“Raise your hand if this is your first time here,” Eddie Segall religiously started off his nightly sunset ceremonies at the Sea Gull’s Nest. “Now raise your hand if this is your last time here,” Segall barked as 10’s of customers raised their hands in laughter, just as they had the night or the week before. The joke never got old.
We’ve raised our hands, sung God Bless American along with a Kate Smith recording and watched the octogenarian Segall challenge much younger men to 50 push ups for the last time.
Sandy, and the federal bureaucracy, has claimed the iconic Monmouth County attraction that was a favorite of tourists and locals alike.
The Sea Gull’s Nest at Sandy Hook will not be reopening, according to a report on Highlandsblog. The blog quotes Daphne Yun, spokesperson for Gateway National Recreation Area, ” the lease for the popular Sea Gull’s Nest Restaurant has not been renewed. Sea Gull’s Nest will not be reopened.”
Eddie Segall and his family operated the concession on Sandy Hook starting in 1962 when it was a State Park. In 1996, the National Park Service, which took over the park in 1972, replaced The Nest, as regulars called it, an elevated wooden deck with trailers for bathrooms, with the “permanent” concrete structure that regulars hated when it was built but came to love.
More than that, we loved Eddie Segall’s contagious patriotism. We loved watching the staff grow up over the years, or grow older with us.
Eddie Segall honored the troops before it was cool. After 9/11 he expanded his honor roll to first responders and police. To anyone who put their lives on the line for Americans’ freedom and safety.
Segall told The New York Times last August that he saw the end coming.
“It just feels like the end,” said Mr. Segall, 85, on the empty deck of the Sea Gulls’ Nest, a restaurant damaged by Hurricane Sandy and facing a maddeningly complex series of bureaucratic hurdles blocking it from reopening. “This year’s completely gone, and next year, who knows? We’d like to be back. Hopefully they’ll put these buildings back together, and we’ll have a chance to stay here, but honestly, it doesn’t look very good.
The Sea Gull’s Nest, Eddie, his wife Natalie, daughter Tina Cros, and son Scott will long be remembered for the special experiences they provided so many at Sandy Hook.