(BAY HEAD, NJ) – The sounds of summer in the borough of Bay Head, New Jersey, are not what one would expect to hear along the shore this time of year. A jackhammer here, a drill over there, a bulldozer across the way — for many, 2013 is the summer of rebuilding.
The tony beach community was ravaged by Sandy with more than 90% of the homes impacted. Seven months after the super storm, tattered flags still fly, rubble still sits and North Street remains closed. The task of rebuilding is a daunting one.
For Mayor Bill Curtis some sites still too difficult to absorb. In front of one home cracked in half and completely destroyed, the Mayor described saying, “It’s sad. I mean all of their life is in there and it’s gone.”
When reminded that there are people that still haven’t been able to rebuild with Andrea on the radar, Curtis simply said, “Yeah, it’s scary.”
Andrea, the first storm of the season, is nowhere near a Sandy or Irene, but Bay Head has been preparing for any type of storm for months. The borough has put up additional dunes on its own.
Notably, last week on the Asbury Park Boardwalk President Barack Obama touted that the Army Corp of Engineers would be making their way into several New Jersey beach communities to create barrier dunes in the coming weeks. When reminded of this Mayor Curtis chuckled. When asked why? “Because they haven’t come to Bay Head at all.”
As his community rebuilds with hopes of recreating its past, Mayor Curtis still hasn’t been able to rebuild the one place that holds a special place in his heart, The Curtis Central Market Deli Wine and Liquor Store.
His family has owned the business for the last 103 years. The 70-year-old has been operating it since 1995. Mayor Curtis admits rebuilding a family treasure — in the midst of reconstructing the treasures of other families — has been challenging, “It’s tough. The job I am in now, is very rewarding to me, I am glad I have the opportunity but it’s all encompassing, it takes me twenty-four-seven.”