By Charles Layton
Just because the Casino is in disrepair doesn’t mean it’s not cool. The Parthenon is in disrepair, too, but it’s cool. Likewise the Coliseum in Rome. Likewise the Great Sphinx of Giza — it’s kind of run-down, but still…
Many Ocean Grovers amble through the Casino on a regular basis, either on daily walks or morning bike rides or en route to a boardwalk restaurant or other Asbury attraction. It’s as familiar to us as the Great Auditorium.
But don’t you sometimes wonder whether the Casino will remain as it is — a graffiti museum — in perpetuity? Does Asbury have plans for it? And if so, what are they?
Reporter Don Stine answers those questions in this week’s Coaster, and the answers are: No, there are no specific plans. However, yes, the city’s beachfront developer, Madison Marquette Investments, does intend to rehab the building. But not now. And apparently not soon.
And as for what it will one day become, that seems an open question.
Stine quotes Donald Sammet, Asbury’s director of redevelopment and planning, as saying that the beachfront developer is required, at some point, to turn the building into something. But not on any set schedule.
The president of Madison Marquette Investments, Gary Mottola, is quoted as saying his company “will develop the Casino at some point.”
Some of us aren’t getting any younger, Gary, and we’d really like to see the thing rehabbed before we shuffle off this mortal coil.
Stine writes that it was built “circa 1929″ and that the eastern portion – the part over the beach, which was razed in 2006 – was once an ice skating rink. What remains now is the old amusement area and carousel building on the western end.
Mottola said the building is structurally safe and that some of the architectural elements have been moved into storage.
Good thing it’s safe, because although it isn’t officially in use, people do in fact use it for many things. Street musicians set up in there from time to time. And as the photos below remind us, it can also serve as a sports palace, or even for a wedding celebration.
Even in its decrepitude, people really like it.
SOUNDTRACK: Stuart Hamblin