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Springsteen on Broadway

Springsteen on Broadway: A Jersey Girl Review

By: Lisa Marie Latino

My loved ones know that my taste in music bends towards the sweet side (I mean, it’s 2018 and *NSYNC was just playing on my iTunes), so I raised more than a few eyebrows when I told them I was seeing Bruce Springsteen‘s wildly successful Springsteen on Broadway. As I explained to their shocked faces, I was merely going to support my fiancé Joe in his Bruce fandom, and far be it for me to skip out on a fabulous New York City summer night that would also include dinner at Capital Grille.

After winning the coveted ticket lottery for the show, Joe made sure to give me a crash course on E Street Band lore so I wouldn’t be like the clueless bandwagon fans I despise during New York Yankees playoff runs. On our way to our favorite weekend getaway spot, we listened to Bruce recite the words to his best-selling autobiography, Born to Run. While some of his music may not have been in my wheelhouse, the man’s writing CERTAINLY was. I appreciated the way he poetically strung together his words so that every sentence would appeal to the five senses. Hearing him tell his tale made the prose all the more powerful.

Upon the book’s conclusion, I started diving into The Boss‘ catalogue. Of course I knew his too-many-to-name mainstream hits like “Hungry Heart”, “Human Touch”, “Glory Days”, “Streets of Philadelphia” and “Secret Garden” (what Jersey Girl doesn’t?) But I discovered other “obscure” ones—songs like “The Ghost of Tom Joad”, “Dream Baby Dream”, “One Step Up”, “Downbound Train”, “The River”, “Atlantic City” and “Trapped”. As I filled my iPod with these tunes, I admitted to Joe that he more than proved his point on why Bruce was the rock ‘n roll G.O.A.T.

The buzz in the air was palpable as we took our seats in the cozy confines of the Walter Kerr Theatre. We were surrounded by all walks of life from around the country, if not the world. People that were seeing Bruce for the 10th time, 30th time…and probably no one else there for the first (oh well). But it didn’t matter; once the house lights dimmed and he sauntered from stage right with his guitar, we were all one in our awe.

From our proximity, it literally felt like this living legend was hanging out with us in our living room, especially whenever he stepped away from the microphone to just be out in the open. Once the music started (first song: “Growing Up”) it gave you that pushed-off-an-airplane-without-a-parachute exhilarating feeling. For over two straight hours, he effortlessly went from storytelling, to cracking jokes, to making you cry, to singing along with his piano, to jamming out with his array of guitars, to strumming his harmonica, and back around again. Every song was reworked to fit the show’s acoustic nature, including the two he performed with his wife, Patti Scialfa“Tougher Than the Rest” and “Brilliant Disguise”and my personal favorites, “Dancing in the Dark” and “Born in the USA”.

What was evident beyond Bruce’s difficult relationship with his late father, and his great affection for his mother, is his complicated love story with New Jersey. In one breath, recalling the lyrics to Born to Run, he talked about how he viewed his hometown of Freehold as a “death trap” and a “suicide rap” but in the next, mentioned how he currently lives 10 minutes down the road. “I was born to stay home!” He joked. He peppered other Garden State references throughout the show, like how he cut his chops playing for obscure, Jersey Shore-area places like Marlboro Mental Hospital. These “growing up” Jersey (and Italian-American!) anecdotes added another layer of intimacy to an otherwise already-vulnerable performance that included a moving tribute to Clarence Clemons and a reciting of the Our Father.

Springsteen on Broadway

After the show, I made a beeline for the stage door in the hopes to meet him. As luck would have it, I got a prime spot behind the metal barrier, and he chose my side to bless with his presence.

As I stuck the Playbill out for his signature, I told him how Springsteen on Broadway was the first time seeing him live. Bruce actually stopped signing for a second to react.

“Really?” He quipped, part amused and part shocked.

“I know, and I’m from Jersey too. But I LOVED the show, you were great!”

“Well, I’m glad you enjoyed it,” he smiled, and continued down the line. That was the cherry on top of a perfect evening.

Of course, I gave the signed Playbill to Joe.

Seize The Summer With These Soon-To-Open Hot Spots

Everyone knows that New Jersey has some of the best food hot spots. However, do you know where the new, New Jersey hot spots are? #HipNJ has the scoop!

Somos

Somos

Acclaimed chef Juan Placencia (Costanera) and his family will open
Somos in August at 185 River Road, North Arlington, NJ. In Spanish, somos translates to “we are”; Somos will be a celebration of all Latin American flavors, with a global perspective and an approachable menu of small and shareable plates. In addition, it will have specialty cocktails by beverage director Carlos Ruiz, and Old & New World wines.

Cafe Loret

Cafe Loret

Chef Dennis Foy is also legendary among New Jersey diners. With his early attention to local ingredients, he planted the seeds of the farm-to-fine dining movement. In July, he and his partner Estella Quinones-Foy will present the pinnacle of his 40+ year career: Cafe Loret, a modern brasserie in downtown Red Bank.

Six 26

Six 26

Opening in August 2018 during Jersey City Pride Week! Six26 Lounge Bar will be the tri-state’s hottest LGBTQ destination. With a spacious lounge, a light menu, and also a stunning rooftop garden, Six26 will celebrate community, pride, inclusion, and culture, with daily programming and entertainment.

The Ashford

The Ashford

Slated for August, The Ashford will be a downtown Jersey City dining destination for every day of the week. From the team behind Manhattan‘s acclaimed Chinese Tuxedo, this stunning five-level space will offer guests an accessible yet chef-driven modern American menu. Another feature is the craft cocktails and extensive beer and wine lists.

The Edge

The Edge

Opening this fall at 109 North County Line Road in Jackson, The Edge is a stunning new dining destination. It is also conveniently placed for all Shore points due to its proximity. A seven-nights-a-week restaurant, its accomplished chef will offer an inspired New American menu.

Ani Ramen House

Ani Ramen

Coming this Fall to Summit Ani Ramen House, Summit residents can also live by the motto, “Slurp. Sip. Repeat.” The third location of this popular Japanese Ramen house will feature their signature ramen with artisan fresh noodles by Sun Noodles and other Japanese Izakaya dishes.

Farmly

Farmly

Now Open! Chef/owner James Avery’s Farmly is a welcoming neighborhood kitchen, serving slow-cooked roasted meats and also home-style sides, for grab-and-go or to enjoy on the spot. With its responsible sourcing of ingredients. Farmly offers wholesome, nutritious & delicious meals!

Anthony Davids Gourmet Specialties

Anthony Davids Gourmet Specialties

For two decades, chef/owner Anthony Pino has delighted guests with Italian classics and new creations. These are made with seasonal, local ingredients, strong flavors and simple, honest presentation, served in a relaxed, refreshed setting. Inspired by Italian trattorias, Anthony David’s is casual and welcoming. Furthermore, in warm weather, it is the town’s most charming outdoor seating.

Bin 14

Bin 14

Bin 14 is Hudson County’s most acclaimed wine bar, celebrating their 10-year Anniversary this November! The Summer menu’s contemporary blend of upscale Italian tapas also offers the town’s best gluten-free dining options. In addition, there are 80 wines by the glass and a deep list of favorite Summer wines.

Biergarten

Biergarten

The season is on and the Festhalle’s massive rooftop is open! First of all, it is the only authentic Austro-Hungarian Biergarten at the Jersey Shore. Asbury Festhalle also offers one of the Northeast’s best selections of premium import and domestic craft beers, world-class casual dining, a convivial atmosphere, and a regular schedule of live music and events!

Support Your Community This Small Business Saturday!

Thanksgiving might be over and there may be plenty of sales at plenty of chain stores around the country, but this year support your local community in the best way you can – support small business! Small businesses are the backbone of many communities, providing their unique services just for their town. If they’re lucky, word spreads and people will travel far and wide to check out their products, but at the very least the locals should support when they can! We’ve compiled a list of some great towns in New Jersey with plenty of small businesses for you to check out this Small Business Saturday!

  1. Asbury Park
    Tons of boutiques, a tree-lighting ceremony, and free live musical performances – definitely worth the trip to the boardwalk!
  2. Flemington
     Flemington’s “Big Week to Shop Small” runs through December 1 and will feature special discounts at participating businesses. A great town to spend the day in this Saturday!
  3. Haddonfield
    The streets are lined with beautiful lights beginning Friday at 6 p.m., with the tree lighting at 6:30 p.m. at Library Point, not to mention shopping specials, gift certificate discounts, and horse-drawn carriage rides through Sunday. 
  4. Montclair
    Montclair has tons of great local businesses to check out for food, fashion, and way more! Click the link for a list of all participating businesses!
  5. Morristown
    Morristown is having a scavenger hunt starting at b.jones Organic Spa, where grab  a passport to unlock specials at certain businesses (salons, galleries and cafes, oh my!) Collect stamps from the shops and return to the spa for a swag bag.
  6. Somerville
    Downtown Somerville is one of the coolest places to check out on a regular day, so Small Business Saturday you definitely can’t miss! Check out the “Shop Small” stickers outside of participating store, and stick around for a visit from Santa, the tree lighting, and horse-drawn carriage rides!
  7. Ridgewood
    Ridgewood is known for some lovely jewelry and home decor local shops, and this year Small Business Saturday matches up with the sixth annual Winterfest at Memorial Park at Van Neste Square. The event feautures ice sculptures, performances by the Orpheus Club Men’s Chorus, hot chocolate, a trackless train ride and horse-drawn hayrides. 

While these are only a few towns to check out for their fun events and wonderful local businesses, if you can’t make it to any of these you can always shop around your own town. After Saturday, try shopping local more often; it makes a positive difference for your community!