Ocean City's Memory Lane

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I just returned from a wonderful trip to Ocean City, NJ, last weekend.

For the most part, it looks the same. Sure, there are new townhomes and condos. There are some old businesses that shut down or under new ownership. But its just like a familiar friend after all these years.

Arriving on Saturday, once I got to the beautiful townhome on Park Place was to hit the Boardwalk. Saturday was a bit overcast, and not a true "beach day". Walking up on the boardwalk, I wanted to see some of my old haunts. Like The Promenade. I never worked at The Promenade, but Matt was an old employee there during the early 90s. It wasn't the greatest place to work at - but all the kids there were (mostly) college age and there were a ton of them employed at The Promenade. So Matt would always have some kind of "hook" - a party he knew about. Some cute girls he could introduce me to. Anytime that Brad and I would go up to the boardwalk, we would stop by to say hi to Matt and the other employees and owners. 10 years later and nothing much has changed about it. Still the same expensive boardwalk food. I saw one of the owners, but I know she wouldn't remember me, since I never really worked there.

Went into a few other stores and arcades on the boardwalk after the Promenade. I went to Mack and Mancos to get 2 slices of pepperoni pizza. I had forgotten how greasy they were. I had to soak up the grease with napkins (like we used to do even 10 years ago). The crust of that pizza I think just makes it so special. It just has a soft crunch to it that I love. I wolfed down my slices while warily watching the seagulls eye me from above. Is it me or have the seagulls become even MORE aggressive over the years? They have always been bold, but I actually watched one of them swoop down while someone was holding a hoagie and snap it up! I remember seeing seagulls go after food that was unattended or even next to a person - but taking food out of someone's hand? Wow. I was impressed.

I grabbed some fresh lemonaide off the boardwalk. I love those suckers. I drank about 4 of them over the weekend. I wondered how much a fresh lemonaide stand would make right next to the PATH train during the summer.

Another thing that I love about Ocean City is that everyone are Philadelphia sports fans (for good reason, I know). Very rarely i'd spot a Yankees cap. It just added to the sense of "being home" when i'd see a 7 year old on a bike with a Phillies shirt (even if it had Thome on the back) or go into a ball cap store and see about 20 different styles of Philadelphia sports teams caps to choose from. Side rant: I love the 1979 Philadelphia ball cap, but seriously hate the fitted ballcap. Will someone get smart and make the 1979 Phillies adjustable cap?! Is it really asking that much?

The rest of the afternoon was spent on the boardwalk, and about 2 hours on the beach, under the overcast sky. I said, "You really don't need sunlight in order to get a tan." to my friend, thinking in my mind about how even on a cloudy day you can get a tan. She replied with a mischevious grin, "So, with your logic we can get tan at night?" I grumbled and tried to backtrack but she zinged me good.

Saturday night I drove to Somers Point to grab dinner. All the restaurants there have drastically changed or closed, so I had no clue where to go. After about 15 minutes I was coming up on Mac's Restaurant and chuckled to my friend, "I worked there about 18 years ago...", She added, "Oh we are so going there!"

At first I protested, then I remembered that Cass from Trust Me, I'm A Blonde emailed me saying it was under new ownership. What the hell, it could be fun to check out the old cheesy restaurant. I walk in and look around. Flat screen TVs. Hardwood floors. Open, expansive seating. It was gorgeous.

"Good afternoon, sir!", said the matre d' next to me, with two young pretty hostesses next to him.

"Is this Mac's?!", I replied incrediously.

"Yes, sir. Just remodeled two months ago.", he replied.

"Wow.", I was stunned. I sheepishly mumbled, "I worked here about 20 years ago...nice job with the changes. Table for two please."

We sat down, and I was gawking for the first 15 minutes. I kept trying to put what my mind's eye remembered and what I was seeing. It was the same place, but some walls were knocked down, and booth-style seating removed, with everything new-new-new. They gave us a wine list, a martini list and an detailed menu that could satisfy nearly any taste. Bottom line - if you are going to Ocean City and looking for a place to eat, you have to go to Mac's. The only downside is that the prices were a bit expensive for the non-Hobokenite. The meal cost about the same as Court Street would cost. I can see how some Philadelphians would go there and balk at the prices.

After our visit down memory lane, Saturday night was spent digesting and sipping a Pinot Noir, and listening to the waves crash on the beach only 200 yards from the balcony. Very relaxing night.

Sunday I woke up at 9am....for those that know me, yes I did write "9am".

There wasn't a cloud in the sky and it was gorgeous. I decided to walk to the Chatterbox for breakfast when Memory Lane #2 shows up - The Sindia Restaurant. I worked at The Sindia in 1986, when I was 14. My first job was dishwashing. The next year I was a busboy. Mac's, in the years I worked there, was the Taj Mahal when compared to The Sindia. Again - my friend was like, "You know we are going to eat here, don't you?!"

We took a hard left and sat outside. We got a very young server, maybe he was 14 years old himself. He was very awkward, and his father came up to us, "Hi! Welcome to The Sindia, i'm the owner and this is my son. It's his first summer as a waiter."

I mentioned to the owner that I worked at the restaurant many years ago, and we chatted a bit. The breakfast menu was surprising and the food was very good, especially for the reasonable prices. I didn't get to check out if they made any changes inside.

After breakfast - it was on to the beach.

Like I said, it was a beautiful day. And I was an idiot again. I have the italian/black irish skin. Once I get a base tan I rarely need any kind of sunscreen...I just soak in the rays and get a dark bronze tan. I was distracted by the arrival of my sister and brother in law, along with their 4 kids. I didn't put anything on and my "base tan" is from the electric beach. 2 hours later and I was told I was looking a bit pink. I didn't want to start off the summer with a bad sunburn, so I got off the beach. I took a shower, put on some 30 SPF sunscreen and went to the boardwalk to play some Putt Putt Golf - at Gilligan's island. I had stiff competition and a Mickelson meltdown on 18 to result in a tie.

Lunch was at The Promenade again. I didn't get over to Voltaco's, I was unhappy about that. I left Ocean City around 4:30pm, thinking that with it being a nice day that I wouldn't hit much traffic. I was making good time until I got near the northern shorepoints at 6pm and then it became a crawl. I got back to Hoboken around 7:15pm.

Fun weekend. I don't know if every weekend i'd like to jet to Ocean City per se, but I do miss the shore.

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This page contains a single entry by Furey published on June 19, 2006 12:24 AM.

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