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Nestled cutely between the green-grass horse pastures and the seasonally crowded beach towns of central New Jersey, the evolving town of Red Bank is located perfectly in the safe and attractive Monmouth County (voted several years running to be one of America’s best residential counties). Named for the remarkable color of the mud along the banks of the Navesink River, Red Bank was once home to jazz legend Count Basie and big-time writer/producer/actor Kevin Smith. Now the small city’s claim to fame is its bustling downtown – the only one in the area – and its proximity to the Jersey Shore (10-minute drive) and New York City (70-minute train ride). Summertime’s breezy weather draws window-shoppers and serious bargainers alike to Broad Street, the town’s main drag, and for one week in July most stores expand their showrooms to the outdoors in Red Bank’s annual Sidewalk Sale. For the cooler half of the year, nightlife booms on West Front Street, home to hip 20-something bars and smoky jazz lounges. But as neighboring towns like Middletown and Rumson face an influx of day-traders and Wall Street success stories, downtown Red Bank is slowly replacing the community mom-and-pop shops with upscale furniture and trendy clothing stores. Only a few local record stores and pottery shops have sustained the artsy, unique personality of old Red Bank while the city’s economy has enjoyed catering to the whim of white-collar suburbia. Meanwhile, a growing Mexican immigrant population has transformed the west side of town into a fully bilingual sub-community, and the otherwise-quaint Riverside Park has become a mecca for bored teenagers (who are brusquely redistributed periodically by the bored Red Bank police). But even as the face of Red Bank goes under the knife and its economy goes Gucci, the flavorful personality of this quiet Jersey idyll is and will remain a timeless testament to the wonder that is the Great Garden State.