Waiting for a table—rarely the favorite part of anyone’s dining experience—at Chef Mike’s ABG Restaurant in south Seaside Park, N.J., just got a whole lot better thanks to veteran high-performance powerboat photographer Tim Sharkey of Sharkey Images and his friend Mike Jurusz, the restaurant’s owner and creative culinary namesake. Allow me to explain.
The entrance to the oceanfront suites of the adjacent Island Beach Motor Lodge pulls double-duty as the waiting/reception area for the restaurant. It’s a good-size space with what was, at least until now, a mostly empty 20-plus-foot-long wall. Jurusz invited Sharkey to fill that space with his images—and fill it he has.
“I’ve been talking about this project I have been working on, but keeping the specifics a secret,” he said. “But then (well-known New Jersey performance-boating community member) Bob Christie approached me last week and said, ‘So, I hear you’re building me a wall.’
“Bob dines at the restaurant frequently so, of course, photos of his boats are part of it,” he added. “But what he doesn’t know is that I made a collage of the five boats he has owned and had it laminated onto a plaque.”
The permanent photo exhibit includes a collage of three Miss GEICO offshore racing team catamarans, the Reliable Carriers MTI cat, the Talkin’ Trash Skater cat and Sharkey’s Speed On The Water digital magazine 2013 Image of the Year of the turbine-powered Miss Mary Mac MTI catamaran in disturbingly high flight. On a more local level, Sharkey paid photographic tribute to offshore racer David Raabe, who died in a racing accident earlier this year, and Garden State-based powerboat concierge extraordinaire Tom Healey, who died suddenly at his home late last year.
Of course, with all that vertical space the photographer had to work with and his extensive photo library, there’s more—much, much more. The images are presented on metal, acrylic, wood and canvas.
“I see it as sort of like a modern-day version of LaMotta’s Restaurant on Long Island,” said Sharkey. “I was there during a poker run with Billy Frenz of the National Power Boat Association awhile back and the restaurant was filled with old-school offshore racing photos.
“This is my first opportunity to have a full exhibit of my work other than just having an online presence and having it appear in several print magazines during the years,” he continued. “As I was putting up the finishing touches late Tuesday night—and that continued into the early hours of Wednesday morning—customers would have questions and comments and the hostess would say, ‘The photographer is right there. Ask him.’ Some people had questions about my images of Super Storm Sandy. Others asked about other photos.”
Sharkey was flattered and humbled to answer questions about his work.
“It was like an unexpected ‘meet and greet,’” he said. “I just kept thinking about how cool it is at LaMotta’s and the performance-boating era they have captured there, and now I have my own work in modern day.”
To view more images of photographer Tim Sharkey’s new display, click here.
Matt Trulio is an award-winning journalist who has covered the high-performance powerboat world since 1995. He wrote for Powerboat magazine for 17 years and was the magazine’s editor at large until it ceased publication in 2011. Trulio is the founder, editor-in-chief and publisher of speedonthewater.com, a daily news site that covers the high-performance powerboat realm. He’s also the former editor of Sportboat magazine.