Part of NJ boardwalk reopens in Seaside Heights

May 3, 2013 3:35:21 PM PDT
More than six months after Hurricane Sandy, part of the boardwalk in Seaside Heights has been reborn.

The town has opened up a five block stretch of the two mile long boardwalk.

It doesn't sound like much, but people are thrilled to be able to come here and walk once again.

"I love it! I almost started crying driving over the bridge because it just really means so much to all of us," said Kim Santoriello.

A bright sunny day and part of a brand-new boardwalk are a huge draw to people who've been cut off from their favorite strolling spot since Sandy destroyed the walkway.

"Oh it's great! I came down here from Hamilton, New Jersey just to get a walk on the new boardwalk," said Bill O'Grady.

"I was down here a few months ago. Incredible difference, it seems like night and day," said Bob Hill.

Lucky Leo's arcade has been open for months but other businesses are still boarded up.

Merchants hope the new boardwalk will bring tourists back with money to spend.

"I want them to come and spend money. Even if it's $10, $15, $30 just to help us keep the business going," said Etan Malca.

The $3.6 million project isn't finished yet. There are temporary railings in and the ocean side of the boardwalk is roped off.

However people say with even this small section open, it now gives them hope about the shore's recovery.

"Nice to be able to walk on the boardwalk and see the ocean and the beach and I think it's going to come back. It's going to take time but it'll be back," said Carolyn Wisz.

The New Jersey Realtors Association was on the boardwalk taping a commercial to get that message across.

"There's still plenty of houses to rent, we're trying to promote the Jersey Shore and get tourism back here in the state of New Jersey," said Jarrod Grasso.

The target date for completion is May 10 but visitors will have to make themselves happy just walking on the boardwalk. The beaches won't open until Memorial Day in Seaside Heights.