opinion

A comeback is in the making with the pedestrian plazas in Red Bank

If you haven’t been to the downtown district of Red Bank over the weekend, you’re missing out on a lot! Seriously, the transformation of Broad Street has been nothing short of impressive — with life teeming at every corner once the sun began to go down. Much like many other local towns throughout Monmouth County and the greater Jersey Shore area, small businesses are slowly reemerging from the pandemic’s adverse effect on our lives and communities. While there’s no denying the comeback, there are still several things to consider to truly make this decision of offering pedestrian plazas in Red Bank a surefire attraction for years to come.

Events have certainly always generated the biggest buzz, thanks in part in how they’re typically held seasonally or annually. In fact, some of the biggest events below have been known to attract not only residents in nearby towns, but also from farther out. They include the following:

Due to the severity of the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, many of these events are being re-imagined in way to meet social distancing guidelines. Over the weekend, there was an undeniable presence of people, families, and patrons making their way to the Broad Street pedestrian plaza. With lights hanging above and a sizable walkway in between the restaurants toward the north end of the street (closer to Front Street), the majority of movement centered around this area.

Closer to the southern side of the plaza, the small section in between White Street and Monmouth Street, the space wasn’t as busy. Sure, there were a few retailers out there along with musical performers, but there’s definitely opportunity for more boutiques and retail shops to take advantage of the plaza. This may very well come in the coming weeks as the town continues to close down Broad Street (and Monmouth Street) for these plazas.

Outdoor dining has been a huge draw, with many diners eating at Patrizia’s of Red Bank, The Robinson Ale House, The Bistro, Char Steakhouse, and Catch 19.

One attractive quality about the pedestrian plaza is that it’s happening right at the beginning of summer, as well as months of people staying at home during the pandemic. As the summer continues, though, there’s going to be the challenge of fighting the weather. Yes, the weather! Over the last few nights, the temperatures have been favorable enough, but come July and August when the temperature and humidity are at their extremes, most people wouldn’t want to endure the outdoors.

Despite the challenges ahead, we’re already in the beginning stages of a major comeback. Even though there are no plans at the moment to make these pedestrian plazas permanent fixtures, it’ll be interesting to see what may happen as these pedestrian plazas continue to attract visitors near and far. In the meantime, check out all of the photos below from the new pedestrian plazas on Broad Street — as well as the accompanying video above!

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