ATL. HIGHLANDS – Naming Simon Lake Drive the new Bernie Sweeney Way was the borough’s birthday gift to the late owner of the Shore Casino at a festive ceremony Wednesday evening at the Municipal Yacht Harbor.
Dozens of local residents and friends turned out to see the public works department uncover the Bernie Sweeny Way sign on the late restaurateur’s birthday June 29, as well as to praise his widow, Kathleen, for all she has done for the borough and its residents.
Police Capt. Harry Murtha, a close friend of Sweeney, who died in February after a long illness, captivated the crowd with several “Sweeney” stories that conjured up good memories and lots of laughter among the crowd.
The Rev. Jarlath Quinn, pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help St Agnes Parish, where the Sweeneys are parishioners, also praised the borough leaders for following what Bernie did all his life, giving back to others. The priest noted Bernie would have been pleased that the borough sought to say thanks and to name the road for him so others will also always remember his many kindnesses to the borough.
It was Mayor Loretta Gluckstein who said shortly after Sweeney’s death that she thought the road to the Shore Casino should recognize how generous he has always been to all in need. The governing body unanimously agreed, and the borough introduced and pass the necessary ordinance to rename the road at its March and April meetings.
In introducing the program, and the governing body members in attendance. Gluckstein also said that “Bernie Sweeney is synonymous with Atlantic Highlands,” praising the philanthropic nature of the late Casino owner and his wife.
With Capt. Murtha, members of the police department in attendance at the event, presented Kathleen Sweeney with a bouquet of flowers in yet another gesture of how beloved the couple has always been to all who know them.
Also present for the ceremony were Harbor Manager Lou Fligor, members of the public works and fire departments, Sweeney’s friends, former Mayor Dick and Pat Stryker, who have known the Sweeneys more than half a century, and members of various departments and commissions as well as friends.
Following the ceremony , Shore Casino Manager Jay Strebb, Kathleen’s son, also spoke briefly, thanking the crowd for attending the ceremony and the mayor and council for the honor they paid, and invited all back to the Shore Casino for hot dogs in front of the entrance, explaining that not only was the original building on the site a hot dog stand, but it was also the late Sweeney’s favorite food. Guests were also invited into the Casino to enjoy more light refreshments as guests of the Sweeneys.