You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.
The demolition of Joey Harrison’s Surf Club, a Jersey Shore institution that spanned generations in Ortley Beach, was inevitable. The nightclub, concert venue and restaurant, operated by the Barcelona family for decades, could not be saved after being pummeled by Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
Demolition crews staged about a week ago in Ortley Beach following the issuance of a contract by the township to tear down the remaining portions of the former nightclub and restaurant. The township has received state funding to convert the property into a public beach.
“I am so glad to finally get this project going” Toms River Councilman Maria Maruca said earlier this week. “A lot of effort by many have gone into this project and today marks the start of an improved and expanded beachfront in Ortley,” she added.
The demolition crews spent the majority of the week using their excavator or remove dozens of timber piling foundational surfaces that had been drilled into the sand, but on Friday the razing of the building began in earnest.
Crews tackled various parts of the remaining structure, including a wall that once carried the painting of the Surf Club’s legendary “Jersey Devil” logo.
Its ramps, walkways and entrance – where thousands stood in search of a fun night, ample drinks, the moon over the ocean, and a great band and DJ – will be gone soon.
Toms River Township officials plan to convert the once-booming nightclub into a public beach, with its parking lot across the street able to accommodate about 100 more vehicles. The township council last month awarded a $212,800 contract to Two Brother Contracting Inc., of Totowa, Passaic County, to complete the demolition.
The township’s contribution toward the acquisition – $685,000 – will be financed through the sale of land near Cattus Island County Park and Ocean County College to the county, which is expected to be finalized in the coming weeks. All aspects of the Surf Club transaction are expected to be completed by the end of 2021. The remainder of the $7.3 million land buy will be funded through the state’s Blue Acres program.