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Archive for the ‘Asbury Park Connection Photo Gallery’ Category

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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Asbury Park. Dusk. Summer, 2016. By Paul Goldfinger. ©   We last posted this image one year ago nearly to the day.  But it and the music from Fiorello are among my favorites.——Happy New Year to all our readers in 2018.     —Paul @Blogfinger.

ELLEN HANLEY   from Fiorello

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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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St. John’s Island. Sunset Lake.  Asbury Park.  There is a white shore bird on the island which is hard to see. It is an immature great blue heron. Paul Goldfinger ©

 

BOB DYLAN    “Once Upon a Time.”  From his album Triplicate.

 

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Paul Goldfinger © Bond Street. A. Park. October, 2017.

There seems to be a fondness for spontaneous art appearing throughout the hip city of Asbury Park.  You can see it on walls in the Casino, on the boardwalk and around the artsy neighborhood of Cookman Avenue and its side-streets–even painted on windows and doorways.  Art is especially beautiful when it is part of the everyday life of the people.

It reminds me of the work of Seward Johnson, the sculptor of ordinary folks, whose work is often found in public places:

 

Carl Hoffman of Ocean Grove helping this Princeton student prepare for SAT’s in Palmer Square. The boy is by Seward Johnson.  Blogfinger photo © 2015

Ocean Grove can use some public art to liven up the place. The town has no significant outdoors art displays for the public to enjoy.  It is wonderful when one can walk down a street and come across an art show of some sort, and Asbury seems committed to bringing their city to life with art.

 

 

Paul Goldfinger ©. The Casino belongs to A. Park.

 

AP Boardwalk  2016

 

Indie 184 2015. Asbury Boardwalk. Blogfinger photo.

Here’s a link to our article last year about Seward Johnson’s work in Spring Lake:

Seward Johnson in Spring Lake, 2016.

 

BRUNO MARS:

 

 

 

 

 

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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 boardwalk, entering the Casino. OG is on the other side of no man’s land. Paul Goldfinger photograph © Blogfinger.net. 2017. Click for the details

 

MAX RAABE AND THE PALAST ORCHESTER

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Jean Bredin © Asbury Park. 2014 . Blogfinger staff.

THE HARPTONES:   Wolfman Jack sends this out to Blogfinger fan Perry Young up in the New Hampshire North Country.

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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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