Archive for the ‘Blogfinger letter to the editor’ Category

OG citizens. July 4, 2018.   Paul Goldfinger photograph. ©



Ya know what Jack? Ya know what Paul?

We’re all numb and tired about these issues, these debates.

Ocean Grove slowly and surely is being gobbled up despite these efforts – by builders, by tourists, by rich out of towners……

Ocean Grove as we knew it will never be the same again.

We should all just save our time, our money, our breath, etc. and let things happen as they happen.

You know the North End will be taken over by Asbury Park because the Camp Meeting Association  doesn’t have a back bone or a leg to stand on any more. You know the parking issue will never be solved. You know the Great Auditorium has become a white elephant, etc., etc.

Your efforts, your time, your knowledge are so very appreciated, but I’m afraid it’s falling on deaf ears.


July 11, 2018.


Editor’s note:

Thanks Ken.  We have had similar thoughts ourselves, but you fail to recognize that the First Amendment is a beautiful thing which must be exercised or it will be lost.

Yesterday, July 10, Blogfinger.net had 1,562 hits.  We also had visitors from 11 foreign countries.

The site stats show us what topics readers are viewing:  tax appraisal notices, North End gibberish, new official at the HPC,  and the “parking wars”  in descending order.

We understand your frustration, but do you think that our readers want us to give up what we do?    —-Paul


PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND:  “Bucket’s Got a Hole in It.”

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To the Editor:

Commenters on your blog have expressed the idea that drug legalization would be good policy.  But, as someone in law enforcement, I must disagree:

Does legalizing heroin, cocaine, crack cocaine, and crystal meth, make these drugs any less addictive?   The answer is no. In fact, most addicts who use these narcotics find themselves hooked after just one use.

Last year, over 47,000 Americans died from drug related deaths; mostly teens and young adults.

Knowing these basic and true facts, would you be OK with your child walking to a 7-11 and buying  a syringe and a bag of heroin?

Making it legal won’t stop the deterioration of a family living with an addict.

Making it legal won’t stop the crime associated with addiction.

Making it legal won’t help the innocent pedestrian struck by the vehicle of a car whose driver is  high.

Making it legal will only make it acceptable to our children because they can now buy without fear of jail or fines; which will certainly mean more addicted Americans and more deaths.

Until you have firsthand watched the life slip away from a 17 year-old while he foams at the mouth, and watch that child’s mother screaming, watch friends crying…..be very careful what you wish for.

Even states that have legalized marijuana prove this point. The numbers of vehicular deaths have spiked in those states.  Many of those deaths are due to innocent victims being killed by people driving high.  The number of regular marijuana users has at least doubled because it’s easy to get and you can smoke it anywhere.

It’s easy to stand on a soapbox and preach legalization, but learn the facts and understand the outcomes

Jonathan Anderson

Newark, NJ.

February 20, 2018

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What can be done to stop the spending excesses of the Neptune School System? Blogfinger photo. ©


Due to the extremely high property taxes levied on Ocean Grove, some desperate residents have turned to renting out their homes and some are planning to move out of town and even out of state.

The school tax plays a big part in Ocean Grove’s dilemma, being the majority of the tax bill. But the paradox is that an extremely small percentage of residents sent their children to Neptune Township Schools and many residents  do not even reside in Ocean Grove during the winter months.

The school tax should be based on the number of students from Ocean Grove and not grouped in with the numberof students from Neptune Township.  We have the power to stop this!

From:   FAIR IS FAIR, OCEAN GROVE, August 10, 2017

The writer is a resident of OG, but we do not know his/her name.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  During a radio interview on July 28, Gov Christie said that “NJ residents deserve blame on property taxes, too.”

Regarding school taxes:     “All we want to do is complain about it,” Christie said of school taxes, the largest segment of property tax bills, “but if I go to somebody’s town and say, hell, your property taxes are like this because look at how much your school taxes are … we are going to take the steps that are necessary to do that.”

Christie said the response at that point is typically, ” ‘No, no, no! Not in my town!’ ‘


“The Money Song” from the off-Broadway show Avenue Q    (We couldn’t find a song called “Charity Begins at Home.”)

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Francis Asbury Manor. April, 2017. Blogfinger.net photo. ©


To the Editor:
I read with mounting concern over the “pending” sale of the Francis Asbury Manor. The FAM has always been an asset to Ocean Grove – providing health care and residency to many elderly Grovers over the last several decades.

The loss of the FAM is one letdown- however we “Grovers” should be more concerned with what’s going to replace it?

After reading the article it appears the facility is outdated and can’t compete in the present healthcare market. Are the new owners going to completely renovate it? Are they going to demolish it and rebuild a new code compliant/healthcare compliant building? If so -why wouldn’t the current owners do that? If not -what type of facility is it going to become?

Is it another potential buyer similar to the Laingdon Hotel’s bid to become a drug rehab facility?   Are they going to use it as a halfway house ? A dormitory ? Or other facility that isn’t as regulated as healthcare that can fly under the radar with sub- standardized rooms- outdated fire sprinkler systems- old heating systems- wiring – plumbing etc. ?
I think these questions need to be asked and answered before the largest facility in  Ocean Grove is sold down the wrong path.





May 3, 2017

Ed Revel is a “long time Grover.”

Editor’s Note:  The sale of the FAM occurred yesterday.  Reportedly, the new owners will continue the same operation including the staff and the residents.  The sign has not changed yet to “Allegria.”  The new owners are the Sage Co. who are in the business of running senior residences.  Don’t forget, any other use would require a variance from the Neptune Board of Adjustment.  —-PG

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The Ross Bathing Houses, 1878. North End, Ocean Grove Beach. From the Atlas of the Jersey Coast. Previously posted on Blogfinger.

The Ross Bathing Houses, 1878. North End, Ocean Grove Beach. From the Atlas of the Jersey Coast. Previously posted on Blogfinger.


To the Editor:

I was reading your post and thought I would give you a little history on the original use of ground rent. On a map of either 1871 or early 1872, it stated that the plan of leasing, instead of selling the lots, had been adopted to prevent any person from using his lot for purposes that would be an annoyance to other lot holders.

As far as the use of ground rent in the early days of Ocean Grove, during the Stokes era and beyond, the use of ground rent was for public services for the lot holders. In a book published in 1919, entitled “The Story of Ocean Grove 1869-1919” written by Morris S. Daniels… it states:

“If it is conceded, for the sake of argument, that the ground rental corresponds to a tax, it may also be said that it is expended by the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association for the benefit of the leaseholders.

It is doubtful “if in all the land there is another place where the people receive so much attention at so little cost.” The Ocean Grove Association “lights the public streets and avenues the year round;” it polices the grounds, summer and winter; removes the garbage from the doors of the producers. It takes sanitary supervision of the entire place. It keeps the the streets in order, maintains the board walk and many of the sidewalks. It provides public pavilions and seats for the free use and accommodation of the masses. It sprinkles many of the streets during the dry and dusty days of summer. It provides parks, fountains, lakes, and flowers, and does a thousand other nameless things for which the leaseholders have contracted to pay a small ground rental, which thus far has never exceeded $10.50 per lot, which is the maximum ground rental which can be charged under the leases already made. The ground rentals amount to about $18,000; but much more than this sum is required for the purposes mentioned and is made up by the Association.”

Here are a few other interesting facts concerning ground rent beginnings. In the first 4 years of Ocean Grove’s existence the OGCMA didn’t require any ground rent from their lease holders. After this period they only required $2.50 from their lot holders. In 1880, they upped the ground rent to $5.00. In 1883, owing to the expense incurred in erecting a fire house on Olin Street, the ground rental was increased to $7.50. It was thought that the lot holders should share in the expense, since it was to their benefit.

In the early OGCMA annual reports the Camp Meeting Association was much more transparent and open about their ground rent and its uses. They would give an accounting of what they received and gave exact breakdowns of what it was used for. They were also more reluctant to raise it, even though for years the funds received through ground rents were insufficient to cover the expenses of the public services. They seemed to have more of a conscience about the burden that was placed upon the lot holder.

I have a great appreciation for the CMA and enjoy participating in their many programs. I also have a concern for their future and that more will be stripped away from them in coming years if they continue on the path they have been following… for “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly, Than to divide the spoil with the proud.” Proverbs 16:18-19


Justin Truth is a blogger who writes about Ocean Grove history.  His blog has a few entries and they are quite interesting, especially the one about President Grant visiting the town and also a  piece from an Irish publication in 1874 about a “Sunday at an American Camp Meeting.”


Ocean Grove, New Jersey, February 22, 2017.


Editor’s Note: 

Blogfinger would like to thank Justin Truth for sharing his information with our readers.  We asked him for some information about himself. After all, he showed some courage and answered our call for information sharing in Ocean Grove.  This is his response:

“Thank you, Paul, for taking notice and interest in my recent comment concerning the ground rent issue. I choose not to reveal my identity at this time, as to avoid being caught up into a fire storm of controversy. I am a lifelong resident of Ocean Grove, having been involved in all of the OGCMA programs growing up, as well as in the present time. I have roots which go very deep in Ocean Grove, as well as in the surrounding area.

I’m just an ordinary guy, who is interested in Ocean Grove history and began researching for accurate information. It is my desire for others to become more interested in our history and this is why I began my blog.

It is my hope for people to begin to research themselves, considering all the information we have at our fingertips today. I would rather give people the tools they need to find the actual historic records, than to have them look to me as the authority on the subject. I like for the historic records to speak for themselves. I have included a link to the map I referenced in my comment.”


Regarding the second sentence in Justin’s letter to the editor, the link below is for the 1870 map  that he sent which proves that lots were leased  from the very beginning and were not sold.  You can enlarge the map and read the relevant section on the left side.


As for the fact that the citizens of OG early on were enjoying nearly-free services from the Camp Meeting Association, the CMA preferred to offer certain services such as police and the local court. The CMA wanted total control in the Grove including their wish to establish and enforce blue laws.  Their motive was to perpetuate their “Christian sea-side community”

During those years, the citizens paid taxes to Neptune Township, and those taxes probably would have provided for those services had the CMA not insisted on doing it themselves.

However,  the CMA did offer many nearly-free services enjoyed by Grovers which are listed in the Justin Truth letter, and many continue to this date.   And Neptune likely offered services such as schools, utilities, sewage, and water during the years when the CMA ran the town but was part of Neptune Township.  So the taxes did pay for Neptune services.

There were some protests and suits in the past over these Neptune tax issues, but the CMA always prevailed—until the NJ Supreme Court ruling in 1979.

Here is an item from the Blogfinger OG History Timeline.   “1898: Ocean Grove’s “lessees,” who pay property taxes to Neptune Township, want the CMA to pay the taxes to Neptune. A suit is brought by the homeowners, but in 1900 the NJ Supreme Court sides with the CMA.”——PG

Below is a link to the Blogfinger Timeline:

OG Historic Timeline on Blogfinger


CAST OF DAMES AT SEA  (Bernadette Peters’ career was launched in this role, 1969:)



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Carol Rizzo at the Law Enforcement Memorial Service 5/24/16 Paul Goldfinger photo ©

Carol Rizzo at the Law Enforcement Memorial Service, Great Auditorium.  5/24/16 Paul Goldfinger photo ©

To the Editor @Blogfinger:

I was walking home from a movie in Asbury Park Friday night, June 3,  just before midnight, when I bumped into Carol Rizzo on the OG side of the bridge. We talked for a few minutes, and  while we were talking we witnessed a hit and run accident less than a block away.

A drunk driver smashed into a parked car and then took off eastbound on Asbury Ave, Ocean Grove.

What I saw next surprised me. Carol immediately ran after the car yelling to the driver to stop, while running she called 911 and when she caught up to the car she stood in front of the vehicle preventing him from leaving the scene until the police came and eventually arrested the driver.

Let me say, I don’t know Carol Rizzo; Friday night was the first time we spoke. What I saw that night was someone acting bravely, throwing themselves into harm’s way to protect our town.

At the time it seemed very dangerous and a little foolish to stand in front of a car with a drunk driver behind the wheel. But later I realized she was only concerned with getting this drunk off the roads and preventing more property damage —- and potentially much worse that night.


Ocean Grove, NJ.  June 5, 2016

CHAMBER ORCHESTRA OF LONDON:   This theme music is called “Such Good Luck” from Downton Abbey.  Soundtrack by John Lunn.

It’s for Carol Rizzo who fortunately was present when others needed her courage.

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This photo shows the 2014 setbacks (before the fire). We are looking from west to east, with #50 seen where Yvonne's is. Paul Goldfinger photo © lik to enlarge

This photo shows the 2014 setbacks (before the fire). We are looking from west to east, with #50 seen where patrons are seated at Yvonne’s restaurant. All the setbacks appear to be neatly in a row.   Paul Goldfinger photo © click to enlarge.

4/20/16. Looking from #48 Main Avenue west to the construction site where the setback is closer to the curb than before. Blogfinger photo ©

4/20/16. Looking from #48 Main Avenue west to the construction site.  Blogfinger photo ©

This view of the northwest corner of the property (#50 Main ) shows the relation of the setback to the adjacent stores to the west.

This view of the northwest corner of the property (#50 Main ) shows the relation of the setback to the adjacent stores to the west.

To the Editor:

This comment is regarding the new building at the site of the Main Avenue fire. Has anyone but me noticed that the new building projects almost to the concrete sidewalk eliminating the pavers that once fronted the original building’s setback? Why has this been allowed?

This new facade will break up the whole street, blocking both the east and west views on the south side of Main Ave.. This building was designed by the same architect who was hired by Neptune Township over a decade ago to redesign Main Ave with new sidewalks, lamp posts, and the very same pavers that have now been eliminated.


Ocean Grove, N..J., April 20, 2016

The writer has been involved in construction projects in Ocean Grove.

EDITOR’S  NOTE:  A property owner is permitted to build out to his lot line.  He is not required to match his building to the original set back or to his neighbor’s setback.  If anyone wants to look into the situation, go to the Neptune Twp. Building Dept. and ask to examine the survey and the site plan for this project.   —–PG


Addendum on April 22, 2016.  Teresa Lepore, the proprietor of Gingerbreads at #49 Main Avenue has sent in a photo (below) that shows that #50 Main had projected forward even before the fire.  You can read her remarks by clicking “comments” below.

The original letter to the editor above complained about the visuals, but the photograph shows that those visuals were preexisting.  We don’t have any actual measurements of setbacks before compared to after, but Terry believes that they are identical.  —-PG

Photo submitted by Teresa Lepore.

Photo submitted by Teresa Lepore.

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To the Editor:

Hi. We are retiring in May and will be living in Ocean Grove full time. We live in the 1st floor apt. of our Victorian that has an apt. on each of the 3 floors.

We enjoy the challenge of not moving our car all weekend and staying put in this lovely town. However, I’m not stupid either, and if we allow the remaining buildings to turn condo with no parking, on top of the parking encroachment from Asbury Park’s growing popularity (which is a good thing)….it will be a bad thing for OG.

Can you suggest on Blogfinger whom we can write to in Trenton so they don’t listen to our town officials who have an obvious conflict of interest.


Thank you for all that you do.


Ocean Grove, N.J. Jan. 21, 2016.


EDITOR’S NOTE:  You can write to the Residential Site Improvement Standards   (RSIS) Committee regarding the Neptune Township  application to obtain a special exemption  to the parking rules (RSIS)  that require new construction to provide off street parking in Ocean Grove.

It is the Blogfinger position that such an exemption will open the door for more multifamily buildings such as condos. Currently the Township simply ignores the law and thus we get condos without parking, such as the giant one on the south side of Ocean Pathway.

Note that the application currently is inactive.  But the Township can resubmit it  (and probably will) in the near future, so go ahead and write the DCA.

The address is RSIS Committee, NJ Department of  Community Affairs, 101 S. Broad Street, Trenton, NJ , 08625   or send an email to john.lago@DCA.NJ.GOV

DCA building in Trenton.  NJ.gov photo

DCA building in Trenton. NJ.gov photo


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This appeared in 2013, so it is fun and timely to post it again..And don’t fail to read the 34 comments.  Do your homework for the HOA parking forum on Jan 23.

Use the BF search engine on the top of the page and search under parking, RSIS, etc.   Don’t let the Home Groaners Board steamroll you with their usual lawyerly, pedantic propaganda.

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How would a big condo building look smack in the middle of this gorgeous silhouette.? If you continue east on Ocean Pathway you will find one. Paul Goldfinger photo

How would a big condo building look smack in the middle of this gorgeous silhouette.? On the other side of this Ocean Pathway perspective, you will find one, and it ain’t pretty. Paul  Goldfinger photo   Click to enlarge   (Scene from NJ Marathon 2015)

To the Editor:

Blogfinger:  Enclosed is a copy of a letter I sent to the Ocean Grove Home Owners Association  regarding RSIS parking standards.

To the Board of Trustees Ocean Grove Home Owners Association:

Please send an e-mail to all members of the Ocean Grove Home Owners Assoc. alerting them to a meeting in January regarding the membership voting whether they as members are in favor or disapprove of the Neptune Township RSIS application to the state.

Also request all members who cannot attend to send an e-mail ballot casting their vote for or against before the meeting date.

These e-mail ballots only being valid if signed and verified by the membership rolls, that they are indeed qualified members of the Ocean Grove Home Owners Assoc.

BRING to all the members attention that the current letter sent to the state in favor of the RSIS application , can be rescinded.

A  new letter sent to the state explaining the general membership has voted and enclosed is their decision concerning approval or disapproval of RSIS application.


Ocean Grove, N.J.,  December 25, 2015

NORMAN BLAKE:     From the film “O Brother Where Art Thou?”


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Blogfinger in the spin cycle. © Don't make me dizzy.  Photographer unknown.

Blogfinger in the spin cycle. © Don’t make me dizzy. Photographer unknown.

To the Editor:

Below is a letter we sent to the OGHOA regarding their being MIA on RSIS parking issues and asking what their strategy is.  

I believe that, beyond contacting Mr. Lago at the Dept. of Community Affairs, we should encourage your readers to write to the OGHOA and ask/request that they initiate/increase their efforts on this critically important issue.  Ocean Grovers need to begin to hold the OGHOA accountable for being our advocates.  Let’ start a letter writing campaign/groundswell to get OGHOA moving.


We live in Ocean Grove.  Parking is an important concern for our family and I found it curious, if not outright disturbing, that no representative of the OGHOA went to Trenton last week to lobby against changes to the application of RSIS standards within OG.  

You are well aware that if Neptune Township is successful in negating these regulations, an explosion of condos will result, as will further exacerbation of the current parking shortage.  These dynamics could well jeopardize our Historic District designation.   This is an issue that is directly in the sweet spot for the OGHOA.

Further, I am mystified that you have not, to my knowledge, filed complaints/legal challenges with appropriate State agencies regarding the non-compliance of recent real estate projects.  How many condos will you watch being built that don’t provide adequate parking before you act?

  And, importantly, we have not seen evidence of the OGHOA being part of the dialogue for the likely non-compliance of the North End development (will an underground parking lot meet the full RSIS requirements?  Not likely).  To date, it appears that Blogfinger is the only entity that is fighting back

The RSIS regulations give you a very powerful tool to control development.   What are you doing to assure these regulations are enforced and prevent circumnavigation of existing parking standards by Neptune Township and their crony developers (other than passively watching it all play out)?   We need you to be activists on this issue.  I’m sure all residents of OG would like to understand your strategy for managing this issue to OG’s advantage.  Please let us know what you are doing.


DAVID HEPLER is a resident of Ocean Grove

December 21, 2015

Editor’s Note:  Here is the “hook” regarding the RSIS rules.  If someone wants to put up a condo building with the RSIS standards in place, then it will be impossible for them to comply, because they would have to put the parking on their lot or lots. Since that would be impossible in most situations, then a single family house or an empty lot is the only option.  Single family houses should get the exemption from the State because if someone wants to put up a single family house, there will be no room for the required driveway and parking. So the exemption for them would create a single family Victorian house with no driveway or garage, a situation that is not only historic but is very Grovey.  —-Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

DAVID.   Thanks for that constructive comment.  We should ring some bells for you.  Where are those Del-Vikings?



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Ocean Grove, summer 2015. Paul Goldfinger photo © Blogfinger.net.

Ocean Grove, summer 2015. Paul Goldfinger photo © Blogfinger.net.

August 13, 2015,

To the Editor   @Blogfinger.net:

My wife and I along with another couple spent the day in Ocean Grove, NJ. We are from Phillipsburg, NJ and had never been in OG. During the course of the day we sat on a bench facing the ocean as many others do while at the shore.

We were facing lifeguard stand #4, when the clock struck 5 pm. We watched the routine that takes place at the end of a long day in the sun; making sure everyone is safe. My friend and I are both veterans—he Army, me Navy. We are both active in our community with patriotism and Americanism.

We were curious to watch what would be done with the American flag at the end of the shift. We sat in amazement as we watched the lifeguards not only handle the flag properly and respectfully, but we watched them fold the flag in the proper manner.

Very, very impressive! We were so pleased to watch this perfectly executed folding of the flag, we decided to high tail it to the area where the lifeguards from stand #4 store their equipment. We introduced ourselves as veterans and expressed our appreciation and gratitude for the way they conduct themselves on the beach, and for their handling and storing of the American flag. We were informed that all lifeguards perform the same duty and ceremony at their respective stations.

Please know, all veterans, their families, those presently serving and our homeless veterans would be proud of the lifeguards in Ocean Grove.

A true sign of Patriotism and Americanism.

Bill Nixon, US Navy Veteran

Barry Willever, US Army Veteran

Editor’s Note:   Thanks to Bill Nixon and Barry Willever for their service and for their praise of Ocean Grove’s excellent life guards.

OG is traditionally a patriotic place going back to Pres. Teddy Roosevelt and before that to Pres. Grant who spoke to a large group of Civil War veterans in the Auditorium.

Today many Grovers fly American flags with pride, and our glorious July 4 parade, sponsored by the OG Camp Meeting Association, offers a major tribute to our country.  —–Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

Main Avenue, Ocean Grove, NJ. July 4, 2015. Paul Goldfinger photo © Blogfinger.net.

Main Avenue, Ocean Grove, NJ. July 4, 2015 parade.   Paul Goldfinger photo © Blogfinger.net.

From Finian’s Rainbow

“On the day I was born, said me father, said he

I’ve an elegant legacy, waitin’ for ye

‘Tis a rhyme for your lips and a song for your heart

To sing it whenever the world falls apart

“Look, look, look to the rainbow

Follow it over the hill and the stream

Look, look, look to the rainbow

Follow the fellow who follows a dream.”


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Ocean Grove beachfront. Paul Goldfinger photo. © Blogfinger.net

Ocean Grove beachfront. Paul Goldfinger photo. © Blogfinger.net.  Click to enlarge.

To the Editor:

So often we criticize what is happening in the Grove, but I would like to comment about the beach and its crew this summer.

First off, Ocean Grove has the cleanest bathrooms at the Shore!  They are attended frequently.  The beach itself is beautiful with a crew picking up garbage with picks and  buckets.  The boardwalks are pristine, and the dunes beautifully landscaped.

As for the lifeguards, I am impressed with their care and diligence over the last week with the riptides.  They are in the water guiding swimmers and helping those who can’t get back to shore. Yes, that is their job, but how many times have you seen lifeguards twirling their whistles and seemingly not paying attention? What is most impressive is that there have been three lifeguards in the water this past week and still a couple on the stand.  This is great coverage.

Ocean Grove lifeguards.  Stephanie didn't mention their sun tans.  Paul Goldfinger photo ©. Blogfinger.net.  click to make their biceps bigger.

Ocean Grove lifeguards. Stephanie didn’t mention their sun tans. Paul Goldfinger photo ©. Blogfinger.net. click to make their biceps bigger.

The beach badge checkers are pleasant and always wish us an enjoyable day. I was also impressed that the rinsing faucet broke one day and the next day it was fixed.

The beaches have been crowded with the wonderful weather we are having, and I know we all complain about the parking, but let’s take a moment to thank the crew that keeps the beach a main Grove attraction.

Coming to you from the Surf/Bath Ave beach,


Ocean Grove, NJ, August 5, 2015




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