Hurricane Sandy aftermath in Bordentown, New Jersey

Bordentown was lucky enough to have minimal damage compared to the towns located along the Jersey shore but it did not survive Hurricane Sandy completely unscathed. Most of the damage around the city and the township came from high winds that knocked down trees into power lines causing many residents to lose power, some of who are still in the dark. PSE&G has a twitter feed updating the power situation for those towns under their coverage.

Downed tree at the end of Yorktown Road that just barely missed the house behind it.

Trees along the path at the end of Farnsworth next to the Bordentown Yacht Club are precariously perched on power lines.

Prince Street near the Delaware is partially blocked by trees and unstable power lines.

Sidewalk on Prince Street near the River Line leveled from an uprooted tree.

Local Updates

The Gas Situation in Bordentown

Gas shortages all over the state are causing people to flock to the pumps in massive numbers causing long lines and high prices. Bordentown has not been immune to the lines of cars piling up on highway shoulders.

Long lines at the Valero on Route 130 south near Northern Park.

Another line at the Gulf in Bordentown where Route 206 meets with Route 130.

People are not only filling up their cars but cans for their generators.

Bordentown gas station information as of Oct. 31st at 6:00 p.m.:

  • The Gulf in Bordentown is currently open with gas at $3.89 a gallon.
  • The Valero (streetview unavailable, it is near Groveville Road on Route 130 South) in Bordentown is open and appears to have the longest lines with gas at $3.37 a gallon.
  • The Valero on Route 206 South is open with gas at $3.47 a gallon, the Valero located near the Turnpike .4 miles down the road is also open at $3.49 a gallon.
  • I personally went to the Valero that can be accessed heading into Bordentown last night when there were no lines. It was open but their gas had been sold out besides Super, which is $3.69 a gallon.
  • The Citgo and the Exxon across from it on Route 130 in Bordentown are both closed.

Some gas stations around New Jersey have been accused of price gouging, which is illegal. If you see or suspect any sort of price gouging, a hotline number is available at 800-242-5846 to report any suspicious price hikes.

On a personal note

Having grown up in the great state of New Jersey, or as I lovingly call it “Dirty Jersey,”I have not known one summer without the Jersey Shore, whether it be the boardwalk at Seaside or Jenkinson’s at Point Pleasant, my childhood vacations to Avalon where my parents rented a beach house, or recently just relaxing at the beach a few blocks down from my parents’ condo in Belmar.

My brother and I at Avalon as kids.

Many people have suffered personal losses from Hurricane Sandy, including homes and businesses with some people even losing their lives. As a state I feel like we’ve lost something else as well: the heart and soul of New Jersey. For a lot of us who grew up here, the shore is a physical representation of our childhood summers and as adults it means a peaceful retreat only 30 minutes away. Let’s face it, Jersey doesn’t have the best cities to visit: Camden’s a mess and Trenton’s closing in behind it. Sure, we can take the train to Philly or NYC but the shore is ours. It’s unique to us as a state, it’s something we can call our own. To witness the damage done all along the coast is simply heartbreaking, more than just on a physical level, but it’s emotionally disturbing, knowing that something that means so much to so many of us simply no longer exists.

If you wish to give to a charity, The Huffington Post has compiled a list of tips for donating.

Bordentown already feeling the effects of Hurricane Sandy

As of 3:35 p.m., Hurricane Sandy has not hit land, but her 1000 mile wide reach is effecting the East Coast with flooding in many areas (particularly at the Jersey shore), heavy winds, and power outages. New Jersey is in a State of Emergency with people being forced to evacuate towns that are prone to flooding and those who aren’t advised to evacuate are being urged to not leave their homes. The best thing to do in this situation, as Chris Christie put it, is “don’t be stupid.”

Bordentown sits on the Delaware River which is notorious for overflowing during heavy rainfall. Hurricane Irene last year flooded highways and towns along the river and it appears Sandy will have the same, if not worse, effect.

As of 1:00 p.m., the Delaware River has risen 4 feet higher against the levy that keeps it from flooding 295 and the New Jersey Turnpike.

The following pictures were taken in Bordentown around 2:30 p.m.

Route 295 over the Delaware River

A man tying his boat to the dock at the Bordentown Yacht Club.

Black’s Creek that branches off the Delaware into Bordentown is already flooding.

Video taken of the Delaware River around 2:30 pm at Bordentown Beach.

A side by side comparison of the river from September 29th and today, October 29th.

West Burlington Street that goes from Bordentown to Chesterfield is currently closed so if you must travel, stick to route 130 or you will be turned around.

All stores in Bordentown City are currently closed, including both Boyd’s Pharmacy and Mast Pharmacy as well as all public transportation. If you are in the area, the Wawa on Route 130 off of Dunns Mills Road is open and has plenty of food and water but are out of batteries.

Quick links to hurricane resources

Google crisis map

A surge map that shows what areas are likely to be flooded

PSE&G outage map

National Hurricane Center

Red Cross shelter locator (The nearest shelter to Bordentown is in Florence at The Fountain of Life Center and it is pet friendly)

Again, state officials are stressing that people stay indoors unless they are being told to evacuate. Fema has also compiled a list of other steps and precautions that should be taken during a hurricane. Hurricane Sandy is set to hit Burlington county later this evening.

Mummies take to Thompson Street for the annual Halloween decoration display

Each October in Bordentown the residents of Thompson Street, one of the oldest streets in the city, come together to create a unified Halloween themed spectacle. This year the residents have begun their annual tradition by donning the streets in everything mummies and skeletons. By Halloween the street will be fully adorned and lit at night with the yearly mass pumpkin carvings on full display.

Restaurant Review: Mastoris Diner

New Jersey is known for a few things: the shore, Bruce Springstein, highways, and its diners.

When I tell people I’m from Bordentown most draw a blank until I specify that it’s near N.A.D.E. (the huge auto action lot off of 206) or Mastoris Diner. Upon the mention of Mastoris the first response I usually get is, “I love their cheese bread!” A fairly reasonable response since the cheese bread is Mastoris’ crown jewel on top of a dinner menu that boasts almost 100 different sandwich choices among a whole slew of other entrees, sides, drinks, and desserts.

First things first: the appearance

When I entered Mastoris on my most recent visit it almost felt like I stepped into a time machine back to the ’80s.

            

The drapes around the windows as well as the hanging light fixtures scream out loud with their kitschiness and tacky aesthetic. The waitresses’ uniforms are certainly reminiscent of the 1980s version of the “female power suit” for the woman in the business world who wants to be taken seriously. However grotesque the aesthetic might be it’s something I’ve come to expect in most diners around the central NJ area. In fact, if the decor didn’t make me nauseas and my waitress didn’t sound like she smoked a pack a day I think my dining experience would be severely altered.

A gigantic marlin oddly adorns the wood lodge themed room.

The pre-meal bread

The cheese bread is amazing. Along with the cheese bread comes the equally delicious cinnamon bread. Both were warm and stuffed full of the contents that make them so tasty. My only complaint about the bread is that there were three of us eating it and only two pieces, one of each flavor, came out. A handful of months ago when I ate at the diner they sent out a huge plateful of bread. They appear to have cut back on how much they give out to their customers.

Cheese and cinnamon bread.

The sides

With my sandwich came a side of fries, coleslaw and a pickle. I’m a sucker for pickles and this one was nice and crunchy. The fries were unsalted and very soft. I prefer my fries to be skinny, fried to a crisp, and extra salty. As for the coleslaw – it left a lot to be desired. Coleslaw is a tough side to perfect. Everyone has their own twist on it and I’m a either “love it” or “hate it” person when it comes to coleslaw and I, unfortunately, hated it. It was too sweet and too watery.

   

The sandwich

I ordered the number 24, “let’s talk turkey”: a sandwich with carved turkey breast, swiss cheese, bacon, coleslaw, and thousand island dressing on white bread that’s been fried in butter.

Despite my distaste for the coleslaw on its own, it blends really well into the sandwich. The sandwich itself is massively layered with turkey. Everything comes together and the hint of bacon is what really makes it delicious. Obviously, this sandwich isn’t for those trying to watch their weight. I took half of it home to eat the next day and it was somehow even better cold.

The dessert

Upon entering and leaving Mastoris, you have to walk through the pastry shop. It’s essentially the Willy Wonka Factory of baked goods – from Snickers flavored cupcakes, to black and white cookies, to cheesecake and everything in between, it has anything someone with a sweet tooth is looking for. This time around I didn’t get anything because of the immense guilt I had over my dinner but I would highly recommend their eclairs.

   

Mastoris is what I’d consider the quintessential Jersey diner. I’d recommend it just for the typical diner experience as well as the cheese bread, the menu that has options for everyone, and the desserts.

John Chrambanis, owner of the Record Collector, talks about adapting to the ever evolving music industry

In the face of a rising digital era, many industries are being forced to choose between adaption or extinction. I spoke to John Chrambanis who owns The Record Collector,  a mom and pop record store located at 358 Farnsworth Avenue in Bordentown, New Jersey, about what it’s like to run a small new and used vinyl and CD business against the Goliath that is the 21st century music industry.

John Chambranis, owner of The Record Collector

What were you doing before The Record Collector?

We had a store in Morrisville and in Trenton so we’ve been doing this for almost 30 years.

Everything’s becoming increasingly digital. How are you dealing with that?

It’s a struggle but it’s more of a bigger picture than just digital. This industry is changing a lot. LPs, for example, are selling quite well even though people can buy stuff online because people that are fans of a band don’t mind having something to actually hold. There’s a real niche market for vinyl.

Many modern artists or bands have gotten more electronic like Katy Perry or MGMT. Does that sound transfer well into that type of vinyl sound?

That’s personal taste. I think that the younger people who are buying albums now, what I hear over and over again, is that they’ll take them home and actually have something like an album party. That’s kind of the way it was years ago.Of course there is the convenience of just downloading and sometimes it’s just an expense thing.

But to listen to an album from beginning to end a way the artist wanted it, that’s a whole different thing. Lots of time music ends up being background noise. If you do end up buying an album, going home and listening to it from beginning to end – who really has time to do that? But the small amount that do enjoy it.

Do you get new LPs from new bands?

Yeah. Green Day’s new album is coming out. Mumford & Sons is doing very well. Katy Perry and Lady Gaga, when they came out on LP, did good. This is the time of year that all of the new stuff starts coming out. The Cult came out, Florence + The Machine, The Shins, Pearl Jam, Metallica.

I think my first experience with a new artist on vinyl was Joanna Newsom’s album The Milk-Eyed Mender and it sounded amazing, much better than the digital copy I had and I don’t think a lot of people realize that there is a huge difference in sound.

Yeah, it depends on the system. If you have a really good system the album’s gonna sound better, it’s just the nature of it.

But what we’re doing, as far as moving into the future, we’re doing live bands here. And that brings us to a whole other level because as the future is always uncertain people still have the desire to go out and socialize and one way to do that is to go to a place that has live music. We’re moving in the direction where we’ll probably do music in a little cafe type of thing.

All of the racks in the store are on moveable wheels so they can be pushed aside for live music events.

The floor of the Record Collector

I stayed and spoke with Chrambanis a little more, mostly about music, like his love for jazz and all of the well-known people who’ve stopped by the store like Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth and Henry Rollins from Black Flag. I myself bought the new Florence + The Machine album on LP, went home, and immediately listened to it on my record player. It is true, there’s nothing like holding a solid record, admiring the album artwork that most bands or artists add in specifically for the LP and hearing the crisp sound that can only be produced by vinyl.

Farnsworth Avenue is astir as thousands gather for the annual Bordentown Cranberry Festival

Farnsworth Avenue, the main road that runs through Bordentown City, has been blocked off completely as thousands of people gather in the streets to sample the crafts and food the annual Ocean Spray Cranberry Festival vendors have to offer.

Cranberry Festival entrance

“It’s [The Cranberry Festival] one of the only juried crafts shows in New Jersey,” explained April Sette, head of public relations for Downtown Bordentown, “and by that each of these artisans have to submit in their pieces and pictures and they have to be approved by a board in order to participate.”

Sun River Arts, maker of women’s jewelry

“If you walk down you’ll see everything’s handmade. We do food, we do Jersey fresh wines, and the crafts are all handmade,” said Sette.

Bordentown Guitar Rescue displays a variety of handmade or repaired guitars by luthier Micheal Virok.

The items that line Farnsworth Avenue being sold by vendors range from jewelry, to clothes, to wines, to homemade sauces and soaps, to country style home decor, to baked treats for pets, as well as a wide variety of other merchandise that appeal to anyone who is interested in unique handmade items.

Woodchuck Wood Designs’ wine holders are designed to ergonomically stand when balanced with a wine bottle.

For those not interested in shopping the festival also offers plenty of options for food as well as a corner for kids where they can make crafts, get their faces painted, or take a pony ride. Charities also line the street in the hopes to fund their programs such as adoptions through Bordentown City Cats and the Spc. Benjamin G. Moore Education Scholarship that helps raise money for those graduating high school who wish to become firefighters or EMTs.

Spc. Benjamin Moore Education Scholarship fundraising tent.

A car show can be seen on the way into the festival as well and live music can be heard playing throughout the day.

Antique cars line up for those interested in their outsides as well as what’s under their hoods.

Jackie Reed and Patti Desantis have lived in Bordentown their whole lives and are the two women responsible for organizing the Cranberry Festival. Reed has been integral to the planning of the event since its beginnings 23 years ago.

“Three of us ladies that had businesses here were sitting in one of our friend’s homes drinking wine and trying to figure out how we could get more people to come to Bordentown to shop,” said Reed, “and since Ocean Spray was the biggest business here everybody wanted to emulate them.”

Ocean Spray had been, up until recently, located in Bordentown City but with its recent upheaval and relocation many questioned whether or not the festival would continue.

“Absolutely,” said Desantis, “there will still be a Cranberry Festival.”

The Cranberry Festival continues tomorrow from 11am to 5pm.