Following the destruction of Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey is proving it is stronger than the storm by rebuilding its summertime attractions. NY1's Valerie D'Elia filed the following report.
From Seaside Heights to The Wildwoods, Stone Harbor to Cape May, up and down the Jersey Shore on a beautiful day in early July is, for some, just another day at the beach.
"It's a sunny day, the water's great, and the sand feels good," says one beach-goer.
For firefighter Greg Kohr, who owns a chain of ice cream stores along the Seaside Heights boardwalk, this is a day he never thought he would see.
"I had huge doubts that the boardwalk would be up and running," says Kohr.
The boardwalk is indeed up and running, but as I can attest from a media visit, full recovery is still a work in progress.
"Hopefully the Casino pier - they're still talking about getting rides up and running this summer - when that happens, emotionally that's going to be a big boost," says Kohr.
Cape May County, further south and not as hard hit by Hurricane Sandy, is also showing signs of new life.
Two baby snow leopards were born in April, delighting families at the Cape May County Zoo.
"I think it's a great draw," says Vince Sonetto from the zoo. "People come back expecting to see babies. Everybody loves babies at the zoo."
A rainy and cold start to the beach season, however, has put a bit of a damper on visitor numbers that just might let Hurricane Sandy off the hook when they close the books on summer 2013.
"There are a lot of factors out there that we are going to need to take into consideration, rather than just pinpoint 'is it Sandy?'" says Diane Wieland from Cape May County Tourism.
For now, the Giant Wheel on Morey's Piers is turning, funnel cakes and the Splash Zone are going with the flow, and the Cape May Trolley is rolling past the Victorian homes.
A determined comeback, as the ubiquitous ad campaign goes, is trying to prove that Jersey is "Stronger than the Storm."