NW corner of Grant Avenue @ West Central Avenue…
From the Leonard Ipri Family Collection
There’s a lot of Seaside Heights history among these four former borough councilmen. In the first photo from the late 1970s – early 1980s era, Bob Dionisio, Anthony Raniero, Mike Graichen, and Guy Mazzanti (l-r) stand alongside the town’s new beach rake machine at the Borough Plant on Grant Avenue. Bob Dionisio has owned numerous businesses in Seaside Heights over the years and these days can be found at Park Seafood on the Boardwalk helping out the owner – his son Nick. Anthony Raniero was a local builder and motel owner before leaving Seaside Heights. Mike Graichen owned the towel stand on the Boardwalk at Webster Ave. for many years before moving to the North End where today he owns and operates Lucky’s Arcade. Folding towels at the stand for Mike was my first job as a kid. Nickel a dozen. Then a dime a dozen. I “retired” at a quarter a dozen.
Guy Mazzanti worked for the family’s food market on the southeast corner of Blaine Ave. & Central Ave and operated the LaFontana Motel and other local apartment complexes in the borough. His family’s roots in Seaside Heights go back more than 50 years. Guy is an active member of the Seaside Heights Vol. Fire Company and served as fire chief for a time. All four of them had children who grew up in town and went through the Hugh J. Boyd Elementary School. In fact, Stacey Dionisio (Smith) returned to the school as a teacher (joining her mother Marsha)! Great people like these made growing up in Seaside Heights the memorable experience that it was.
This is one of the great photographs that the late Leonard Ipri provided me when I was writing my book, but it couldn’t be included due to the page limitation guidelines I had to follow. The red, white, and blue UFO was serving as the Borough of Seaside Heights Information Center when the photo was taken. The Information Center was located at the municipal parking lot on the west side of town between Sumner and Webster Avenues. My grandmother, Margaret Brennan, and local resident/family friend Rita Ipri worked at the Information Center before it was closed in the late 1980s to make way for a more modern facility. Prior to its “official” public service, the UFO was also used as a bank and as an amusement attraction in the 1970s/1980s. I vaguely recall that the attraction was named “Jaws” (or something like that) based on the 1975 Steven Spielberg directed movie. The feature was a pool of water in the main section of the UFO that concealed a mechanical shark that popped out of the water upon unsuspecting visitors.