This photo by Michael Badger shows the side to side beach closure at Asbury to keep those without Sea.Hear.Now  tickets from coming across. This is undoubtedly unconstitutional, but irrelevant to the OG Sunday closures issue. From Asbury Patch. 9/22/23.

By Paul Goldfinger, MD.   Editor Blogfinger.net.  9/22/23 Ocean Grove.  Our OG presses have been held for this article.

The Asbury Patch is a  local internet based news source which has honed in to Ocean Grove for some of its recent news stories, but it should first do its homework and learn something about our town.

Most recently it has focused  on the Sunday beach closure issue, and today it reports with this headline:

“Ocean Grove ‘Singled Out’  By State for Sunday Beach Closure, Church Says.”

And this is their opening:

“The president of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association said he thinks the town is a victim of religious persecution from the state of New Jersey, after the state Department of Environmental Protection sent a violation notice to Ocean Grove last week for keeping beaches closed on Sunday mornings during the summer.

“It seems as though the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, with its religious heritage, is being treated differently than other private and municipal beaches on the Jersey Shore,” said Camp Meeting Association president Michael Badger.”

Let’s first clear the air with some facts:

a. The CMA is not a “church.”

b. Ocean Grove is a town not the name of the group which operate our beaches.   The state of NJ DEP has gone after the OG Camp Meeting Association, not the town of Ocean Grove.

At Blogfinger we have complained about the intentional misuse of those names by the CMA which often refers to itself as “Ocean Grove” instead of consistently referring to itself as the Camp Meeting.  This confusion of names should be irritating to the diverse citizenry of OG which can do without having its town lumped together with the CMA and all its trials and tribulations.

The Patch is like all the other media that betrays an ignorance about the Grove, its issues, its history,  and its very name.  For example they all think that morning beach closures are historic, but until 1980, Sunday closures were all day–quite a difference.

c. You can go to the Asbury Patch.com to read their entire piece but evidently Michael Badger came up with his charge of discrimination by pointing to other situations of beach closures in NJ such as the recent Pt. Pleasant closure which was done temporarily to save lives during dangerous tidal conditions  and when the Sea, Hear, Now concerts last weekend over two days shut down lateral movement of beach walkers–a practice which we criticized in the past, and the night-time closure of Sandy Hook.

Each of those examples are different, and Badger can’t justify his beach policies  by pointing to “bad behavior” by others.

d. It’s ironic that the CMA, which was found guilty of discrimination on our boardwalk in 2007  by the State, now finds itself falsely accusing the state of  NJ of “persecution.”   At Blogfinger we are not a fan of any beach closures, and we have written many posts about this, but religious persecution is a serious charge which cannot be tossed around trivially. Was Badger having a badger day when he passed this on to some rookie reporter from the Patch?  Surely he can’t believe that.  He has zero evidence.

e. Also from the Patch piece: “Ocean Grove began, and continues to this day, as a Methodist summer seaside retreat. The Camp Meeting Association, which is a Christian 501(c)3 non-profit, owns all the land in Ocean Grove, and also owns the beach”.

Ugh! How come we all know that Ocean Grove does not “continue to this day as a Methodist summer seaside retreat?” You  could say that the CMA runs summer programs under the heading of a “summer retreat” but the town of Ocean Grove has nothing to do with that.  This reporter should go back to journalism school where she could be learning wokism and political advocacy.  She should take a graduate course in reporting fact-based accuracy.

f.  The article say:    “Badger said Ocean Grove does this for two reasons, one religious and the other being quality of life.”

Did Badger really say that the Sunday closure is for religious reasons?     If he says it now, it is to try and justify his claim that there is some sort of “religious persecution” going on.

g. The reporter tried to drag the ancient Romans into this discussion quoting the Public Trust Doctrine which is about much broader concerns than what the DEP is specifically about now.

h. One item which the reporter includes having to do with Public Trust Doctrine which I think does shed some light on the variety of closures alleged by Badger:

“There are circumstances under which public access may be restricted or denied. These include restrictions that are necessary to protect public health and safety, and for which municipalities, through the exercise of their police powers, can adopt ordinances to address such circumstances”




Eileen models her handmade hat and scarf on our  porch. 2022. iPhone photo.

Eileen and I sent Michael, our #2 son to BU, but all she got was this sweatshirt. Boston is a great city, and we liked to visit him.  He was the photo editor of the BU Free Press, an independent daily.  In OG she is an innovative cook, gardener, and designer.  She lurks in the background as an editor of Blogfinger. One of her jobs is to count hyphens and proof read it all.

We’re both excited over the birth of our new grand-daughter Evy-Rose.

Evy Rose. 8/30/23. Paul Goldfinger photo.


Paul Goldfinger, Editor Blogfinger.net in my Leonard Cohen look. Or is it Ray Charles?  Ocean Grove 2022.

I’ve given up my OG darkroom after many years honing my skills. Digital has replaced all that for me, but some photographers  continue that vintage craft.  The black and white prints above were all printed in that darkroom.

But now, I like the idea of showing my work on-line, although an image may look fine on my screen, but I never know how it looks on yours.  If a digital photo gets printed (I send it out) then the final look is up to I participated in the Art on the Porch with Betsy and Katy, and that was an OG highlight.

Here is a photographer who visited our porch, and such visits were rewarding and unique.

Paul Goldfinger photo using a high-tech Leica digital monochrome camera. Art on the Porch–a great accomplishment and deposit for OG’s future.


LEONARD COHEN.  “Dance Me To The End of Love”. Live in London.


Sunset Lake, Asbury Park. By Stephen Goldfinger, BF Asbury reporter ©

Sunset Lake, Asbury Park. By Stephen Goldfinger, BF Asbury reporter ©  April 17, 2016.


PATTI LuPONE    (live)   “Meadowlark”  from the (flop) Broadway show The Bakers Wife,  1976.  It’s a cult favorite.   Stephen Schwartz is the composer, and this recording is from Patti LuPone’s show “On Broadway” 1997.  (Patti chats with the audience at the end.  We will try to find the song from Oliver that she references.–PG)

“Come along,
fly with me, my meadowlark,
fly with me on the silver morning,
past the sea where the dolphins bark
we will dance on the coral beaches,
make a feast of the plums and peaches
just as far as your vision reaches
fly with me.”

Patti LuPone speaks to the audience and introduces a song which we will post shortly—from Oliver.

Abaco Islands

Hope Town, Abaco, Bahamas. Paul Goldfinger photo. 2001 ©

Hope Town, Abaco, Bahamas. Paul Goldfinger photo. 2001 ©.

GEMA 4.   “Cómo Fue”  This group is an acapella quartet from Cuba, but currently there are 3 Cubans and one Israeli.

Gema 4

Gema 4

Ocean Grove boards. 2022. PAUL GOLDFINGER photo.


DEE HOTY AND VICTORIA CLARK.    From the new Broadway cast of GIGI:


Imagination is funny….

Pals at the  MacIntosh Book Store children’s section. Sanibel Island, Fla.  Paul Goldfinger photo.  January 2021.


BOB DYLAN  from his album Triplicate    ‘”Imagination”

“Imagination is funny
It makes a cloudy day sunny
It makes a bee think of honey
Just as I think of you…”


Ibis in the morning…

Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge. Sanibel Island Fla. Feb. 2018. Paul Goldfinger © Click to enlarge. Ibis hunts in the mangroves.


WILL COOKSON    “I’m All At Sea.”

“Like a warm drink it seeps into my soul
Please just leave me right here on my own
Later on you could spend some time with me
If you want to
All at sea.”

December 7, 2014. By Paul Goldfinger ©

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel on Asbury Avenue.  December 7, 2014. By Paul Goldfinger.


By Paul Goldfinger, MD.    Editor Blogfinger,net


I have passed this church so many times, but this day it really caught my eye as the sun, low in the sky at about 4:30 pm, illuminated it and made it glow.

It reminded me of the colors of Tuscany in Italy.

Congratulations to Jersey Jane who was the first of several to guess this location. —PG


RENATA SCOTTO  with LEONARD BERNSTEIN.    From  West Side Story  




The Lagoon* at Shell Point, a private contained religious-owned community in Fort Myers, Florida Paul Goldfinger photo. Jan, 2020. “Forever Friends.”


The Arbor at Shell Point. Internet photo.



By Paul Goldfinger, MD.   Editor.  Blogfinger.net.  Ocean Grove, NJ. 2020.

Is the Camp Meeting Association’s unique status in Ocean Grove so unusual that there is no other town exactly like it?  We would be interested to find another for historical and comparison purposes.

After all, the OGCMA is a religious organization with its own goals within the larger universe of Neptune Township and Ocean Grove.  They own 99% of the land in OG and they have political leverage in Neptune Township even though they no longer have official power.  When they governed the town—1869 to 1980, everyone had to follow their rules.

They functioned like a gated community.  They would interview prospective residents and explain that all who were accepted had to follow those rules, many of which were religious based, such as the constraints on many activities on Sundays.

But OG is no longer like a gated community. No one can make laws for Ocean Grove except the elected officials in Neptune.  Of course the CMA can make rules for its own buildings  (like no food in the Great Auditorium and no gay weddings in its chapel.)

Some would say that the CMA can make rules for its public parks and for the beachfront (eg no admittance on Sunday morning.)  But that is questionable since the CMA has officially opened such thoroughfares to the public.

We discovered  a place similar to the OGCMA within the city of Fort Myers, Florida, called Shell Point.  This is a 700 acre community that provides homes and life styles for retirees. Everything within its boundaries is owned by the CMA—the Christian Missionary Alliance.

Unlike the OGCMA, the Alliance owns both the land and all the residences (homes, condos, apartments.)   And, unlike with the OGCMA, everyone who lives in Shell Point has signed a contract to follow all the rules.  So if they say “no alcohol” within their boundaries, then that is what happens, and rule breakers can be forced out, and the city of Ft. Myers stays out of it.

The OGCMA insists on no alcohol sales in town by convincing Neptune to have an ordinance—an actual law, but only in the OG part of town.  So the way that power is exerted, in this regard, is different for these two religious-based communities when compared to each other.   In OG people have alcohol in their homes, on their porches and in restaurants if they are BYOB. They just can’t sell it.

Like OG, Shell Point is bordered by water on 3 sides and they have a large central auditorium where religious events are held.  They also have parking problems.

Governance is by a board that has a mixture of religious and lay people.  Residents do pay some property taxes, but the amount is small and shared with management.  Everything is leased.

Unlike Ocean Grove, Shell Point does resemble a gated community but without gates.  And it is different in other ways as well.

Geographically, the OGCMA is woven into the fabric of life in the Grove, whereas Shell Point’s properties, physical and otherwise, are clearly demarcated by boundaries and this characteristic reduces the chances of clashes within the community at large, as sometimes occur in Ocean Grove.

Overall, we would be hard pressed to find any towns in New Jersey that are comparable to OG, especially the way we have the CMA which is part and yet not part of our town at the same time. So, unlike Shell Point, we do not have a singular sense of community.

At a person-to-person level, an important difference  is that there is considerable overlap of the OGCMA with the secular and diverse residents of Ocean Grove.  And that is where conflicts may occur, as we saw in 2007 during the gay civil ceremony angry exchanges and the fight over Kirk Cameron’s appearance in the Great Auditorium. And now we have the Parking Wars.

In Shell Point, the residents are all on the same page and rarely overlap in important ways with those who live outside their invisible borders.

And unlike with many gated communities and unlike Shell Point, our CMA isn’t able to exert its powers of persuasion within a geographically demarcated zone as it did pre-1980,  and the demographics in OG are now quite diverse.  We are sometimes stepping on each others’ toes, priorities, and life styles.

So Shell Point does resemble Ocean Grove’s CMA in some ways, and that is interesting, but there are differences.

We are still looking for another community where a religious presence like the CMA coexists in a comfortable way with others in town.  We have found no nearly identical community to compare with.

So we are on our own in OG,  trying to find solutions to certain issues, and sometimes that seems insurmountable as with parking.  And that is why parking is about more than parking.


* “Forever Friends” is a 1500 pound stainless steel structure by Douglas Hayes (b. 1968) and donated by a Shell Point benefactor.  The birds have a 10 foot wing span.  The lagoon features manatees which visit regularly.  Shell Point is open to the public and has various races and religions among its residents.


PAUL MOTIAN:    “I Remember You”




Tom, visiting from across the street, found a head in our garden. It was my organic chemistry professor.  Blogfinger photo.   06/20/21.


Paul Goldfinger, Editor Blogfinger.net. June 20, 2021.   Re-post for old- times’ sake.

Well, to tell the truth, I have no idea how the 15 other sites did, numbers-wise, but it doesn’t matter.  The point is that some people, Grovers and non, came out on a hot Sunday to go visiting, to see some gardens, to chat with the gardeners and their schleppers  (in our case, that would be me) and to have a happy time–and we did.

It was delightful  to greet people in our garden and to chat a bit.  We had visitors from Ocean Township, Bradley Beach, Asbury Park, and Toms River, plus Grovers.

We met gardeners, birders, plant experts, pond fish curious, Groucho fans, Blogfinger fans, a lady with a broken arm, a man who looks at Grovers from the other side of Fletcher Lake, a neighbor who never saw our garden before, a Dad who took a Father’s Day call while standing next to me, a woman who promised to come back and she did, and a few who enjoyed the ginger snaps which we put out.

I found those snaps at Wegmans. They are baked at an Amish bakery where they have been baking them with real ginger for over 100 years.

It was hot, so we offered iced tea and cold water as did Rena and Dan over on Asbury Avenue.

One guy liked my Groucho shirt, so I said, “Say the secret word and watch the duck come down.”

He just moved into Mt. Carmel Way. He said that he had a struggle being able to buy the house; The  market is very competitive.  I told him that he lives in the Ocean Grove Mountains—something his realtor left out.  He and I like that name.

And many thanks to all the Grovers who participated today. You set an example for the sort of community life-style changes which we need in our town.


Blogfinger hosting at the tour. “I shot an elephant in my pajamas–how it got there I ‘ll never know.”




Smile in New Orleans.

Lucia Micarelli. Mardi Gras. Tremé. Paul Goldfinger still photo. New Orleans.


LUCIA MICARELLI. (VIOLIN)  “Smile” from her album Interlude.


“Summer Portrait” by Bob Bowné. Ocean Grove Beach. August 28, 2015 © Special to Blogfinger.net.   Click to enlarge


“…the girls got together and made a fabulous end-of-the-summer portrait!”

Bob  (Bowné )



Lady Gaga and Brad Cooper.

2018:  The much heavily hyped opening of the latest version of A Star is Born has opened, and the soundtrack album has been released. It not only has 19 songs from the film, but also short dialogue recordings which are fun to hear.

This song is “Music to My Eyes”  performed by both stars.   The lyrics are amazing. Most of the songs are performed by Lady Gaga.  Cooper had to learn how to sing “country” for the movie.