Access Asbury At Langosta Lounge: A Christopher & Dana Reeve Benefit

Posted by Reeve Staff in Daily Dose on March 14, 2019 # Events

On Thursday, February 28th, 2019, the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation held one of its first benefits for Access Asbury at Langosta Lounge in Asbury Park. Between the supporters in attendance from all over Asbury Park, as well as the Foundation’s own staff, many incredible individuals came together, each with their own story to tell and a common goal.

The benefit was held to recognize the improvements made from the Access Asbury project, specifically to the beaches of Asbury Park, making them far more accessible for individuals living with paralysis and mobility impairments. Anyone who has visited Asbury Park, whether they come for the food, music, or beach, knows that this is an eclectic town, a melting pot of all peoples and cultures. Those traveling down these streets are free to love whom they will express themselves as they desire, and, above all else, enjoy the freedom of being accepted for who they are. These qualities made Asbury Park the ideal place to begin making a real difference in accessibility through the Reeve Foundation’s inclusion initiative, Access Asbury. But it won’t stop at the beach. As Peter Wilderotter, President & CEO of the Reeve Foundation stated, “Asbury Park is a town which will set the bar for all other towns,” meaning that this City by the Sea will be the Foundation’s flagship of accessibility.

For people like Scott Chesney, the keynote speaker of the event, the implementation of the interlocking blue mats on the sand provides him greater access and independence to fully enjoy the beach. As a young man, he loved the beach and the ocean, and thanks to the Reeve Foundation and the City of Asbury Park’s efforts, he, like so many others, can rekindle the love he had for the summer. An afternoon at the beach is something that many take for granted, but for people living with paralysis, like Scott, having the ability to fully participate is a long-awaited joy. Scott’s remarks highlighted the importance of accessibility and the mission of the Reeve Foundation is to the paralysis community.

“Many people will end up living with a disability. They are just an extension of us, our brothers and sisters…and the beautiful thing about making things accessible for people living with paralysis and other disabilities is that it doesn’t hinder anyone else’s enjoyment or use," said Chesney.

Even though change is in the air, there are still further improvements to be made in regards to accessibility. At the benefit, Neil Jiorle and Paul Rotondi who are Senior Project Managers of French & Parrello Associates, the civil engineering company revealed their partnership with the Reeve Foundation on the Access Asbury project. Their first goal is to create a ramp at a local barbershop in town. While this may not seem like much, it comes down to the simple fact that everyone should be able to get something as simple as a haircut without worrying about how to get into the door. Jiorle and Rotondi share in Wilderotter's vision for Asbury Park, witnessing for themselves the Renaissance that is occurring in the town. It is projected that Asbury Park will look entirely different in 10 years with, and thanks to, the partnership with local businesses. The final goal, of course, is to have the city be a place where it will be enjoyed by all.

The benefit at Langosta Lounge was a resounding success, and we are excited for the milestones to celebrate in the near future. Please continue to stay abreast of all our initiatives as we progress with Access Asbury.

Learn how to get involved with Access Asbury.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.