Prince Harry tours storm-damaged New Jersey shore
Seaside Heights (New Jersey): Britain`s Prince Harry toured two New Jersey shore communities devastated six months ago by Superstorm Sandy, viewing destroyed homes, walking on a rebuilt boardwalk and shaking hands with emergency personnel and construction workers who have been racing to get the resort towns ready for the summer.
In Seaside Heights, where the MTV reality show "Jersey Shore" was taped, Harry and his tour guide, Gov. Chris Christie, also took part in a game of chance along the boardwalk, throwing perforated plastic balls into holes for prizes, which they handed over to children.
The prince suggested to a girl partnered with him, Allie Cirigliano, 7, that she pick a blue penguin as a prize. But she didn`t want it. "Don`t listen to me," he said with a laugh. She chose a Hello Kitty stuffed doll instead.
The two came within sight of a roller coaster that the storm sent plunging into the Atlantic Ocean, which became a defining image of the storm that struck in late October. A crane was in place to begin demolition of the amusement ride.
In both Seaside Heights and Mantoloking 16 kilometres north, his first stop, the prince shook hands with police, fire and other emergency personnel. Harry also greeted construction workers who have been working on rebuilding Seaside Heights` famous boardwalk, now about two-thirds complete.
The prince said he was impressed to see New Jersey`s recovery effort, "everyone getting together and making things right."
At both his New Jersey stops, girls and young women jostled for position to get a good look at the prince, take pictures and fantasize about marriage proposals.
"He is so cute. He came in with that white shirt and red hair, and he just exceeded all my expectations," said Brianna Marchal, 19, during his second stop.
"The crowd literally grew three inches when he came by because everyone was on their tip toes, trying to get a picture. We had four devices going at the same time, trying to get pictures of him."
Her sister, Taylor, 21, said she has been following Harry for years.
"It`s the whole fairy tale thing," she said. "He`s a real live prince, here in New Jersey. We both want to marry him."
The motorcade carrying the prince and Christie arrived at about 10:15 am in Mantoloking, where some residents were flying Union Jack flags and one handwritten sign read: "Prince Harry please come back when we`re restored."
Harry was presented with a Mantoloking Police baseball cap.
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