While the stars of the “Jersey Shore” are asking fans to support victims of Hurricane Sandy by donating to the Red Cross, their boss and landlord is taking a more hands-on approach. Danny Merk plans to grab plywood, fly north, and fix up the iconic house and store frequented by Snooki & Co. as soon as Seaside Heights authorities let him back in town.
Merk, who owns the home where the cast of the MTV reality show lived for four seasons and the Shore Store where they worked, spoke to ABCNews.com today from Florida, where he’s helping his family run their chain of Halloween stores.
“Sandy devastated us,” he said. “I saw some pictures people sent me. My store’s gates are crashed in. There’s no boardwalk. I don’t even understand how bad it is yet.”
“We were on such a high after the show,” he added. “We were the town on the rise, a freight train, a roller coaster. It’s just a terrible thing.”
Merk, 32, said all of the “Jersey Shore” cast members have gotten in touch with him to see how he’s coping with the destruction of the town he’s called home for more than decade.
“They’ve all been calling and worried about me — even Angelina [Pivarnick, who got kicked off the show in season one after refusing to work her shift at Merk's store] called,” he said. “Everyone’s been really concerned. It’s nice that people care.”
Jenni “JWoww” Farley appeared on “The Tonight Show” Tuesday and called the destruction of New Jersey’s coastline “devastating.” She, Paul “Pauly D” DelVecchio and Vinny Guadagnino asked their Twitter followers to donate $10 to the American Red Cross by texting REDCROSS to 90999.
Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi also asked her followers to donate. She offered a more candid take on the disaster on Twitter, writing from her powerless home in East Hanover, N.J. “Ugh trying to change my son’s diaper while holding a flash light is not easy,” adding the hashtag “#nopower.”
The “Jersey Shore” house was unharmed by the hurricane, according to the Newark Star-Ledger, but Merk is convinced his “basement got flooded, for sure.” He and his brother, Paul, also own half a dozen additional properties in town “and they’re all ruined,” he said. “I invested every penny I had into it.”
But he’s got a plan. “We’re going to buy supplies here in Florida and we’re going to come there with plywood and drywall and attack it, do the best job we can possibly do,” he said. He hopes to be in Seaside Heights by Tuesday.