A new mobile app brings to life the impact Superstorm Sandy had on a few select shore towns in New Jersey.
The app uses your phones GPS and when you’re on the boardwalk of Seaside Park, Seaside Heights and Ortley Beach audio stories are triggered on your smartphone.
You’ll hear the stories of people who were on the scene when Sandy battered the shore, along with stories from people who are leading the rebuilding and you will hear from those who warn about rebuilding on a part of land so at risk from nature.
You don’t even have to visit these shore towns to experienceBoardwalk Stories from Sandy. In armchair mode you just click on the map to hear stories.
“Seaside Heights is a great place to explore these issues because of the iconic imagery of the roller coaster,” said Benjamen Walker, a New York City-based radio producer who developed Boardwalk Stories with Francesca Panetta and Ravenna Koenig. “We tried to do it in a way that draws in people interested in Sandy and others who don’t understand the science or who might not understand why people would want to rebuild. Everyone can learn something.”
The tour begins at the dunes adjacent to Lafayette Avenue in Seaside Park, continues onto the boardwalk through Seaside Heights past the Beachcomber Bar and Grill, Kohr’s Frozen Custard and Casino Pier, and up to the hard-hit Ortley Beach community.
Along the way, narrators including Tim Dillingham, executive director of American Littoral Society, Maria Maruca, an Ortley Beach Councilwoman, Patty Hershey, owner of the Shake Shoppe Arcade, and Thomas Boyd, Seaside Heights Police Chief point out landmarks as they share their memories of the boardwalk, Sandy experiences and thoughts on rebuilding. The app provides rich layers of sound from the spots — crashing waves, squawking seagulls, rowdy children, the songs played at amusement park rides, and the emergency calls that ordered residents to evacuate before Sandy made landfall.
NewsWorks content partner Justin Auciello, who helped find the right voices for the app says people need to know that Sandy is not over.
“The walking tour helps people understand that the recovery is a long-term effort. Sandy was a major disaster. Everything may look okay on the face of it but it’s really not,” Auciello said. “The app opens up that layer — it brings you into the deeper issues and helps you understand there are a lot of challenges.”
Auciello is also one of the voices heard on the app. He recounts watching the Seaside Park/Heights boardwalk fire spread northward engulfing well known local businesses.
Boardwalk Stories was funded by the New Jersey Recovery Fund, a joint effort between local and national foundations, corporations and individuals created in Sandy’s wake to support long-term solutions