The Best Case Scenario Issue
The Warming Trend Issue
The Stayin’ Alive Issue
The New & Improved Issue
The Jersey Gems Issue
The Open for Business Issue
The Million to One Issue
The Unsung Heroes Issue
The Fish Out Of Water Issue
The Teachable Moment Issue
The Now & Then Issue
The Take Your Medicine Issue
The We Have Issues Issue
EDGE People

Joanna Gorczyca, MSW, MPA, LNHA Administrator/Director of Senior Services

FIVE STARS FOR BROTHER BONAVENTURE

While “shopping” for a nursing home for a loved one, consumers are likely to be impressed by Brother Bonaventure’s five-star rating on the Nursing Home Compare page on the Medicare website. Compared to other nursing homes, “Brother B” scored higher in health inspections, staffing and most importantly, quality of resident care. Joanna Gorczyca, MSW, MPA, LNHA Administrator/Director of Senior Services, who works tirelessly to maintain order and quality of care, says, “It’s something we’re very proud of and we’re going to work hard to keep it.”

 

Max Loeffler, founder and creator of Bumbles Dolls, right

BUMBLE DOLLS FOR ALL

Max Loeffler, founder, and creator of Bumbles Dolls, recently donated 100 dolls to the children inpatients at Trinitas. The following week, his sister Natasha Loeffler, brought 100 more to the Cancer Center and the Connie Dwyer Breast Center for patients. Loeffler, whose mother Vanessa Loeffler, the wife of Dr. Abu Alam, is the founder of the Teddy Bear Foundation for Achondroplasia. Loeffler’s daughter Theodora, was born with achondroplasia, a hereditary, congenital form of skeletal dysplasia commonly known as dwarfism. As Max watched medical professionals take care of his sister and began volunteering at a local hospital, he was inspired to help make a difference in a bigger way. And soon, Bumble Dolls were born and have made their way around the country. Now, we’re lucky to have them at Trinitas.

 

Geraldine Cruz, Palliative Care Director

NURSE OF THE YEAR

Congratulations to Geraldine Cruz, Palliative Care Director, who won Nurse of the Year in the category of Adult Health recently at the NJ March of Dimes Nurse of the Year Awards.

 

 

 

 

Nancy DiLiegro, PhD, FACHE Vice President of Clinical Operations and Physician Services, Chief Clinical Officer

SENIOR CAREERIST AWARD-WINNER

Congratulations to Nancy DiLiegro, PhD, FACHE Vice President of Clinical Operations and Physician Services, Chief Clinical Officer, the recipient of the 2020 Senior Careerist Award. She was honored by The New Jersey American College of Healthcare Executives Regent Advisory Council Awards Committee at the Annual Regent’s Breakfast and Awards Program on January 31, 2020, at the Hyatt Regency Princeton.

 

 

 

 

Trinitas EMS, Dr. Raffee Matossian, EMS Medical Director

MOBILE HEALTHCARE PROGRAM OF THE YEAR

Trinitas EMS was awarded the 2019 “Mobile Healthcare Program of the Year” award at the 20th Annual EMS Awards Program recently during the National Conference on EMS in Atlantic City. Dr. Raffee Matossian, EMS Medical Director, accepted the award from Deputy Commissioner of Health Christopher Neuwirth.

 

Minette’s Angels, the Connie Dwyer Breast Center

ANGELS AMONG US

Minette’s Angels, a non-profit foundation dedicated to funding efforts to provide programs and services to breast cancer patients, came to the Connie Dwyer Breast Center at Trinitas to make another generous donation to support our efforts.

 

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth Police Department PBA, Local 4

PINK LIVES MATTER

Our friends at the Elizabeth Police Department PBA Local 4 came up with a creative way to support Trinitas. For Breast Cancer Awareness Month, they made fancy patches with a pink border and sold 400 of them to the public for $5 each. During the two-day, sold-out sale, they collected $2,000 and donated it for breast cancer patients at Trinitas. Thank you to our local heroes in blue for incorporating some pink!

 

Entertainment on the Edge

Friday • June 14 • 8:30 pm

Prudential Center Luis Miguel 2019 North American Tour

The winner of the Best 2018 Tour at both the Latin Grammys and American Music Awards, Luis Miguel has sold more than 100 million albums. He won his first Grammy as a teenager for a duet with Sheena Easton, becoming the youngest male Grammy winner at the age of 14.

 

Sunday • June 16 • 7:00 pm

Prudential Center Wisin Y Yandel Como Antes Tour

The iconic Latin duo is on its first U.S. Tour since 2013, which includes a spring stop at The Rock. To this day, they are the first Reggaeton artists to win a Grammy. Their 2018 album The Big Leagues has become a huge hit.

 

Saturday • June 29 • 9:00 pm

Newark Symphony Hall R&B Music Museum All White Dance Party

Dress in white and dance the night away to old-school jams from the 70s and 80s in support of the R&B Music Museum.

 

Tuesday • July 2 • 7:30 pm

Prudential Center New Kids On the Block The Mixtape Tour

The iconic boy band, now in their 40s, will be joined on stage by special guests Salt-N-Pepa, Tiffany, Debbie Gibson and Naughty By Nature. The group has been touring on and off for a decade after breaking up for 13 years, and was a hit last New Year’s Eve on Times Square.

 

Thursday • June 20 • 8:00 pm

State Theatre George Takei Where No Story Has Gone Before

The former Star Trek star invites his audience to join him on a personal journey that includes a Japanese internment camp, an iconic role on a legendary series, and a second career as a social media star and advocate for justice.

 

Friday • June 21 • 7:30 pm

NJPAC Iyanla Vanzant Acts of Faith Remix Tour

The Emmy-winning spiritual teacher and life coach brings her life-altering solo event to Prudential Hall in celebration of the 25th anniversary of her best-selling book, Acts of Faith.

 

Saturday • July 6 • 3:00 & 8:00 pm

UCPAC United Vincie Cultural Group of Brooklyn Caribbean Cultural Extravaganza

The Hamilton Stage lights up with the sights and sounds of the islands to promote divergent cultures and social synergy. The events include folk songs, choral speeches, dramatic skits, story-telling, folk dancing, poems, steel drum music, stand-up comedy, arts & crafts and fashion. Each performance also includes an authentic Caribbean meal.

 

Saturday • July 13 • 8:00 pm

NJPAC Bring It! The Dance Battle Tour

Legendary coach Diana Williams of the popular Lifetime series Bring It! comes to Prudential Hall this summer with an eye-popping hip-hop majorette competition. And yes, the audience gets to vote for the winners.

 

Tuesday • July 16 • 8:00 pm

Prudential Center Electric Light Orchestra Live 2019

Jeff Lynne’s ELO comes to Newark with its legendary live show. The band’s chart-topping hits include “Livin’ Thing,” “Telephone Line,” “Xanadu” and “Don’t Bring Me Down.” ELO’s fusion of rock and classical music sold more than 50 million albums.

 

Saturday • July 20 • 8:00 pm

UCPAC Lance Bass Pop 2000 Tour

The former NSYNC star hosts a trip down memory lane with help from O-Town, Aaron Carter, Ryan Cabrera, Tyler Hilton, and Nitty Green and Riff.

 

Friday • August 2 • 7:30 pm

Saturday • August 3 • 1:30 & 7:30 pm

Paper Mill Playhouse New Voices of 2019 Learn Your Lessons Well

Summer Musical Theater Conservatory students are directed and choreographed by Paper Mill Playhouse’s professional artistic staff in this fully produced, original concert.

 

Saturday • August 10 • 7:30 pm

Sunday • August 11 • 7:30 pm

Prudential Center Sean Mendes 2019 Tour

Mendes was originally scheduled for one night at The Rock, but recently added a second date. The Canadian singer/model is an international sensation and last was included among Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People In the World.

 

Wednesday • August 14 7:30 pm

Prudential Center Kiss End of the Road

This is it, they claim. After 45 years of recording the iconic band is calling it a career and mounting one last tour. Kiss pioneered in the over-the-top hard rock stage show and has sold over 100 million records.

 

Tuesday • September 10 • 8:00 pm

State Theatre The Piano Guys Live On Stage

The YouTube sensations come to New Brunswick with an innovative mix of classical and pop music. All eight of their albums have topped the Billboard New Age chart.

 

Sunday • September 15 • 8:00 pm

Prudential Center Backstreet Boys DNA World Tour

The iconic boy band is on its biggest arena tour in more than a decade in support of their new 2019 album DNA. The record has already spun off three hits, including “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.”

 

Sunday • September 29 3:00 pm

NJPAC Arlo Guthrie Alice’s Restaurant Tour

The celebrated folk singer recorded the 18-minute Alice’s Restaurant in 1967 at the age of 19. The performance opens with Arlo’s daughter, singer-songwriter Sarah Lee Guthrie.

 

For the Kids

 

May 29 to June 30

Paper Mill Playhouse Beauty and the Beast The Broadway Musical

A gorgeous production, based on the Academy Award–winning animated movie, featuring stunning costumes and sets, spectacular dance numbers, and, of course, a fairy-tale ending. Check website for dates and times.

 

Thursday • June 13 • 6:30 pm

State Theatre Wednesday • July 24 • 7:00 pm

Prudential Center JoJo Siwa D.R.E.A.M. Tour

The Nickelodeon and YouTube personality—and former Dance Moms star—makes two stops in our area on her 2018–19 tour.

 

September 6 to 21

UCPAC Into the Woods

Jared Milan stars in Stephen Sondheim’s popular musical, which intertwines Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault fairy tales. Check the UCPAC web site for dates and times.

 

Editor’s Note: For more info on these listings log onto the following web sites:

Kean Stage • keanstage.com

NJPAC • njpac.org

Newark Symphony Hall • newarksymphonyhall.org

Paper Mill Playhouse • papermill.org

Prudential Center • prucenter.com

State Theatre • stnj.org

Union County Performing Arts Center & Hamilton Stage • ucpac.org

 

Community Events

Community Events

 

We welcome the community to our programs that are designed to educate and inform. Programs are subject to change.

 

SEMINARS

 

Visit www.TrinitasRMC.org for seminar listings or check for updates on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/TrinitasRMC.

 

THURSDAY, JUNE 13 • 6:00 PM

Diabetes & Sleep: Control Your Blood Sugar with Better Sleep

Dr. Vipin Garg, FCCP, FAASM, Program Director of the Comprehensive Sleep Disorders Center at Trinitas, will talk about how adequate healthy sleep can reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Morris Ave. Medical Center, 2042 Morris Ave, Union NJ. Parking: 2052 Morris Ave, Union NJ – Handicapped accessible. To register, call 908.994.5139.

Light refreshments will be served.

 

SPECIAL PROGRAMS

 

Health Services with Women In Mind

Trinitas helps provide women access to vital health services with a focus on preventive measures. These include educational programs and cancer screenings. Programs offered in English and Spanish.

To learn more about these services, contact Amparo Aguirre, (908) 994-8244 or at amaguirre@trinitas.org

 

Ask the Pharmacist: Medication Management

Free of charge, by appointment only. Monthly on the 4th Tuesday, 11:30 am – 1:00 pm Call (908) 994-5237.

 

TRINITAS HEALTH FOUNDATION EVENTS

 

THURSDAY, JUNE 20 • 8:00 AM

11th Annual Andrew H. Campbell Sporting Clays Tournament

Hudson Farm Club, Andover, NJ

 

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 • 8:00 AM

Annual Golf Classic & Spa Day

Fiddler’s Elbow Country Club, Bedminster, NJ Oasis Day Spa, Bedminster, NJ

For more information about the Foundation or to learn more about its fundraising events, (908) 994-8249 or kboyer@trinitas.org.

Proceeds from these events benefit the patients of Trinitas Regional Medical Center. Making reservations for Foundation events is fast and easy on your American Express, MasterCard, Visa or Discover card.

 

TCCC SUPPORT GROUPS

 

Conference Room A or Conference Room B Trinitas Comprehensive Cancer Center

225 Williamson Street, Elizabeth NJ 07207

Living with Cancer Support Groups

All events take place from 1:00 – 3:00 pm. Call (908) 994-8535 for 2019 schedule.

 

MEDICAL AND BEHAVIORAL HEALTH SUPPORT GROUPS

 

Sleep Disorders

If you are experiencing problems sleeping, contact the Trinitas Comprehensive Sleep Disorders Center in Elizabeth or Cranford at Homewood Suites by Hilton (easy access to the GSP). Both centers are headed by a medical director who is board-certified in sleep, internal, pulmonary, and intensive care medicine, and is staffed by seven certified sleep technologists.

For further information, call (908) 994-8694 or visit www.njsleepdisorderscenter.org

 

Narcotics Anonymous

Monday 7:00 – 8:30 pm; Sunday Noon – 2:00 pm; and Sunday 5:00 – 6:30 pm

Jean Grady, Community Liaison, (908) 994-7438

Grassmann Hall, 655 East Jersey St., Elizabeth

 

Alcoholics Anonymous

Friday 7:30 – 8:45 pm

Jean Grady, Community Liaison, (908) 994-7438

Grassmann Hall, 655 East Jersey St., Elizabeth

 

HIV Education and Support Program for HIV Positive Patients

Monthly. Call for scheduled dates/times.

Judy Lacinak, (908) 994-7605

 

Early Intervention Program Clinic 655 Livingston St., Monastery Building, 2nd Floor, Elizabeth

Mental Illness Support Group (NAMI) for Spanish Speaking Participants

Monthly, Fourth Friday except August, 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Mike Guglielmino, (908) 994-7275 Martha Silva, NAMI 1-888-803-3413

6 So. Conference Rm., Williamson St. Campus 225 Williamson Street, Elizabeth

 

TRINITAS CHILDREN’S THERAPY SERVICES

 

899 Mountain Ave., Suite 1A, Springfield, NJ (973) 218-6394

Camp Trinitas

Camp Trinitas is the perfect opportunity to have children gain new skills or maintain recently-learned motor and academic skills. Children will participate in gross motor, fine motor, sensory-motor, and recreational activities, and academic time during our 9th annual Camp Trinitas. Sign up for a ½ day (AM or PM) or a full day. Allow your child to participate in a camp directly organized and supervised by skilled OT, PT, and speech therapy clinicians in their respective fields. Camp Trinitas addresses each child’s specific needs. Scholarships available.

 

LEARN TO RIDE BIKE LESSONS

Children will learn this vital childhood skill in a non-competitive environment with a highly trained therapist. Sessions are run in 60-minute periods of time. Dates and times are individually scheduled. Children typically require between 1 and 3 sessions.

 

SCRIBBLES TO SCRIPT HANDWRITING PROGRAM

An opportunity for children from preschool (prewriting) through elementary (cursive) school to work with an occupational therapist and participate in multi-sensory fine motor, visual-motor, and visual-perceptual activities to learn pre-writing skills, proper letter formation, and writing within the given lines using the Handwriting Without Tears® program. Help to reinforce learning and make writing fun!

 

SOCIAL BUTTERFLIES

An opportunity for children to work with a speech & language therapist and engage in activities to address turn-taking, topic maintenance, appropriate question asking, and following non-verbal cues.

  • All programs (except for full or ½ day camp) are offered 1-2 x per week, for 45 minutes, from July 1st – Aug 16th.
  • Our programs and/or group therapy sessions are a great alternative to individual therapy. They give children the opportunity to address key developmental areas in structured but busier environments that are more reflective of typical real-life home and school situations.
  • Please call for times and pricing.
  • Trinitas Children’s Therapy Services 899 Mountain Ave., Suite 1A Springfield, NJ 07081 Phone # 973-218-6394, ext. 1300 Fax # 973-218-6351 knelson@trinitas.org www.childtherapy.nj

 

Casting About

One of the most closely held secrets in the world of fishing is that that good fiction on the sport is harder to hook than an Apache Trout. Let’s see…there’s Melville and Hemingway and…yeah, it’s kind of a short list. Whether you’re shopping for yourself or the angler in your life, these books should be at the top of your list.

Looking Through Water

Bob Rich • 2015

A retired Wall Street mogul uses a fishing trip to help his troubled grandson. The author is a fly fishing and open-water fishing expert who also happens to be the head of the Rich Products food company. Proceeds from books sales go to support wounded veterans as part of Project Healing Waters.

 

Gone Fishing

Tamera Will Wissinger • 2013

This one is for younger anglers. A daylong father-son-and-daughter fishing trip unfolds in a novel structured as a series of poems. Fun line drawings and a “poet’s tackle box” at the end of the book are charming bonuses.

 

The Golden Catch

Roger Weston • 2011

As the cover screams, this book is part of the popular Frank Murdoch series. Weston’s action hero, a former CIA assassin, tangles with a Korean mob boss and must employ his skills as a Bering Sea crabber to survive. The author spent many years as a commercial fisherman.

 

Double Whammy

Carl Hiaasen • 1987

Who knew that big-money bass fishing contests had a dark and deadly underbelly? Hiaasen’s hero R.J. Decker learns the hard way, with help from a half-blind hermit with a taste for fresh road kill. Yikes!

 

The River Why

David James Duncan • 1983

A fishing tale wrapped in a coming of age story, The River Why follows the travels of Gus Orviston, who develops a new appreciation for the environment and passion for life. Duncan’s novel is regarded as one of the generation’s best books about the American West.

 

The Old Man and the Sea

Ernest Hemingway • 1952

Was the movie, which earned Spencer Tracy an Oscar nomination, better than the book? What heresy! The story of an aging Cuban fisherman in an epic battle with a marlin was the last big novel published during Hemingway’s lifetime and won him a Pulitzer Prize.

 

Moby-Dick

Herman Melville • 1851

Inspired by Melville’s whaling voyage in his early 20s, Moby-Dick endures as the greatest fishing story ever told. Not bad for a book that bombed during the author’s lifetime. It’s also an imaginatively constructed study of good and evil, cultural diversity and the existence of God, along with copious amounts of detail on whaling and sailing. The percentage of middle school students who claim to have read this book in its entirety—but who actually skipped over the “boring” chapters—will never be known. English teachers usually guess one or two kids per classroom make it cover to cover.

 

A Familiar Ring to It

In the halls of the Trinitas Wound Center, sounds of success.

By Yolanda Navarra Fleming

Among the many iconic lines from the 1946 holiday classic It’s A Wonderful Life, perhaps the most memorable is “Every time a bell rings an angel gets his wings. That’s a matter of faith, of course—and also, why not “her wings” am I right? In the Wound Center at Trinitas, there is no question about the meaning of a ringing bell. It signals that yet another patient has been healed.

Since a past director of the Wound Center found the bell in her garage and offered it to help celebrate patients being discharged, there have been thousands of among them some of the daunting, chronic cases. The Wound Center’s Clinical Coordinator, Kimberly Lee, CRN, MSN, CWCN, (left) vividly recalls a young girl being treated for a diabetic foot wound.

“She was so delighted that day that she made a video call to her father so he could watch her ring the bell,” says Kim, who has worked at the Wound Center for 13 years. “They were very close, so it meant as much to him as it did to her. They were both crying. They took pictures with the staff and we were all teary-eyed.

“Hearing the bell also gives patients in the waiting room a boost of hope that they might be the next to ring it.”

A Comprehensive Approach

The award-winning Wound Center has a 95 percent healing rate thanks to the latest technologies and years of intense study and hands-on experience. Lee’s team includes Dr. John Pepen (right, top), Dr. Georgios Kotzias (right, middle) and Dr. Morteza Khaladj, DPM, FACPPM (right, bottom)—all skilled in a wide range of healing strategies, including Vacuum-Assisted Closure (VAC) and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.

VAC removes infectious material and promotes the growth of new blood vessels to prepare for grafting. The Apligraf Living Skin Device creates a biological dressing for limb-threatening venous leg ulcers and other wounds that don’t heal easily. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy treats an array of clinical conditions that require increased exposure to oxygen, such as diabetic foot ulcers, pressure ulcers and venous leg ulcers.

“It’s an adjunctive treatment for patients with complicated wounds that are not responding to conservative treatment,” says Dr. Pepen, Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine specialist, who also performs acute care surgery. Inside the Hyperbaric chamber, he explains, a patient breathes 100 percent oxygen. This improves the elimination of certain poisons, such as carbon monoxide, as well as strengthening the body’s response to infection and supporting tissue growth and wound healing.

Many patients are diabetic and acquire wounds as a result of neuropathy, which is nerve damage that can make the hands and feet numb, adds Lee.

“Most diabetic patients have neuropathy and can’t feel things on their feet because of it,” she says. “If there’s a wound on the bottom of the foot, it often gets worse before they even know it’s there. Then the wound becomes infected and spreads to the toes; the patient doesn’t notice it until their toes are black. If they’re swollen from fluid overload, all they have to do is bang into something and they have another wound.”

After two weeks of hyperbaric treatments, the doctor re-evaluates. But hyperbaric treatment works best when other aspects of a patient’s care plan are closely tended to, including not missing treatments. Next-day appointments are an option for all patients.

For diabetics in particular, regulating blood sugar levels and good nutrition are crucial. That’s why Michelle S. Ali, MPA, RD, Director of Food & Nutrition Services has joined the wound care team.

“Some patients live on a fixed income and don’t have the ability to shop or prepare elaborate meals, which means they are not eating adequately,” she says, adding that it takes a physical assessment to determine the nutritional risk of such patients, and then to attempt to guide them on food selections to make improvements. “It may be as simple as adding a cup of milk to a meal or adding peanut butter to a milkshake, in a case where the patient is consuming adequate protein but needs to increase their overall caloric intake when significant weight loss is identified.”

According to Ali, recommendations of vitamins and mineral supplements may also be essential to a patient’s healing process.

Every Day a New Challenge

Newark resident Theresa Billings, a 53-year-old with Multiple Sclerosis and poor circulation, has been a patient of the Wound Center since 2017. Her dependence upon a motorized wheelchair to get around means that for most of the day, she’s sitting with her feet down, which makes her prone to leg wounds.

“Theresa came to us with very large venous stasis ulcers,” says Wound Center Clinical Coordinator Kimberly Lee. “We have gotten them a lot smaller, but sitting all day does not help venous disease. The legs are supposed to be elevated when not walking.”

“I’m healing slowly,” says Theresa. “Dr. Pepen has tried to stay a step ahead and it’s finally getting to where he wants it to be.”

Although getting to appointments during the winter has posed a challenge, Theresa doesn’t mind going for treatment. 

“It’s pleasant,” she says. “Everyone is very friendly and professional and respectful, but also funny. They work so well together and treat each other like family. I’ve never been in a hospital like that. I like everybody on the whole team because they treat patients with integrity and understanding, and they have a lot of empathy. I love that.”

 

Trinitas Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine Center

The center is located in the Medical Office Building, 240 Williamson St., Elizabeth.

For more information, call 908.994.5480 or visit WoundHealingCenter.org.

2nd Jetty

“The merry band of chefs are the equivalent of jazz musicians… constantly improvising, cooking with spontaneity, reacting to an ingredient in the moment.”

By Andy Clurfeld

It’s lunchtime on a  Tuesday, and Kyle Hopfensperger and Dan Pollard are talking dinner.

Specifically, what’s going to be on the menu for dinner at 2nd Jetty Seafood in Sea Bright, where fishes are the star, Kyle is the chef-owner and Dan is the forager of the finest specimens that come from our waters.

“We talk every day,” Kyle says.

“Sometimes four times a day,” Dan notes.

“If he’s closing at 5:00, I’ll call Dan at 4:50 to get in more for that night, if I think we need it,” adds Kyle.

“And if he doesn’t call then, I’ll call him,”  Dan says, as they both laugh.

Dan manages Lusty Lobster, a wholesale-retail seafood enterprise based in Highlands, right over the Highlands-Sea Bright Bridge from 2nd Jetty. He’s as critical to the operation of the restaurant—which sits across a narrow stretch of Ocean Avenue from the Atlantic Ocean and catty-corner from the entrance to Sandy Hook—as Kyle’s cohorts in his kitchen, chefs Daniel Ciambrone and Bruce Buzzelli.

On this day, Dan Pollard is prepped and ready: “On Tuesdays, I go through all my sheets—my fish sources, locals like Viking Village, Bivalve Packing, Barnegat Oyster Collective—and figure out what I need and what I can get for my store and my special people.”

His “special people” are his chefs. He gets in touch with some of the very best chefs in New Jersey, those in particular who specialize in seafood, and lets them know what’s coming out of the water that week. Kyle listens as Dan recites and jumps, immediately, on the kampachi.

“Kampachi! Yes!” he says, scoring the buttery, sushi- grade fish that’s a kind of extra-exquisite yellowtail.

“I can get you sushi fluke – that’s local, out of Viking Village,” Dan says. He gets another nod from the chef, who’s already talking about doing a raw-fishes special on one of the “surfboard” platters made from the wood of fallen trees especially for 2nd Jetty by Doug Rella, of Brick. After all, his personal fish forager has Bambalam oysters, among others, on the bill of available local fare.

“Dayboat mahi, really good tuna, domestic sword—” “Yup, yup, yup.”

“Black sea bass?”

“For sure! We like to do a whole roasted fish.” “East Coast halibut? Scallops?”

“Do it, do it; I’ll figure it out.”

Dan smiles. Once upon a time, much of Lusty Lobster’s wholesale business came from high-volume shore restaurants. “But the business has changed,” he says. “The new chefs, and their creativity, mean eating out is not about prime rib anymore. I’m not buying the frozen stuff; I’m buying all fresh.”

He’s selective, too, sourcing, for one example, tuna from “ten different sources so I get the best. I won’t buy garbage.”

They’re riffing now, fast and furious, as Kyle talks about making jalapeno jam and dragon sauce and Dan muses about uni and how the political unrest in Venezuela is affecting the supply of primo jumbo lump crab.

 Now it’s my turn to think about dinner. For in a couple of days, I will be popping into 2nd Jetty to see what this collaboration between chef and fish forager brings to the table…

We’ve ordered so many appetizers that we consider annexing another table on which to place them. That would be unfair to everyone else in the main dining room of 2nd Jetty Seafood, a space that’s equal parts retro, nautical and scrubbed-clean galley. Unfair, clearly, though it might reference the casual-cool attitude found at, say, a neighborhood joint on the outskirts of Belfast, Maine, which would well-serve the mission of the crew that makes 2nd Jetty the best seafood restaurant in New Jersey.

The kitchen has a plan to avoid space-encroachment: one of those custom-made surfboard platters. On it, we find a tower of tuna, fluke sashimi, a sweep of oysters, scallops topped with uni, a circle of salmon, and a tian of sliced avocado stuffed with pickled onion and radish. It’s gorgeous. It’s quickly decimated.

First, the Bambalam oysters, their slurpy salinity finishing cunningly with a flash of sweetness, come dotted with green roe and rosy-orange tobiko and turn an oyster-avoider at my table into an oyster-eater. Those Barnegat scallops may be rich and dense, yet they rival the uni for meltability. Credit a spare sprinkle of black lava salt, micro-chop of cucumber and a spray of lemon juice for reining in the richness. Fluke, so ethereal it looks shaved rather than sliced, is the sandwich meat between a rasher of cucumber matchsticks and a schmear of the jalapeno jam that had me curious. More of a chunky, mouth-warming preserve, it stunned me with its compatibility to the bristling fish. Maybe it was the base of frothy aioli, glowing with the color and flavor of turmeric and citrus, that brought it all balance. It contrasted quite nicely with the poke-esque cubes of tuna tossed in soy and yuzu and threaded with verdant green seaweed and a chop of fiery chilies. Speaking of seaweed, the chef team leaned slices of salmon that would make a sushi master proud against a haystack of lighter lime ‘weed, and finished the plate with cucumber in another form: a pert, tart-spiced relish. P.S.: The avocado package was a terrific palate cleanser.

Kyle Hopfensperger, Dan Ciambrone, Bruce Buzzelli and their chef-colleague Francisco Lopez have, by all accounts, fun blowing out the insides of raw coconut to make coconut shells for poke. I can’t spoil their fun by telling you the how-to story before they can. But the results are the kind I most appreciate: With bluefin tuna (on this night) cubes rolled in a sprightly ginger-citrus sauce and micro-cilantro leaves sprawled on top, the poke needs only the speckle of black sesame seeds to taste finished. You can, if you’d like, play around with the accompanying fried wontons and slivers of avocado, or go daring and dip the tuna into bubbles of sambal- laced dragon sauce, hot wasabi aioli or sweet-tart hoison.

Once you’re a regular at 2nd Jetty, you’ll do the fish tacos every other time you visit. Mahi-mahi? Sold… just like Kyle said to Dan Pollard. Juicy chunks of the meaty fish rest on shredded cabbage tossed with marinated tomatoes and cilantro, a twirl of pickled red onion on top. I try to roll this all up in the soft taco, but I’m not always successful in sopping up the juices from the lemon and lime the fish is seared with, nor the sunset- color aioli striping the ensemble. I’ll keep trying.

I do ask for a spoon to help me with the lobster sauce keeping company with the crab-stuffed salmon—crab, mind you, that’s been chunked up with cornichons, parsley, and dill in a mustard-mayo mix. I keep that spoon handy to scoop up the Caribbean rice, made with basmati and zapped with pico de gallo and shards of spinach. That’s doing right by a couple of seafood staples, ol’ salmon and crab. So is making a mini-mountain out of grilled bluefin as it buttresses a pineapple-seaweed salad. Dab the tuna in the avocado mousse, for good measure.

I may have fallen hardest for 2nd Jetty’s cooked version of the scallops, given their even, caramel-color sear and pitch-perfect plate partners of red quinoa and wild mushroom mix. And I did take advantage of a spot of jalapeno jam, which didn’t play favorites among its mates. Lots of love in that dish.

2nd Jetty typically has homey desserts—crumbles and cobblers, pies and puddings. Try the Key lime pie, silky and tart and maybe not Marie Jackson-at-Flaky-Tart sublime, but nothing ever will be that divine, or a cinnamon-scented bread pudding, which usually comes with berries.

Do know that nothing at 2nd Jetty is ever exactly the same twice. That’s because Kyle and his merry band of chefs not only cook seasonally, they are the equivalent of jazz musicians: constantly improvising, cooking with spontaneity, reacting to an ingredient in the moment.

No wonder their collaborator, Dan Pollard, works so hard to get them the best: Fishes, once out of water, need true friends at the end of the line. 

Need To Know

2nd Jetty Seafood isn’t your typical summer-at-the-shore spot. It’s just as popular with locals as it is with seasonal residents and daytrippers. It’s a BYOB. It also—and this is new-news,  as 2nd Jetty starts its third season— takes reservations for inside seating.

Manager Jack Murphy, who runs front-of-the-house operations, often books musicians who perform live outside in summertime. He also books the “kitchen table,”  which is a terrific place to have a small party. The “table” is—what else? I mean, these guys are all surfers!—an old surfboard set up in a small room that looks into the kitchen. You can watch the jazz-chefs perform as you dine.

The space, once upon a time, held a bar, and the back room of the lanky restaurant still sports a bar-counter. If you’d like to BYOB and pour yourself a glass back there, maybe grab an app or three, just tell the folks at check-in. Whether it’s during so-called slow times in November or March, or in peak-summer months when the world rolls off Sandy Hook into 2nd Jetty, the crew is friendly, welcoming and helpful.

 

2ND JETTY SEAFOOD

140 Ocean Avenue, Sea Bright

Phone: (732) 224.8700 • 2ndjetty.com 

Major credit cards and reservations accepted. For information about hours and menu prices (which reflect current market prices) please call, visit the website or email 2ndjettyseafood@gmail.com. The Lusty Lobster is located at 88 Bay Avenue, Highlands. 732-291-1548; www.bestlobster.com.

 

Laughing Matter

A serious look at fish-out-of-water comedy.

By Luke Sacher

There is nothing remotely amusing about a fish-out-of-water experience. We’ve all been there at one time or another. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time, ill-equipped to cope with unfamiliar circumstances or unpredictable people, is at best deeply unsettling and, at worst, totally harrowing.

Unless, of course, it’s happening to someone else. In that case it’s hilarious.

My first boss out of college, a TV commercial director, advised me one day: “There are no small jobs, only small people.” I sardonically replied: “What about big jobs and big people? Or small jobs and big people? Or big jobs and small people?” He glared at me and said, “Okay, philosopher… now go pick up my dry cleaning.”

That small job led to bigger and better things, so his observation was sound and his point well made. Since then, I have adhered to my own version, which is when a window of opportunity opens, jump through it…just make sure you’re on the ground floor when you do. Needless to say, there is an entire genre of fish-out-of-water workplace comedy that runs counter to this kind of career advice. It’s the first of five I invite you to explore.

  1. The Patience of Job

In My Cousin Vinny (1992), Joe Pesci plays a street-smart personal injury attorney from New York City who finds himself in a Deep South courtroom defending his young cousin on what looks to be a slam-dunk murder charge. Vinny has three major problems: near total incompetence, absolutely no trial experience and a severe case of cultural tone deafness—which collectively earn him the contempt of the judge, played by Fred Gwynne. Vinny finally gets a grip on his situation when he begins listening to the movie’s other fish out of water, his girlfriend Mona, played to Oscar-winning perfection by Marisa Tomei.

In Spy (2015), Melissa McCarthy plays Susan Cooper, a dowdy, 40-something CIA desk analyst who is thrust into the role of field operative after super spy—and love of her life—Bradley Fine (Jude Law) is neutralized in a plot involving black market nuclear weapons. Imagine Moneypenny stepping in for James Bond. Or better yet, a ribald mix of Homeland, The Sum of All Fears, the Three Stooges and the Marx Brothers. Like Vinny, “Coop” finds a way to avert disaster and make us laugh while figuring out what separates an amateur from a pro.

Jerry Lewis, whom I knew and with whom I worked, starred in The Patsy (1964). When an A-List Hollywood pop and movie star perishes in a plane crash, his parasitic flunky managers, agents, producers and writers lose their meal ticket, and need to groom a replacement fast. Enter Stanley Belt, a bellboy at their hotel. The film has four unforgettable scenes: the singing lesson, the barber shop, the recording session, and Stanley lip-synching his hit song “I Lost My Heart in a Drive-In Movie” on an American Bandstand-style dance show. The final scene would do Fellini proud.

  1. Boys Will Be Girls

In the world of fish-out-of-water comedy, the best man for the moment is often a woman. After all, how hard can it be? Slap on some makeup, don a few glad rags, slip into a pair of heels, raise the pitch of your voice…and you’re good to go. What could possibly be the downside? Just don’t ask Michael Dorsey (aka Dorothy Michaels in Tootsie), Daniel Hilliard (aka Euphegenia Doubtfire) or Joe and Jerry (aka Jospehine and Daphne in Some Like It Hot).

In Tootsie (1982), Dustin Hoffman’s out-of-work actor finds fame and fortune disguised as a soap opera diva. The charade creates profound chaos in Dorsey’s personal life, but he learns valuable lessons about feminine empowerment and winds up a better man for it. In Mrs. Doubtfire (1993), Robin Williams masquerades as an over-the-top Scottish nanny in order to stay in the lives of his children after a messy divorce. It is difficult to imagine any actor other than Williams pulling off such a ludicrous character; in fact, Mrs. Doubtfire herself has a hard time keeping it together, both literally and figuratively.

Saving the best for last, Billy Wilder’s masterpiece Some Like it Hot (1958) features Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon as a pair of jazz musicians who witness a Chicago mob rubout. They save their skins by joining an all-female orchestra (featuring Marilyn Monroe) headed for a winter gig in Miami. Once in Florida, Curtis’s character pursues Monroe by impersonating an heir to the Shell Oil fortune (employing a spot-on Cary Grant impersonation). Meanwhile, Lemmon’s Daphne is romanced—with a disturbing degree of success—by an actual millionaire, played by Joe E. Brown. It all works out in the end, sort of—I won’t spoil the ending for those who haven’t seen it yet.

For the record, pretty much every modern (post-Shakespeare) gender-bender comedy—from Victor/ Victoria (which is based on an early German film) to TV’s Bosom Buddies to Big Momma’s House—traces its origin to Charley’s Aunt, an 1892 British farce by Brandon Thomas, which has been adapted for the screen no less than 13 times and remains a staple of repertory theater.

  1. Out of Body Experiences

We’ve all had those odd moments when we don’t quite feel ourselves. But imagine finding yourself one fine morning transplanted into an entirely different body? That brings us to our third genre or fish-out-of-water comedies. The one we all grew up with was Freaky Friday, which features a petulant teenage daughter and her mom swapping bodies for 24 hours. Mary Rodgers’s award-winning 1972 children’s novel has been adapted and updated for stage, screen and TV five times—and has starred Jodie Foster & Barbara Harris (1976), Gaby Hoffman & Shelley Long (1995), and Lindsay Lohan & Jamie Lee Curtis (2003). One of the first—and best—was Goodbye Charlie (1964), the story of a Hollywood screenwriter and notorious lothario Charlie Sorrell. Charlie is murdered by the producer husband of one of his trysts…and comes back to life as “lotharia” Virginia Mason, played to the nines by Debbie Reynolds. Goodbye Charlie began as a Broadway play starring Lauren Bacall, in 1959. Switch, the 1991 Blake Edwards film starring Ellen Barkin, was essentially a remake.

One of the big hits of Spring 2019 was the out-of-body comedy Little, the story of a bullying executive who wakes up in her own 13-year-old body and must return to the school were she was originally bullied. As with Freaky Friday, a lot of the comic burden is shouldered by a young actor—in this case, Monai Martin, who is brilliant.Little also works because its title plays off the champion of out-of-body fish-out-of-water films, Big (1988), the Penny Marshall classic starring Tom Hanks. After a humiliating “too short to ride” experience at a traveling carnival, 13 year old Josh Baskin gets his wish to be “big” from a fortune telling machine, and wakes up as a 30 year old man, who must flee his own home after being mistaken by his mother as the kidnapper of her son. Josh’s childlike imagination and honesty brings him instant success, wealth and romance as a toy industry executive, but after a few weeks of grownup fun, he realizes that being big isn’t quite the picnic he thought it would be…and longs to be a kid again.

The movie’s iconic scene is Josh’s “chopsticks” duet with his boss (Robert Loggia) on the giant keyboard at FAO Schwarz. But perhaps the one that best depicts the essence of man-child humor is when Hanks shows up to an office party in a ridiculous rented tuxedo and gags on a “sophisticated” hors d’oeuvre. I detested caviar and quail eggs when I was 13, and still do. And no one’s going to make me eat them ever again because I’m big now.

  1. City Mouse, Country Mouse

The reversal of fortune, whether positive, negative or a mixed bag of both, is a time-honored device for putting characters in places they are ill-equipped to navigate. When those characters move from the city to the country, or vice-versa, we find that their strengths become weaknesses, their weaknesses become strengths and, of course, comedy ensues. One of the biggest hits on Netflix right now, in fact, is the Canadian sitcom Schitt’s Creek, which relocates ruined video-store tycoon Johnny Rose (Eugene Levy) and his formerly jet-setting family to the last piece of real estate he owns: a no-tell motel in a backwater town of the same name. Newhart (1982–90) found famed how-to author Dick Louden (Bob Newhart) running a moreupscale establishment in a picturesque Vermont town, but dealing with an even loopier cast of characters.

Although countless film comedies have featured reversals of fortune—Trading Places (1983) being perhaps the most successful—television, it turns out, is an especially welcoming medium for this fish-out-of-water genre, seeing as it allows for the quirkiness factor to develop over many seasons. One of the first shows to really get it right was Green Acres (1965–71), in the mid-60s. One day, attorney Oliver Wendell Douglas (Eddie Albert) looks out from his Manhattan penthouse, declares to his glamorous and eccentric wife Lisa (Eva Gabor) “I hate it!” and drags her unwillingly to a farm in Hooterville. There he is plagued by a parade of unforgettable idiots, including conniving junkman Mr. Haney, the childless Ziffels (who have raised their pig Arnold as a child), farming expert Hank Kimball (who can never finish a thought), and the brother-sister home renovation team of Alf and Ralph (who can never finish a home renovation). The underlying gag in the series is that everyone in Hooterville thinks Oliver is a dope—something he can never quite wrap his mind around.

Green Acres was the brainchild of CBS producer Paul Henning, who simply flipped the script of his earlier hit, The Beverly Hillbillies (1962–71). After Jed Clampett (Buddy Ebsen) accidentally strikes oil on his dirt patch in the Ozarks, he moves his family to California’s most exclusive address, a neighborhood of “swimming pools and movie stars.” They live next door to the Drysdales, an obsequious banker who will do anything to prevent the Clampetts from moving their deposit to a competitor, and his wife, who detests them. Though utterly lacking in guile and sophistication, Jed, Granny, Ellie Mae and Jethro end up outsmarting, outlasting or repulsing the endless stream of con-men and -women who arrive at their mansion hoping to separate them from their millions. Jethro (Max Baer Jr.) and Granny (Irene Ryan) do most of the comic heavy lifting in a series that was the #1 show on television twice and in the Top 20 eight years out of nine.

  1. You’re Not From Around Here

Imagine how much fun you’d have if you could shed the constrictions of time, space and the laws of physics. That kind of thinking produced classics classic tales such as Gulliver’s Travels, Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz and Rip Van Winkle. It has also engendered some of the funniest films and television series in history. Too many even to mention, in fact. From this idea came the inspiration for the hit sitcoms My Favorite Martian (1963–66), starring Ray Walston and Bill Bixby, and Mork & Mindy (1978–82), starring Robin Williams and Pam Dawber—as well as the Conehead family (Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin), who debuted in a 1977 SNL sketch. I should probably add to this list the 2000 Star Trek send-up, Galaxy Quest, where a group of hammy human actors find themselves beamed onto a real alien spaceship. The rule of thumb in each case was that casting, not costuming, is crucial to pull off a fish-out-of-water comedy about extraterrestrials.

That certainly accounts for the success of the NBC series 3rd Rock from the Sun (1996–2001), which starred John Lithgow, Kristen Johnston, French Stewart, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. They play a quartet of aliens living in a Cleveland suburb, tasked with observing the inhabitants of an insignificant planet called Earth. Not quite comfortable in their human skins and never blending in as well as they think, the characters rarely miss an opportunity to hold a slightly cracked mirror up to American culture. Actually, it was Gore Vidal who broke important comic ground in this category with Visit to a Small Planet, first written in 1956 for television, reworked as a Broadway show in 1958, and then as a 1960 feature film starring Jerry Lewis—worth watching just for the scene in the beatnik night club with Buddy Rich.

In addition to the extraterrestrials there are the “supernaturals,” whose extraordinary powers make them a tricky fit for civilized society. Among the funniest of these fish out of water comedies was Hancock (2008), the story of a destructive, alcoholic superhero played by Will Smith who needs a PR flack to burnish his image. The original comic supernaturals, of course, were America’s 1960s sweethearts, Elizabeth Montgomery and Barbara Eden, who played more familiar mythological characters: a witch and a genie.

Bewitched (1964–1972) and I Dream of Jeannie (1965–70) featured pretty much identical plots. A beautiful blonde witch meets and marries a mere mortal advertising executive and a beautiful blonde genie is found by a NASA astronaut whose capsule splashes down near a desert island. Ignoring the fantasies of virtually every mid-century male television viewer, both men feebly lay down the same ground rule…no hocus-pocus.

The similarities did not end there. Both shows used every state-of-the-art technical trick to push the envelope on the time-honored rules of visual comedy: Make something larger or smaller than it normally is, make something do what it normally doesn’t, put something where it normally isn’t. The genius of these shows is that Samantha Stephens and Jeannie were essentially the straight men, while Darren Stephens (especially the first one, Dick York) and Tony Nelson barely kept it together executing the big physical comedy. And then there were the supporting characters, some of whom were in on the joke and others who weren’t. You had to feel for poor Gladys Kravitz, who kept seeing inexplicable things next door, and whose husband Abner thinks that she’s been swallowing too much mouthwash. Or poor Dr. Bellows, the NASA psychiatrist, who is made to doubt his own sanity so often that he almost takes it in stride: “Major Nelson…it’s snowing. On your house. Only on your house. In Cocoa Beach. In the middle of July.”

Often at this point in a feature story, the writer begins a paragraph with “In conclusion…” I don’t think one can when discussing this topic. First of all, I could write an entire book (or shoot a two-hour documentary) about fish-out-of-water comedies and still barely scratch the surface. Second, and perhaps more important, doesn’t all comedy originate in one way or another from this construct? Think about the book or film or TV show or play that never fails to make you laugh…my guess is that the humor originates from a character finding himself or herself in an uncomfortable or unfamiliar place. A good writer knows when to stick to the basics—and how to grab an audience and activate its funny bone.

I’m more than a bit biased by my personal affection for fish-out-of-water humor, but to me, its sheer immensity demands an entire book or a two-hour documentary to be covered adequately. Here, after 2,500-plus words, I’ve just scratched the surface. Perhaps it’s best to end by asking What have we learned today? Something that I discovered researching and writing this article is that virtually all comedy originates, in one way or another, from a fish-out-of-water situation—dating back to ancient Greece.

Think about the book, film, TV show or play that never fails to make you laugh…my guess is that the humor originates from a character finding himself or herself in an uncomfortable or unfamiliar place and, against all odds, emerges both triumphant and a better person for the experience. Pakistani-American comedian and actor Kumail Nanjiani, a fish out of water himself, might have said it best when he observed that “being a fish out of water is tough…but that’s how you evolve.”

Extemporals

Transport wacky characters through time and you may strike fish-out-of-water gold. In Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure (1989), the fate of the future world hinges on the ability of two bone-headed Southern California teenagers—played by Alex Winter and Keanu Reeves—to complete a show-and-tell project for their World History class. With the help of George Carlin and a time-traveling telephone booth, they fetch Beethoven, Napoleon, Billy the Kid, Joan of Arc, Sigmund Freud, Abraham Lincoln and Socrates for a grand spectacle in the school auditorium.

Lost in America

Fish-out-of-water comedy works particularly well when characters find themselves out of their element, yet still close to home. In Lost In America (1985), Albert Brooks and Julie Hagerty play David and Linda, successful Los Angeles yuppies who respond to a sudden professional setback with a bold stroke of dementia: they cash out of their house and hit the road in a Winnebago to find themselves “like in Easy Rider.” Who could have predicted that, at a stop in Las Vegas, she turns out to be a degenerate gambler who loses their entire nest egg at the roulette wheel? Lost In America does a superb job of holding a mirror up to American society from top to bottom, as David and Linda suffer the endless indignities of a minimum-wage existence.

Out of Africa

Unless you are a Native American, chances are good that you are descended from someone who was the ultimate fish out of water: a stranger to North America. The actual U.S. immigrant story is not inherently funny (especially not these days)…unless of course, you decide to mine it for humor. Think about Crocodile Dundee or Moscow On the Hudson or Borat. The humor doesn’t come so much from the awkward struggles of the newcomer as it does from the Americans who are trying to make them feel welcome (or unwelcome). Perhaps the best example is Coming to America (1988). Eddie Murphy stars as Akeem, an over-pampered African prince who leaves his homeland of Zamuda and arrives in outer-borough New York, where he and his best friend Semmi (Aresneio Hall) must rough it while Akeem searches for a suitable wife. “What better place to find a queen than the city of Queens?” The logic turns out to be unassailable.