New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie cut a 5½ mile-long ribbon to celebrate the Jersey Shore’s reopening for Memorial Day weekend. The Shore was hard hit by Superstorm Sandy and, despite the inclement weather forecast for the weekend, residents and tourists are expected to travel there in droves over the holiday weekend.
Governor Christie cut the ceremonial ribbon marking the shore's reopening on NBC’s “Today” show, setting a record as he made the cut: The ribbon used to mark the reopening of the Jersey Shore was more than a mile longer than the length of the ribbon that held the previous world record, the Associated Press reported, and officials from the Guinness Book of World Records were on hand to validate it. The previous record was held by Stadt Schwäbisch Hall, in Germany, whose ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the renovations of one of the hall’s quarters and measured 4.19 miles long.
The Jersey Shore and neighboring coastal communities were especially hit hard by Superstorm Sandy. Thousands of residents lost power, and the state reported $42 billion in storm-related damages. Sandy threw the Jet Star roller-coaster, a staple of the Seaside Heights attractions pier, into the sea, creating perhaps one of the most iconic images of the storm's aftermath. Last week crews tore down what remained of the famous shore attraction and removed the debris from the ocean.
Crews have worked for months repairing the boardwalk and other Sandy-related damage to get the Shore ready for Memorial Day. Christie, speaking to “Today’s” Matt Lauer, said, “Here on the boardwalk, people will see it as an eight out of 10 when they start coming here in June, but for a lot of the homeowners of the state, it's going to take the better part of the next year to get them back.”
Local business, nightclubs and the beach will be open to the public beginning Memorial Day weekend, although Christie noted that a lot of work remains to restore all the homes and business damaged by Sandy. Attractions such as the Keansburg Amusement Park will also open to the public during the weekend.
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Christie’s appearance on “Today” was part of the governor’s campaign to dispel any rumors that claim the Jersey Shore is too damaged by Sandy to visit. The effort also includes a $25 million marketing campaign to let tourists and residents know that many of the attractions of Seaside Heights would indeed be open during the summer season. “For probably 80 percent of the Jersey Shore, you won't notice the difference at all from last summer,” Christie said.
While the Jersey Shore may be open for business, the weather may not be ideal beach weather. The Star-Ledger reported a forecast of rain and temperatures in the mid-50s throughout Friday and Saturday. However, the weather for Sunday is expected to improve dramatically. The forecast for Memorial Day calls for plenty of sun and temperatures in the 70s.