Locals share their favorite memories and moments of 2011, below.  And huge thanks to our city’s preeminent historian, Helen Chantal Pike, for taking the time to also write about memories in Pike on the Park, her smart blog.

“Waking up the Sunday morning of the Hurricane to ‘see what happened’ while I tried to sleep.  When I went online to the New York Times, I saw the photo of waves beating down on the boardwalk at the old Howard Johnson’s.  I knew if there was a photographer on the Convention Hall balcony, Asbury Park was spared the worst.  Miraculously we didn’t even lose power and are just a few houses down from this incredible photograph of Nature.” – Ken Tyburski

“It was great being one of the people that was screamed at by Governor Christie to ‘Get the hell off the beach in Asbury Park!’” – Tim Donnelly, surfer

New York Times ( photo of Hurricane Irene hitting the Asbury Park boardwalk, August 28, 2011

“I loved the excitement and the unexpected days off after the Tropical Storm – and spending evenings at home playing board games and cards by candle light!” – Carl Chesna

“Giving birth to my perfectly healthy and beautiful daughter at the Jersey Shore hospital. Taking the leap of faith allowed me to recognize and be privileged with the greatest gift from God… just when I thought I was done.”  – Heather Rotondi

“One of our favorite 2011 memories is being a couple feet away to witness Bruce Springsteen jump up on stage and play with the great West Side performers at the Wonder Bar.  It was history in the making.  The place was rocking with smiles all around… and all this just down the street from our house!” – Sonja O’Brien

Photo used with permission from Mike Black Photography. Check out his 2012 calendar of amazing local images on Search “Mike Black Photography Asbury Park Calendar”.

“After I drummed in the parade with the Onespirit women drummers, I spent the rest of the afternoon at home visiting with a lovely woman, Deb, sharing an earphone as we listened to tunes on her Blackberry.  And then the most gorgeous Fourth of July fireworks show – it was magical.  I cuddled sweetly for the first time with Deb that evening, who is now my girlfriend and has made this a special year for me.  Moments I will remember forever.” – Linda Phillips

“My favorite moment in 2011 was when a policeman tracked down Malcolm and I at a restaurant to tell us that our car, which had disappeared several days earlier (the weekend of The Rapture), was found.  The great policeman took Malcolm to get the car, which we assumed would be a Rapture reject.  The Rapture Robber left his fingerprints on the CD that he left in the car.  Hopefully, he is enjoying the rapture of jail.”  – Tom Pivinski

“It would have to be my thoroughbred horse Hermosillo winning the Charles Hess Handicap for the second year at Monmouth Park Racetrack and being voted New Jersey’s horse of the year.  Personally and for all the local Asbury Park owners it was a moment to remember. Seeing our old trees destroyed in the downtown took the heart out of the city for me.” – Robb Levinsky

“Having the opportunity to vacation each summer in Asbury Park with my parents as a kid, we enjoyed all the activities and experiences Asbury Park offered us after a long winter in the city.  In the past, we enjoyed delicious dinners every evening at a variety of wonderful local restaurants like Finaldi’s, Marine Grill, Homestead, the Criterion, Michael’s and Possilipo’s.  In 2011, we are in no short supply of great places to dine.  Asbury Park’s persistent progress in 2011 is a reincarnation from my fondest memories.” – Linda Beauchamp

“I was walking during a warm summer night down Cookman Avenue and then it popped into my mind and heart what a wonderful place was happening right in front of my eyes.” – David Bates

“For me, I am so thankful for the creative community that has developed on Bangs Avenue.  What a great group of people and businesses!” – Jenna Zilincar

“Seeing the 500 block of Cookman Avenue lit up and looking good for the first time in… well, my life has been fantastic!”  – Chris McCarthy

“When my kids from Interfaith youth core surprised me with a homemade thank you card – a beautiful plant and big hugs and kisses for our summer edible garden journey together.  Seeing the smiles and joy at the simple realization of what the earth can bring was wonderful.” – Marilyn Schlossbach

“We went to a fundraising appraisal event in Asbury Park in June and had our sculpture reviewed.  We were given the contact info for an auctioneer and, well, they auctioned our $10 flea market item and we got a check for more than a grand – ain’t that grand?” – Kathy Polenberg

“So many nice memories this year.  One of my favorite moments was watching Shepard Fairey putting up murals on the side of the Fast Lanes as part of ATP with my friend Jonathan Levine, (who made this happen), and the staff of the Lanes. It was like getting a gift to our sometimes forgotten ‘lil block.  Knowing that I fought for something and it happened was a good feeling.” – Jenn, Asbury Lanes

Shepard Fairey’s murals on the Fast Lane in Asbury Park, September 30, 2011 (photo courtesy

“For sure seeing and meeting artist Shepard Fairey and his crew at work stenciling and pasting around town during ATP Festival was epic and something I’ll never forget, but Sand Blast Weekend this year was also pretty special for me.  I’ve been before, but this was the first chance since I’ve lived here that I really got to spend time and enjoy experiencing the beach dance, pool party & all it’s events.  It reminded me what originally drew me to Asbury Park.”  – Billy Mecca, Beachcruiser Magazine

“It never fails that while I am mowing the lawn, planting my flower beds or relaxing on my front porch, that friends and neighbors stop by just to say ‘hello.’  The sense of community and friendship that my husband Gary and I feel here in Asbury Park never ceases to amaze us.  I have to remind myself to dress cuter when I am doing my yard chores.” – Charlie “The Matchmaker” Maffei

“This year I passed a major birthday milestone.  Whereas a decade ago we marked the event with a trip to Paris, this year I chose to celebrate with a poolside party, surrounded by our Asbury Park friends and neighbors – the greatest gift I could ever ask for.” – Victoria List

“The most exciting day for me was May 7th when we watched our newest family take ownership of their new home on Borden Avenue. The excitement and enthusiasm from everyone made for a very meaningful and fulfilling experience.” – Maureen Mulligan, Coastal Habitat for Humanity

“I will always remember 2011 as the year that I opened my vintage clothing store in town. It was a huge leap of faith to quit my great advertising job in Manhattan and start my own business.  I’ve been so lucky to have the amazing support of my family, friends and customers.” – Megan Gerrity, Blue Hawaii

“My favorite moment and happiest memory in Asbury Park in 2011 was standing on the balcony roof of Convention Hall looking out at the sea of 15,000 people that came out for this year’s Zombie Walk and Undead Festival.  Hearing that crowd roar ‘brains’ back at me is something I will not forget.  Just thinking about it gives this dead guy chills!” – Jason Meehan, Zombie Walk founder

Zombie Walk, October 22, 2011

“I am deeply happy that there were two sold out houses for two events sponsored by The Provincetown Fringe Festival in Asbury Park. All of the proceeds for “Remembering Phil Ochs” and “The Short Play Festival” were donated to Three Little Kitten’s in Asbury Park and a grassroots effort to feed the homeless beach cats in Ocean Grove as well as the Asbury Park Little League. This was made possible by the generosity of Frank D’Alessandro and the Stephen Crane House.” – Marjorie Conn

“Riding my bike around All Tomorrow’s Parties, I have never experienced so many musical experiences within such close proximity from each other than what the participating and non-participating venues offered.” – Sammy Boyd, Jr.

“My best memory of 2011 is the moment we decided to move our art house cinema across the street and expand.  We have been in town for over two years, find our base of loyal movie lovers growing and felt this was the time to stake a long term claim on the street we have come to love.” – Nancy Sabino, The ShowRoom

“I know this will be controversial but… I liked when they put parking meters downtown.  Now, all the shopkeepers and people living upstairs in the apartments cannot park in the spaces 24 hours a day any longer, which means more parking for customers.  Hooray.” – Malcolm Navias

“My favorite moment was the very first Saturday I used my beach locker at the Fifth Avenue Beach.  All summer I was able to ride my bike without having to carry everything.  And the locker paid for itself.  Thank you City Hall!” – Andy Pawlan

“How can you top bringing the Smithsonian’s New Harmonies exhibition to Asbury Park in celebration of the city’s multi-genre musical heritage?  It was a feast for the ears.  Plus, I had a great time working with the musicians who contributed their memoirs to the legacy project ‘Asbury Park: Where Music Lives’.  Very grateful for the experience.” – Helen Chantal Pike

Cheers to a healthy and happy 2012 for everyone.  Thank you always for your readership.

Happy Holidays from everyone at the Conover Agency. Click on the image above for more!