That’s not the Bayville dinosaur! It’s an imposter!
BERKELEY — The Bayville Dinosaur has been replaced by an imposter.
For several weeks, the disfigured, oddly (re)painted and deteriorating concrete brontosaurus has been missing from its perch, undergoing renovations to restore it to its former glory. When it's ready, the dino will continue its proud tradition of watching over Route 9, with an head and tail to boot, as it has since the 1930s.
But when Karen Cybulsky drove by its spot this weekend, she noticed something odd — a much smaller, inflatable green dino in its place.
Cybulsky said she's got no idea how the new dino found its way to Bayville, but she drives past the area all the time, and hadn't seen it before.
"Very funny stuff," Steve Baeli, chair of the committee working on the real dino's renovation, told New Jersey 101.5. "I don't know who did it, but it's good that people are having a good time while the dinosaur is being restored."
The Asbury Park Press reported earlier this year, citing Baeli, the dinosaur was likely built for the 1925 film "The Lost World" (not to be confused with the Jurassic Park series film made in the 1990s).
It was purchased by Eugene Danacher, who owned the Tearoom on what's now Route 9 in Howell, the report said. And then in 1935, William Farrow bought the dinosaur for $5 and brought it to Bayville, placing it in front of his taxidermy store on Route 9, it said.
The dino was last refurbished in the 1960s.
Reports on RoadsideAmerica.com recount how the dino has changed colors over the years, once green, then later "a light purple with white and red hand prints all over it." A WeirdNJ.com report recounts how the dino suffered damage from auto crashes and other incidents over its long life, including collisions that left it headless (repeatedly).
"Don’t get me wrong," the writeup, written from the dino's perspective, says. "Over the years people had always inquired as to my health or showed their support, like the 6,000 folks who sent in postcards to name me 'Ruggles,' but things were looking pretty desperate after this last head-removing incident until a group of the town’s citizens and the government got together and decided that I needed some medical attention and fast." The dino had been named Virginia for a time, too.
The writeup looks optimistically to a time when the renovations are complete.
"To some I am just a landmark to be used for directions, but to most I am a fond memory to people who need me to always exist in their lives and in the lives of their children’s children," it reads. "It’s a lot to live up to, but once I have my new look I think I’ll be up to the task and I will tell your future generations that you said, 'Hi.'"
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