Written by Ishtar on 04 Jan, 2006
What’s changed in Atlantic City since I was here last at the turn of the century? We were here when everyone thought the world would come to a standstill in 2000; remember the Y2K scare? Of course, we rang in the New Year at Caesar’s…Read More
What’s changed in Atlantic City since I was here last at the turn of the century? We were here when everyone thought the world would come to a standstill in 2000; remember the Y2K scare? Of course, we rang in the New Year at Caesar’s without a care in the world.
Not a gambler by nature, I am usually reluctant to go to gaming destinations; and if I do, it’s the nickel slot machines. Ever since I won $200 at Black Jack, I haven’t had the courage to do a follow up act. But Atlantic City is close enough to New York to lure the occasional gambler, with comps, prizes, free rooms and the like. It has changed quite a bit in the last five years, and these are some of the things I noticed which pointed to a more positive experience.
The whole town seems to have gone through a face lift, as this area of South Jersey is not well reputed for its run down neighborhoods. I was sad and happy at the same time, to notice a slew of stores (about 75+) a stone’s throw from the Sands Hotel & Casino that now form the Atlantic City Outlets , which opened in 2003. Alas, this cannot be done on crutches, and not even on a wheel chair. As it was year end, there were promises of outrageous rebates.
I had also heard a lot about the new Borgata Hotel & Casino, of which I caught a glimpse when we arrived on Friday evening. The entire structure appears to be a glowing ember of red, and is away from the other hotels/casinos. Atlantic City does not have a strip, as does Las Vegas , but it has its now six-mile famous boardwalk, which can be accessed from most of the established casinos.
Also of interest is the slate of entertainment projected for the first few months of the year; it used to be that most of the worthwhile concerts were to be found at the Taj Mahal . Now one can also check for happenings at the House of Blues, and the Boardwalk Hall ; too bad Neil Diamond was already there on December 3rd. However, Bon Jovi is appearing in concert on February 4th and the Johann Strauss Orchestra on May 19, 2006.
There are also quite a few Asian/Viet Namese markets in the area, owing to the flux of Viet Namese families who live here. This made my heart sing, even though I could not indulge in browsing of any kind. An Imax theater has also appeared as well as a row of lovely pastel colored townhouses, reminiscent of downtown Charleston .
One of the things I enjoyed most is closing, and that is the Legends in Concert which used to be at Bally’s. It will be replaced with a game show of sorts, which is too bad.
Written by kgk5005 on 09 Dec, 2008
The Jersey Shore: Warm sand, crashing waves, miles of boardwalk. Just an hour from New York or Philadelphia, it ought to be the perfect summer escape for residents of the tri-state area. But here's the real picture: in 90 degree heat,…Read More
The Jersey Shore: Warm sand, crashing waves, miles of boardwalk. Just an hour from New York or Philadelphia, it ought to be the perfect summer escape for residents of the tri-state area. But here's the real picture: in 90 degree heat, cars are lined up bumper-to-bumper, once you arrive, there's nowhere to park, once you park the kids are screaming, and you can't find a place to put your beach towel.How do you get a shore experience without dealing with the summer nightmare? Why not visit the Jersey Shore area of Monmouth County, New Jersey when the lifeguards are off duty and the sand is covered with snow. Here's what the Jersey Shore has to offer during the off-season when the stress is less and the locals will like you better.TheatreIf you are a fan of theatre but don’t want to travel into New York for great entertainment, look to the Jersey Shore. The Count Basie Theater in Red Bank, opened in 1926, houses fantastic shows all year long, from Broadway hits to famous comedians. You may even be able to catch film maker Kevin Smith who, born and raised in Red Bank, often stops by for a show. The theater is located on Monmouth Street not far from great shopping and restaurants and the area is always lit up during the holiday season. The Strand Theatre in Lakewood, also started in the early 1900s, is also a good place to catch a show musicals and local acts.MusicIf you want a night of music, look no further than the legendary Stone Pony in Asbury Park. It was famously the starting place for Bruce Springsteen (better known as God to Shore natives). Some of the finest acts in the music world have played The Stone Pony in its over 30-year run. Just off the boardwalk and near the historic Convention Hall and Paramount, it is THE place to catch a great show at the Shore. You’ll also be able to see a tribute to "Tillie", a creepy wall mural of a grinning face at the Wonder Bar across the street. The original, torn down 2004, is the logo of the Shore area. Another popular music venue, also in Asbury Park, is The Saint on Main Street. Featuring lesser known bands, it’s a place to discover new music. Fright FestSix Flags: Great Adventure is located in Jackson, NJ and is less than 30 minutes from the beach. It is home to the tallest, fastest roller coaster on earth—Kingda Ka. While not open in the winter, the theme park is open most weekends in September and October and has many people’s favorite end of summer treat—Fright Fest. The Event consists of Halloween-themed shows and creepy music, including costumed employees who roam the park looking to scare visitors and rides and decorations that are updated with spookier themes. A visit to Six Flags is an excellent way to say goodbye to summer until the park re-opens again for the next season.RestaurantsWhen you’re done taking in a show or a night at the park, make sure you stay for dinner. The Jersey Shore offers a great variety of local favorites to satisfy all tastes. For a quick bite, grab a juicy hot dog and some crispy onion rings at the Windmill, a popular New Jersey chain with locations in Brick, Freehold, Red Bank, Belmar, Ocean Grove and the original along Ocean Boulevard in Long Branch. If a sit down meal is what you are after, try Vic’s on Main Street in Bradley Beach for authentic Italian, What’s Your Beef? in Rumson to sample some delicious "steak on a stick", or Martell’s Tiki Bar in Point Pleasant for seafood and drinks. If you are in the mood for desert, head to Hoffman’s in Spring Lake Heights for ice cream or grab a cookie at Freedman’s Bakery in Belmar.BoardwalkWhat, you thought the beach was only good in the summer? Locals know that the best time to experience the boardwalk is during the colder months of the year. It’s empty of tourists and—best of all—it’s free! Favorite beaches to hit year round are Avon-by-the-Sea and Belmar. Take your dog for a romp in the sand/snow. Grab a cup of hot chocolate or coffee and stroll glove-in-glove with your significant other. Close your eyes and listen to the roar of the ocean as the cool wind whips down the boardwalk and nips your cheeks. There’s no other way to experience the tranquility of the Jersey beaches than when the kids are at school and the parking spaces are empty.Other great things to check out: shopping in Red Bank, The Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove, fishing boats out of Belmar Marina, Popcorn Park Zoo, Sea Girt or Sandy Hook light houses Close
Written by hankiam on 22 Nov, 2006
The price gouging started at the gate with the $48 entrance fee (over $50 with tax). Even with Two-for-One discounts, that came to over $125 for my wife, my three sons, – 19, 14 and nearly eight years of age – and me. In the…Read More
The price gouging started at the gate with the $48 entrance fee (over $50 with tax). Even with Two-for-One discounts, that came to over $125 for my wife, my three sons, – 19, 14 and nearly eight years of age – and me. In the park a 24 ounce bottle of water cost $3, around twice the street rate in New York, and perhaps four times what it goes for at the local shopping center. A captive audience means never having to sell cheap. Fortunately we brought our own, refilling them at fountains. Many rides didn’t work that day, some only worked sporadically, like popular roller coasters Kingda Ka and the Batman half of Batman And Robin The Chiller, sad for me as I was looking forward to getting my minimum annual adult requirement of G-force fluctuation and the other cheap (?) thrills of an unrepentant roller coaster enthusiast. Most of the kids rides were working, but even then, two of the carousels didn’t. My big kids prefer what I think of as “gravity rides,” which generate thrills through centrifugal force. Stuntman’s Freefall, The Sky Ride, Rodeo Stampede, Taz Twister, The Twister, Space Shuttle, and others were closed. This didn’t leave them much to do.Fortunately, they brought their Gameboys. While waiting to meet with us they sat down at a table near a food shop. Two park security people walked by and said hello, no problem. However, one of the African-American women working at the shop started hassling them, told them to move along and eventually chased them away. Ever resourceful, they found another place to sit.As for me, we arrived early enough that my first shot at a roller coaster, Superman, had a mere 30 minute line. Long lines are a perpetual problem on the popular rides. However, I had a “Danger, Will Robinson” moment when I saw the advertisements for a device called the Q-bot, which allows a customer to pay $30 a day to go first in line, cutting through the exits of the more popular attractions. Now amusement parks should go by the rules of the playground – no cutting--especially one that has already charged you in excess of $40 a ticket to get in. However, anyone willing to double that fee (more or less) could jump to the front of the line. I went to Kingda Ka, only to discover that it had broken down. So, I went to Batman and Robin: The Chiller, a coaster that loops, twists and then does the whole thing again in reverse – my idea of a good time. And the line outside wasn’t even very long. However, when the line got close to the actual first turnstile, it slowed down. It took about half an hour to enter the building. People made their way out through the line on a regular basis, mostly parents with children. On the switchback ramp that takes you into the actual loading zone for the ride, the line pretty much stopped. You could hear screaming, jeering, and occasionally someone getting on the loudspeaker saying things like, “If you throw things on the track, it will only slow things down more.” About 40 minutes later, I reached the bedlam at the top of the ramp, a sea of people, as no one was minding the turnstile. I thought about who concerts and could understand why some parents would not take their children in there. I heard the language from the crowd and realized why other parents had turned around. The people with Q-Bots were queuing up in the exit. A security guard was there to protect them from the people getting off the ride. Every time the people running the ride allowed Q-Bot holders more seats than they were theoretically allowed, the entire crowd on the loading platform erupted. One woman in the line next to me was arguing with a shift manager about the fairness of the whole scene. She was still at it when I got off the ride, two-and-a-half hours after I got on line.This particular near class riot happened because someone in the front office no doubt got the bright idea of doing what Disney and Universal do and trying to make a little extra money at it. At the Disney and Universal theme parks, you can go to a ride, put in your ticket and reserve a time to go to the front of the line. You had to be there within ten minutes of your allotted time or your pass was no good. Anyone who gets into the park can use this system. It is polite, egalitarian, fair and it works. When you add in the equation of having to pay more for the privilege, suddenly you start exploring brave, albeit stupid, new worlds of classicism.We also took in some of the shows. The tiger show was okay when they were actually working with the cats, and even a bit of gymnastics had its moments. The stunt show also had its moments, but seemed pretty disorganized, as if half the cast were understudies. Both my youngest son and I missed the Dolphin Show when he had to go to the bathroom. The people at the gate were not going to let us back in, no matter what. Needless to say, the line for customer service was long and didn’t have a Q-bot queue. As I got up to the window, the women in front of me told the woman in the booth that they had come all the way from Suffolk County, a three hour drive. They found the food disgusting, all the food places overrun by flies and worse, the sanitary facilities disgusting and filthy and they were, in general, disgusted.The person at the booth next to me had not had the advantages of the coupons we had used. They spent in excess of $300 and in the six hours they had been in the park, had been able to get on one ride. They had bailed on Batman and Robin: The Chiller before they had achieved the post-turnstile class war. “I fell asleep when the line stopped moving,” said one of the men. “When I woke up, I decided it was time to leave.”The customer service manager remarked that they hadn’t expected this kind of a crowd on a week day so late in the season, and the attendance had found them short-staffed. A pretty lame excuse.For coming to the booth, we were giving coupons that would get us into either Great Adventure again or the adjoining water park Hurricane Harbor for $10 a person – roughly a quarter of the cost of the main park and a third the cost of the water park. They also gave us coupons for a free waffle cone each.Two days later, we were still at the shore, it was a warmer day, but we didn’t want to go to the beach, so we decided to use the passes to Hurricane Harbor. Actually, a good time was had by all – the big boys like the slides, the little guy loved tubing and swimming in the “creek” that circumvented the park. I enjoyed the sun. The only thing that we didn’t enjoy was the fact that when we went to get our waffle cones before we left, we were denied them. Apparently, the only place in the park that served this delicacy was a concession not owned by the park. Sigh. Nothing can be perfect, not even if you pay for it. Close
Written by Truly Malin on 17 Jun, 2006
I’d seen them before: looming concrete castles topped with colorful flags fluttering in the tropical breezes of vacation destinations like Orlando, Florida. I’d seen their 10% off coupons in many a hotel lobby, and had heard rumors of eating with one’s hands and calling other…Read More
I’d seen them before: looming concrete castles topped with colorful flags fluttering in the tropical breezes of vacation destinations like Orlando, Florida. I’d seen their 10% off coupons in many a hotel lobby, and had heard rumors of eating with one’s hands and calling other people Milord and Milady. "Camelot in a Can", I thought disparagingly. "The Middle Ages for Dummies". Yes, I admit it, I didn’t think much of Medieval Times and its mass-produced, Disneyfied brand of historiana. New Yorkers are expected to watch Shakespeare in the Park, not Jousting in the Boroughs. It’s just not done.But then my husband (who despite being born and bred in Manhattan, apologetically thinks it sounds fun to wear a paper crown and eat mutton with his fingers) asked for tickets to Medieval Times for his birthday... … and next thing I know, here we are at the doors of the Lyndhurst castle, where two costumed Knights stand guard, along with a teenager in a polo shirt and jeans who greets us with an anemic "Welcome to Medieval Times, Milord". Historical accuracy has just gone out the window and we aren’t even inside yet. We venture inside and are processed by a succession of acne-encrusted teenagers who seem intent on collecting tickets and stamping things, and clearly can not be bothered to "role play" anything whatsoever. We are assigned to the green section of the banquet hall. Green paper crowns are popped onto our heads, and we are delighted beyond belief to find that the knight we are supposed to cheer for is--and this is his full name--"The Green Knight of Leon–Arrogant and Vile!" Things are looking up.We are ushered into the main hall, where a few other guests in paper crowns are milling about, clutching beers in non-authentic plastic steins and looking around morosely. We realize that the strict instructions to arrive at 6pm were a ploy to get us there an hour early for the express purpose of trapping us in the Royal Shopping Mall. Forsooth, we have an entire hour to wander the hall drinking expensive Medieval beer and browsing the racks of overpriced Medieval souvenirs that seem increasingly enticing the more beer we drink. "Make way! Make way for the King!" Finally, something to do. We make way for the king and his entourage, who are proceeding at a regal pace toward a pair of thrones near the back of the hall.The King (just "King," no last name) and his daughter The Princess Esmeralda, proceed to knight a few very small children who are celebrating their birthdays. The crowd is instructed to shout "hip hip hooray" as each new knight takes his or her place in the pantheon of Lyndhurst royalty. After the sixth knighting, we can’t take it any more and go back to shopping.Three pints of beer later, we have acquired one large green banner for Milord, one silk-wrapped headband adorned with silk flowers and floaty bits of gauzy fabric for Milady, and three souvenir pens. The staff, incidentally, are not making the slightest effort to seem Medieval except for occasionally ending a sentence with ‘Milord’ or ‘Milady,’ delivered in a sly deadpan. Some of them haven’t even bothered to put their costumes on. A notable exception is the Master of Ceremonies, who introduces himself as Lord Martin of Monroe (I’m thinking Monroe, NJ). He appears with much fanfare (thanks to two guys who are sounding the heck out of their horns), climbs up a flight of steps and welcomes us most regally. Lord Martin is actually good enough at sounding like he’s not from Jersey that I think he might actually have been to England. He reads us the rules and ... oh happy day! ... sends us to our seats in orderly color-coded groups.Despite what I had heard about the waitstaff at Medieval Times, our waiter is not a wench. His name is Mario and he looks to be about 12 years old. This, at least, is historically accurate. Throughout the event, "wenches" and "serfs" walk the stands selling tchotckes--much like a baseball game. This is a welcome distraction from the food, which is unremarkable (and I am being kind). The best part is eating with your hands. Fortunately Mario supplements His Majesty’s Antiseptic Moist Towelettes with warm washcloths. The plates and bowls are pewter as advertised, but Ye Olde Pepsi Stein is plastic. Milord Malin has half a roast chicken and a side of BBQ ribs while Milady gets a special vegetarian plate: Vegetable Lasagna with a side of boiled vegetables served with dip. Try eating THAT with your hands! Our neighbors to the left offer us some of their assortment of plastic knives and forks. Spoilsports! We report them to Mario.The plot of Medieval Times, which unfolds nightly nation-wide, begins with the news that the King’s brother has been killed in battle. The King decides to choose a new Protector of the Realm by pitting his best knights against each other in a tournament where they will fight to the death. As far as I can tell, this will leave him with one really good Protector and a bunch of dead guys who could have helped protect the fair city of Lyndhurst, NJ. But he’s the King and I’m not going to argue with him. During this tournament, the Princess Esmeralda is biting her nails, hoping that her true love, The Yellow Knight, will win.In a plot development worthy of (or borrowed from) Hamlet, the King’s trusty wizard Cedric speaks with the brother’s spirit and learns that he has been murdered. Everyone suspects the Green Knight (cuz he’s arrogant and vile) but no one suspects the King’s deputy, whose job is to train all the other knights, and therefore was not allowed to compete in the tournament. You can guess where that’s going.I mentioned before that we have been asked to cheer for the bad guy: The Green Knight, Vile and Arrogant (TGK for short). We’ve already made up our minds that he is innocent, and decide to support him with gusto. Having now had several pints of Castle Lyndhurst’s finest grog, we happily bellow "Greeeen Kniiiiiiight!" at the top of our lungs every time he appears. Inspired perhaps by our enthusiastic support of TGK, the fine lords and ladies of our section start joining us in giving a TGK a standing ovation each time he rides into the ring. Encouraged, we supplement our main war cry with occasional cries of "Vile and Obnoxious!", "Green Knight is a stud!", "Misundastood!" and other heart-felt cheers, until finally the actor playing TGK breaks character and has to stifle a laugh. Medieval Times isn’t just about jousting and lances. It’s also about Medieval Stupid Pet Tricks. These include a falconry display and a series of precision "dressage" drills performed on horseback by members of the ensemble, cleverly disguised with different costumes. I suspect the actor who played The Green Knight was a bit taken aback when in the middle of the dressage display, cries of "Greeeen Kniiiiiiight!" erupted from the stands somewhere very close to where Lord Malin was sitting. The costumes and plot may be a bit hokey, but the tournament itself is well worth watching. The actors spend over 350 hours learning how to do things like spear a three-inch-diameter ring with the tip of a lance while careening forward at speeds up to 35mph on a horse. Impressive? Aye, verily! Even the horses require three years of training before they are ready to perform. And the plot does have a few twists to it, as does the stale pastry that Mario brings us for dessert. We are sorely disappointed when The Green Knight, after a gripping sword fight with "The Red And Black Knight", is stabbed through the heart and dies. So we redouble our efforts by cheering for TGK’s buddy "Blue Kniiiiiiiight!" Our section is now so rowdy that The Blue Knight starts hanging out in our corner of the stadium when he isn’t busy jousting. The Metropolitan Opera may be the pinnacle of Manhattan’s cultural offerings, but I’ve never been thrown a carnation by a guy on horseback there, and The Met never needs to hang a giant net between the stage and the audience there to protect us from flying debris and broken sword tips.As the tournament draws to a close, you will not be at all surprised to hear that good triumphs over evil, the hero gets the girl, and all the dead knights get to come back out for a round of applause. I understand that there is a sort of open house ("open castle"?) at the end where you can chat with the actors and ask questions, but instead I recommend sneaking out early to avoid one last medieval torture: getting out of the parking lot. Huzzah! Close
Written by Saphira on 23 Aug, 2005
You may think that Atlantic City is the place to go to be with the young, the hip, and the sexy. After all, that is what they advertise. Instead, you will mostly find overweight baby-boomers and seniors, many riding their jazzy power chairs…Read More
You may think that Atlantic City is the place to go to be with the young, the hip, and the sexy. After all, that is what they advertise. Instead, you will mostly find overweight baby-boomers and seniors, many riding their jazzy power chairs and sporting their #1 Grandpa T-shirts. It is, however, a great fish bowl location.
A fish bowl location is a place where you could go just to sit and watch all the interesting fish. Atlantic City will spark the interest of even the most professional of people-watchers.
On our last trip, an older woman wearing a teal-sequined baseball cap, with matching teal-sequined purse, plopped down at a machine right next to my husband. In fact, she was dressed head to toe in teal. She was a riot, poking little jabs at my husband every time he lost. When he finally got up, she told him to take the machine with him because he had probably paid for it by now (he only spent $10). She talked to us for a little bit and explained that she wore the sequined hat so her mother would be able to find her no matter what part of the casino she roamed. Her mother thought it was a good idea, but her husband hated her teal-sequined hat.
My other favorite person will from now on be known as "Dancing Dan." We were at the Sands when a cover band took the stage. As we looked from the upper level balcony, we noticed a single man dancing alone. He had moves that would give Napoleon Dynamite a run for his money. Dancing Dan was dressed all in black and appeared middle aged, with a slim build and a slightly balding head. He seemed to be taking his dancing very seriously as he spun and shimmied his shoulders around. At one point, the band broke out into a medley of disco tunes. Dancing Dan walked off the dance floor and sulked off to the side. I guess he doesn’t do disco. If you’re ever at the Sands in Atlantic City, look for Dancing Dan. I’m almost certain he’s a regular.
If you love people-watching, don’t go to the Borgota or Cesar’s. They are filled with uptight high rollers who are not fun to watch, even when they are intoxicated.
If you must spend time with the young, the hip, and the sexy, try the new House of Blues Casino at the Show Boat. They have traded in their bright pink and yellow for cooler blue and green. It seems to act as a force field for the seniors. The young, hip crowd has taken over, and you can find all sorts of college frat boys living out their poker dreams with cute girls at their sides. Don’t worry, though, you can still visit the non-remodeled section of the building and find Viola playing two Wheel of Fortune machines, smoking her cigarette, and slurping down scotch.
Written by Samlawali on 01 Jul, 2005
One Robbins Parkway
Toms River, NJ 08753
I attended a surprise retirement party for a friend this week on the River Lady. It was a lovely evening to be out on the water for a couple of hours. While the air was humid, I knew…Read More
One Robbins Parkway
Toms River, NJ 08753
I attended a surprise retirement party for a friend this week on the River Lady. It was a lovely evening to be out on the water for a couple of hours. While the air was humid, I knew it would be quite comfortable on the authentic replica (oxymoron??) of a paddleboat.
Meeting the rest of the party at the dock prior to climbing aboard, we all reminisced about our friend who was getting ready to retire from our company and begin spending more time with her husband. We were advised to arrive approximately 30 minutes before our trusty vessel was scheduled to leave port at 6pm for our 2.5-hour-long dinner cruise up and down the Toms River.
Toms River received its moniker from a gentleman named Thomas Luker, who used to operate a ferry service across "Goose Creek" in the late 1700s. That creek eventually was called Toms River and became a river that serviced a community of the same name.
Not long after we set sail from the dock, we were served our drinks and salads. The dinner followed not long after and consisted of a choice of chicken franchaise, filet of salmon, or penne vodka. I chose the chicken. It was prepared prior to our sailing by a local caterer called Café Italia. Considering that the food was probably a few hours old, it was pretty good. I had a nice-sized piece of chicken, a couple of seasoned red potatoes, and a mixture of green beans and carrots. There was a bar dedicated to our floor. Beer and wine were the only alcoholic beverages available and could only be served after we set sail. Soda and water were plentiful and always available. The cost of drinks was about $3 to $4 a pop. Water was no cost. Dessert was a slice of delicious cheesecake and coffee or tea. Dinner, dessert, and tip were all included in our price of $30 per person for this event.
Seating was such that our party of approximately 50 people had the whole upper floor. There were about 10 tables of five people per table. Downstairs consists of regular dinner customers, with cabaret seating for six to eight people per table, with a dance floor in the center of the room. The upper floor had an opening looking down onto the first floor, but was covered with a large hard plastic bubble to keep people from falling and a handrail to help keep you steady.
During our cruise, we were presented with a historical commentary from the captain of the seaside towns we passed, including Ocean Gate, Beachwood, and Island Heights. Unfortunately, due to the table we choose near the rear of the boat, we did not hear too much due to the low rumbling of the paddle wheel and the celebratory din of the partiers.
Although I could hear very little of what the captain had to say, the views were wonderful and very relaxing. Who could ask for more than a dinner on the water with friends? Some of the homes we saw were beautiful and ranged from older Victorian styles to the modern monsters of the day. I would guess all were in the multimillion-dollar ranges. While I would not want to swim in the Toms River, as the water is extremely brackish, it is a popular place for boaters, wave runners, and sea kayakers. We passed sailboats, yachts, and cigarette boats.
A view of one of the local golf courses in the ritzy area of Toms River NJ
I was concerned, as the weather was in the upper 80s, even at 6pm, with high humidity, but with the wind blowing through the open floor plan, it was actually very comfortable. There are no windows on the top floor, just an open-floor plan with hand and foot rails to keep you from falling over the sides. If the weather did get very blustery, the crew was prepared with clear covering that rolled from the ceiling and created a see-thru wall so none of the views were sacrificed. This also protects in case of rain, which does not cancel a cruise, unless it is dangerous weather.
There are bathroom facilities located on the ground floor, and smoking was allowed only on the forward deck away from the eating area.
The company does offer dinner cruises from May through November on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday evenings. Price is $30 per adult and $25 for seniors over 65. They also provide historical cruises every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday afternoons. Advance ticket purchase is required. I can only suggest that you choose a seat away from the rear of the boat and the paddlewheel, where you will be better able to hear the captain and his comments.
The location is very easy to get to from the Garden State Parkway. Just get off at Exit 81 and follow Water Street east to the third light and make a right on Robbins Parkway about 5 minutes from the exit.
For more information, check out the River Lady website for any questions you may have. This is a very nice place to go on date or to spend an afternoon doing something a little different while not spending a lot of money.
Check out my overview of Toms River for more things to do and additional photos of the River Lady and the surrounding area.
Written by Samlawali on 01 Jun, 2006
Wall Stadium1803 State Route 34Wall, NJ 07719Tel. (732) 681-6400www.wallspeedway.comOn the pretense of picking up a recliner from a friend, my dad asked me to accompany him on a trip to nearby Wall Township on a Saturday evening about 10 years ago. With no idea of…Read More
Wall Stadium1803 State Route 34Wall, NJ 07719Tel. (732) 681-6400www.wallspeedway.comOn the pretense of picking up a recliner from a friend, my dad asked me to accompany him on a trip to nearby Wall Township on a Saturday evening about 10 years ago. With no idea of where we were going, I was directed to turn onto a large dirt entryway off of Route 34 South. Not noticing the huge venue sign at the end of the drive I proceeded to the unpaved parking area. Looking around all I saw was a few rows of parked cars and a chain link fence on one side of the lot and a two-story white building in the distance. Parking the car I looked through the sand clouds I had kicked up while driving in, all the time wondering where the heck we were supposed to meet my dad’s "friend." My dad then asked me, "Don’t you know where we are?" I took a look around and finally noticed all the car and racing related banners hanging from the fence. "Wall Stadium," I answered with excitement starting to build. "I thought it was time we checked it out," he replied with a smile.We had talked for years about coming up to see the local stock car races and for some reason never got around to it. My dad was once an amateur racecar driver and a current avid fan of NASCAR. He had recently introduced and gotten me hooked onto the weekly races that ran on television on Sunday afternoons. We stepped out of the truck and the first thing I heard was the deep rumble of the car engines as the drivers warmed up in the pit area before heading out to practice and qualify. As we walked towards the ticket booth to pay our entrance fee, the announcer’s voice boomed over the loudspeakers announcing which class was running next along with each driver's name and car number. Walking onto the main concourse, I was amazed to see that the track was actually situated at the bottom of a concrete bowl; we had to walk down to get to the grandstand seats. I was used to the football and baseball stadiums where you had to walk up many levels to get to a good viewing area. My palms sweaty and my heart pumping, I tried to take in all the sights and sounds. Drivers in their brightly colored, oil-stained, fire resistant jumpsuits intermingled with the fans who, like me, could not wait for the racing to start. Vendors of all types were hawking their wares, from T-shirts, hats, model cars and that evening’s program to the local radio station giving away mugs, pens and key chains. The smell of hotdogs, pizza, and buttered popcorn mingled with the scent of exhaust from the cars. It was great!!!Looking for just the right seat to view all the action we passed the proud owners and drivers of a couple of cars that were entered in that night’s race. This afforded us the opportunity to look in the cars and ask questions as they were temporarily showcased on the concourse. The track had a bunch of different classes running that night; trucks, street stocks, ¾ midgets, pro-stocks and legends. The night would last from 5pm when the gates opened for practice to approximately 11pm when the last checkered flag was flown. Even now, 10 years later, I still get excited when I hear the rumble of an engine and smell the exhaust of a stock car. The memory of sharing my first time with my dad will stay with me forever.Tickets normally run about $17 to $20 for an adult on a normal racing schedule and slightly higher for special events. Children 6 to 12 years old are $6, and children under 6 years of age are free. Season tickets can be purchased for $300.HINTS: Stay after the races end as the pit area opens and spectators are welcome to enter and check out the drivers and vehicles at no charge.When NASCAR runs at the big tracks local to NJ, such as NY, PA, or Delaware, you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of local racing hero, Ray Evernham. He is now a multiple car owner and runs the Dodge racing program for NASCAR. Close
Written by Samlawali on 13 Sep, 2005
One of the things that New Jersey is known for is its sporting venues. In addition to the various minor league baseball stadiums throughout the different counties, we are also home to the Meadowlands Complex, located in East Rutherford. Making up one of the premier…Read More
One of the things that New Jersey is known for is its sporting venues. In addition to the various minor league baseball stadiums throughout the different counties, we are also home to the Meadowlands Complex, located in East Rutherford. Making up one of the premier venues in the country is the Continental Airlines Arena, where numerous top-name concerts and events are held; the Meadowlands Racetrack, home of some of the most exciting harness racing; and Giants Stadium, where both the New York Giants and New York Jets play.
Giants Stadium was my destination one recent Friday evening. The goal was to watch the preseason game of the NY Jets (who I root for). I was able to get my hands on six tickets, so a few friends and I thought this would be a fun way to spend an evening. Even though I am not a huge football fan and could not name four players on either team, people-watching is one of my favorite pastimes, and there was plenty of opportunity for that.
Giants Stadium has been open to the public since October of 1976, when a Giants versus Dallas Cowboys game was played to a sold-out crowd. Dallas won 24-14. The stadium can hold 80,242 people and has the second-highest seating capacity in the NFL. The site cost $450 million dollars to build and was funded entirely through the sale of bonds issued by the NJ Sports & Exposition Authority. No taxpayer money was used in the construction of the complex.
Our seats were located in the 31st row of the lower level, to the right of the goal posts, excellent seats for any diehard fan. Tickets start at approximately $60 and go all way up to $200 per seat. There is also the option for season tickets holders, but I believe there is a waiting list.
The easiest way to get to the stadium is take the New Jersey Turnpike to exit 16W and then follow the signs to the Sports Complex. It is very simple, as there is only one main road in and out of the complex. I know that Route 3 is also an access road; I am just not positive on where it goes.
On the evening we chose to go, we thought that it would not be too crowded, as it was only a preseason game. How wrong we were, as the highway was backed up for miles, so I would always recommend leaving extra time for travel. If you get to the stadium too early, there are always enough tailgaters around to make it interesting. Another reason for getting to the stadium early is all the tickets windows, but one closes once the game starts. If you did not get your tickets prior to arriving and expected to purchase once at the event, you may have to walk all the way around the stadium to find the open window, depending on where you park. Parking costs $10 per car.
Written by Samlawali on 09 Sep, 2005
This past Labor Day weekend I was invited to go out on my friends, Michele and Rob's, boat and spend the day at Tices Shoal. I, of course, took them up on their offer and set sail with Michele and Rob; their two kids, Heather…Read More
This past Labor Day weekend I was invited to go out on my friends, Michele and Rob's, boat and spend the day at Tices Shoal. I, of course, took them up on their offer and set sail with Michele and Rob; their two kids, Heather and Robert; and our friends Joyce, Dave, and Joe.
Located approximately 3 miles south of Seaside Park and 6 miles north of the Barnegat Inlet on the east side of the Barnegat Bay, alongside Island Beach State Park in Ocean County, Tices Shoal is a popular family recreational spot for boaters. Any halfway decent weekend during the summer you will find hundreds of different boats anchored with people swimming, lounging, playing in the water, catching some sun, and just people watching. It is also popular with crabbers, although I have not had experience with that yet.
We arrived around 10:30 in the morning and there was already a pretty large crowd congregated in the area. Rob, as captain of out trusty vessel, anchored the 23-foot Bayliner Trophy a few hundred feet out from shore. We could see sailboats, speedboats, and many other water vehicles of all shapes and sizes. As we sailed in close to shore, we passed a large craft hosting a local radio station that was broadcasting with a live band right from the bay.
Our plan was to float for a few hours and just take in the sun, sea, and sand. What is great about Tices Shoal is that the water is only about 3- to 4-feet deep, which was perfect for me, as I have never been able to learn to swim. I was able to get out of the boat and walk right up to the shore, and we were anchored pretty far out, at least a couple hundred feet. The biggest concern I had as I waded my way to the shore was stepping on someone's anchor. There were so many boats parked out there that it was quite a journey winding our way around them. I got almost to shore when, of course, I stepped on an anchor. Not so pleasant, but I made it.
Once you reach the shore, there is a small dock and boardwalk that leads over to the opposite side of Island Beach State Park. Here is where you can hang out on the local beach and swim directly in the Atlantic Ocean as opposed to staying in the
We decided not to spend time on the beach, as it was getting crowded. We made our way back to the boat. Along the way, we passed families who had a regulation-size volleyball net and a full-size barbeque grill setup right in the water. It was like having your backyard under water. We also passed boats that had wave runners tied to the side for some open-water travel and small rafts tied to boats where they could float and ride the currents back and forth without worry of floating out to sea. Many people even brought their dogs, most in their own custom life vests.
We waded and swam right in the area around the boat being careful of the passing traffic, which had to go slow enough so they did not cause any wake. The water was beautiful, with temps in the high ‘70s and the air temperature around 90°F with low humidity. We ended up staying until about 5pm, which was when our food and water supply starting running out. Also, by then, we were all so sunburned and tired, we could barely move. We started on our way back to the dock and Rob went to plug in the GPS and blew the main fuse. The boat died and we sunk anchor right in the middle of the bay. We had traveled far enough away for the others boats that no one could hear us if we yelled for help. We tried calling one of our friends, who was also out that day, on the radio with no luck. Luckily, we all had our cell phones. Michele ended up calling the wife of Jay, another boater, and was able to locate him and request assistance. He came by about 20 minutes later and was going to attempt to pull us into shore, but didn't have enough gas for the effort it would have taken to tow both boats. So, Jay ended up finding one of the commercial towboats that floated around in the area for just this purpose. For a fee, they would tow us right to our dock. It took them another half-hour or so to get to us and an additional 20 minutes just to get us back to shore.
The wait wasn't so bad, as we all had no place special to be, but the worst part was that the traffic in the bay was causing fairly high wakes that rocked the boat back and forth continuously. The bay is about 20 miles long and only about 2 miles wide, so no large waves can build up, but the kids were getting a little anxious with the repeated swaying.
No one got sick, the day was beautiful, and we were amongst friends, although Joyce and I were almost banned from riding on the boat together in the future, as there always seems to be some sort of unplanned event that occurs. The last time we went out on the boat together, we got stuck on a sand bar and had to push the boat free. Remember, I can't swim, so here I am pushing the boat and it becomes free and floats a little way away. I am trying to stay calm and wade my way over to the boat, all the while thinking I am going to sink into some 20-mile crevice and drown. Seriously, it was fun, and I would go out again in a second.
Written by Samlawali on 13 Jun, 2005
2 Stadium Way
Lakewood, NJ 08701
On a recent Monday evening, I was presented with the chance to host some clients in our company suite at the local minor league baseball stadium. The game was to be played between home team, the Lakewood BlueClaws, and visitors,…Read More
2 Stadium Way
Lakewood, NJ 08701
On a recent Monday evening, I was presented with the chance to host some clients in our company suite at the local minor league baseball stadium. The game was to be played between home team, the Lakewood BlueClaws, and visitors, the West Virginia Power.
With the local radio station repeatedly reporting threats of severe evening thunderstorms with possible 50mph winds, I drove to the stadium straight from my office, as the game started at 7pm and I needed to arrive early enough to make sure there was sufficient catering and to greet our guests.
In addition to my business guests, I had also provided some tickets to the local domestic abuse shelter to be used by some of the kids and their families, thinking it would be a fun experience for them. I also had a couple of friends attending.
The temperature was in the warm mid-80s and the sun was still shining, with overcast clouds moving in from the west. As I pulled into the stadium parking lot, I was surprised to see that it was fuller than I expected. As nice as the day was, the threat of storms did not seem to deter the local fans.
By 7:10 pm, my guests had arrived and the national anthem was being sung. NJ Secretary of State Regena Thomas threw out the first ball and Home Depot was sponsoring the game. This meant that baseball caps were being handed out to the first 2,000 attendees with the major league affiliate team’s logo, the Phillies, and game sponsor, Home Depot’s patch prominently displayed.
This stadium is well suited for families. Buster the mascot, a big yellow character that mingles with the crowd, keept team spirit alive cheering and interacting with the kids. There are contests throughout the game to keep families involved, such as having small guests race Buster around the bases. Giant blow-up eyeballs periodically race each other around the field, and fireworks are provided at the end of numerous games throughout the season. There are jungle gyms and arcades to keep the kids occupied if they tire of the game and a giant grassy section for families to have picnics.
I have been to the stadium numerous times, and the location of our suite, to the rear and off to the right of home plate, puts us at a perfect spot to catch balls that tip off the hitters bat and fly behind home plate. I have had at least one ball fly into our seats every time I have attended, and this was no exception. This trip, there were two hits that flew into our area. Our suite got one and the suite next to us got the second. Adrianne, my friend Nicki’s daughter, was lucky enough to take home the ball that evening.
The weather held through the first nine innings; the first scoring hit was by the visiting team in the second inning, a homerun no less, but by the seventh inning stretch, the BlueClaws had rebounded with a 7-1 lead after the WV Power team made a bunch of fumble plays and the BlueClaws were able to get a couple of multi-base hits. By the end of the ninth inning, the score was tied and extra innings were needed, and by then the thunder and lightning had arrived, but no rain. The dedicated fans were sticking it out. Very few people had gone home. By now it was a little after 9pm. By the middle of the 11th inning, it was 10pm and the score was still tied 7-7. The sky finally let loose and the rain came pouring down. Covers were placed on home plate and the pitcher’s mound in hopes that this was a fast-moving storm. Unfortunately, 15 minutes later, the rain was still coming down, lightening and thunder were creating a wonderful backdrop to the stadium, and people had cleared the grandstands and were standing along the concourse, trying to stay dry.
Finally, the game was postponed until the BlueClaws met with the West Virginia Power at their stadium later on in the week.
All in all, it was a pretty nice evening spent with good people and mostly pleasant weather.
Attending a game is fairly inexpensive, with parking only costing $1 per car and general admission tickets at $9 per person, while the lawn seats are $6 per person. The stadium is highly accessible, with entrances off of Cedar Bridge Road and New Hampshire Avenue.
For additional information, such as directions, you can visit the BlueClaws website directly