I didn’t think there would be that much interest. Boy, was I wrong.”

Soon he was riding a wave of genealogical fascination generated by sites like Ancestry and MyHeritage and DNA services like 23 and Me. In fact, based on data from 2016, genealogy is America’s second most popular hobby (the first is gardening). Since launching his business, Schubert has delved into the family histories of more than 1,000 clients, compiling custom scrapbooks and family trees. He’s learned that the Internet will take him only so far, and that sometimes, only an old-fashioned letter will secure the information he’s seeking. Among the secrets he’s uncloaked are a client’s relative born at the same time and in the same small Austrian town as Adolf Hitler, and for an adoptee, the unsettling fact that her birth parents died by murder/suicide.

He hopes he can keep the business going over the next four years while he attends Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. “I can never stay away from it for too long,” he says of an enterprise that’s also clearly a passion. At college, he plans to study social studies education and—no surprise—history.

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8 Veggie-Centric Cocktails to Try This Spring


The Three Little Birds, right, from Porta. Photo courtesy of Porta



Regardless of whether you get your spring vegetables from your abundant kitchen garden or the abundance of your well-stocked local produce section, there’s another, slightly unexpected way to have your seasonal fill of spring vegetables: cocktails. That’s right, thanks to the wiles of some of the Garden State’s most creative mixologists, you can drink your veggies this spring. From carrots and bourbon to peas and tequila to beets and gin (and vodka), New Jersey bartenders are taking delightful, high-ABV liberties with the same tender spring produce your kids refuse at dinnertime.

Here are 8 places to veg out this spring. 

What Grows Together Goes Together at the Kitchen Step

Maybe it’s no surprise mixologist Ray Keane at the Kitchen Step in Jersey City goes culinary in his cocktails—he’s the former pastry chef at the three Michelin-starred Alinea in Chicago. But he definitely takes it next level with the wild-yet-elegant What Grows Together Goes Together, with tequila, carrot, spring pea, sage bitters, and garden aroma. For a deluxe second nip, you can always ask Keane to mix up the I Hit Pay Dirt, which digs deeper into the garden patch with olive leaf liqueur and earthy black truffle bitters. The Kitchen Step, 500 Jersey Avenue, Jersey City; 201-721-6115

Dirty Ramp Gibson at the Farm and Fisherman

The only difference between a Martini and a Gibson is the cocktail onion garnish. The difference between a Gibson and this Gibson is a bit more significant. The drink from the team at the Farm and Fisherman Tavern & Market in Cherry Hill is London Dry-style gin, garden vermouth, orange bitters, and, most notably, ramp brine subbing in for that pickled onion (and showcasing yet another use for the adored-but-fleeting seasonal ingredient). The Farm and Fisherman, 1442 Marlton Pike East, Cherry Hill; 856-356-2282

The Desperado at Barrio Costero

Perhaps the least familiar ingredient here is the Génépy de Alpes, a Swiss Après Ski-style liqueur made with an herb cousin of wormwood (called génépy) that’s described as Chartreuse-ish, aromatic and herbacious. But it’s the tomatillo shrub that caught our eye—the genius of showcasing the fragrant tang of tomatillos in a vinegary shrub. Poblano liqueur and gin add heat and punch to the drink (the one looking innocent in the foreground here). Barrio Costero, 610 Bangs Avenue, Asbury Park; 732-455-5544

The Un’Beet’Able, left, at Agricola. Photo courtesy of Agricola

Un’Beet’Able at Agricola

For it’s Un’Beet’Able cocktail, Agricola uses the trailblazing, slightly mind-boggling non-alcoholic “spirit” Seedlip Garden 108. Uncanny, maybe, but delicious: the brainchild of a Brit with generations of gardening in his soul; the flavors—English pea and hay—are distilled in alcohol, which is ultimately completely removed. The rest of the cocktail is organic beets, agave, cream, and egg white. (Which is to say, it doesn’t drink like you’re missing out.) Agricola, 11 Witherspoon Street, Princeton; 609-921-2798

Who Framed Roger Rabbit at INC

We were secretly hoping for a rabbit reference in a spring veggie drinks list. This entry on the Spring Drinks Menu from the good folks at INC in New Brunswick gets a lot of dimensionality from a few powerful ingredients: bourbon, carrot juice, ginger beer, and a fragrant note from thyme—making for a tall, spicy-savory spritzer with enough Beta Carotene to power your sight should the night last longer than planned. INC, 302 George Street, New Brunswick; 732-640-0553

The Basil Lemon Drop at the Ebbitt Room

What would a vegetable garden be without (way too much) basil? While the rest of us make half-hearted pesto plans, the wise folks at the Ebbitt Room in Cape May figured out how to turn all that green into the fragrant-savory edge of an updated Lemon Drop cocktail. Limoncello, vodka, and fragrant elderflower liqueur add a touch of bright and floral. The Ebbitt Room, 25 Jackson Street, Cape May; 609-884-5700

Three Little Birds at Porta

Some of the flavors of the seasonal Three Little Birds at Porta in Asbury Park are on the lighter side of spring—chamomile lavender tea, honey syrup—but the thyme is the decisive flavor. Another spring herb accent to the vegetable garden, here used to give a savory depth to the vodka-based drink (second from the front), with fresh lemon to lift the final flavor like a ray of sunshine. Porta, 911 Kingsley Street, Asbury Park; 732-776-7661

Beet Me to the Punch at South House in Jersey City

Turns out Agricola’s not the only spot risking beet stains for good drinks. At Jersey City’s multi-southern-tinged South House, the Beet Me to the Punch pits beet juice against Brockman Gin and Figenza Vodka (which is fig-based, but by the time it’s vodka, that’s essentially moot), with a dash of cranberry, lemon juice, and basil. South House, 149 Newark Avenue, Jersey City; 201-209-1316

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Photos: May’s Roundup of Charitable Giving


Each month, New Jersey Monthly features an online roundup of photos taken at various charitable events across the Garden State.

Send pictures and captions from your recent charitable event to [email protected] for possible inclusion next month!

1. Supporting Underserved Communities

Photo courtesy of Tom Singer Photo

The Summit Medical Group Foundation held their 6th Annual Gala and Auction, which raised money to provide free wellness screenings in underserved communities, and care and compassion programs for patients and their families who are fighting cancer. Enjoying the event were, from left, Reza Momeni, plastic surgeon with the Plastic Surgery Center at SMG and SMG board member; featured guest Jay Leno; and Katherine Liu, Summit Medical Group Foundation board member.

2. A Taste for Homes

Photo courtesy of Alix G Photography

“A Taste for Homes,” an annual Habitat for Humanity in Monmouth County fundraiser, raised funds for building homes, communities and hope throughout Monmouth County. Marking the occasion are representatives of Lowe’s Home Improvement with Freeholder Gerry Scharfenberger, executive director Diane Kinnane, and board president Greg Robinson.

3. Honoring Physicians

Photo courtesy of Saint Peter’s University Hospital.

Enjoying the Saint Peter’s Foundation annual gala were, from left: Leslie D. Hirsch, FACHE, Interim CEO and President, Saint Peter’s Healthcare System; M. Darryl Antonacci, MD, FACS; the Most Reverend James F. Checchio of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen; Laury A. Cuddihy; and Randal Betz.

4. Running for a Good Cause

Photo courtesy of LADACIN.

For the tenth consecutive year, Team LADACIN, comprised of 27 family, friends, supporters and staff members of LADACIN Network, ran in the New Jersey Marathon to show support and raise money for people with disabilities. This year’s event, including both the race and the after-party, raised more than $36,000.

5. Improving the Lives of Those Living With Diabetes

The Diabetes Foundation’s Visions of Hope fundraising gala raise $170,000 for the foundation’s ongoing programs for those living with diabetes throughout the state of New Jersey.  From left, Laurence Hirsch, executive vice president of the Diabetes Foundation Board of Trustees and Ginine Cilenti, executive director of the Diabetes Foundation, present the Corporate Champion Award to Stanislav Glezer of Becton, Dickinson and Company (BD).

6. Advancing Autism Research

The Columbia Bank Foundation donated $10,000 to Autism Speaks, whose mission is to help individuals and families who are affected by autism and to advance autism research. Marking the occasion were, from left, Lisa VanDerWall, nominating employee and Columbia Bank training instructor; Laura Casolaro, manager and field Ddevelopment representative at Autism Speaks, and Minoska Mateo, acting executive director of the Columbia Bank Foundation.

7. Alzheimer’s Advocates

Alzheimer’s New Jersey, dedicated to providing support for New Jersey residents battling Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, held their 2019 Annual Gala. Enjoying the event were, from left: Karen Davis-Farage, gala chair, Board of Directors secretary; Russell Rothman, board president; Elaine Winter, Alzheimer’s New Jersey director of public policy and advocacy; Tracey Wolfman, Alzheimer’s New Jersey Board of Directors and her husband, Marc Wolfman.

8. Helping Babies With Hearing Loss

The Sound Start Babies Foundation, dedicated to supporting families of babies with hearing loss during the most critical years of brain development, raised $225,000 at their annual fundraiser, where keynote speaker Rebecca Alexander inspired attendees with her personal story of living with Usher Syndrome, Type III, which is causing her to go both deaf and blind. (Read more about Sound Start Babies in our 2018 Giving Back profile of the organization.)

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A Children’s Book Inspired by an Unlikely Friendship


It started with an unlikely friendship. Between cats. When Marie Unanue noticed that her neighbor’s chic and exotic cat, Payaso, enjoyed hanging out with Phatty, her own overweight, scrappy rescue cat, she sensed something special.

“Here was this beautiful cat coming by daily to visit my adopted, 28-pound cat,” says Unanue. “I watched them interact, and I saw it as an example that being different is okay, and you can be a friend no matter what.”

The observation inspired the Toms River native to write The Adventures of Phatty and Payaso: Central Park, not only chronicling their adventures, but addressing the topic of bullying. “As a child I was bullied. I can remember what it felt like to not fit in at times,” she says.

Unanue’s book sends a positive message to children. “I wanted to give examples of forgiveness, empathy and compassion, while giving the kids a fun story,” she says. Self-published last year—with illustrations by Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez—the book has sold more than 10,000 copies. Unanue has visited elementary schools in New Jersey and around the country, spreading her message of kindness to young children. She challenges them to perform an act of kindness every day—anything from helping a friend with homework to pitching in with household chores.

“The book has become my launching pad to something much bigger,” says Unanue, whose kindness challenge is explained on her website, letsallbekind.com.

Unanue is working on a sequel in the Mantoloking home she shares with husband Andy and their three dogs and two cats. She donates all proceeds from book sales to charity.

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4 Pre-Summer Beauty Services We Love


Photo via Shutterstock



1. REJUVENATING FACIAL

For a healthy treatment that gives skin a radiant, natural look, consider a traditional European facial, available at DeAmour Salon in Millburn. Esthetician Renee Rudikh, formerly the lead esthetician at standard-setting Georgette Klinger, says, “An old-school facial, in the style of Helena Rubenstein, will add vibrance to the face, neck and decolletage. Everyone deserves nourishing skincare, especially when the seasons change.” This 90-minute treatment, which helps correct and maintain skin, includes exfoliation, steam, deep cleansing, mask and hydration to promote a clearer, younger-looking complexion.

DeAmour Salon & Spa; 973-379-8300

Courtesy of Revision Skincare

2. INTELLISHADE MATTE ANTI-AGING TINTED MOISTURIZER

Go sheer this summer! Outsmart the signs of aging with just a touch of moisturizing, healthy color. Contains three peptides and broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection.

1.7 oz. tube; $75 at Radiance Med Spa in Verona and the Peer Group in Florham Park

3. SPIDER VEIN TREATMENT

Zap away those nasty little veins behind your knees during lunch hour. Sclerotherapy, a fancy name for this minimally invasive vein treatment, is a bit of medical magic. “Just a few injections can make spider veins vanish for up to a year or more,” says New Jersey Monthly top doctor Michael Ombrellino of the Vein Institute of New Jersey at the Cardiovascular Care Group. Although some experience almost immediate effects, it’s best to have this treatment several weeks before you plan to show off your beach-worthy gams.

Vein Institute of New Jersey; 973-539-6900

Photo via Shutterstock

4. EYELASH EXTENSIONS

A 60- to 90-minute visit to the new BLVD salon at Neiman Marcus Short Hills can yield a fun, fresh summertime look. Whether you treat yourself to flirty cat-eye lashes, oh-so-subtle eyelash extensions, or something in between, the experts at Pucker can adhere between 80 and 100 synthetic lashes to each eyelid to give you more dazzling peepers. “We take pride in using only the highest quality lashes from Sugarlash,” says beauty technician Erika Gerner. “And to keep your lash extensions lustrous, we recommend having them refilled every two to three weeks.” Pucker also offers top-of-the-line makeup services.

BLVD, Neiman Marcus, Short Hills; 973-847-2583

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