The poet’s mind’s eye exceeds the vision of the camera lens. Hudson River by Eileen Goldfinger. © 2018


The Hudson

By Charles Pierre

This wide lane of brackish water
runs in a brimming tidal channel,
where sun and wind accent the flow
with strokes of gold, red arabesques,
scrims of lavender mist, and pools
shot through with silver arrows,
all rushing in an undulant flux
of jeweled waves and troughs,
the thrust of vigorous currents,
steady yet unseen below the surface,
driving the river’s cargo of color.

Alexandre Desplat Elisa’s Theme from The Shape of Water

Porkchop has painted a new woman in the Casino, but some real new women are more than competitive. Paul Goldfinger photo © May 24, 2015.

Porkchop has painted a new woman in the Casino, but some real new women are more than competitive. Paul Goldfinger photo © May 24, 2015. Click to enlarge.  Re-post.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

Mike LaValee, aka Porkchop, is a multi-disciplinary artist from Asbury Park who exhibits in the US and Europe, but he is perhaps best known around here for his mural (s) in the Casino between AP and Ocean Grove. We have all seen and loved the octopus-flapper woman, but now he has imagined  a new version of another fishy female.  This one is a gorgeous creature—a fantasy woman who lives in a multi-colored world simultaneously under the sea and near the sea.

But today, as we were photographing his new creation, some young women of the warm-blooded variety breezed by, animated, beautiful,  and sure of their femininity.  They don’t seem to notice Porkchop’s 2-D creation, because life doesn’t mirror art, it is better than art.

Mike loves to paint artistic themes that are usually based on the female figure, and we applaud him for this new wonderful creature, but by comparison, you can’t beat the real thing.


Central Park, New York City. By Paul Goldfinger ©. Blogfinger.net. 2014

Central Park, New York City. By Paul Goldfinger ©. Blogfinger.net. 2014  Click to enlarge.  Re-post 2015.


DANIEL MAY.    “I Love Penny Sue.”      From Woody Allen’s movie Midnight in Paris

Fort Myers, Florida. By Paul Goldfinger. February, 2015. ©

Fort Myers, Southwest Florida. By Paul Goldfinger. February, 2015. © Click to enlarge.


Downtown Fort Myers, Florida. First Street is the main street—not Main Street.    The place hums and doesn’t roar. It has a slow pace, like much of the South. A historic downtown slowly comes back to life on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River.

By Paul Goldfinger. March, 2015

JESSICA MOLASKEY    from the album Pentimento  (Ken Peplowski on clarinet)

Jessica Molaskey

Jessica Molaskey

This is the Aurora in Ocean Grove in 2014.  It is a former hotel, and  later a single family  (albeit a big one) home, and now on its way to becoming  4 condos.

Many have photographed this scene, but no one produces a unique image like Bob Bowné.  Bob, a professional fine art photographer,  is a regular contributor to Blogfinger.  Re-post from July 4,  2014.

The Aurora by Bob Bowné of Ocean Grove. © Special to Blogfinger.

The Aurora by Bob Bowné of Ocean Grove. © Special to Blogfinger. 2014.


RUBY BRAFF  (trumpet)  AND DICK HYMAN  (organ.)    From their album America the Beautiful.

Socializing at the market. Paul Goldfinger photograph.8/17/19 ©


Sunset Saturday market was busy. 8/17/19. Blogfinger photo © Very good heirloom tomatoes here.


This is the sort of small neighborhood events that OG needs to bring people together.

FYI:  The Italian baker from Paterson has fine sfogliatella ( sea shells with crispy, flaky pastry, and inside there is sweet lemony cheese.)  He also has fig bars and a terrific variety of authentic breads plus cheeses from Italy.



Walking towards Asbury via New Jersey Ave. bridge. August 17, 2019. Paul Goldfinger photo ©  Click to enlarge.




By Paul Goldfinger, editor at Blogfinger.net

There have been occasions in the past when Neptune has applied for a State exception to RSIS parking regulations   (for the whole town of Ocean Grove except for the North End property.)  The last attempt was in 2015, and the request was rejected.

Blogfinger has been in contact with the State Site Improvement Advisory Board regarding the prior Neptune quests for a “special standard” on parking.  We have been mystified by the failure of the State to enforce its regulations whenever Neptune has allowed condoization to occur without providing any off street parking.

The most recent mystery surrounds the Aurora project to turn that historic hotel into four condominiums under one roof without the regulatory 8 parking spaces on the site.  The Neptune Zoning Board suggested that the developer ask the Department of Community Affairs to allow it to go with just four spaces. The DCA said that the decision would be up to the municipality. We don’t know what was decided by the Neptuners, but since they have allowed over 300 condos without parking over the years, the outcome is predictable.

We could never figure why, since Neptune does what it wants anyhow, they would even need a State special standard. We have even gone to Trenton to get answers, but the results have been problematic in the past.  Here is a related link that you can read.

Why give Neptune an exception on parking? click here.

One thing is clear:  the parking problems in the Grove are not going away, and they are actually getting worse.   The CMA is only interested insofar as their programs are concerned.  The Committee moves its lips, but nothing comes out.  And the Home Groaners have been failures in their efforts.

So, I decided that maybe there was another way to look at this situation rather than painting the Neptuners as disinterested, powerless, law breakers with some sort of mysterious connections.

I had a conversation with John Lago, the Administrator of the New Jersey SIAB (Site Improvement Advisory Board) under the heading of the Department of Community Affairs. (DCA)

Mr. Lago is a totally engaged and knowledgeable official who can read chapter and verse on this topic with a great degree of sympathy and understanding for small towns like Ocean Grove, especially at the Shore, regarding parking issues.  He also mentioned Long Beach Island.

He makes it clear that every town is different, and his Board has been well aware of Ocean Grove’s story for many years.  Their regulations provide for flexibility in interpreting the problems in each town, and sometimes exceptions are made, as occurred in Avalon where the town changed its character becoming home to wealthy folks with mega houses and lots of cars.  Long Branch is another with a special standard, and each town is different.

Here is a link to our recent review of a NY Times article about changing shore towns, especially Avalon:

NY Tmes on Avalon and BF review as relates to OG

But Ocean Grove, a “unique” town with a remarkable personality, has qualities that are beloved by those who choose to live here. So the Board wants to avoid paralyzing the town with strict regulations.  They would most prefer that the citizens get involved with problem solving and that the town’s “reviewers” make decisions that are best for those who live in town so that the Grove retains its special “charm.”  They watch us with great interest and they are “sympathetic” to our issues.

They are not so fussy about parking as we are. For one thing Mr. Lago suggests that our town is so special, that we should be able to tolerate 4 months a year with parking gridlock.  He says that OG is one of the few shore towns, maybe the only one, where a house can sell for $500,000 or $600,000 without parking and is bought by people with only one car. or no car.

Many of our citizens take the train or the bus from the the City.   That is because, he says,  the people who move here are not so dependent on cars and don’t mind doing a lot of walking.  He  refers to us as a “pedestrian town.”  (ie “pedestrian oriented.”)  And that is a characteristic, he says, that is very desirable for a shore town with the Grove’s qualities.

In terms of problem solving, he says that there are “many, many factors that go into an individual parking analysis”  including the size of houses, off street parking, numbers of cars, the kind of people who live in a town, and the data from parking studies. So each situation is unique.

Mr. Lago spoke to me in the past, and I know that he admires Ocean Grove as does the Chairman of the Board, and they both are very careful as they consider our problems.   Anyone in New Jersey who wants some sort of special treatment vis a vis parking must go through their Board.  But, in general, the Board “does not interfere.”

He  says that we must accept the facts that local parking issues are run through local planning and zoning boards, and those boards are political, and that’s OK as a way for a small town like OG to deal with parking difficulties.

I was influenced by his persuasive analysis, but I did remind him that we the people don’t have a clear shot at fair treatment locally.

I told him about our indifferent governance in Neptune, the aggressiveness of developers, the compromises of land use laws,  the stifling of our quality of life due to parking, our failure to get permit parking—- even though it works in other towns,  the Camp Meeting Association with its all-encompassing religious mission, the impotent HOA, one party rule depriving us of true representative governance, and the growing issue of mega-events and huge tourist crowds in season.

So, we have their sympathy in Trenton, but no State action unless Neptune comes back again requesting a special standard.  If so we will return, and this time with a bigger group of protesters.

But now we are able to get a different look at our situation  and maybe most of our residents would agree with a hands-off approach since most have no interest in activism. Perhaps some ideas will emerge that would allow some relief such as a modified permit parking plan, more shuttle buses at peak times, residents buying smaller cars, a parking garage, a big lot at the North End, more train riders buying homes, and more businesses to suit residents rather than tourists. But the fundamental problem of more cars than spaces at times may be insurmountable.


KATHY BRIER  predicting some changes:




Girls in their summer clothes. Ocean Grove 1923. Photographer unknown.

By Paul Goldfinger, MD.  Editor @Blogfinger.net

This photograph, taken in 1923, was during Prohibition, which ended in 1933.  The HBO series called Boardwalk Empire was all about prohibition at the Jersey Shore, especially in Atlantic City, but some location shots were filmed in the Grove. The Albatross was used for some scenes.   Do a Blogfinger search for “Albatross.”

Of course, OG was a dry town, but who knows how much illegal booze made its way here?  But the clip below shows why Atlantic City was more fun than Ocean Grove in 1923..

1923 was a pivotal year. It was only 3 years after the newly incorporated independent Borough of Ocean Grove was shut down by the State Supreme Court, unfortunately returning governance to the Camp Meeting Association and Neptune Township. This latter partnership has remained alive and continues to cause havoc for the people of Ocean Grove, even today, even after the CMA finally lost centralized governmental control in 1980.

1923 also saw a resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan at the Jersey Shore, especially in Long Branch and Asbury Park. But in May, 1924, the Grand Dragon spoke in the Great Auditorium. He emphasized religious themes, but also attacked Jews and Catholics for allegedly plotting against America.

He returned to the GA in 1924 to make the case against miscegenation.  The KKK was thrown out of Long Branch as it was bad for business. Similarly, Asbury  also repelled the Klan because those two towns had many minority groups including Italians, Jews, Greeks and blacks.

Another important event in 1923 Ocean Grove was a bill that made its way into the Legislature in Trenton to grant Ocean Grove a separate tax district with its own tax rates. But somehow, that bill “got lost” in the legislature.

During 1923, Ocean Grove was actively advertising for the tourist trade, and it was successful for years after, out to the 1960’s.

Also, 1923 was one of the last summers when John Phillip Sousa would perform in the Great Auditorium.

The 1970’s saw riots at the Shore, especially A. Park,  which threw a monkey wrench into tourism. Over the ensuing years, the Shore began to deteriorate. It wasn’t until the late 1980’s in a downtrodden Ocean Grove, that the comeback began.

OG history timeline on Blogfinger:

Ocean Grove history timeline by Blogfinger


On either side of the front porch staircase are two planting beds. Eileen Goldfinger is the gardener.   It is a very sunny (south oriented)  place for flowers. Eileen  photo.  August 14, 2019.


The  tropical yellow hibiscus blooms were slow in arriving, with the first flowers  in the last couple of weeks. In June Eileen  brought the plant from inside to be planted outside in a new pot. It needed from then into August to adapt to its new environment.  In August it flowered.

On the left side are orange lantanas with pink centers. The pink flowers on the right are Gomphrena.  Tiny yellow tips are hard to see.




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