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Archive for the ‘Asbury Connection’ Category

“Ice Palace” by Bob Bowné. Asbury Park Carousel Building. January 2015. © Special to Blogfinger.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor  @Blogfinger   Re-posted from 2015.

iStar is the newest developer for the A. Park oceanfront 1 1/4 mile strip. Others have come and gone, but iStar seems to be confident in their plan to create an amazing strip of 20 mixed use projects including a 110 room hotel to be finished this summer and a new 34 unit condominium complex.

Vive condo project sold out in one day in 2013 and then repeated the feat for phase two. I love to walk by Vive; its design, colors and layout seem so inviting to me. Grovers need relief sometimes from Victorian architecture.

Asbury Park is going places with professional creative planning and above-board management.  What a difference when compared to the wannabe North End project in the Grove.

Undoubtedly those Ocean Grove developers want to hitch their wagon to an iStar and create Asbury Park, Jr. at the OG North End.  But they are so proud of their plan that they are hiding under their beds while waiting for the shenanigans to slither through.  Don’t hold your breath for the names behind WAVE to be revealed. They seem to be  ashamed of their project—it’s been dormant since 2008, and an ugly site remains.

TONY BENNETT AND THE RALPH SHARON ORCHESTRA AT CARNEGIE HALL  (1962)

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Winter doldrums...can we laugh them off? By Bob Bowné January 7, 2016. © Special to Blogfinger.

Winter doldrums…can we laugh them off?  Asbury Park Carousel building.  By Bob Bowné January 7, 2016. © Special to Blogfinger. Click to enlarge.

FATS WALLER   “Winter Weather.”

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Café Volan. A.P. Paul Goldfinger photo. July 15, 2015.

Café Volan. A.P. Paul Goldfinger photo. Re-posted from July 15, 2015. Ocean Grove still lacks an authentic coffee shop, and that is a real missing link for our community. ©

 


Eileen Goldfinger at Volan sampling a scone from Balthazar’s * in SoHo. Paul Goldfinger ©

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.  There are a few minor revisions in this 2015 re-post.

Some of you might wonder about the persistent search for a coffee shop near OG, since there are several places in the Grove where you can buy coffee.  The reason is, for some of us, we seek more than just coffee.  In our culture, and in Europe, the coffee shop is a comfortable gathering place where one can appreciate the best coffees from around the world.

Such shops are not general practitioners, they are specialists, and they know how to create a first rate cappuccino or latte.  Coffee is of primary interest in such places, not an afterthought.  The Barbaric Bean was beginning to be like that, but the Grove’s only true coffee shop has vanished.

A real coffee shop is a welcoming place which  has seating and where you can savor the barista’s drinks  while reading the paper, having a fascinating conversation, people watching,  or enjoying a special snack. It tends to be where the local characters go. Wi-Fi is often available for those who are working on the next great American novel.  After all, J.K. Rollings wrote Harry Potter while sipping some brew in a local coffee shop.

In Asbury Park today an Ocean Grove friend introduced me to a real coffee shop;  in fact, Café Volan  seems like a throwback to old Soho or Greenwich Village in the ’60’s.   Café Volan  on Bangs Avenue, just off Cookman near the Brick Wall, is so laid back that you can imagine Bob Dylan singing unamplified on a stool, or Lenny Bruce doing shtick.

It is a dumpy place, but that’s fine because it feels like home—–like cafés I visited when my friends and I would wander around Bleeker or Christopher Streets in “The Village.”   It is the sort of coffee house where the locals and regulars wander in.

My impression from the moment I walked in was:  “I am going to like this place.”  It resonated at a very personal level and felt like somewhere you might re-visit again and again.

A visit to Café Volan is  like time travel, but there is one thing that doesn’t spell nostalgia—it is the delicious high quality of their coffee.  They also serve some unique snacks and toasted exotic breads.  They get their coffee from North Carolina, and their breads and pastries are brought in from Brooklyn.  I haven’t been to Williamsburg for many years, but this entire place seems to have been shipped intact from there.

If you like places that seem authentic and live up to it, try Café Volan —within walking distance of the Grove.

 

*Link to our post about Balthazar’s from 2013:

Blogfinger post on Balthazar 2013

 

CHARLIE PARKER.  He got his start in New York, but this jazz great didn’t play in coffee houses. Mostly he was up in Harlem in jazz clubs.   The folk singers were in the Village coffee houses  in the ’60’s, but there were jazz venues in the Village which my friends and I visited often, growing up in a Jersey bedroom community, 20 minutes from downtown.

This is “All the Things You Are.” It was written by Jerome Kern (music) and Oscar Hammerstein II (lyrics)   We recently posted a Miles Davis version, and the song holds up even without those magnificent poetic lyrics.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

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Paul Goldfinger ©   Asbury Park, 2015.  Click to enlarge. Blogfinger.net

 

BROADWAY CAST OF HELLO DOLLY, 2017 edition.

 

 

 

 

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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.

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The other side of Wesley Lake: Raspberry Park. 2013. By Paul Goldfinger © Blogfinger.net

The other side of Wesley Lake: Nocturnal Asbury Park. 2013. By Paul Goldfinger © Blogfinger.net.  Click for the full monty. Reposted from 2015.

DEE DEE BRIDGEWATER

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Asbury Park, NJ.. Paul Goldfinger photo. January, 2016. ©

Asbury Park, NJ. Paul Goldfinger photo. January, 2016. ©

JAY BLACK

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A blond in a black dress ordering coffee. That’s who you see around a corner in A. Park at Café Volan.   Paul Goldfinger photo © 9/14/17  Click to enlarge.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor@Blogfinger.net

It seems like Greenwich Village by the sea. Café Volan can be a bit hard to find.  It’s tucked into a side street, at an angle off of Cookman, unobtrusive on the left side of Bangs Avenue.

When you walk in, it feels like a beat up Beatnik hangout from the sixties. You expect to find Alan Ginsburg sipping an espresso. The crowd is not boisterous; in fact it is downright in whisper mode with no laughing.  The customers seem serious, but maybe that’s because they are seriously enjoying a superb cup of real coffee. The cappuccino’s are excellent, although they serve them warm–the baristas say that’s the correct temperature.

I like the vibe  at Café Volan.  Steve Valk, who is spending a month in the Grove (from Germany where he lives) loves to go there, and it is not because of the V thing.  It’s about the mood and the coffee. We met there to discuss a variety of subjects. The place  feels comfortable.

Steve is  is enjoying his family in the Grove while developing some serious academic ideas as he plans for his PhD studies.  Next week he will go to Duke for discussions with faculty there.

But now, in the Grove–where he spent his childhood summers—he tries to figure out how we could obtain some coherence among the Groverian factions.  Steve has a lot of experience working with diverse populations and he is an optimist.

He wants to meet with anybody in authority:  CMA/Neptuners/HOA or whoever would agree to talk to him  (besides Blogfinger—we like to talk to Steve)  because he has ideas as to how to pull this town together.

Personally, I don’t see much chance of that without a sea change in attitudes among Grovers of various stripes.

BOB DYLAN.   He would like Volan. He played a lot of coffee houses in the day.  This song is from his latest album Triplicate.

“I Could Have Told You” is a Sinatra song and a standard.  It’s a far cry from the folk music scene of the fifties and sixties, but Volan is a far cry from Bleeker Street and the Bitter End.

 

 

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Nov. 2013. By Paul Goldfinger ©

Nov. 2013. By Paul Goldfinger ©  Click left for a bigger view of the Asbury Park skyline.

THE INKSPOTS

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Sunset Avenue market. at Main  and Sunset.   Saturdays from 8 am to 1 pm. Across from Sunset Park.  Farmers markets are community events which enhance lifestyles. 7/1/17. All photos by Paul Goldfinger ©  Click image to enlarge.

 

Sunset Avenue farmers market. A. Park comes alive with fresh foods. © 7/1/17

 

It’s also a flower market. Surprise your family and place flowers on your dining room table. A. Park 7/1/17©

 

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

The reason why the Saturday farmers market in Asbury Park did not open until today is that the farmers weren’t ready.  As more crops appear, more vendors will show up.  Today there were about 8, and they had fresh eggs, tomatoes, piri-piri sauce, breads from Paterson, flowers, vegetables and many other items.

But the best part, as with all farmers markets, was the sense of community. Parking was easy, dogs came along, and the vibe was one of happiness and chit-chat.

We have visited farmers markets in Florida, Martha’s Vineyard, Manhattan, and Rhinebeck, and they all have that element of conradarie and sharing of food.  After all, sharing food is sharing love, and growing food goes back about 12,000 years.

Eileen got to discuss eggs with Leslie of piri-piri sauce fame, while I got to talk sociology with the Italian baker who came to the US in 1966 and never left the Paterson area. We bought one of his fine traditional baguettes.

Leslie said that she knew the crew from Moonlight Acres Farm and she thought they would “be a good fit” for Ocean Grove.

Leslie used to inhabit the Carousel market on the A. Park Boardwalk, but that venue closed.  However she “brought over” some of her people to Sunset and Main (Saturdays from 8 am to 1 pm.)  Leslie is the proprietor of Wildcraft, a charming shop for herbs and teas at 1213 Main St. in AP.

One of the vendors told me that working a farm is difficult, and as the demand for farmers markets across the country grows, it becomes harder to find farmers to participate in markets like this.

We will return as we always do—–lots of photo ops while Eileen shops.

 

FRANCINE JARRY    “It’s a Good Day.”

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