Garden State Date: Festival Time! Guinness and Oysters in Asbury Park; Jersey City’s Bookies As Hip as Brooklyn’s?

Each week, our man in Jersey offers a few good reasons to head across the Hudson 

Last Thursday—the sand from our final seaside excursion of the year still scratching the insoles of our deck shoes—we lamented the passing of summer, which comes to an end, symbolically at least, on Labor Day. Of course officially, you still have 12 days left to do some last minute barbecuing, beaching, or whatever other sun-drenched activities you can squeeze in before its time to break out the autumn sweaters and Pumpkin Ale. You can take full advantage of this window over the weekend in Asbury Park, a legendary New Jersey beach resort that’s been on the upswing ever since the gays discovered it about 10 years ago and got the wheels of gentrification a’ moving.

On Sunday, seafood lovers and beer enthusiasts will unite for the Asbury Park Guinness Oyster Festival.  It’s happening downtown just blocks from the beach, and as you may have guessed, there will be plenty of fresh oysters and pints of Guinness to be had. Speaking of the Irish, remember that band Black 47 that was kind of New York’s answer to the Pogues? They’ll be providing some tunes by which to either drown your end-of-summer sorrows or, depending on your outlook, welcome the brisk fall air. And on the off-chance that you enjoy neither Guinness nor oysters, we’re told there will be lots of other food and drink to consume. Don’t forget to hit the boardwalk while you’re in town!  [Sept. 14, 12 to 6 p.m.; Garden State Parkway to exit 102, roughly one hour; NJ Transit from Penn Station, roughly an hour and 40 minutes; asburyparkchamber.com/oyster.asp]

The cultural buzz in New York this weekend is centered around the 2008 Brooklyn Book Festival on Sunday, which boasts an impressive roster of famous authors and journalists, and a highly anticipated conversation between indie icons Thurston Moore and Ian MacKaye about the intersection of publishing and music. That’s pretty hard to beat, and we admit, Jersey City’s first annual book festival on Saturday won’t even come close. But it’s a book festival nonetheless, and while it won’t have Joan Didion, it will have an authors’ tent where locals who write from, or have written about, Jersey City, will be selling copies of their books and chatting with readers. Bonus: in the same park every Saturday there’s a farmers market, and this Saturday there’s a flea market as well. (No bedbug panic here, folks!) [Sept. 13, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Van Vorst Park; five minutes on the PATH train from World Trade Center to the Grove Street station, about 15 minutes on the 33rd Street PATH line; imagineatrium.com] Garden State Date: Festival Time! Guinness and Oysters in Asbury Park; Jersey City’s Bookies As Hip as Brooklyn’s?