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Archive for the ‘Blogfinger Presents’ Category

AP one

Paul Goldfinger, MD ©. Asbury Park as seen from Sunset Park. Undated.

 

RENEE FLEMING ANBD KELLI O’HARA from the album Christmas in New York.

 

 

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Charlie Sherwood is moving out of the Grove over property taxes.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor@ Blogfinger

December 12, 2017:      I met Charlie Sherwood this morning as he and some helpers were loading all his possessions into a U-Haul truck.  The 82 year old retired computer salesman moved to Ocean Grove in 1946 when his mother owned a B&B.  For the last 20 years he has lived in a “half-a-house”  on Heck Avenue, way back near the Arts Center.

When he first bought his half-a house, his taxes were $300.00.  Last year they were about $5,500, but for 2018, he will have to pay $7,000.

Charlie, who has been chronically unhappy with Neptune property taxes, finally was pushed over the edge.  He ordered  a U-Haul and is arranging to list his house.

He will move to Leisure Village in Ocean County with his dog Porky.  Charlie is not alone in the world.  Two daughters live in Rumson. He blames the high taxes here on a spend-crazy school system which has declining graduation rates and test scores. He says, “It’s not the fault of the families over there; the schools have failed them.”

Will Charlie miss Ocean Grove?  He smiles and says, “No.  I’ll have a golf course in my backyard.”  He seemed eager to get that tax burden off his shoulders, and he mentioned that a neighbor, just two houses away, had just listed his house because of the taxes.

Are we seeing a new “fed-up” syndrome in the Grove?

BILLY JOEL     “Anthony’s Song”

 

 

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This is the view of the Park View Inn facing Lake Avenue and Wesley Lake  before it was demolished. Note how narrow that property is. The Warrington is to the right.  The La Pierre condos are on the left.   Blogfinger photo. 2016. ©

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor@Blogfinger.

After the Park View Inn was demolished in the summer of 2016, Blogfinger wrote some articles regarding the fate of that property. The Planning Board approved a subdivision that would allow the site to be turned into 4 lots for single family homes.  But Blogfinger questioned the legality of that subdivision, because the 2 lots on Lake Avenue would not face any street—Lake Avenue is not a street.

On the other hand, after years of trying to get rid of that derelict property, it was accomplished, and the neighbors were thrilled. They did not question the legality of what occurred next.

Here is a link to our last post on that subject:

Is the Park View Inn subdivision legal?

Now, one of the 4 houses has been built, at #21 Seaview Avenue, and the developer has the other 3 properties, including #18 and #20 Lake Avenue and #23 Seaview Avenue up for sale.   The homes will cost over $ 1 million. They will have 5-6 bedrooms and  3-4 bathrooms.  They are 2 1/2 to 3  stories high and they will have views of Wesley Lake and the Ocean.  The subdivision, which is one block to the beach is called “Seaview by the Lake.”

One house on this subdivision is built (#21 Seaview Ave.) Note how narrow it is with 5 bedrooms. The lot is 25 x 72.  (1,800 ft2.) The Warrington foundation is in the foreground. Paul Goldfinger photo Dec. 2017. ©

The marketing by realtors is of interest, because it is revealing the attitude of this developer toward Ocean Grove.  And will this sort of promotion become the norm?   We have been worried that the community of Ocean Grove will be left behind to collect sand in its shorts as the developers promote the town of OG as basically a gateway to Asbury and other areas, as they turn out very expensive homes as is the norm now in Asbury Park.

The Internet promotion of these 4 homes refers to “landmarks” that are accessible, and this list includes only one in OG—the beach. The rest of the list includes sites in Asbury Park, Belmar, Pt. Pleasant Beach, Long Branch, and Spring Lake beach. There is no mention of Ocean Grove’s historic nature or its fabulous places to visit—not even the Great Auditorium is featured.  And there is no mention of the community of Ocean Grove, its life styles, its diversity, or its friendly and neighborly porch culture.

In addition, there is no talk about parking. As with other projects in town, the Township allows defiance of State mandated regulations, so these 4 houses provide no off-street parking—just further congestion at that North End part of town.  And who knows what will happen at the Warrington site?

THE HEAD AND THE HEART:  “Rivers and Roads.”

“A year from now we’ll all be gone
All our friends will move away
And they’re going to better places
But our friends will be gone away”

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Hemingway House. Key West, Fla. Paul Goldfinger photo. © Click to enlarge.   Tri-X collection.

 

JEAN-YVES THIBAUDET     “The Secret Life of Daydreams” from the soundtrack of Pride and Prejudice.

 

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Hi Paul:

Greetings from Manhattan. To observe the leaves changing on the trees from April to December, is to see, in a vivid way, the pattern of life that governs us all. Here is the poem “Late Autumn at Centerport,” from my 2009 collection, Green Vistas.

Best wishes,
Charles Pierre

Rhinebeck, New York. Mid-October, 2017. Paul Goldfinger ©

 

Late Autumn at Centerport

By Charles Pierre

Spring unfurled from ripening buds,
and a balmy summer preserved
the deep greens of oak and maple
on hillsides across the harbor

A month ago, the reds and golds
were bright distractions, but today,
descending a hill to this beach
through the bitter December air,

I feel the withering absence
of colors that once filled the trees.
Fallen leaves are now visible,
black and rotting in the shallows.

Here, the full cycle of seasons
has yet to pass, but today,
having seen this much of the year,
I know my end ahead of time.

 

CHET BAKER:

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Chestnuts in our kitchen. The roasted ones on the left, safely made in our oven.  Blogfinger photo. ©

A successful peel. Internet photo.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger  (with the assistance of Eileen Goldfinger, food editor)

When I was a kid, my grandmother would roast chestnuts, but not over an open fire.  She had a big black stove in her kitchen.  Inside the top she would put coal into the chamber and set it on fire. Then she closed the flap and we had a hot surface for our chestnuts.   We would cut little X’s into the top of the chestnuts and lay them down on the top of the stove.  Then you would wait until they began to burst open and they were ready.  But sometimes, and this was the best part, one would literally explode and bits of chestnuts would fly all over the room.

At Wegman’s they have a barrel full, and this is the peak season for chestnuts.  But when you buy them, be sure to cook them soon because they don’t have a good shelf life and they can get rotten or moldy. They also are pricey at $6.50 per pound.

If you have an open fireplace, that is the most romantic way to do it, but we made ours in the oven.  The oven is set to 425 degrees. Cut the little X’s on top to allow moisture to escape before placing them in the oven on a flat pan;  and then remove them 20-25 minutes later.

Peeling them when they are done cooking can be a little tricky, but eating them while warm is the best way and they are quite delicious with a chewy nutty flavor. When they are done cooking, put a cloth over them for 20 minutes, and that makes the peeling easier. There is a semi-hard (I hate that adjective) outer shell and a light brown membrane inside to peel away.

It’s fun to make chestnuts with the kids.

THE CHRISTMAS SONG:  Mel Tormé wrote it and sang it, but the best known version is  by Nat “King” Cole.  However, I love musical surprises, so here is an unexpected  “Christmas Song” by Bob Dylan who, believe it or not, has a Christmas album called Christmas in the Heart.   I think that’s a funny title, but his rendition is quirky and heartfelt, and, for something different, he’s a Jewish guy from Minnesota. Go  figure!

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By  Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net.

This article was inspired by a comment from a Grover, Nancy Clarke:    She asked, “When did a member of the Township Committee go to jail?    Who was it? Are they a member of the current Committee?”

In the fall of 2007, U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Christie announced that “Three more Monmouth County officials get prison terms for corruption”   This announcement came from the U.S. Department of Justice, District of New Jersey, 970 Broad Street, Seventh floor, Newark, NJ 07102

One of these  officials was Richard Iadanza, the former Deputy Mayor of Neptune Township. He received four months in  in prison, four months home confinement with electronic monitoring, a $4,000 fine, and three years of supervised release.

He pleaded guilty to extortion. He admitted accepting $3,000 in two cash payments in return for his official assistance in securing government contracts for an FBI undercover company.

His sentence had been reduced because he cooperated in two FBI investigations.

In 2005,  the former Director of the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders , Harry Larrison, Jr., was charged with accepting $8,500 in bribes to help real estate developers win approval for their construction projects.  (our source is the NY Times. April 28, 2015. The italics are ours)  The charges were brought by US Attorney Christopher J. Christie.  It was part of a federal investigation into corruption “that has led to criminal cases against 15 local officials so far.”

“Larrison accepted bribes three times in 2001 and 2002. He was 39 years in that job and was the longest serving freeholder in New Jersey history.”  Mr. Christie said that “Harry Larrison is one of the most enduring political figures in Monmouth County and has long held himself out to be a fine public servant.  In fact, as alleged, he used his power, prestige and political clout to corruptly serve himself. This is more of what we’ve already seen in Monmouth County, and we will persist in our efforts with the F.B.I to uncover all public corruption in Monmouth County.”

According to the Times, “The federal investigation  which has been underway for four years, has led to a variety of corruption charges against low-level officials, including accusations of bid rigging, bribery, and money laundering.  Federal agents said that they had used informants to secretly tape-record conversations between elected officials who were willing to trade official favors for cash, or, in one case, for free paving on a driveway.”

Also the Times reported that the county prosecutor had been accused by federal officials of interfering with the investigation.”

Larrison died of cancer before his case was heard.

In February 2005, the New York Times also reported:

“Mr. Christie said the corruption festered “against a backdrop of greed, arrogance and entitlement in which the officials traded contracts for cash.”

“These complaints portray a shocking eagerness and ease with which these public officials engaged in criminal activity, to trade contracts for cash or even to be involved in money laundering,” Mr. Christie said in a news release.

“The roundup is the latest in a series of crackdowns in Monmouth County, which included the arrest and conviction two years ago of the city manager of Asbury Park, who was also the mayor of Ocean Township, and four other local officials. In an age of campaign finance violations and other modern-era instances involving money and politics, the accusations are the type of old-fashioned municipal corruption charges which have long tainted New Jersey politics.”

“The public officials were picked up based on federal complaints in early-morning raids by as many as 100 F.B.I. agents in teams of six to eight, who rousted them from their beds. Later, the men appeared in court wearing leg irons and handcuffs but, casually dressed and all middle-aged, they resembled a gathering of a civic club rather than one of the biggest corruption roundups in New Jersey’s recent history. All were released on $50,000 personal recognizance.”

The Times  in Feb. 2005 also reported on “11 NJ officials being arrested including 3 mayors.  These arrests were developed over 4 years using a “sting” undercover contractor.  One was an Asbury Park councilman.”  Here is a taste of how these things work:

“In one case, a criminal complaint says, the contractor put in a driveway worth about $5,000 at the home of an Asbury Park councilman, in return for a promise that the councilman would help him get public work.”

“In another case, the mayor of Hazlet, Paul Coughlin, was urged by an unnamed public official from another municipality to do business with the contractor, saying “Nobody watches, nobody hears, nobody sees,” a complaint says.”

“Another official, a former mayor of Middletown Township, told the undercover agents not to worry about detection because he “could smell a cop a mile away,” the federal officials said.”

Clearly, local officials can get caught up in schemes to make money derived from abusing their positions in government.

It’s important for citizens to be vigilant and to pay attention to what is going on in our town, Ocean Grove, as we observe suspicious activities and lack of transparency on the part of local government that favors developers—activities that seem to defy the expectation that officials will do what is best for the residents and home-owners in the Grove.

We are accusing no one currently in office or now working for the Township of doing anything criminal, but these examples above teach us to not be naive.

ORIGINAL CAST OF FIORELLO:

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Main Avenue.  Sunday morning By Moe Demby, Blogfinger staff. © Dec. 10. 2017.

 

IMG_6886

Saturday night, Dec. 9, 2017 By Moe Demby. “No one was around on Main Avenue.” © Blogfinger staff photograph.

 

NANCY LAMOTT:  “All Those Christmas Clichés”

 

 

 

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WASSUP? Ocean Grove

COW2

“Are moo looking at me?” The Blogfinger cow staff is alert for Wassup news in Ocean Grove.

a.  In January, Bernadette Peters will replace Bette Midler in the hit revival of Hello Dolly.  That should be terrific.  Peters is best known for her Sondheim work.  Jerry Hermon wrote Dolly.

DAVID HYDE PIERCE   and the Broadway Cast,  from the 2017 version off Hello Dolly:  “It Takes a Woman”

 

b.    Photograph of the week:

Skateboarding by the tents. Down Santa Claus Lane. Paul Goldfinger ©. Summer, 2017.

PUPPINI SISTERS:

 

c.   Be uplifted and watch this  (submitted by Eileen, our Food Editor)

d.  Two rental stores on Main Avenue were listed by an internet realtor as of a few days ago for the pizza building #58-60 Main Ave..   It was the Pet Boutique and the DJ grocery advertised for $2,500 per month rental two days ago, but today  12/10/17, those ads had been removed.

The ads mentioned that there were luxury apartments upstairs.  Evidently, the NYC owner (Sackman) sees OG as a high end town deserving of high rental prices.   This seems like the Asbury Park upscale syndrome spreading across the Lake.  The stores will be vacated as of the New Year due to those high rent increases and other factors.

Years ago we saw that happen in Manhattan on Madison Avenue (uptown) and in SoHo.

 

 

 

 

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ogaugust1981

William Heatley was taking a ride in a banner plane over the beach in OG. It was August, 1981, and he took this photo. Note the extent to which OG was built-up even in 1981. © Special to Blogfinger.net

By Paul Goldfinger,  Editor @Blogfinger.net

Wesley Lake is to the right. The North End Hotel had been torn down, but the salt water swimming pool remains.  You can see the outlines of the North End area which will be “re-developed” according to the current (as of 2017) Township Plan, and imagine where the condos will be along Lake Avenue, Spray Avenue, and the Ocean. Then imagine a hotel there which probably will actually become condos.  Oh, and don’t forget the parking garage underground, stores, and new North End boardwalk.

The process is currently dead in the water, but we are keeping an eye on it along with the OGHOA, although the latter has been a champion of the plan, and we have not. The NERP is an example of Neptune Township taking the side of developers.

The question is why does the Township choose to support developers over the best interests of the people who live in Ocean Grove?  That is an old problem which has continued in the recent past, and that is why we have over 300 condo units in town, without parking  (except for Embury Arms), and why we are suspicious of activities such as will determine the future of the Warrington site.

Some will say that the reason is simple: the Township wants more ratables.  20 condos bring in more money than one Victorian single  family house.  But the blatant targeting of Ocean Grove will continue to cause increasing congestion and result in the town’s  losing its character and its history.  And if that happens, the value of homes in the Grove will decline, and that would reduce the “cash cow” profits.—a counterintuitive result for the tax-hungry Neptune administration.  So the tax angle doesn’t seem convincing enough as an explanation.

Others who are more cynical say, “Follow the money.”  A member of the Township Committee went to jail some time ago as did some officials in A. Park and elsewhere in Monmouth County.

So it is not outside the realm of reality that there may be some shenanigans going on here. We have been watching the methodology of how things are done in the Grove, such as the manipulation of zoning by the Land Use Department in Neptune and the lack of transparency on the part of elected Neptune officials.

Endless one party rule is not good for our town regardless of which party is in charge. It is un-American.

dances

THE CAST OF FIORELLO  (Broadway show)

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