People, communities, families and businesses persevered in 2013, rising above seemingly insurmountable challenges.  Random acts of kindness became standard operating procedure – inspiring and encouraging others to do the same.  And proving “stronger than the storm” was not just a bumper sticker.

For the fifth year in The Coaster, read on for locals’ best memories and moments of the year…

Tim Donnelly:  “My favorite memory of 2013 was a week after our benefit concert ‘On The Beach-A Sandy Relief Concert,’ when I dropped off checks to Coastal Habitat for Humanity, The Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, Waves for Water and RebuildRecover.  Also, the morning after the show taking my pals from New Orleans to Frank’s for their first pork roll egg and cheese ever.”

Jenifer Hixson:  “To my children, three and five years old, the loss of the playground on the beach in Asbury Park was a tangible way for them to understand the impact of Sandy.  I let them know that we lost our beloved playground, but many others lost much, much more.  So, our favorite memory of 2013 was when the playground was restored and reopened for business.  Our family really missed it and not just because of the beautiful setting but because it truly feels like a community spot.  People from all corners of Asbury get together in the spirit of fun, to enjoy happiness, to get some sea air, and to meet our neighbors. It’s really beautiful; all of us taking turns on the slide and enjoying the scenery and the laughter of our kids. We love it there and are so grateful to now have two beach playgrounds.”  [more below…]

On behalf of Truman, thank you for your readership and support all year long.  WIshing you everything wonderful in 2014.

On behalf of Truman, thank you for your readership and support all year long. WIshing you everything wonderful in 2014.

Jen Zarcone:  “My memorable moment this year was going to the 90.5 The Night’s Songwriter’s on the Beach series in Belmar. I went to the Nicole Atkins show and also James Maddock. We drank wine (oops is that allowed on the beach?!), heard great music and watched the sun set behind the band and then the moon rise over the ocean – and we all looked at each other and said, ‘this is why we live here.’”

Janice and Aidan Molloy:  “Our Dad Dick Seibel died suddenly in June.  He loved weekly visits, with our mom Honey, to Asbury Park and loved everybody here.  When our friends wrote his obituary and The Coaster published it like he lived here full-time, it was just so kind and meant so much to our family.  It would have made him smile.  And it was a big hug to Honey too.”

Tom Gilmour:  “There were many big Asbury Park memories in 2013 including President Obama’s visit.  However, my fondest memory was the day we reopened the Asbury Park beaches the weekend before Memorial Day.  Sandy took a toll on all of us.  There was so much to do, to fix, to replace.  I often felt we were not going to fix everything in time for summer.  Somehow, someway, as we always do with the help of many volunteers we came together, worked long and hard, and got it done.  It was a wonderful feeling to hear Mayor Johnson announce that the Asbury Park beaches were open!  Asbury Park truly was ‘Stronger than the Storm’.”

Helen Chantal-Pike:  “The moments in which I stole in ‘on little cat’s feet’ to visit Asbury Park twice in 2013.  Too brief but noteworthy because people making documentary films continue to be as fascinated as I am by this grand residential resort town, with its richly diverse architecture and music scene.”

Malcolm Navies:  “At last, after more than 20 years of waiting, Tom and I were married the day it became legal.  Yippee!”

Tom Pivinski:  “My most memorable moment was my marriage to Malcolm in our living room, officiated by Rabbi Bill Krause on Oct. 21.  My second most memorable moment was officiating at the first same-sex weddings in Asbury Park at 12:01 am on Oct. 21.  My third most memorable moment was finding an abandoned Chihuahua on Park Ave in New York on May 21 in front of Big Daddie’s Diner and naming her Big Momma.”

Matt Philbin:  “My two greatest moments were getting married to Marty Marino, my partner of 25 years.  And biking my first-ever Brarking AIDS ride from Boston to New York City – a 300 mile journey I will never forget.”

Luke Magliaro:  “It was inspired by the saddest moment of the year – the day my mom passed away.  But her funeral overlooking the ocean in Long Branch was actually uplifting and beautiful.  Officiated by Father Bob, he also helped plan the service.  Andrew DiPrisco played music accompanied by a vocalist with an angelic voice.  I requested they sing ‘Three Little Birds’ by Bob Marley, which with a reggae beat is not something usual for funerals.  But there was not a dry eye in the chapel.  The radiant words of ‘don’t worry about a thing’ was a comfort to us all.”

Andy Pawlan:  “When I went to the Showroom to see the movie ‘CBGB.’  The movie was great and I don’t love punk rock music, but the thing that made it amazing was that his daughter happened to be at the screening. She spoke afterwards and answered questions. It was fascinating. I thought…”Only in Asbury Park.”

Carol Scollay:  “After our daughter Katie graduating high school, the memory that stands out for me is the Wanamassa Point annual yard sale.  There is always laughter and good cheer.”

Maureen Nevin:  “A favorite memory was of a magical night.  My next door neighbors and I dined at McCloone’s while Tim recorded his radio broadcast.  I took the mike to congratulate him and was knocked over by a warm round of applause from die-hard Asbury Radio fans.  As we were leaving, we saw South Side Johnny was at the Stone Pony.  And before I could buy a ticket, a woman I had never seen before gave me her extra ticket.  People who love Asbury Park are a special breed.”

Linda Beauchamp:  “The best thing about 2013 is that Sandy is well behind us and ‎we see some positive improvements and progress in its aftermath. And have hope for support for those less fortunate.”

Marilyn Schlossbach:  “This year has been one of the hardest but also filled with so much transformation and growth.  Seeing so many around me rise up and go thru all of this with me is something I will cherish and use for strength for the rest of my life.  My most memorable memories are sharing our triumph over Sandy with my tribe and my staff.  Also, seeing my babies make their first steps and say their first words.  For Hari, it was ‘dog’ and for Rubi, it was ‘fish.’  I love watching their ongoing transformation into little people.”

What was your favorite memory of 2013?  Post it in the comments section below.