Archive for the ‘Asbury Connection’ Category

Paul Goldfinger photograph ©. December 2, 2018. Click to enlarge.


THE BLUEJAYS with “So Long Lover’s Island”  (Soundtrack Green Book)


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Cookman Avenue. Santacon 2016. A. Park. Paul Goldfinger photo ©



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The lobby bar is the Soundbooth where you can hear live music every night. All photos by Paul Goldfinger, Blogfinger.net July 21, 2016. ©

The lobby bar at The Asbury is the Soundbooth where you can hear live music every night. All photos by Paul Goldfinger, Blogfinger.net. Re-post from July 21, 2016. ©  Click on the music below and then return here.


Check in here or visit the juice/coffee bar. Get a snack and sit down and relax. No pressure. © Paul Goldfinger photo ©.

Check in here or visit the juice/coffee bar. Get a snack and sit down and relax. No pressure. © Paul Goldfinger photo ©.


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The nocturnal Asbury. July 2016. Paul Goldfinger ©


One time, in Paris, we wanted to walk through the lobby of the Hotel George V, a very ritzy famous place.  But we were not allowed to even walk in the front doors. Some hotels are fussy about non-guests coming in.  But the new Asbury Hotel at Kingsley and 5th Avenue, near the ocean by the Paramount Theater, is just the opposite.

Anda Andrei (foreground) was guiding a photo-shoot in the lobby. Paul Goldfinger photo. ©

Architect Anda Andrei (looking at us) was guiding a photo-shoot in the lobby. Paul Goldfinger photo. ©

The designer/architect Anda Andrei wants her new hotel to be full of life and to be welcoming.   Steve Valk and I took a tour of her new Asbury Park establishment and we found out that they want the public to come in and visit:  have a coffee, listen to live music, sit at the bar, do your homework, or chat with the staff.

Be sure to check out the roof top space called “Salvation” where the views are spectacular in all directions. It is particularly impressive at night.

The eastward view from Salvation (not the mystical place; it is a wonderful rooftop lounge and bar. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

The eastward view from Salvation (not the mystical place; it is a wonderful rooftop lounge and bar.) Paul Goldfinger photo ©

Photo from the NY Times July 5, 2016 by Tony Cenicola (see link below) ©

Roof top lounge and bar.   Photo from the NY Times July 5, 2016 by Tony Cenicola ©  See link below.

You can also watch classic or cult movies at the roof top garden called The Baronet, a tribute to the old Asbury Park theater which was torn down a few years ago.

Rooftop garden "The Baronet" where you can watch movies every night. © Paul Goldfinger photo.

Rooftop garden “The Baronet” where you can watch movies every night. © Paul Goldfinger photo.

In the lobby you can have casual food like a sandwich or something from the juice bar or the coffee bar.  Steve and I ordered cappuccinos, and they were very good.The lobby bar area is called the “Soundbar” and it is beautiful and functions as a music venue.

More relaxation space on the ground floor. Paul Goldfinger photo

More relaxation space on the ground floor. Paul Goldfinger photo

In fact you will marvel at the functional and gorgeous design features.   Every night there is live music in the lobby, and you can just walk in and sit down. The staff is welcoming and very proud of their hotel.

If you are from Ocean Grove, do not fail to walk or bike or even drive  (there are parking meters) to the Asbury.  You will be impressed and you will enjoy yourself even if you don’t rent a room…but then again….

Paul Goldfinger, Travel Editor @Blogfinger.net



LINK:   Click on this NY Times article below.

Here is a link to a Blogfinger article in response to the Times piece above:


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Long view from Ocean Grove of the new A. Park skyline. September 21, 2018 © Blogfinger.net.  Click to enlarge.


By Paul Goldfinger,  Editor @Blogfinger.net.

The development of this site began in 1989 and was a failure.  Then the Esperanza project began and was lost in the Great Recession  (2009) leaving a steel skeleton.

Here is a Blogfinger post reflecting on the Esperanza:


But now a 16 story mixed-use building will soon be finished. It will have 130 condominiums starting at $1 million each, a parking garage for 411 cars, and a 54 room boutique hotel.  There will be thousands of feet of retail space—the prospective occupants have not been revealed.

Some skeptics are doubting that this project will attract buyers for all those multi-million dollar condominiums.  We have also wondered if Asbury has enough juice to be special all year round. Last winter,  the city seemed pretty dreary in the off season, although the restaurant and bar scene should be able to hold on for a few months.

iStar is the developer, and some of us at Blogfinger speculate that  iStar has its eyes on our North End and may have met the Grovarian movers and shakers.

From Ocean Grove, the altered skyline is readily apparent.  The low slung A. Park silhouette now looks like it is on the way to become Long Branch, a once great resort trashed in the interest of money.  As you drive by on Ocean Avenue in LB, you rarely get to see the Ocean.  Tall buildings block the views.

But, in contrast, at Ocean Grove, if we can retain our unique look, there will be no trouble seeing the differences, and the Grove will be even more of a welcoming place;  unless the view south from Asbury Park begins to look like the view inside Asbury Park.

iStar has built the Monroe Condos—another skyline altering building seen from the Grove—this one viewed from Wesley Lake.  We wrote about the Monroe two years ago:

Monroe Condos in Asbury

It will be interesting to see the impact of this new building on the entire area.


KATHY BRIER with The NIghthawks:  from Boardwalk Empire

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Portrait of a Zombie. Asbury Park, 2013. By Paul Goldfinger ©

Portrait of a Zombie. Asbury Park, 2013. By Paul Goldfinger ©


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Asbury Casino. June 5, 2014. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

Asbury Connection.  June 5, 2014. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

YUNA.   From the soundtrack of the movie Savages

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Main Street near the post office. Asbury Park, NJ. Blogfinger photo. June 7, 2018 ©


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The new Asbury Park skyline as seen from Ocean Grove. June, 2018. Blogfinger photo ©.


Would you buy a multi- million dollar  condominium in a town that allows its main street to look like this?   The new high-rise construction at the ocean has been likened to the Hamptons, at least in terms of the real estate prices over there, but A. Park has a long way to go before it can be anointed as a first-world American city.

I drive on Main Street almost every day, and the pot holes are threatening the health of my car and my own peace of mind.  In fact, I wouldn’t suggest even riding a horse over there.

Do you think  that investing a fortune in a home in A. Park is a good idea?   i Star is wagering that it will be successful selling those expensive condominiums in their new sky-scraper on the beach.


KAREN ELSON   (with Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks)  from HBO’s Boardwalk Empire:

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Fire station is at 800 Main Street, at Asbury Avenue in A.Park. Paul Goldfinger photo. 4/14/18.



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George Tice © Belmont Hotel, Asbury Park. 1974. This is a selenium-toned silver gelatin print.

By Paul Goldfinger ©. The Belmont burned down about 7 years ago.

By Paul Goldfinger ©. rear view.  Photo taken before the Belmont was destroyed by fire.

Paul Goldfinger, MD.  Editor @Blogfinger.   Re-posted from 2016.  The editor’s note below still rings true in 2018 and has been updated.

There were two historic (over 100 years old) hotels in A.Park which were adjacent to each other on Asbury Avenue—-The Belmont and the Atlantic.   The Belmont had 50 rooms, but it was vacant in 2006.   The entire block was scheduled for demolition, but it burned down during a 5 alarm fire, along with the Atlantic, in December of that year.  The balloon construction made for a deluge with quick destruction up and down the buildings.

An AP historian said, in an APP article, that the buildings were considered historically significant to Asbury Park and Monmouth County.
“This site is one of the small remaining number of turn-of-the-century hotels that once flourished,” he said.

“The local historical society wanted to save the Atlantic and Belmont Hotels and have them refurbished to be used for residential purposes, but the society’s efforts were thwarted several years ago by the City Council and redevelopers,” he said.

“And, now that the fire has destroyed the hotels, there is nothing left to do but start from the ground up.  They could have been adapted to modern uses, but now they are gone,” he said.

Residents said they were upset to see history disappear so quickly. “I hate to see it go,” Robert Razminas, 48, an Asbury Park resident for 25 years, said as the buildings burned. “These old places are Asbury Park history. They should be restored and kept up.”

George Tice* is one of America’s most famous photographers.  He is especially known for his work in his native New Jersey.  His specialty is documenting historic old buildings and neighborhoods, as in his photographs of Paterson, an old immigrant based blue collar city.

The Tice photograph above of the Belmont is from an on-line gallery web site   (Paddle8).  In 1974 he photographed two Victorian houses in Ocean Grove. Tice has published about 20 photographic books including one about the Amish in Pennsylvania and another in Ireland and England called “Stone Walls, Grey Skies.” A platinum print from that book resides in Ocean Grove. Contact us if you want to view it. One of his most important books is “Paterson.”

Here is a link to a BF piece in 2013 which shows some of his images:


PHILLIP SMITH ( of Ocean Grove and the NY Philharmonic) on trumpet along with JOSEPH TURIN on piano play Gershwin’s “Someone to Watch Over Me”  Note: I spotted Phil—Phil Smith and the NY Philharmonic–on TV for the Live From Lincoln Center New Years Eve show on PBS.  The camera caught him having a string of rests and gazing ahead as Yo Yo Ma played a tango. He has since retired from the Phil, but he still spends summers in the Grove and plays in the Great Auditorium.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  This article rings true as we think about historic preservation in Ocean Grove. These two Asburian hotels could have been re-purposed into residences while maintaing their  historic “bones.”  As noted before by Blogfinger, Asbury has an advantage for preservation because of the available land for parking, but that didn’t save these two structures—they were destined to be replaced by condominiums.

Evidently the idea of remodeling them into residences was not considered because AP has turned over that entire oceanfront area to trash-and -build-new developers without any worry about history.  They  don’t seem to care about AP’s history and they don’t mind turning much of their reclaimed property into condominiums. I recall when the beautiful old Metropolitan Hotel, a nostalgic place, which I visited before it’s death spiral, with much history, was allowed to rot and then be demolished.

However there is a huge difference between the two towns:  Ocean Grove is on the National and State Historic Registers, so we have an obligation to try and save historic buildings and not mow them down like dead ducks. But turning old hotels into condo’s here is contrary to our Master Plan which has a vision that is totally different than Asbury’s, and we really shouldn’t allow more space-clogging condo conversions of old hotels to occur, especially in defiance of RSIS parking standards.

Our old hotels need to be dealt with in ways that meet the special needs of our town, with the interests of the people and the history placed ahead of the developers and the politicians who want more money from the Cash-Cow-By-The-Sea.

Current related issues in 2018 directs our attention to the Aurora Hotel and the Warrington. We have posted articles about both, and both face an uncertain future in Ocean Grove;  and the best we can  hope for in both cases would be single family Victorian designer homes.

Phil Smith’s solo above  (“Someone to Watch over Me”) reminds us to protect our town’s historic treasures.

—Paul Goldfinger, Editor.

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Asbury Park, near Kingsley Street, by the Ocean. Paul Goldfinger photo. Click to admire the populist wall art, an AP trademark— beautiful and fun;  and the old apartment building dressing up and wearing make-up on its eastern side. ©


JACQUI NAYLOR:  (No, it’s not Granada or San Francisco  you see, only Asbury Park:)


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