Goodbye stranger, it’s been nice, hope you find your paradise.

Well, as this semester comes to a close I am saying a farewell to Breaking Bordentown for the time being so I can take a hibernation of sorts. It is possible I will continue to update this blog on the occasion with less reporting and more photos of things around Bordentown (and possibly a little outside of Bordentown – literally Breaking out of Bordentown) I take on my cellphone that I find interesting or funny and it will certainly be more light hearted/more personally biased.

I’ve met some extremely wonderful people in this small town and it has been a pleasure getting to delve a little deeper into it.

Here are my top 5 greatest hits

Square Peg Round Hole Emporium offers a safe haven for artists and addicts alike

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

Mummies take to Thompson Street for the annual Halloween decoration display

Restaurant review: Mastoris Diner 

Hurricane Sandy aftermath in Bordentown, New Jersey

Enjoy your holidays, folks. Be safe, take care, and I’ll possibly see you in spring.

 

Bordentown adapts to the recession

The economy in New Jersey is, without a doubt, struggling. With one of the worst recessions in recent memory, the state is attempting to adapt to the unstable economic climate in any way possible. The state senate recently proposed a bill to increase the minimum wage to $8.50 an hour. How this will effect the state is still unknown with some sides arguing it will help ease the economic tension and others arguing it will only cause businesses to inflate their prices to compensate for paying workers higher hourly wages.

Bordentown itself is not immune to the recession. According to City Data, the state’s unemployment rate is at 9.7% with Bordentown’s unemployment rate shortly under the state average at 9.5%. Bordentown’s retail trade makes up the second most common industry in the town. This begs the question, in the light of economic hardships, what does that mean for the average small business owner?

Adaption or extinction

The Record Collector in Bordentown is an example of how small businesses are attempting to take on more facets than just “retail” in order to maintain a steady business model.

Photo courtesy of the-record-collector.com

Photo courtesy of the-record-collector.com

Whereas record stores used to be able to only sell music and music related items with the recession and the plight of the vinyl record store at the hands of digital media, John Chrambanis has adapted his business to suit those seeking live entertainment as well as CDs or records by holding concert events in the store itself. The racks are all on moveable shelves to make room for a stage. Chrambanis hopes to expand his business even more so to create a small cafe setting where people can relax and listen to live music. Though he does not plan on investing money in a liquor license not only because they’re expensive but because of the way alcohol could alter the chilled out environment.

Chrambanis is only one example of ways businesses in Bordentown are trying to retrofit themselves into the overall feeling of hardship in the state.

photo courtesy of city-data.com

photo courtesy of city-data.com

April Sette, in charge of public relations for Downtown Bordentown (an association of local businesses) suggested that new businesses hoping for exposure get involved in the community. “Small business owners that get the most exposure,” said Sette, “are the ones that get involved in the community. If they take part in charity or a park project they get their name out there.” She suggested that it’s important to be active in a community because it reflects back on the small business. If a community is aware of business owner and their good deeds for the local community it helps garner new clientele and most important of all, according to Sette, “It’s free exposure.”

With all this in mind, the state small business sector has shown some hesitant signs of improvement. According to Charles Steindel, an ecomonist for New Jersey, the state’s recovery hasn’t been spectacular but it has been steady. Though according the state data jobs in the fields of manufacturing and construction has fell those in wholesale and retail trade as well as professional and business services have grown which indicates high hopes for Bordentown’s economic future it stays steady with the state average.

Below is an interactive Google map of some of the shops located along Farnsworth Avenue in Bordentown.

Bordentown City lights up Farnsworth for the upcoming Holidays

As always, the shops and restaurants that line Farnsworth Avenue have decked their storefronts in lights, wreaths, garlands, and other Christmas decorations to bring in the 2012 holidays. Below are a few shots of the town all lit up.

Toscano’s

Toscano's

 

The Farnsworth House

 

The Farnsworth House

 

Shoppe 202

Shoppe 202 side

Shoppe 202 front

 

Personables

Personables

Personables

 

Under the Moon

Under the Moon

 

Marcello’s

Marcello's

 

The Bordentown tree

Tree front

Tree

 

 

Newly elected school board member Tim Hartmann talks about his plans for the Bordentown Regional School District

On Thursday November 7th, I sat down with Tim Hartmann, a 26-year-old resident of Bordentown, who won the local election for a postion on the Bordentown Regional School Board to discuss his political standings and his plans for the three year term.

Tim Hartmann

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.

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.