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The Aurora. Photograph by Maggie and Joe Thornton of Ocean Grove. Special to Blogfinger. ©

The web sites Zillow and Trulia say that a sale of the Aurora  (#6 Atlantic Avenue)  is pending after nearly 3 years for sale.    It is listed at $2.1 million, but supposedly the sale price is considerably  less than that.

Here is the Zillow link:

Aurora sale is pending says Zillow

The Aurora was built in 1890.  Ocean Grove historian Ted Bell says that the former hotel is a “national treasure.”  Below this post is a background article from September 2017 on Blogfinger.

The Aurora has 30 bedrooms, 4 floors and a finished basement.  The listing says that it has ocean views on every level and sits on 4 lots. It fronts on Surf and Atlantic Avenues and  has a driveway and a garage.  The lot size is 4,622 square feet.

Inside the building contains  6,615  square feet.  The most recent property  taxes were  $33,979 in 2014.

When the current owner bought it, he changed its legal standing to a single family home.  He became famous for flying huge American flags on both sides of his #6 Atlantic Avenue home.

The word on the street says that a developer will buy the historic building and turn it into 4 luxury condominiums.  Such a plan would require all sorts of approvals at the local level and at the state.  Hopefully this idea is just an unbelievable rumor, but the history of Neptune Township in Ocean Grove suggests that anything could happen, legal or not.

The first issue that comes to mind is that the HPC would never let this building be altered in a major way, and a multifamily condo conversion would be illegal from a zoning perspective.

The second thing which comes to mind is that there would be essentially no on-site parking, so it’s not likely that the  State Site Improvement Advisory Board would ever give this project a “special standard” to make it exempt from the law.

But, if the rumors are true, the public must be told which officials and realtors reassured the prospective buyer;  and what contingencies are built into the offer. We all have a stake in enforcement of the law and protection of our town’s precious architectural history.

Your comments and speculation are welcome below, but remember that so far we have no facts on the table other than that a buyer has been found and the sale is “pending.”  Maybe that buyer has a big family like the current owner.

 

ANDY WILLIAMS:

 

 

 

January 23, 2018.     This article was posted 4 months ago and is relevant today because of the latest news.  Read it for background.

The Aurora in Ocean Grove

The Aurora in Ocean Grove. 6 Atlantic Avenue.  Internet photo.

 

Aerial view of the Aurora. Source: Zillow

 

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger   (updated post from 2013)

The Aurora on Atlantic Avenue in Ocean Grove, NJ has  30 bedrooms, and 5 bathrooms.  It is listed as a single family home. It sits on 4 lots with ocean views from 3 levels (and the top.)  The house is 6,615 sq. ft. and it is still for sale—since 2013.

Built in 1884 , the Aurora  has a garage and room to park several cars  (or maybe two Bentleys).

This former hotel is considered a major Victorian historic treasure even when compared to the rest of the country  (per historian Ted Bell.)  It became even more renowned when the current owner converted it to a single family house.  It cannot be changed  back into a hotel.  If you buy it, you will need a few more bathrooms.  We are told that it needs a lot of work inside.

The Aurora Hotel when it was a hotel. They say that Broadway celebrities liked to stay there. (Source–Zillow)

The Aurora is perfect for the man who has everything, including more than one wife; or a playboy with lots of playmates.   And, in case you are wondering if there is enough room, the Aurora also has a finished basement.

So, even though the price has been reduced substantially and seems to be a relative bargain, the issue is what can a buyer do with it?   The current owner purchased the grand old hotel because he wanted room for his large family, but 30 bedrooms?  That would be one bathroom for 6 bedrooms, which has the potential for some family warfare.

So what will a new owner do with this huge property?

Other uses, besides a single family  house, are technically prohibited because of zoning, including a hotel, a drug rehabilitation facility, a casino,  a brothel, a frat house, a dormitory for Yeshiva students, a rooming house for Camp Meeting religious tourists, a multi-family condominium, a school, or a rooming house.  You cannot rent rooms in Ocean Grove—so Airbnb is out.  And there is no parking for more than 4 cars.

Of course, creative zoning without on-site parking is part of the Ocean Grove/Neptuner culture.  How about Mary’s Place where two single family houses were supposed to go?  It is now a  spa/respite shelter for female cancer victims.  It is officially a single family house with 10 bedrooms.

The Mary’s Place  precedent might work for the Aurora. Turn that into a shelter for some victim group.  The Neptune Zoning Department has proven itself to be very creative under Bernie Haney. They were the ones who found a solution for Mary’s Place, not the Planning Board.  There’s a lot of money going into drug rehabilitation these days.  Del Ray Beach in Florida is such a place.

And how about the Grand Atlantic Hotel which was turned into a home for nuns?  What kind of zoning legerdemain made that happen?    And what kind of zoning allowed Grove Hall to become a conference center/65 room hotel for  visitors to use while attending religious based conferences?

Or consider the North End Redevelopment Plan which was supposed to consist of 25 single family Victorian style houses, but now the plans, after major zoning changes,  consist of 165 residential units including condominiums, an underground garage,  and a hotel.

And then there was the Surf Avenue House conversion into condominiums without parking.  That hotel was officially listed as a single family house before the owner got the designation changed to “hotel” so it could  go condo.    And how about the the Manchester Hotel which was to go condo until it burned down.

That’s the problem with precedents.   The double standards and favoritism in town create precedents.  What’s to stop the Aurora buyers from tapping into the same sort of special treatment?

JERRY ORBACH:

Florida tomato farm….

Biggers Farm.  Ft. Myers, Fla. They grow one crop: tomatoes. But the cold weather has set them back. Jan. 19, 2018. Paul Goldfinger © Click on image to enlarge.

 

ST. THOMAS CHOIR. LEIPZIG. PSALM 42, OP.42.  BY FELIX MENDELSSOHN

 

 

Ian, Caitlin and Blake Ackermann are the owners of the Ackermann Maple Farm in Cabot, Vermont. Photographed in Sanibel Island, Florida. Jan 19, 2018. Paul Goldfinger ©

The Ackermanns are from a small Vermont town, Cabot.   In the last 5 years, their maple farm has grown to 148 acres and 10,000 maple trees.  In the winter they manage to get away from their busy business to sell their maple syrups at the farmers’markets in southwest Florida.  3 months ago their first child Blake was born.

They will return to Cabot in a few days to get ready to tap the trees and collect the sap in early spring.   The next step is to boil the sap with a wood fired evaporator.  Later the syrup is aged in whiskey, bourbon and rum barrels.

This is their web site:    link to the Ackermann’s site

They offer free shipping on orders over $50.00

 

BETTY CARTER  WITH  RAY BRYANT TRIO.   Betty was a major jazz vocalist who performed with big stars like Ray Charles, Charlie Parker and Miles Davis.  Her career spanned the latter half of the 2oth century. We don’t know if she visited Vermont, but her performance here of  “Moonlight in Vermont” is sure convincing.

 

WASSUP? Ocean Grove

a.  Here is an inexpensive way to  discourage A. Parkers from using OG as a free parking lot. Scare them with signs like this:

The no-holds-barred department @Blogfinger. This sign is in Florida. Blogfinger photo ©

b. If you don’t attend Neptune meetings, how can you know what occurred?   Well, just read the minutes—–but not so fast.   Here we see the most recent minutes from these groups, posted on the Township web page:

Neptune Township Committee:  Dec 21, 2017   (But, a few days following a Committee meeting, you can invoke the Freedom of Information Act   by filling out a brief form at the Town Clerk’s  office;  for a very small fee they will provide you with the audio recording on a CD disc of the entire meeting.)

OG Home Groaners:  October 2017.

HPC:  Dec 12

Wesley Lake Commission:   Oct 17

Planning Board:  March 2017

Fletcher Lake Commission:    zero minutes

Zoning Board of Adjustment:  August 2

Our opinion:  Every one of these meetings should be recorded and their discs made available to the public within 48 hours of such meetings.

c.    Why isn’t the Mayor demanding the results of the Warrington Hotel fire investigation?  In March it will be one year.

d.  Blog stats:  On January 19, we had 868 views.  Most popular topics:  Fishing Pier, permit parking decision, and the OGCMA letter analysis.   8 foreign countries signed in including Netherlands, South Africa, South Korea, and United Kingdom.

 

e.  Tax treatment for ground rent:  One of our readers has posed a question on Turbo Tax regarding this.   Here is the link:

Turbo Tax on ground rents

 

f.       From NJ Commons:    

“NJ HOME VALUES COULD DROP BY 7.5%, CREDIT RATER SAYS
A reduction in the state sales tax combined with recently enacted federal tax cuts could cause a drop in value for the average New Jersey home of 7.5 percent, warns the credit-rating agency Moody’s, according to The Record. The federal tax overhaul limits the amount of property taxes that homeowners can deduct to $10,000, while the average deduction taken in 2015 was $17,850, Moody’s says in a report. And the sales tax cut could reduce state revenue by nearly half a billion dollars, the agency says.”

–Editor’s note:    Can someone try to connect the dots and explain how the changes in property tax deductions and sales tax will  affect home values?

 

 

 

 

A rare photo of moi when I was in my prime, just last week.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger  (interviewer and interviewee and interloper in chief:)

Q:  Why did you name Eileen Goldfinger as food editor?  Isn’t that nepotism?

A:  No.  I prefer to call it “affirmative action”

Q:  Where will you be eating dinner tonight?

A: Well, it should be in the dog house, but we don’t have a dog

Q: You really like music. How did that interest develop?

A: My mother sang show tunes all day long and she insisted that I play the sax—but not at the same time.  In the band I met some nice girls with rhythm, so I stuck with it. I liked to watch the horn players use their spit valves.

Q: Who is your favorite photographer and why?

A:  Edward Weston. Because his black and white images of peppers, sea shells, nudes and toilet bowls were beautiful and  unique…..also he slept with all his models.

Q: Do you miss practicing medicine?

A: Only the fun parts, like when I would talk into my stethoscope and say, “Testing, testing, testes.”  Some of my former colleagues still enjoy that one liner. But, you know, it’s all in the timing.

Q:  What was your most amazing medical case?

A:   A young woman came to the ER when I first entered practice.  She had a heart rate of 180/min.  I turned her upside down—-then right side up.  She was cured, and I was famous.

Q. What cars do you like?

A:    I love stick shift sports cars. Over the years I have had a Fiat Spider, Triumph Spitfire, Porsche 911 and a BMW Z4.  I don’t go fast, but my favorite maneuvers are cornering and acceleration.  (That’s how I am in bed also—when I am sleeping.)   In Ocean Grove I have the Blogmobile.

Q:  Were you in the military?

A. Yes, I was an officer in the  Navy Medical Corps  and I fought the battle of Virginia Beach.  I had three haircuts in one month and I loved the white uniform. I also had a rubber stamp that said  “bull****” The best part was the saluting—instant respect.

Q Why did Eileen agree to marry you?

A. It’s a fair question. She was 16 years old, and I took her for her first lobster and her second Broadway show.  I took her to see Fiorello, and she left the theatre humming—that’s what tipped the scales. If you can make a girl hum, that is a big deal.

Q. Why do you allow both Jack Bredin and Kevin Chambers to opine on BF?

A. Because they both laugh at my jokes and they both use their real names and they are not afraid to tell the truth.  Jack used to be in show business, and Kevin went to school with Walt Whitman.

Q: What is the future for Blogfinger?

A: We will spend a lot of time searching for an honest man.  We also hope to interview a real celebrity some day, like Ted Bell.

Q: What do you like best about Ocean Grove?

A:  I enjoy the way people are interested in raccoons, snow plows, good coffee, and flying the American flag on their houses. The demographics are fascinating: always changing— like the sands.     I also have an unpaid job as official thong counter down at the beach. Last summer the count was zero. You heard it first @Blogfinger.

Q:  If you could speak at a high school graduation, what would you say?

A:  For the boys:  “Have no fear; girls want sex also”   For the girls: “Read Erica Jong’s books and don’t believe the feminists.”

Q: What should we call you?

A.  Call me Paul. My middle initial is @.  Only my childhood friends call me Pee Gee. My last name  must be sung to the Shirley Bassey version of “Goldfinger”.  You can hear it at the end of the “about” section tab at the top of this page.

Q: What is the most outrageous idea that you ever had?

A:  “Kill the umpire.”

Q: What do you think of this interview?

A:  It sucks. Can I say “sucks” on this blog?

Q: What’s your favorite song?

A:  I have many, but I guess, anything that takes me back to the gym at Rutherford High School when, festooned with crepe paper, and with the lights semi-low, my friends and I strolled over to the girls’ side and found one who would slow dance with us.

For example, here are THE VELOURS with a song and lyrics that remind me of those dances when we all knew the rules.  When it was prom time,  it wasn’t just the music; it was the smell  of carnations pinned to the lapel of a white dinner jacket, a corsage on the girl’s wrist, and the rustle of those  crinolines.

 

 

Sanibel Island Sunday Farmers’ Market. 1/21/18. Paul Goldfinger photo ©  Click to enlarge.

TONY BENNETT AND BILL EVANS:    “Make Someone Happy.”

Princeton tiger

Princeton University Art Museum. By Paul Goldfinger © 2013

Princeton University Art Museum. By Paul Goldfinger © 2013

Princeton University campus. 2013. By Paul Goldfinger ©

Princeton University campus. 2013. By Paul Goldfinger ©  Click to enlarge and apply for admission..  Re-posted from January, 2015.

 

Two years ago BF reviewed a film about college acapella singing groups.  It is called “Pitch Perfect.” We gave it a high score   Here is a link   ( Pitch Perfect link  )

Here are the Princeton University Nassoons with a song called “Time.”

Princeton University Nassoons (internet photo)

Princeton University Nassoons (internet photo)

By Paul Goldfinger, MD.  Editor @Blogfinger.net.

The red-bellied woodpecker doesn’t have a red belly.  I bet you thought that it did.  But, actually, it has a red head and a pale belly.

So here’s the story on that:  There already is a bird with the name “red-headed woodpecker.” So some wise -guy bird namer said, “No big deal…let’s call this one  ‘”red bellied woodpecker.'”

Anyhow, the male in the video was attracted to our backyard in Ft. Myers, Fla.  by some suet which is in the cage.  But, there are plenty of peckers around here, even without hanging suet.  We  don’t feed them with bird seed, because it is not allowed here.

There are two who come to us—-a male and a female–they both have red heads, but the male has deeper and wider red on top.   He is about 9 inches long; she is a bit smaller.   They chatter away back and forth, and you can hear that in the video.  You might be able to enlarge the bird if you have a pinchable screen or if you just tap the screen, as on the iPhone 7 or 8.

Eileen went on line and got a recording of the red belly, and she played it very loud, and both of our live peckers went nuts trying to figure out what the heck was going on.  So, Eileen gave up on that hobby.

We also have a flock of blackbirds here, but we wish that they would go away. “Let’s get the flock out of here!”

TRINI LOPEZ  knows the score at PJ’S in LA:

 

La Creperia and Café. Tampa, Florida. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

La Creperia and Café. Tampa, Florida. Paul Goldfinger photo ©  Click to enlarge.

JOSEPHINE BAKER  “Nuit d’Alger”

And below is a link to another Josephine Baker song called ‘I Have  Two Loves.”  The scene is Paris, and that is a very Parisienne thing to do, and tres dangeroux.

Josephine Baker in Paris