The Attack That’s Closed Part of the Statue of Liberty for Nearly a Century [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe]...

The Statue of Liberty has been standing guard at the mouth of New York harbor since her dedication on October 28, 1886.  She is a symbol of welcome to immigrants arriving to the United States.  She has been closed for six months due to damage from Superstorm Sandy.  However, one part of her structure has been sealed off to visitors after a terror attack nearly a century ago. Given as a gift from the people of France, Lady Liberty was designed and constructed by artist Frederic Bartholdi.  Completed in stages, parts of the new statue were displayed in both France, New York, and at international expositions before being crated up and shipped to the US.  Once the appropriate funds were raised, she was assembled on what was then called Bedloe’s Island, now known as Liberty Island. The statue, representing the Roman goddess of freedom, features one foot moving forward to symbolize progress and a broken chair at her feet.  She holds a tablet with the inscription July 4, 1776, the date of American independence from the British. New York City held its first ticker tape parade to celebrate that statue’s completion with President Grover Cleveland on hand for the festivities and dedication. The statue has welcomed millions of visitors over the years.  When the statue reopens, visitors will once again be able to climb the long spiral staircase to the crown and take a peek out the windows high above the harbor for spectacular views of New York City and the busy waterway. But, there was once another part of the statue visitors were permitted to tour, until a terror attack that occurred in 1916 known as “The Black Tom Explosion.” Black Tom was once an island in the New York Harbor located a short distance from the Statue of Liberty.  The island was connected to the mainland Jersey City, New Jersey by a long causeway and railroad track.  Eventually, the area between the mainland and island was filled in and officially became part of the city.  A huge pier and warehouses were also constructed on the site. The island became a major munitions depot where American companies were able to sell weapons and ammunitions, which were in large demand across the Atlantic for the upcoming World War I.  Being allied with France and Britain, they were the only two countries allowed to make purchases from the depot. After midnight on July 30, 1916, several small fires were discovered on the pier.  While some locals tried to extinguish the flames themselves, the Jersey City Fire Department was called in. At 2:08am, a major explosion took place with residents being shaken from their beds by earthquake like vibrations that registered between 5.0 and 5.5 on the Richter Scale. The force was so powerful, that windows were blown out all over Manhattan and as far as 25 miles away.  The Brooklyn Bridge was shaken, but undamaged.  The outer wall of Jersey City’s City Hall was cracked and a large clock in the Journal Square neighborhood over a mile away was hit and damaged. The noise and vibration could be felt as far away as Maryland and Connecticut. On Ellis Island, frightened immigrants that were being processed at the time were evacuated by ferry to Manhattan. The Statue of Liberty took $100,000 in damage after shrapnel pierced many parts, including several pieces that lodged in the arm.  As a result the torch, outer walkway, and arm were permanently closed.   The narrow hatchway inside that once welcomed visitors is still gated off to the public, but does allow access for employees to conduct repairs. According to historic records and government investigations, the munitions were set on fire by the Germans, who did not want the weapons to make it across the Atlantic due to a military blockade. Several different conclusions have been drawn as to how the fire was carried out, with one...

Jersey Joe Gets a Mall Massage [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Mar15

Jersey Joe Gets a Mall Massage [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe]

Shopping malls are plentiful in just about every state of the country. But in New Jersey, there’s a certain store that seems to be in just about every one – a massage parlor. Not, the illicit, happy-ending, adult ones – but the “my back’s sore from shopping can you rub it for a couple of bucks” ones. Each time I visit Atlantic City, I try to stop by Ping’s Place on the Boardwalk. The family run shop has been in business for a long time. While the Boardwalk is loaded with massage places, I tried Ping’s on my first trip to AC a decade ago, and now I stop by as a treat. For about a dollar a minute, they will massage your back, legs, neck, arms, and hands. You tell them how long you want to go, but I usually opt for the 20 minute session. They don’t use any crazy oils and you don’t have to get naked. I usually just lay down in a t-shirt as they play soft tranquil music and rub your cares away. Not only are these parlors plentiful on the Atlantic City Boardwalk, but also on other New Jersey shore town boardwalks and in their malls! The Shore Mall, in Egg Harbor Township, NJ, is currently undergoing a large de-malling construction project. The mall was once home to several of these mom and pop massage parlors, but as a wing of the mall is being demolished, they’ve simply moved to the nearby Hamilton Mall. I’ve shopped at the Newport Center Mall in Jersey City for years and have always noticed the set of eight massage chairs in the main mall walkway surrounding a kiosk. There’s no store to walk in here – you’re right out in the middle of the mall,...

Nerves of Steel Needed -Take a Ride on the Pulaski Skyway [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Oct12

Nerves of Steel Needed -Take a Ride on the Pulaski Skyway [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe]...

It’s a highway, 75 years old, that soars hundreds of feet in the air bypassing railroads, interstates, factories, multiple towns and even a canal. Thanks to the magnificent structure, it’s been made famous in books and movies, yet requires nerves of steel to drive. Take a ride on The Pulaski Skyway and find out how the mammoth structure earned its way into the history books! To be given the name “skyway” it must truly mean the highway soars way up into the air.  Seeing this structure in person turns you into a believer, it’s most certainly a skyway! The Pulaski Skyway runs from Newark to Jersey City, NJ, giving traffic an express route to the Holland Tunnel headed for New York City. The mega-structure totals 3.5 miles and opened on November 24, 1932, becoming one of the first super-highways in the United States. Made of numerous bridges, all connected into one soaring mega structure, the highway carries four lanes and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The structure is named for Casimir Pulaski, who was a Polish military leader that lead Continental Army troops in the Revolutionary War. Construction of the span resulted in 15 accidental deaths and one labor related murder. A local rumor says Jimmy Hoffa’s body is buried underneath, but there’s about a zillion rumors as to where he was finally disposed of. Trucks, pedestrians, and bicycles are prohibited on the skyway. The four lane highway barely fits onto the structure, leaving no room for a shoulder or sidewalk. In addition to the entrance at either end, two additional left exit ramps are located in the center of the structure to serve local streets.  While the speed limit is posted at 45 MPH, the road is a high speed free-for-all, since there is no...

Introducing The Hottest New Adult Beverage: Sweet Joe [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Sep07

Introducing The Hottest New Adult Beverage: Sweet Joe [Kicking Back with Jersey Joe]...

It’s one of those things that I can now check off my bucket list – I got a drink named after me! Get ready to take a sip of the adult beverage that will have your feeling like you’re on a cruise ship or a Caribbean Island! You can say you gave it a try – before it swept the country! It all started on a Friday afternoon last year, when my friend Mike and I were hanging out at one of our favorite taverns, O’Hara’s Downtown in Jersey City, NJ. In the mood for something different; bartender Sibel Aydemir had an idea. After pouring a few bottles of this and shaking a mixing glass of that, she produced a very awesome looking orange-yellow mixed drink. Before I could even blink, a second one appeared in front of me. “Try this,” she says. After taking a taste, “Wow!” is all I could think to say. If I had closed my eyes, I could have been sitting on the deck of a Carnival cruise ship, somewhere in the middle of a calm ocean, enjoying a refreshing dessert. That’s right – this drink tastes like a dessert! Who doesn’t love desserts? The first taste sensation was that of eating a piece vanilla cake, with a hint of orange/pineapple icing. It’s truly a different taste and extremely refreshing. The Sweet Joe is made of: 1/3 Vanilla Cake Vodka (Three Olives is the brand she used, but others may be substituted) 1/3 orange juice 1/3 pineapple juice Pour into a mixer and shake.  Garnish with fruit such as an orange slice or cherry. While I prefer mine served in a pint glass on the rocks, others who are not a fan of giant sweet drinks suggest serving as a shot. With little recorded history on...