New Jersey’s first lady Mary Pat Christie helped kick off the summer Friday morning by nailing a symbolic last plank into the Seaside Heights boardwalk. As part of a beach party sponsored by Coca-Cola featuring volleyball games and a soccer clinic, a wooden plank emblazoned with “open for summer” and the beverage giant’s famous red and white logo was placed into the boardwalk near Franklin Avenue.
Shortly after the ceremony the temporary board was replaced with a standard wooden plank. Seaside Heights’ boardwalk reconstruction actually was mostly completed before Memorial Day weekend; some railing and ramp work remains to be done on the walkway’s northern end.
The Coca-Cola Foundation presented Mrs Christie with a $500,000 check for the charity she heads, the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund, which has raised $37 million. Christie said the fund is focusing on helping homeowners. “We have a long way to go,” she said. “The Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund will be here until people can completely rebuild their homes.” Christie also said Coca-Cola, which has a long-standing relationship with Seaside Heights, was one of the first companies to offer help after last October’s devastating storm.
Sandy Levine is a freelance writer and television producer who was born and raised at the Jersey Shore.