Common Interior Defects to Look For When Buying a New Home

Buying a house in New Jersey means that you are making one of the biggest investments in your life. So it is your duty to make sure that the property is in good condition when you occupy it. Hiring a New Jersey home inspector will save you from many of the troubles that can happen in future. The NJ home inspector follows a systematic method of inspection so as not to miss any defects during his inspection. Each room is covered sequentially for structural defects initially and the appliances and items are examined later.

But with the interior home inspection checklist, you can do an assessment on your own. It does not require much professional expertise to look for the prominent flaws.

The interior inspection of a property essentially includes inspection of the walls, floors and roof of the house. In addition to that, you may also examine the home appliances like ovens and dishwashers. The New Jersey home inspector will do the thorough checking if you suspect some faults. The inside of the walls have to be closely observed for any visible damages like stains, cracks in plaster, missing plaster etc. The surface of the wall has to be checked for evenness. The swellings and other defects in the wall can serve as home for various insects and pests. Any repair found is indicative of weakness of the area. The New Jersey home inspector, when hired, does a thorough examination to find such defects including damages caused by water.

The condition of the floors in all of the rooms needs to be assessed next. Defects occurring in the floor in the form of broken tiles or cracks or sloping floors must be noted down immediately. The keen observation of the NJ home inspector is sufficient to find even the smallest defect. Smaller defects can even extend in to wide areas if not corrected promptly.

The steps and railings of the stairways is another area that needs attention. The areas need to be scanned to find any weak areas or damages like loose rails.

In the ceiling, what you need to search for is cracks in the plaster. Also see if there areas damaged by water. A house with a ceiling damaged by water does not fit to your needs. Sagging plaster, stains, nails and other signs of previous repair has to be evaluated by the New Jersey home inspector.

Check the windows and doors to find any rots in them. Cracked window is another concern and look carefully for cracks and repairs. Double pane windows must be checked for the seal and proper movements. The garage also comes under the purview of internal inspection. So see to it that the garage doors are functioning properly. The reversing devices for the garage door openers have to be tested to ensure their efficient functioning. You can get the NJ home inspector to do an exhaustive testing.

Check the windows and doors to find any rots in them. Cracked window is another concern and look carefully for cracks and repairs. Double pane windows must be checked for the seal and proper movements. The garage also comes under the purview of internal inspection. So see to it that the garage doors are functioning properly. The reversing devices for the garage door openers have to be tested to ensure their efficient functioning. You can get the NJ home inspector to do an exhaustive testing.

Hurricane Shutters Are Essential for Atlantic City, New Jersey Homes

Atlantic City is located in New Jersey and is a very well known resort town. It’s famed for gambling, shopping and fine dining. It’s also a beach town, right on the coast, and has seen many hurricanes and the remnants of several once-powerful hurricanes, some resulting in heavy damage. Historically, the area has seen many tropical storms and hurricane damage, and numerous hurricanes that remained offshore have each drowned numbers of swimmers.

A strong Category 2 or weak Category 3 hurricane sunk or beached many ships near Atlantic City when it hit there, causing heavy damage near the shore. The most severe hurricane historically was the 1944 Great Atlantic Hurricane. Though it didn’t make landfall, its strong winds and tide surge on the coastline destroyed hundreds of homes.

Hurricane Gloria paralleled the New Jersey coastline just offshore as a Category 2 hurricane. The hurricane forced 95,000 citizens to evacuate, while eleven casinos in Atlantic City closed down, resulting in a loss of $7 million in revenue. That’s not counting the damage done to homes and businesses, merely what the casinos lost.

If you live in Atlantic City, having hurricane shutters added to your home is a smart idea. The professional installation of hurricane rated Rolling shutters, Bahama shutters, Colonial shutters, or Accordion shutters for homes and businesses is the best thing that you can do to protect your home. Hurricanes can cause devastating damage, and permanent shutters are a barrier against the storm.

Hurricane shutters:

Protect your home against high winds – Hurricane shutters are wind-rated to withstand high winds. They are tested and much safer than temporary shutters nailed up hurriedly when a storm is on the way.

Keep abrupt pressure changes from damaging your home – When a window is broken during a storm, the abrupt pressure changes that commonly occur during hurricanes can actually tear a hole in your roof or rip entire walls off. Temporary shutters can come off easily, leaving your windows and doors vulnerable, but permanent shutters protect you and keep those pressure changes from destroying your home.

Keep debris thrown at high speeds from tearing through windows and doors – Hurricane shutters are missile impact tested, and can be counted on to keep out wind, rain, and anything thrown by the storm. Even a Category 1 hurricane can have gusts well over 100 miles per hour, and when objects are thrown at this speed at unprotected windows and doors, not only can it tear a hole in your home, it can injure people inside the home as well.

New Jersey Project Brings Solar to Everyone

Having a goal of 22% renewable power usage by the year 2020, New Jersey’s Public Service Electric and Gas Company has embarked on a program to provide one third of that power by mounting solar cell panels on existing telephone poles. This terrific idea will be funded both by customers, who will pay about 10 cents extra per bill during the first year, 35 cents a year thereafter, but also by hooking those panels into the main grid, and selling the excess power on the open market.

Municipal buildings, schools and other statewide institutions would also have solar panels mounted roof side. This will be an ambitious $773 million dollar project, but again, the cost is expected to be recovered within 15 years or so.

The best part of all of this is the number of new jobs that will be created. Estimates for job creation number in the hundreds, and not only will these be good paying jobs, they will be trained skilled labor jobs as well.

The green part of all this are the elimination of 1.7 million tons of greenhouse gases which is like removing 310,000 cars from the road for about one year. That is a near staggering statistic, but that’s exactly the type of zero emissions technology that solar cells bring.

This catapults New Jersey as the next most solarized state in the union, second to only California. Yet who would have thought a northern state like this would begin wholesale conversion to this type of sustainable energy? The truth is, as solar panels become more efficient, they can now be used in places with not as much sun, but they’ll still deliver plenty of electricity.

Our hats are off to New Jersey on this one, and I’m willing to bet that more states, at every latitude, are going to start following suit. It just makes so much dollars and cents.

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Vaults Emerging as Answer to New Jersey’s Tank Dilemma

Thousands of New Jersey businesses need to store petroleum products at their facilities, whether for heating, to fuel vehicles, for emergency generators, or a dozen other pressing needs. Today there are estimated to be in excess of 80,000 regulated commercial tanks in New Jersey alone. Most are underground, some above ground and, recently, some combining the best of both methods, the concrete vaulted tanks. In this article I will take a look at each approach for its strengths, weaknesses and cost factors.

UNDERGROUND STORAGE TANKS (USTs)

Historically, petroleum storage was literally driven underground by a variety of concerns centered around fire safety. Because of these concerns, and the regulations they spawned, the overwhelming majority of storage tanks in use today are underground tanks.

In the past five years the federal EPA and State Departments of Environmental Protection and Energy (DEPE) have formulated new construction criteria for both the installation of new tanks and the required upgrade of existing tanks.

With scheduled deadlines for these tank upgrades quickly approaching, tank owners are faced with some difficult economic decisions. The cost for tank and piping upgrades starts at $10,000, and, in most cases, retrofitting an existing steel underground storage tank is a short-sighted and expensive undertaking. Due to variable water tables and the predominance of clay and silt soils, both vapor monitoring and continuous groundwater monitoring are impractical, if not impossible, and in all cases will only alert a tank owner of a leak after the damage has occurred.

With these concerns complicating the upgrade, the most effective solution, if we stay with conventional underground storage, is often complete replacement of a given storage tank system This then expands the price range of a standard 2,000 gallon tank job to a minimum of $20,000. (triple this number for a 12,000 gallon tank).*

In addition to these basic construction costs, there are significant costs associated with simply maintaining and operating underground tanks. These expenses must also be considered when we evaluate the total project cost. For purposes of comparison, let’s look at these costs over a 10-year period of 12,000 gallon UST ownership in the State of New Jersey.

Right up front, we have the NJ DEPE’s registration requirement which commands a SI00 annual fee. While fees may certainly change from year to year, it is a safe bet they will not decrease. Over a 10-year period, this adds minimally SI000 to the cost of the project.

Then there is the cost of insurance. The NJ DEPE technical requirements N.J.S.A. 58:10A, effective 9/90, lay the groundwork for UST owners to carry their own insurance against leaks and discharges. Chapter 14 of this regulation, which has not yet been released, spells out the specifics of such insurance. When the insurance industry completes its research on the risks associated with UST insurance and prepares a product to cover UST owners, it appears likely that such coverage may be mandatory – another significant operating cost.

Currently, contractors’ pollution liability insurance is available, and many installation firms carry it. When a firm which performs 20 sizable installations in one year pays S50,000 for the pollution liability portion of its insurance program, it follows that each installation will be expected to carry a prorated share of the burden. Or $2500.**

Annual testing of the tank’s anticorrosive protection system is another cost which must be added to the equation. A $400 yearly maintenance/service contract which includes an inspection of the protective system and periodic water pumpouts is a necessary investment and adds S4000 to the long-term operating costs of our new UST.

Finally, as with any long-term ownership of a capital item – especially one with delicate electronic monitor sensors and controllers – we must look at the devalued worth of the item after wear and tear, obsoletion, and depreciation. This loss must be figured into our equation as well.

Adding all these factors together, the total cost of our hypothetical 10-year UST ownership, including the initial system construction, amounts to approximately $90,000.

Certainly, there must be less expensive options.

ABOVE-GROUND STORAGE TANKS (ASTs)

Above-ground storage tanks have been around for some time and are commonly used for fuel storage. Their applications vary from the small 275 gallon free-standing residential basement tanks to massive compounded field-erected storage silos.

ASTs are currently receiving much attention and interest. They are completely exempt from NJ DEPE requirements, including requirements for registration and insurance. This freedom from restriction coupled with relative ease of AST installation, reduces the ten-year cost of ownership to one half that of a comparable UST.

There are however, drawbacks to the ASTs as well.

First, to safeguard the tank area in the event of an overfill or a rupture of some sort, the AST should be diked or placed inside a second tank system. Second, an open dike can fill with rain water and possibly rust from the inside out. Third, exposure to the elements will accelerate corrosion of the tank as well as the dike.

A brush-blasted white epoxy-painted. Diked AST with either a shed roof or rainshields is the state of the art in ASTs, but the fact remains that the unsightliness of the tank, plus its size, can be a major drawback.

For the storage of gasoline there is a potential vapor hazard with ASTS. Because of this, they are prohibited by NFPA 30 in some situations. The effects of cold temperatures on the viscosity of fuels must also be addressed. Often, this requires the installation of steam coils or electric heaters.

But the largest drawback for the application of ASTs over USTs is the zoning hurdle.

USTs are exempt from BOCA codes while any above-ground construction over 100-foot square must obtain site plan approval in most communities. If the ownership is corporate, such approval must be presented by legal counsel. This process involves public hearings with mandatory notice to neighbors within 200 feet of the property line. Unsightliness of the AST may become a minor sticking point as more significant concerns such as environmental impact and overall nature of the owner’s operation come under the scrutiny of often hostile neighbors.

The process of gaining AST approval can become quite costly, bringing the upper end of costs plus maintenance of our 12.000-gallon project to $55,000. This, of course, is all contingent upon actually winning a zoning board’s resolution allowing the project to proceed.

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Hurricane Sandy Recovery Efforts May Reduce Future Damage to New Jersey Homes

Hurricane Sandy recovery in New Jersey continues eight months after the super-storm hit the east coast of the United States. Much of the debris has been removed, but the repair of wind and water damage will be an ongoing project for some time to come.

Hurricane Sandy, measuring over 1,100 miles in diameter, was the largest Atlantic coast hurricane on record to hit the East Coast of the United States. It caused damage from Florida to Maine, and affected states as far west as Wisconsin. But, some of the worst damage was inflicted upon New Jersey.

Every aspect of home and office construction has been needed in the recovery process. Electrical systems were flooded. Basements and in many cases ground floor units were completely submerged. Most of the contents were destroyed by water and the structures themselves have been damaged. Wind and water have caused extensive damage to roofs, windows, foundations and landscaping.

Damage to roofs, windows and siding should be repaired as soon as possible to prevent further damage from occurring. Accumulated water in basements must be removed and the drying out process needs to be implemented promptly.

If your New Jersey property was damaged by Hurricane Sandy, you need to be diligent in identifying hidden problems during your recovery and reconstruction efforts. Some indications of hidden damage may be water stains or slight buckling of flooring or other parts of the structure. But, there may be other damage that doesn’t seem obvious just by looking. One hidden problem can be the onset of mildew and mold growth.

The kinds of repairs involved in hurricane recovery exceed the abilities of the average homeowner. In most cases you would be wise in contracting with companies that have experience in dealing with the special problems associated with this kind of damage. Be certain that you are dealing with qualified individuals and companies that are licensed and experience in their respective trades.

Unfortunately, there are many fly-by-night contractors, some of whom licensed, who follow the trail left by damaging weather patterns. They are just out to take advantage of the misfortune of others. They may offer low prices, but may over charge greatly. Some take a large down payment and then disappear with your money. Choose your contractor from those that are already established in your area.

A good contractor will not only help you in your recovery from Hurricane Sandy, but may be able to guide you in minimizing damage from future storms as well. A few things that you should consider include:

Installing a sump pump to remove water that may enter your basement. Some have battery back-up power supplies that will work when the commercial power quits.
Install a sewer backflow valve. This can prevent back-up from the sewer system.
Relocate electrical components and wiring to above the flooding water line.
Use underground rated wiring in locations where the wiring could get wet and,
Raise appliances such as washers, furnaces, and water heaters to above the flood line, or install them on an upper level floor if possible.

While global warming promotes the unstable atmospheric conditions that may result in more frequent storms of this nature, you may be able to lessen the impact of those storms by how you proceed with your recovery of your New Jersey property from the effects of Hurricane Sandy.

The Wildwoods, New Jersey

Have you been to the Wildwoods, New Jersey where the Doo Wop heritage has begun to attract visitors? If not, you should take a trip and see what it is all about. This term is reminiscent of the era from 1948 to 1961. This is when families that were considered working class were able to enjoy more leisure time. In particular families from New York and Philadelphia would come to the Wildwoods for vacation.

This caused a need for more lodging for the vacationers. So a series of motels were built that were very affordable for these visitors. The motels were along the beach, had drive-up right to the door and became known as Doo Wop architecture. Bright colors, modern roof and wall styles and plastic palm trees were a feature of this architecture.

This area today is the destination for many who want to come for the monster truck races, the festivals and the boardwalk. This is a two mile long stretch of boardwalk that says they have more in the way of rides than even Disneyland. The Wildwoods are known for their many activities as well as their motels and restaurants. The Hereford Lighthouse is located here and the gardens that are of award winning quality.

Summer brings championship tournaments in volleyball and many other events on the beach. The emphasis is on family fun with roller coasters, ice cream and a water park. There is a tram that carries the visitors up and down the boardwalk. This is a destination that can truly be enjoyed by the whole family. Do you want to know about more cool places to visit and some cool ways to get discounts
on travel?

Bridgeport, New Jersey: A White Steeple Under An Overpass

This morning I set off to cross the Barry Bridge to visit my favorite farmer’s stand in Swedesboro. I was in search of a full box of plum tomatoes to turn into a sauce base that I will freeze for winter use. Then too, it would be good to pick up some peppers to prepare a peperonata also for freezing. The boys piled into the car. We had our water and our Tripe A map. Who needs anything more?

Just after you cross the Barry Bridge into New Jersey, the road takes you along an overpass. To the right of the overpass a white wooden church steeple rises up out of a town that is submerged below the roadway. The steeple seems to say, “Stop, take a look, we are a town down here!” I’ve always wanted to see that town but I was always on my way elsewhere. Even today, we were on our way to get our tomatoes. Maybe I would stop on the way back. Our destination today was “Ever Fresh” farmer’s market, just a few minutes from the bridge. Every visit there makes my head spin with the kitchen possibilities of all the wonderful Jersey Fresh produce. Today I selected a box of Italian plum tomatoes to be turned into sauce; a basket of sweet Italian peppers for peperonata, several Sicilian eggplant for moussaka and fried eggplant and a quick grab of melon, peaches and corn. Summer fresh is just wonderful!

I had boxes and bags of fresh summer vegetables and spent less than $30. With the car loaded up, we began our return. This time for sure, I would turn off at the town with the white wooden steeple. We found the exit and made the descent to the town. There was the white towered church. The sign reads, Saint Paul’s Methodist. Along the same street simple and modest wood frame Victorian houses lined the way. These are the homes of yesterday’s America in the shadow of a complex metropolitan world. The new highway overpass from the Barry Bridge cut the town in half. The overpass split the town to leave the church’s white wooden steeple as a lone voice of a bisected community. We are in Bridgeport.

There is a gentle simplicity to the houses along Bridgeport’s main street. The August sun warms perception. At the far end of the town road the houses give way to marsh and creeks and broad waterways. The view is wonderfully simple and beautiful. An iron bridge that raises the full flat road bed directly upward marks the creek crossing. I don’t know what this kind of bridge is called, but it is very unusual.

This area of New Jersey allures. It begs me to see more. So, I follow route 130. The road parallels the Delaware. Except for Bridgport, the road is devoid of towns. This is the realm of industry. Tall grasses and cat tails flank the roadside. On the Delaware side, steel frameworks announce power plants and other industries. There is an eerie sense of isolation: the feeling of being lost in a faceless world hot in the summer sun with only the occasional cry of a red-winged blackbird.

Then I see a sign for Centertown: a sign for a town, a sign for people, for a community. Curiosity and the need to escape the world of industry lure me. As I follow the road, I find no town. There are no quaint streets of New Jersey wood frame Victorian houses. Instead I come upon mile after mile, acre after acre, of an industrial complex: endless blocks of cast concrete and corrugated roofs, signs that announce any number of famous companies. This is contemporary industry. This is the heir to the 19th century factory town. This is the backbone, the life blood that keeps all the other small towns alive. These are the furnaces of H.G. Wells Morlocks that give life to those who enjoy its fruits. Yet, who knows about such places? I certainly never knew that this part of New Jersey held so many industries. I am certain that our children in school never learn of such places. But, here they are, the active and vibrant commerces that enervate our society.

Eventually I turn back to the main road. I follow 130 back North to the bridge. As I make the turn to the on ramp, my eyes are taken by a rafter (yes, that’s the word) of wild turkeys. By the time I grab my cell camera they begin to retreat into the woods. There is something of a Wellsian Time Machine in this part of New Jersey. Power plants and industries share a world with wood frame houses, swamp marsh and wild turkeys. Turning off the main highway opens the way to an America little known.

Hurricane Sandy Forces New Jersey to Contemplate Upgrading Their Building Codes

Hurricane Sandy was one of the worst storms to hit the East Coast of the United States in quite some time. Not only did it kill quite a few people, it forced millions to relocate, and caused billions of dollars in damage. Because of this, many communities located on the coast including cities in the state of New Jersey will be significantly upgrading their building codes in the future making them much tougher and more stringent.

The New Jersey Shore was one of the hardest hit regions, and the insurance companies that did business in this area had to payout close to a billion dollars in damage claims because of this once in a century storm. Beside the damage the storm did to many properties in the area, it also had a devastating effect on the people’s lives who lived there and that is one more reason that the building codes are going to be soon changed.

New Jersey Shore Proposed Building Code Changes

1) Increased heights that a building must be built off the ground, which could be as much as 10 feet or more in some locations,
2) Outside concrete support walls will need to be far thicker and stronger in the future.
3) More and heavier steel rebar will need to be used in all outside support concrete walls.
4) Wood will no longer be an approved building material for outside support walls.
5) Hurricane proof windows and doors will now be required.
6) Much stronger roof systems.

What this means to the residents who want to rebuild their homes, is that it is going to be much more costly and take much longer to rebuild than they ever anticipated. In addition, if they fail to meet the new codes their insurance could be canceled completely, be much more difficult to get in the future, or they will be required to pay outrageous amounts in to be fully covered if they do not renovate and bring their structures up to code.

Not only are the new codes going to make the rebuilt structures much safer and more hurricane resistant, they are also going to noticeably affect the way some of them look and feel. Fortunately, hurricanes like Sandy do not come along too often and with any luck the next time one hits the New Jersey coastline, the new building codes will considerably reduce the devastating damage that this one caused.

Cheap New Jersey Homeowners Insurance

You want to protect your New Jersey home and its contents from damage caused by theft, fire, lightning, smoke, and other disasters. But where can you find cheap New Jersey homeowners insurance?

Insurance Comparison Sites to the Rescue!

When you’re looking for cheap New Jersey homeowners insurance with a reliable company, you should begin your search by visiting an insurance comparison website.

At many comparison sites you can complete a simple questionnaire and get fast homeowners insurance quotes from several A-rated insurance companies. You can then choose which company you want to insure your home.

Getting Started

Before you go online to get your homeowners insurance quotes, you’ll need to make a detailed inventory of the property in your home and in storage areas. This inventory will help you figure out how much coverage you need.

It’s also a good idea to check your credit rating to make sure it’s accurate. Many insurance companies set your rate higher if you have poor credit.

Getting Your Quotes

Now you’re ready to go online to an insurance comparison site. At the site you’ll fill out a questionnaire with information such as …

* The square footage of your home and the year it was built.

* The number of miles from your home to the nearest fire station and the number of feet to the nearest hydrant.

* Construction information about your home, such as the type of foundation and roof.

* The limits of coverage and the deductibles you want.

* Safety features in the home, such as deadbolts, smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and security systems.

Money-Saving Tips

To get your New Jersey homeowners insurance as cheap as possible, follow these tips:

* Set your deductible as high as you can afford. The higher your deductible, the lower your premium.

* Get all the discounts you qualify for. New Jersey homeowners insurance companies typically offer discounts for senior citizens and non-smokers. You may also get a discount if you have multiple policies with the same insurance company. Ask if the company offers any other discounts.

New Jersey Lighthouses

New Jersey Lighthouses have played a significant role in maritime history in aiding the safe navigation of ships since the 1700’s.

Aside from their place in maritime history, the added appeal of New Jersey lighthouses has to do with their architectural design and location in some of the most scenic and relaxing settings with oceanfront views and sandy beaches.

New Jersey lighthouses have served mariners along the Jersey shoreline for over a century, warning them of hazards to their ships and the protection of loss of crew and cargo. The endurance of these maritime structures is a tribute to the innovative architecture and engineering that contributes greatly to maritime history in New Jersey.

New Jersey lays claim to many of the oldest and historically significant lighthouses in the nation. They can be found along the 127 mile coastline from the northernmost point in Sandy Hook down to the southern tip of in Cape May.

New Jersey lighthouses can be seen in a variety of settings and in the serenity of the landscape that surrounds them. The scenic beauty of a lighthouse setting varies, depending on the time of day it’s viewed. With the sun and moon rising over the ocean, sunrise and a full moon are especially appealing times to view a lighthouse either by taking a walk along the beach, or relaxing and picnicking in a beach chair or blanket. For the more active, take a hike up the steps of a lighthouse and experience the magnificent views and skylines that surround it.

There is something about Lighthouses that stimulate our interests as they are both historic and architecturally appealing with magnificent structural designs. The color pattern or day marker for each lighthouse is distinctive so approaching ships at day can see which lighthouse they have in sight.

The lighthouses were built to survive the treacherous coastline hurricanes and storms and yet their structures came to be known as significant maritime historical sites and beautiful scenic landmarks.

Lighthouses come in all shapes and sizes. In addition to the popular tall conical shape structures, New Jersey has a lighthouse with twin brownstone towers in the Atlantic Highlands that resembles the front of a military fort, and a lighthouse in Sea Girt that has the style of a Victorian home, and a lighthouse in Hereford Inlet with Swiss Gothic-style architecture and a tower attached to its roof.

The maritime history of lighthouses in New Jersey is deep and storied, beginning with the opening of the Sandy Hook Lightship in 1823, becoming the first outside lightship in the United states.

Not to be forgotten are the heroic stories associated with lighthouses. They are the keepers of a harbor, beacons during stormy nights, and the providers of direction to those off course.

During World War II, the beacons of New Jersey lighthouses were turned off so as not to give direction to enemy ships. But the Coast Guard used many of the lighthouses as bases for beach patrols in search of German U-boats.

With the development of automated navigational equipment, offshore navigational towers, radar, and other advanced navigational equipment, the 20th century began the phase out of manned lighthouses. While there are still working lighthouses in New Jersey, most have been decommissioned.

Today there are currently ten land based lighthouses in New Jersey that are open to the public.

Absecon Lighthouse, Barnegat Lighthouse, Cape May Lighthouse, East Point Lighthouse, Hereford Inlet Lighthouse, Navesink Twin Lights, Sandy Hook Lighthouse, Sea Girt Lighthouse, Statue of Liberty, and Tinicum Island Range Lights