Gov. Chris Christie and a host of volunteers carried out a ceremonial ribbon cutting that broke the Guinness World record for the longest such undertaking.
The 8.8 km ribbon symbolically tied together some of the hardest-hit towns by Sandy, and bested the previous record-holder by about 2 kilometres, according to Mike Janela, an adjudicator for Guinness, who was present for the event.
"This is an incredible day for New Jersey,'' said Christie, who spoke even as front-end loaders carried poles and planks onto the sand for the still-not-quite-finished boardwalk. "Seven months ago I saw the devastation on this boardwalk. I knew that if we all worked hard we could get this done."
The event was part of a no-holds-barred rollout of summer in this famous resort town made infamous by the MTV reality show "Jersey Shore,'' which filmed there until wrapping up last year.
Cast members joined Christie in urging tourists to return this summer.
"This is known as a happy place,'' said Paul "Pauly D'' Del Vecchio. "Right after the storm, it was the exact opposite: dead, silent. To see this place being rebuilt makes me happy.''
"You just come here to have a good time,'' she said. "It's a great place. You come here with your friends. Everybody's here, it's getting rebuilt; it's just amazing."
"Anybody who lives in New Jersey, the Jersey shore is in your heart,'' said Christie. "This means everything to our state."
Similar ribbon-cuttings were carried out at numerous other shore towns as well on Friday, and Christie visited Point Pleasant Beach later in the day, when he was drenched by a rainstorm while walking the boardwalk.
The governor said about 80 per cent of the shore will look as it did last summer, and acknowledged more work needs to be done to fully recover. He is to tour parts of the storm-hit shore next Tuesday with President Obama.