NAI Hanson negotiates sale of industrial/flex building in Morris County

NAI James E. Hanson has negotiated the sale of an industrial/flex building in Parsippany, the commercial real estate firm announced Wednesday.

Barry J. Cohorsky and LJ Koch of NAI Hanson represented the seller, Kent Industrial, in the deal. Rick Rizzuto and Tim Patterson of Transwestern represented the buyer, Boston-based equity investor Longpoint Realty Partners.

The 67,434-square-foot property is situated on 5 acres at 60 E. Halsey Road. It offers 12,000 square feet of office space, seven loading docks and 16- to 25-foot ceilings. The building is also situated directly off Interstate 287’s Exit 40 and provides access to interstates 78 and 80.

“The Morris County industrial submarket, although smaller than surrounding markets, continues to be in high demand from investors and users searching for well-located opportunities in the current stage of the market,” Cohorsky said. “With asking leasing rates seeing a steady increase, now well over $8-per-square-foot and higher in some buildings, we are experiencing an all-time low in vacancy and there is a great demand, presenting a favorable environment for sellers.”

Kent, a manufacturer and distributor of bicycles, is planning to relocate its manufacturing operations to the space, NAI Hanson said.

“We’ve worked with several brokers over the past three years and consistently were promised high returns but they all failed.  However, through the work of Barry and LJ, using creative sales techniques helped establish a positive market and we reached a more than satisfactory deal with a buyer,” Arnold Kamler, CEO of Kent, said.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“The successful sale of 60 E. Halsey Road on behalf of our client showcases the advantage of working with a brokerage team that is tapped into the local market. Our deep experience in northern New Jersey allows our team to develop marketing strategies that attract motivated buyers and help our clients secure premium prices for their assets,” Koch said.

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Cushman & Wakefield tapped to manage, lease two office buildings in Princeton

Cushman & Wakefield announced Tuesday it has been named the managing and leasing agent for two Class A office buildings in Princeton.

Argent Ventures, a real estate company based in New York City, recently purchased the assets at 1 University Square and 115 Campus Drive, according to Cushman & Wakefield.

The firm said Michael Nevins of the its regional Asset Services practice will head the assignment and Kevin Carton and Todd Elfand, office leasing specialists, will manage leasing.

“It is particularly gratifying when existing clients recognize the outstanding results our company brings to this type of project,” Nevins said. “We look forward to ensuring the responsible operation of these two premier assets while upholding and enhancing their competitive positioning.”

The 330,000-square-foot, five-story 1 University Square currently has 48,000 square feet of marketable availabilities, Cushman & Wakefield said. BlackRock, a global investment firm, is the anchor tenant. The building has on-site amenities, including conference facilities; a fitness center with lockers, showers and a sauna; concierge and security services; and a cafe.

The 33,600-square-foot 115 Campus Drive caters to high tech, lab/pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical clients. Tenants are allowed access to all the amenities shared at University Square.

“Demand in the Princeton region remains extremely strong, bolstered by access to highly educated talent and the presence of other large corporations,” Carton said. “1 University Square and 115 Campus Drive represent a distinctive opportunity for companies to establish or grow a presence in one of the most coveted office submarkets in the country.”

The campus is located within the Princeton/Route 1 corridor with direct access to interstates 295 and 95; routes 27 and 206; and the Garden State Parkway.

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Tasting the Past at Liberty Hall Museum

Hand-written tags and labels were still on the antique bottles found at Liberty Hall Museum in 2015. Photo courtesy of Kean University

In 2015, during a renovation project at the Liberty Hall Museum at Kean University, staff uncovered a forgotten cellar with dozens of wine and spirit bottles and demijohns that once belonged to the house’s residents, the Livingston and Kean families. Collected over the course of 200 years, the newly discovered bottles included Madeira, port, Bordeaux wine, Jamaican rum and scotch that date to the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as Civil War-era bourbon.

The bottles were found behind a wall that was likely erected during the Prohibition era, and several of the discovered demijohns were nearly thrown out. “The demijohns were up in the attic, and I assumed they were full of stuff that had spoiled,” said John Kean Sr., president of Liberty Hall Museum. “I was going to give them to my employees to make into lamps.”

It’s a good thing he didn’t. Several of the discoveries were put up for auction last December through Christie’s, a world-famous auction house. A quart-sized bottle of Lenox Madeira that was imported to Philadelphia in 1796 and originally bottled in 1798 sold for nearly $16,000. Another, a five-gallon demijohn filled with Old Sercial Madeira from 1846, sold for $39,200.

Earlier this summer, I was invited to a press-only tasting of mid-19th century Madeira, and medicinal bourbon that dated to 1887. The old Madeira was floral and smoky, with notes of vanilla and dried fruit. Despite its age, it was bright and citrusy on the finish, a testament to the wine’s ageability. The bourbon was unlike anything youd might find on shelves today. Tasting aged wines and spirits is always an otherworldly experience, and I was grateful for the opportunity to sample some of the museum’s treasures.

Unfortunately, there’s not enough for the public to also get a taste. But you can find the rare collection of bottles and demijohns in the museum’s new permanent exhibition, “History in a Bottle,” which opened in early July, and examines the history of the United States through alcoholic beverages and the role of natural cork in their preservation. You’ll also get a chance to walk through the cellar where they were all once held—a truly unique glimpse into the past.

Liberty Hall Museum at Kean University, 1003 Morris Avenue, Union. Tues-Sat, 10 am-4 pm; $8-$12.

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Financing fintech: Venture capitalist Sugden talks about future of sector and what backers are looking for

Fintech holds a special place in investor Chris Sugden’s heart; he calls it his first love.

Early in his career, he helped run billing and payment company Princeton eCom, a fintech before anyone had the vocabulary for it. He never really left the space, and has spent more than 20 years — most of his adult life — operating and investing in fintech businesses.

He brought his fintech expertise to the growth equity investment firm he joined back in 2002, Edison Partners. The Princeton firm is now continually recognized as being one of the leaders in investing in fintech. At the annual LendIt Fintech industry event, Edison Partners has been named the nation’s top fintech equity investor for several years in a row.

And the insight of Sugden, who serves as managing partner at the firm, is regularly sought after by media outlets, podcasters, fellow fintech industry veterans — not to mention the entrepreneur hopefuls vying for an influential investor’s attention.

So, to put a reliable finger on the pulse of New Jersey’s fintech sector, ROI-NJ spoke to Sugden about what’s at the heart of this still-evolving industry.

ROI-NJ: To start with, what would you say is most exciting and new in the area of fintech in New Jersey right now?

Chris Sugden: The compliance area and back office area, while maybe not as sexy as some other areas in fintech that you hear about, is getting a lot of attention lately. And (regulatory technology), as this fintech space is being abbreviated, is something that is absolutely New Jersey-centric. A lot of companies in regtech are finding the benefits and real estate advantage in terms of cost of being in the state instead of Downtown Manhattan. … A lot of folks post-9/11 based their back offices in Jersey City or surrounding areas, and now we’ve spawned a lot of startups in this regtech space.

ROI: Are the fintechs appearing on the radar screen in New Jersey more often moving into business segments typically reserved for traditional financial service companies?

CS: In New Jersey, right now we still see more wealth management technology, or wealthtech, than we see fintechs challenging banking, or what’s sometimes called new banking, which is more in New York. We had two successful investments of our own in the wealthtech space, one still active and one we exited. One was a company called FolioDynamix, which was providing tools and technologies to wealth advisers that they needed to compete with a younger crowd that might be more interested in self-service. They were acquired by Envestnet. The other was Scivantage, which is still active in our portfolio.

ROI: How is New Jersey’s fintech scene as a whole holding up compared with New York?

CS: The state has the advantage of a very strong engineering culture and pool of talent. Looking at universities in Northern Jersey corridor, you have a strong foundation in schools such as (New Jersey Institute of Technology) and Stevens (Institute) … and in South Jersey you have Rowan (University) and engineering schools cranking out talent. NJIT even has a fintech-specific concentration for students now to feed into that talent pool even more. But there is a challenge posed to investors that are bullish about the state’s potential to keep its best talent here in New Jersey instead of losing it across the river, so to speak, because there’s an ongoing trend of this younger generation that loves to live in more urban areas.

ROI: As far as educational institutions go — a lot of them have been setting up incubators for startups and, presumably, room for fintech firms to grow. Is the new availability of resources for early-stage companies making a difference?

CS: We actually have one company right now we’re looking at that’s a combination of a fintech and insurance tech business coming out of that setting. So, yes, certainly the proliferation of early-stage capital across the country has made a difference, and New Jersey has been ahead of that for a long time. In terms of early-stage capital, there’s more sources here than there has ever been.

ROI: What are most investors looking for in fintech firms right now? What will they be looking for in the future?

CS: One thing is that every investor wants every business to be a SaaS, or ‘Software-as-a-Service,’ business. And that’s actually counter to a lot of fintech businesses. Creating that model out of a fintech company actually can be a bit counterintuitive. … Companies with domain expertise in fintech should focus on what we call KYC, or knowing your customer; AML, anti-money-laundering; and security against hacking schemes. Investors will look for those that can do all those things.

Conversation Starter

Reach Chris Sugden at: or 609-873-9210.

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Show & Tell: Offensive comments in the workplace are down in New Jersey from 2017

A new poll conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University on behalf of Taft Communications and the New Jersey Business & Industry Association found that offensive comments in the workplace are down in New Jersey
from 2017.

NJBIA CEO and President Michele Siekerka explained the significance of the data.

“One of New Jersey’s strengths is its diverse workforce. The survey results underscore the great strides New Jersey employers have made in creating workplaces that are open and inclusive. In fact, there is not a day that goes by when I don’t talk to a business leader who is engaged in diversity and inclusion work in some manner, from formal training to informal roundtables. We’re also seeing a rise in company employer resource/support groups. Given the wide diversity of our state and workforce, some of these statistics are very encouraging to see.”

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Toni Morrison, whose brilliant career included serving as Goheen Chair at Princeton, lauded by Jerseyans for her literary excellence

Toni Morrison, one of the most gifted authors, editors and teachers of our time, was remembered fondly by Princeton University — where she taught for nearly two decades — and numerous other New Jersey dignitaries upon her death, Tuesday, at age 88.

“Toni Morrison’s brilliant vision, inspired creativity and unique voice have reshaped American culture and the world’s literary tradition,” Princeton President Christopher L. Eisgruber said in a statement. “Her magnificent works will continue to light a path forward for generations of readers and authors.”

Morrison’s career was legendary.

The New York Times called her a “Towering Novelist of the Black Experience.”

Her greatest work, “Beloved,” was honored with the Pulitzer Prize in 1988 and helped her earn a Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993.

In 1996, the National Endowment for the Humanities selected her for the Jefferson Lecture, the U.S. federal government’s highest honor for achievement in the humanities. And, in 2012, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

New Jersey Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver said Morrison was an inspiration to the African American community.

“Toni Morrison didn’t just tell stories about the African American experience. As African American women, she told our stories,” she said in a statement. “She was as fearless as she was brilliant, as ready to teach as she was to ready use her writing to challenge us to think more deeply. Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, National Humanities Medal, Presidential Medal of Freedom — all richly deserved.

“Toni Morrison will stand as one of the greatest writers this country — and this world — ever knew.”

Morrison’s biggest connection to New Jersey came at Princeton. From 1989 until her retirement in 2006, she held the Robert F. Goheen Chair in the Humanities.

Princeton officials said Morrison’s arrival helped to attract other faculty and students from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds to the school — and that she played a catalytic role in expanding Princeton’s commitments both to the creative and performing arts and to African American studies.

In 1994, she founded the Princeton Atelier, bringing together undergraduate students in interdisciplinary collaborations with acclaimed artists and performers such as Jacques d’Amboise, A.S. Byatt, Peter Sellars, Yo-Yo Ma, Richard Danielpour, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Gabriel Garcia Márquez, Anonymous 4, Richard Price, Pig Iron Theatre Co., Maria Tucci and Allegro Kent, among others.

“She revised this university, too,” Eisgruber said. “Through her scholarly leadership in creative writing and African American studies, and through her mentorship of students and her innovative teaching, she has inscribed her name permanently and beautifully upon the tapestry of Princeton’s campus and history.

“We are fortunate that this marvelous writer made Princeton her home, and we will miss her dearly.”

She also played key roles in numerous commemorative events at the school. In 1996, she gave the keynote address — “The Place of the Idea, The Idea of the Place” — as the school celebrated its 250th anniversary.

In honor of Morrison’s career achievements and contributions to Princeton, the university dedicated Morrison Hall, formerly West College, in 2017.

Gov. Phil Murphy reflected on Morrison’s impact on the state.

“Tammy and I are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Toni Morrison, one of New Jersey’s most-celebrated literary talents,” he said in a statement. “All great fiction allows the reader to experience the world through someone else’s perspective, but Toni Morrison’s writing drew us deeper into our common humanity and strengthened our empathy.

“Through her Pulitzer Prize- and Nobel Prize-winning literature, Toni Morrison gave voice to the African American experience both past and present and reminded us that storytelling is still the most essential way of sharing our histories and creating community. We are grateful that her work will stand as a lasting legacy — one which will live on as future generations of Americans discover her genius.”

Morrison, a member of the inaugural class of the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2008, was recognized by Hall of Fame Chairman Jon Hanson and President Steve Edwards.

“Toni Morrison was a role model for New Jerseyans, and her literary work and its impact on our society speaks for itself. New Jersey is proud to have called Toni Morrison one of its own,” they said in a joint statement.

Obama honored her on Twitter:

“Tony Morrison was a national treasure, as good a storyteller, as captivating, in person as she was on her page. Her writing was a beautiful, meaningful challenge to our conscience and our moral imagination. What a gift to breathe the same air as her, if only for a while.”

But for all the impact Morrison had on the famous, her legacy may be the lasting impact she had on all others, serving as an inspiration for people of all ages.

Political consultant and commentator Julie Roginsky remembered her this way on Twitter:

“A few words about Toni Morrison, who just sadly passed away. To those of who grew up in Princeton, she was the approachable lady who always spoke to high school kids at the Princeton Shopping Center café. Always warm, always humble, always tolerant of awestruck bookworm teens.”

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How Pantone Set the Standard for Color Formulations

“Each color has its own unique message and meaning.” —Laurie Pressman, vice president, Pantone Color Institute Photo by Fred R. Conrad

It’s one of those dun days in early April, when the sky is threatening rain and the trees haven’t leafed out yet. In the Meadowlands, the marshes are still a monotony of beige; the surrounding buildings all seem to be made of bleached brick. So it’s something of a shock to walk into the Carlstadt headquarters of Pantone and regard a wall covered in Living Coral, a color so vivid it seems to smack you right in the solar plexus. Pantone’s press materials describe the hue, which the company anointed Color of the Year for 2019, as “an animating and life-affirming coral with a golden undertone that energizes and enlivens with a softer edge.”

Despite the veneer of hype, that sounds about right. Who, after all, can argue about hues with a company that virtually invented the language of color? The Pantone color systems for print, fabric and plastic assign a number and a supporting formulation to each of thousands of shades to ensure exact replication. Design professionals around the world use Pantone’s standards in a host of fields, including publishing, fashion, textiles and paint. Pantone also offers guides that illustrate how the same color might differ on two different surfaces (say, coated versus uncoated paper or cotton versus a metallic fabric). 

The operation that would become Pantone began, humbly enough, as a printing shop. It might well have remained one if Lawrence Herbert hadn’t joined the firm in 1956. Like many in the printing trade, Herbert was frustrated by the vagaries of color. He came up with the idea of creating a language of color after seeing the confusion resulting from unclear communication between designer and printer. Herbert also recognized that the appearance of color changed depending on the surface. 

A Pantone associate weighs out a mixture of ink in the ink lab. Photo by Fred R. Conrad

Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute (essentially, the consulting arm of the business), recalls the story of a fabric manufacturer whose client mailed him a banana to illustrate the exact shade of yellow for a project. When the package arrived at his office, the manufacturer phoned the client to ask whether she desired the color of the banana when she’d sent it or when he received it.  

Whether any of Herbert’s clients approached him with a banana is lost to history, but the anecdote underscores the thinking behind Pantone’s founding. If there were an objective way to “speak” color, Herbert realized—if, for example, when a client said “brick red,” a printer instantly understood the exact shade the client was describing and knew the precise formula to create it—it wouldn’t just avert frustration, but would also save time and money. Herbert proceeded to work up a handful of colors, bought the company in 1962, and set out to convince printers far and wide to accept those colors as a global standard. (Herbert, now retired, was Pantone’s chairman and CEO for more than three decades.) 

Pantone associate Antonio Smith cuts printed Pantone guide pages. Photo by Fred R. Conrad

It’s a testament to Herbert’s prescience and his abilities as a salesman that Pantone (now owned by Washington, D.C.-based science and technology corporation Danaher) became the world’s preeminent color-matching service, offering some 10,000 unique shades via its famous color books—swatches of color, arranged by hue, that open into user-friendly color fans—and other products.

If that doesn’t strike you as a big deal, consider the role that color plays in businesses as diverse as fashion, food and flag manufacturing. “Brands are recognized by their color,” says Pressman, citing Heinz red, UPS brown, Barbie pink and Tiffany blue, among others. “If consumers see a label that looks wrong, they may consider the product a copy,” she notes. “If the label is on food, they might think it’s past its sale date.” If the color match isn’t exact among the same lavender scarves or midnight-blue dessert bowls displayed together on a store rack (because, say, they were manufactured at two different plants), the consumer may suspect that the items are of inferior quality.

A spectrophotometer checks paper swatches for accuracy. Photo by Fred R. Conrad

To make sure that Pantone’s colors are pinpoint accurate, the company employs a small army of experts, including textile chemists and digital-color specialists, to maintain quality control. Walk through the Carlstadt facility, and at every turn you’ll find a lab-coat clad, textile-color technician evaluating color in one form or another. Paper color swatches are checked for accuracy under simulated daylight and measured using a highly calibrated device called a spectrophotometer. Fabric colors get similar treatment. After dyeing, cotton swatches are conditioned in a machine that exposes them to light, heat and humidity.

But the company doesn’t just rely on machinery. The human eye—amazingly enough—can sometimes do things that a machine can’t. 

“With color measurement, you have a target color and a degree of tolerance around that target, and your sample may measure within that tolerance,” explains Barbara Senatore, Pantone’s color-services manager and senior color specialist. Still, says Senatore, a human with an eye for color may find that supposedly accurate shade unacceptable. 

Any Pantone employee who evaluates color is required to pass an annual color-acuity exam known as the Farnswell-Munsell 100 Hue Test, consisting of 88 distinct hues that have to be ordered according to gradations of hue. (To test your own color acuity, take a quick challenge at  

Pantone marketing coordinator Cara McIlwaine takes the Farnsworth Munsell 100 Hue Test—an annual requirement for Pantone employees who evaluate colors. Photo by Fred R. Conrad

That insistence on quality control helps to explain why so many businesses, from Liz Claiborne and Lands’ End to Nike and Target, rely on the Pantone Matching System (PMS). It’s why virtually all professional sports teams use the system to ensure the color consistency of their uniforms and brand identities, and why legislatures from Canada to South Korea have passed laws requiring that specific Pantone colors be used in the manufacture of their flags.  

Color consulting, in fact, is an important part of Pantone’s business. The company worked with representatives from Keurig to help them devise a new line of colorful pod coffee makers that might entice loyal Keurig-owners to buy a second brewer. And when King Features Syndicate launched a line of products bearing the image of cartoon siren Betty Boop, they came to Pantone for advice on the shade of red (for her dress, garter and signature pout) that would most appeal to contemporary consumers. Some companies come to Pantone not just for pretty colors, but because they’re searching for colors that seduce—and sell.

Pantone’s robotic dye machine dispenses precisely formulated colors. Photo by Fred R. Conrad

“We do ongoing consumer color-preference studies,” says Pressman. “Each color has its own unique message and meaning.” It’s no accident, for instance, that brands including Heinz, Coca-Cola, Target, Macy’s, Disney and YouTube use red in their logos. “Reds,” she says, “are consistently positive, consistently about passion.”

And if you want to communicate something other than passion? There’s a color for that. “A palette creates a mood,” Pressman says. “We give the companies we work with the visuals to convey that mood. The base of what we provide to them is the story, the visual inspiration for what the mood means.”

Say, for example, you want to express a mood that’s natural but edgy. You might choose a yellow-based green, which evokes the outdoors but is also, in Pressman’s words, “bold, sharp, trending, artistic and forward.” Bear in mind, though, that the language of color, like language itself, is never static. Twenty years ago, Pressman explains, that fresh, fashion-forward yellow-green might have carried connotations not of the great outdoors, but of seasickness or Shrek.  

Samples of products created with Pantone colors. Photo by Fred R. Conrad

Pantone’s reputation as the interpreter of color has led to some interesting collaborations. A few years ago, the company came together with the A&E Network to create Bates Motel blue, a vivid, metallic shade used in the TV series Bates Motel, based on the classic Hitchcock film Psycho. And in 2016, Pantone collaborated with the Canadian-based luxury brand Tea Leaves to pair each of the company’s teas with a Pantone color. (Pantone 285C blue, for example, was paired with Organic English Breakfast, and Pantone 7677C purple with Organic Earl Grey with Lavender.)

Pantone also partners on the color-matching side, as it did recently with the Minneapolis-based 3-D printing company Stratasys, which sells the first 3-D printers to offer validated Pantone colors. “It entails really strict quality control from our side,” says Pressman of the licensing agreement with Stratasys. Pantone has similar licenses with manufacturers of laptops, PCs and monitors.

And then there are what might be called unofficial collaborators: the countless creative types worldwide who use Pantone’s colors and color-matching system in their work. Teal Nicholson, a Hunterdon County resident, is creative director at the international event-planning company LLG Events. She turned to PMS after several color mismatches marred the look of events she’d designed. With PMS, she says, “all the vendors for an event, whether they’re working on invitations, linens, or the vinyl wrap for the dance floor, know the exact color we need.”  

Pantone associates perform a quality-control check of textile swatches. Photo by Fred R. Conrad

Beyond the worlds of manufacturing and design, Pantone may be best known for its Color of the Year. Since 2000, a team of Pantone color experts has chosen one color annually that appears to embody the cultural zeitgeist. Released with a fair amount of ballyhoo and heralded in major media outlets, including Harper’s Bazaar, House Beautiful, People, Parade, Forbes and CNN, the color coronation is an ingenious marketing device, but Pantone also considers it an educational tool. “Pantone’s Color of the Year helps further the understanding of how trends in color reflect what is taking place in the culture,” says Pressman.

Pressman stresses that Color of the Year isn’t a forecast, but a reflection of trends already in play. In 2016, for example, Pantone chose, for the first time, a pairing of two colors: Serenity (“a cooler, tranquil blue”) and Rose Quartz (“a warmer, embracing rose tone”). They explained the choice as a reaction to a prevailing sense of angst: “As consumers seek mindfulness and well-being as an antidote to modern-day stresses,” wrote Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, “welcoming colors that psychologically fulfill our yearning for reassurance and security are becoming more prominent.”

As for Living Coral, it has been reproduced this year on sneakers from Nike and Lululemon, tassel earrings from Kate Spade, Urbanears headphones, Haworth office chairs, and a Vince Camuto jumpsuit. Pressman says the hue reflects a yearning for “humanizing and heartening colors.”

“People are looking for a human touch,” says Pressman, “in a world where things are moving toward automation.” We may shy away from that future today, but if, one of these years, we should start to embrace it, Pantone will no doubt have the perfect color at hand: Robot Rust, anyone? 

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Long Branch Unveils Charming New Carousel

Courtesy of Extell

There was a time when almost every town on the Jersey Shore had a carousel. Until recently, only two of the grand old carousels remained: Gillian’s Wonderland Pier Carousel in Ocean City, and the Dr. Floyd Moreland Carousel in Seaside Heights.

But at the end of July, Long Branch unveiled a new, hand-carved carousel with a seaside theme at Pier Village. Guests can ride a dolphin, a seahorse, a pelican and various fish. Even the traditional horses wear wreaths of seashells and seaweed befitting the carousel’s boardwalk location, just a few yards from the beach (and alongside the new Wave Hotel).

The new carousel is a reminder of the golden age of the American carousel, from 1870–1930. The Depression put an end to carousel production, but the Shore’s carousels continued to spin. As time passed, some were lost to fire or flood, while others that did survive were often sidelined in favor of more exciting rides. In the 1970s, collectors rediscovered historic carousel animals as folk art, and it soon became more profitable to break up the rides and sell the individual animals than to keep them running.

Courtesy of Extell

Carousels have a long history in Long Branch. At least as early as 1909, there was a carousel on the Long Branch Pier. The hurricane of 1944 demolished the pier—and the carousel. The pier eventually was rebuilt with a mix of fast-food restaurants and carnival attractions, including an old-fashioned carousel. In 1979, the Pier was sold to developers and the carousel broken up. In June 1987, a fire destroyed the latest pier, paving the way for today’s Pier Village.

The new Pier Village Carousel is the work of an Ohio company, Carousel Works, which has hand-built more than 60 carousels since the 1990s.

The carousel is open noon–9 pm daily through Labor Day, and then weekends only through October 31. A 2-1/2-minute ride costs $4, or three rides for $10. Long Branch schoolchildren with valid IDs pay half price. Children under 42 inches must be accompanied by an adult.The carousel is handicapped accessible.

Rides won’t necessarily end with the warm weather, though. Housed in a glass pavilion that can be heated, the carousel could be a year-round attraction if the City of Long Branch, which owns it, sees the demand.

Perdita Buchan’s new novel, The Carousel Carver (Plexus Publishing), tells the story of a “golden age” immigrant carver.

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Cape May Is Top Shore Dining Destination

Photo courtesy of Blue Pig Tavern

Cape May is this year’s top dining destination down the Jersey Shore, according to the results of New Jersey Monthly’s 36th Annual Jersey Choice Restaurant Poll.

Restaurants in the idyllic seaside city received the most votes among South Jersey restaurants in 12 categories. Shore-area towns that closely followed: last year’s winner, Asbury Park (10 categories); Red Bank (nine) and Point Pleasant Beach (seven). 

Additionally, the editors of New Jersey Monthly named four Shore-area restaurants to the annual NJM Top 30Modine in Asbury Park, Nicholas in Red Bank, Poached Pear Bistro in Point Pleasant Beach and Red Store in Cape May Point. 

Among Cape May restaurants, 410 Bank Street emerged as a diverse favorite, triumphing in three categories: French, Latin American/Caribbean and the coveted “Best of the Best.” Washington Inn rose to the top, too (desserts; romantic; wine list). Other Cape May winners included Blue Pig Tavern (American/New American; lunch), Brown Room (bar scene), Mad Batter (brunch), George’s Place (Greek) and Lobster House (seafood). Six of these seven winners also appeared earlier this year on our roundup of the 22 Best Restaurants in Cape May.

Balloting for the Jersey Choice Restaurant Poll took place at throughout the month of February. The winning restaurant in each region (North, Central and South) received the most votes in its category.

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JBJ Soul Kitchen to Host Barbecue Fundraiser

“Dog Days of Summer” Family BBQ at JBJ Soul Kitchen
Saturday, August 10 and Saturday, August 17, 4–7pm

It’s a “Rain or Shine” mentality this Saturday at JBJ Soul Kitchen in Toms River, but then it’s barbecue for a good cause. For $20, you’ll get all-you-can-eat access to barbecue prepared by the staff of JBJ Soul Kitchen in Toms River (or the Red Bank location on the 17th). Proceeds from the afternoon go to supporting the ongoing mission of the restaurant, which was founded on the principle of never turning a customer away, no matter their financial situation, and has grown into a hub of community-oriented empowerment, volunteering, and social change. Add some lovingly prepared barbecue to the mix and you have your Saturday (actually, two Saturdays) all set. JBJ Soul Kitchen, 1769 Hooper Avenue, Toms River; 732-731-1414

Cherry Hill Restaurant Week
Saturday August 10 – August 16

Cherry Hill’s Restaurant Week is here to spice up your August (unless you’re one of the lucky few going on vacation this month—but who could wait this long?). Yes, the selection of participating restaurants is smaller, but because it’s Cherry Hill, there’s still plenty to salivate over. You’ll encounter an array of thoughtfully composed, flavor-packed dishes like vegan caramelized cauliflower soup at Denim American Bistro (part of their $20 lunch menu), kona-crusted lamb loin at Seasons 52 (part of their $35 three-course dinner menu), and Jersey peaches stuffed with taleggio cheese over speck at Il Villaggio (another choice from the $35 dinner prix fixe). The full list of participating restaurants is here, although you can check their Facebook for any last-minute updates. Lunch is available at a few places, but dinner seems to be the main event. Call ahead to ask about availability, reservations, etc. Cherry Hill, various locations.

Alstede Farms Peach Pancake Breakfast
Sunday, August 11, 8am – 12:30pm

Proving yet again that Georgia doesn’t have a monopoly on peaches, Jersey’s own Alstede Farms is hosting their Farm to Table Peach Pancake Breakfast on Sunday, August 11. The order of the day is obviously peaches—freshly picked in pancakes or, after breakfast, pick-your-own—but the all-you-can-eat breakfast also includes staples like eggs, bacon, sausage, etc. Tractor rides and maze access for kids is available for a bit more than the $15.99 regular kids ticket. Adult tickets are $18.99. Pick-your-own peaches are purchased separately. Alstede Farms, 1 Alstede Farms Lane, Chester; 908-879-7189

New Zealand Wine Tasting at Satis Bistro
Thursday, August 15 7:30–11:30pm

The name says it all: next Thursday, Satis Bistro in Jersey City is hosting a four-course dinner with New Zealand wine pairings. Three vineyards and several grapes are on display, from a Sauvignon Blanc paired with Red Snapper Carpaccio to a 2017 Cabernet/Merlot Blend from Te Mata Estate (New Zealand’s oldest winery) that’s paired with a Seared Lamb Loin with Stewed Eggplant and Tomato and Lamb Neck Croquettes. Email [email protected] or call to reserve your spot. Satis Bistro, 212 Washington Street, Jersey City; 201-433-5151

Red Bank Food & Wine Walk
Sunday, August 18, 2–5pm

The third Sunday of every month from July to October, Red Bank is hosting a three hour tour you’ll actually want to go on (if Gilligan’s Island references aren’t a thing of the past yet). For just $40, you and your fellow hungry travelers get a wristband and a map outlining all the restaurants participating in this year’s “Food & Wine Walk” in Red Bank. Among this year’s participants are places like Jamian’s Food & Drink, Cupcake Magician, Buona Sera, The Cheese Cave, The Wine Cellar, and Urban Coalhouse Pizza—meaning you can go from savory to sweet and back again a few times before three hours are up. Must be over 21, as restaurants with liquor licenses are permitted to sample up to 1½ ounces of an alcoholic beverage. Comfortable shoes (and waistbands) recommended. Red Bank, locations vary.

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