Prince Harry tours storm-damaged shore

Britain’s Prince Harry toured two New Jersey shore communities devastated by Superstorm Sandy, shaking hands with emergency personnel and construction workers before spending Tuesday afternoon in New York City at events promoting tourism and philanthropy.

In Seaside Heights, where the MTV reality show “Jersey Shore” was taped, Harry and his tour guide, Gov. Chris Christie, also took part in a game of chance along the boardwalk, throwing perforated plastic balls into holes for prizes, which they handed over to children.

The prince suggested to a girl partnered with him, Allie Cirigliano, 7, that she pick a blue penguin as a prize. But she didn’t want it. “Don’t listen to me,” he said with a laugh. She chose a Hello Kitty stuffed doll instead.

The two came within sight of a roller coaster that Sandy sent plunging into the Atlantic Ocean, which became a defining image of the storm that struck in late October. A crane later began tearing apart the remnants of the Jet Star Roller Coaster, which blew off an amusement pier.

In both Seaside Heights and Mantoloking, his first stop, the prince shook hands with police, fire and other emergency personnel racing to get the resort towns ready for the summer. Harry also greeted construction workers who have been working on rebuilding Seaside Heights’ famous boardwalk, now about two-thirds complete.

The prince said he was impressed to see New Jersey’s recovery effort, “everyone getting together and making things right.”

The motorcade carrying the prince and Christie arrived at about 10:15 a.m. in Mantoloking, where some residents were flying Union Jack flags and one handwritten sign read: “Prince Harry please come back when we’re restored.”

Harry was presented with a Mantoloking Police baseball cap.

Christie showed Harry a spot where the Atlantic Ocean had cut Mantoloking in half, creating a channel to the back bay and taking out a bridge and houses. The channel has since been filled in.

“This used to be a house?” Harry asked at one barren spot.

Every one of the wealthy town’s 521 homes was damaged or destroyed by Sandy.

The prince spent about a half hour each in the two shore towns.

Along the route, signs were posted welcoming Harry, including one on a laundry basket attached to a pole. As the motorcade passed Lavalette Elementary School, dozens of schoolchildren stood on the front sidewalk, waving American and British flags.

From Seaside Heights, the prince headed New York City with British Prime Minister David Cameron as part of a campaign to promote England as a tourist destination and U.S. business partner.

The two arrived at Milk Studios on a red double-decker bus. With a view of the Hudson River from a ninth-floor penthouse, the prince and prime minister participated in a demonstration of 3-D computerized printing technology, including of two dolls that resembled the men.

Harry looked amused holding a likeness of himself in his British army regiment uniform, commenting on the detail of the beret and proclaiming the technology to be “cool.”

Cameron spent the morning in Boston, where he visited a memorial to the marathon bombing victims.

In the evening, Harry was scheduled to attend a Manhattan fundraiser for the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, which does philanthropy in the name of the prince, his brother Prince William and sister-in-law, Kate.

Before leaving the country, Prince Harry will travel today to Greenwich, Conn., to captain a polo team as part of the Sentebale Polo Cup.