Archive for the ‘Blogfinger Presents’ Category

Hudson River by Eileen Goldfinger. © 2018


The Hudson

By Charles Pierre

This wide lane of brackish water
runs in a brimming tidal channel,
where sun and wind accent the flow
with strokes of gold, red arabesques,
scrims of lavender mist, and pools
shot through with silver arrows,
all rushing in an undulant flux
of jeweled waves and troughs,
the thrust of vigorous currents,
steady yet unseen below the surface,
driving the river’s cargo of color.

Alexandre Desplat Elisa’s Theme from The Shape of Water

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Fort Myers, Florida. By Paul Goldfinger. February, 2015. ©

Fort Myers, Southwest Florida. By Paul Goldfinger. February, 2015. © Click to enlarge.


Downtown Fort Myers, Florida. First Street is the main street—not Main Street.    The place hums and doesn’t roar. It has a slow pace, like much of the South. A historic downtown slowly comes back to life on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River.

By Paul Goldfinger. March, 2015

JESSICA MOLASKEY    from the album Pentimento  (Ken Peplowski on clarinet)

Jessica Molaskey

Jessica Molaskey

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By Paul Goldfinger, editor at Blogfinger.net

There have been occasions in the past when Neptune has applied for a State exception to RSIS parking regulations   (for the whole town of Ocean Grove except for the North End property.)  The last attempt was in 2015, and the request was rejected.

Blogfinger has been in contact with the State Site Improvement Advisory Board regarding the prior Neptune quests for a “special standard” on parking.  We have been mystified by the failure of the State to enforce its regulations whenever Neptune has allowed condoization to occur without providing any off street parking.

The most recent mystery surrounds the Aurora project to turn that historic hotel into four condominiums under one roof without the regulatory 8 parking spaces on the site.  The Neptune Zoning Board suggested that the developer ask the Department of Community Affairs to allow it to go with just four spaces. The DCA said that the decision would be up to the municipality. We don’t know what was decided by the Neptuners, but since they have allowed over 300 condos without parking over the years, the outcome is predictable.

We could never figure why, since Neptune does what it wants anyhow, they would even need a State special standard. We have even gone to Trenton to get answers, but the results have been problematic in the past.  Here is a related link that you can read.

Why give Neptune an exception on parking? click here.

One thing is clear:  the parking problems in the Grove are not going away, and they are actually getting worse.   The CMA is only interested insofar as their programs are concerned.  The Committee moves its lips, but nothing comes out.  And the Home Groaners have been failures in their efforts.

So, I decided that maybe there was another way to look at this situation rather than painting the Neptuners as disinterested, powerless, law breakers with some sort of mysterious connections.

I had a conversation with John Lago, the Administrator of the New Jersey SIAB (Site Improvement Advisory Board) under the heading of the Department of Community Affairs. (DCA)

Mr. Lago is a totally engaged and knowledgeable official who can read chapter and verse on this topic with a great degree of sympathy and understanding for small towns like Ocean Grove, especially at the Shore, regarding parking issues.  He also mentioned Long Beach Island.

He makes it clear that every town is different, and his Board has been well aware of Ocean Grove’s story for many years.  Their regulations provide for flexibility in interpreting the problems in each town, and sometimes exceptions are made, as occurred in Avalon where the town changed its character becoming home to wealthy folks with mega houses and lots of cars.  Long Branch is another with a special standard, and each town is different.

Here is a link to our recent review of a NY Times article about changing shore towns, especially Avalon:

NY Tmes on Avalon and BF review as relates to OG

But Ocean Grove, a “unique” town with a remarkable personality, has qualities that are beloved by those who choose to live here. So the Board wants to avoid paralyzing the town with strict regulations.  They would most prefer that the citizens get involved with problem solving and that the town’s “reviewers” make decisions that are best for those who live in town so that the Grove retains its special “charm.”  They watch us with great interest and they are “sympathetic” to our issues.

They are not so fussy about parking as we are. For one thing Mr. Lago suggests that our town is so special, that we should be able to tolerate 4 months a year with parking gridlock.  He says that OG is one of the few shore towns, maybe the only one, where a house can sell for $500,000 or $600,000 without parking and is bought by people with only one car. or no car.

Many of our citizens take the train or the bus from the the City.   That is because, he says,  the people who move here are not so dependent on cars and don’t mind doing a lot of walking.  He  refers to us as a “pedestrian town.”  (ie “pedestrian oriented.”)  And that is a characteristic, he says, that is very desirable for a shore town with the Grove’s qualities.

In terms of problem solving, he says that there are “many, many factors that go into an individual parking analysis”  including the size of houses, off street parking, numbers of cars, the kind of people who live in a town, and the data from parking studies. So each situation is unique.

Mr. Lago spoke to me in the past, and I know that he admires Ocean Grove as does the Chairman of the Board, and they both are very careful as they consider our problems.   Anyone in New Jersey who wants some sort of special treatment vis a vis parking must go through their Board.  But, in general, the Board “does not interfere.”

He  says that we must accept the facts that local parking issues are run through local planning and zoning boards, and those boards are political, and that’s OK as a way for a small town like OG to deal with parking difficulties.

I was influenced by his persuasive analysis, but I did remind him that we the people don’t have a clear shot at fair treatment locally.

I told him about our indifferent governance in Neptune, the aggressiveness of developers, the compromises of land use laws,  the stifling of our quality of life due to parking, our failure to get permit parking—- even though it works in other towns,  the Camp Meeting Association with its all-encompassing religious mission, the impotent HOA, one party rule depriving us of true representative governance, and the growing issue of mega-events and huge tourist crowds in season.

So, we have their sympathy in Trenton, but no State action unless Neptune comes back again requesting a special standard.  If so we will return, and this time with a bigger group of protesters.

But now we are able to get a different look at our situation  and maybe most of our residents would agree with a hands-off approach since most have no interest in activism. Perhaps some ideas will emerge that would allow some relief such as a modified permit parking plan, more shuttle buses at peak times, residents buying smaller cars, a parking garage, a big lot at the North End, more train riders buying homes, and more businesses to suit residents rather than tourists. But the fundamental problem of more cars than spaces at times may be insurmountable.


KATHY BRIER  predicting some changes:




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Girls in their summer clothes. Ocean Grove 1923. Photographer unknown.

By Paul Goldfinger, MD.  Editor @Blogfinger.net

This photograph, taken in 1923, was during Prohibition, which ended in 1933.  The HBO series called Boardwalk Empire was all about prohibition at the Jersey Shore, especially in Atlantic City, but some location shots were filmed in the Grove. The Albatross was used for some scenes.   Do a Blogfinger search for “Albatross.”

Of course, OG was a dry town, but who knows how much illegal booze made its way here?  But the clip below shows why Atlantic City was more fun than Ocean Grove in 1923..

1923 was a pivotal year. It was only 3 years after the newly incorporated independent Borough of Ocean Grove was shut down by the State Supreme Court, unfortunately returning governance to the Camp Meeting Association and Neptune Township. This latter partnership has remained alive and continues to cause havoc for the people of Ocean Grove, even today, even after the CMA finally lost centralized governmental control in 1980.

1923 also saw a resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan at the Jersey Shore, especially in Long Branch and Asbury Park. But in May, 1924, the Grand Dragon spoke in the Great Auditorium. He emphasized religious themes, but also attacked Jews and Catholics for allegedly plotting against America.

He returned to the GA in 1924 to make the case against miscegenation.  The KKK was thrown out of Long Branch as it was bad for business. Similarly, Asbury  also repelled the Klan because those two towns had many minority groups including Italians, Jews, Greeks and blacks.

Another important event in 1923 Ocean Grove was a bill that made its way into the Legislature in Trenton to grant Ocean Grove a separate tax district with its own tax rates. But somehow, that bill “got lost” in the legislature.

During 1923, Ocean Grove was actively advertising for the tourist trade, and it was successful for years after, out to the 1960’s.

Also, 1923 was one of the last summers when John Phillip Sousa would perform in the Great Auditorium.

The 1970’s saw riots at the Shore, especially A. Park,  which threw a monkey wrench into tourism. Over the ensuing years, the Shore began to deteriorate. It wasn’t until the late 1980’s in a downtrodden Ocean Grove, that the comeback began.

OG history timeline on Blogfinger:

Ocean Grove history timeline by Blogfinger


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On either side of the front porch staircase are two planting beds. Eileen Goldfinger is the gardener.   It is a very sunny (south oriented)  place for flowers. Eileen  photo.  August 14, 2019.


The  tropical yellow hibiscus blooms were slow in arriving, with the first flowers  in the last couple of weeks. In June Eileen  brought the plant from inside to be planted outside in a new pot. It needed from then into August to adapt to its new environment.  In August it flowered.

On the left side are orange lantanas with pink centers. The pink flowers on the right are Gomphrena.  Tiny yellow tips are hard to see.




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Eileen’s simple tomato sauce. Blogfinger.net


Simple Tomato Basil Sauce


By Eileen Goldfinger, Food Editor@Blogfinger.net


½ pint cherry tomatoes, halved

4 San Marzano tomatoes from a can, crushed by hand

2 shallots, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup unsalted chicken broth

¼ cup dry white wine

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp butter

¼ tsp red pepper flakes

½ cup fresh basil


In a 5 quart Dutch oven heat olive oil until it shimmers; add butter and melt. Add shallots and cook until soft; add garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Add cherry tomatoes, San Marzano tomatoes, and sauté for 10 minutes.

Add white wine, chicken broth, pepper flakes, and half the basil.

Cook for 15 minutes or until the cherry tomatoes soften. Serve over pasta and use the remainder of the basil as dressing on the pasta and sauce.

Serves 2-4

It is delicious with a green salad, rustic bread and a glass of Italian wine.


Editor’s note:   We have found the most superb Italian breads  at “Jimmy Pecci’s Taste of Italy”  4060 Asbury Avenue, Tinton Falls.


JERRY VALE   “Summertime in Venice”

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This graphic is from the American Treasure web site. See link below.




If you go to the American Treasure Campaign web site (link above,)  you will find a pitch by the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association to raise money to rebuild the pier in addition to other projects.  The CMA plan is  to continue  the  “150-year legacy of fulfilling the vision to be a seaside community where all generations can know and grow in Jesus…”  They also say that they want to fund an enhanced year-round presence in the Grove.

The details are spelled out at the web site, but one item is especially interesting:   contributors can purchase  blue fish “on the boards” where memorials and advertising can be expressed.

Graphic from the CMA fund web site


Some of the money will go towards repairing the Tabernacle and installing a new sound system in the Great Auditorium.

In addition, and this has been discussed on Blogfinger before, there is  a confusing mix-up of nomenclature:    “Ocean Grove” or the “Camp Meeting Association?”  Read the web site to see the interchangeability of names.

No doubt much of the  proceeds  will go towards goals that can be enjoyed by everyone, but we are referring to accuracy in the use of language.  As Shakespeare said, “What’s in a name?”  He thought that multiple names were just fine for a rose;  it would smell the same regardless of the name.  But it’s different when the conversation is complicated.

It has been our contention that the name “Ocean Grove” should be reserved for the town itself rather than the religious faction which should consistently refer to itself as the “Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association.”  That usage will provide more clarity.

This interchangeability of names seems contrived and reflects a time when the two names were indeed synonymous, but that is no longer the case.


Here is a link to a recent BF article about the linguistics of the situation:

Name of the 150th birthday



Paul Goldfinger,  Editor@Blogfinger.net

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Bob Dylan: poet.


By Paul Goldfinger, Blogfinger.net


When I was a young musician, high school/college vintage, I paid minimal serious  attention to the lyrics of popular songs.  I guess they didn’t make much sense and I was much more interested in the music, but now, in retrospect, I was clueless about the messaging in song  lyrics, especially about love.—-too young to get the nuances of language.

But now I know that buried in words, sentences and paragraphs may be meanings that the words may not readily reveal.  Lovers of poetry know about that, and some lyrics are like poetry.  But you don’t get that sort of thing without some life experiences.

For example there is Buddy Holly’s classic fifties song.   I loved the song, but I had no idea what he meant by “true love ways.”  In fact, for years I thought he was saying “true love waits.”

Here is the opening paragraph:

Just you know why
Why you and I
Will bye and bye
Know true love ways

I’m still not sure exactly what the young Holly was referring to, but he was married when he wrote that song, so he probably had some insight.


Then there is the song which we recently posted called ” I Apologize” sung by Billy Eckstine. It is about a man trying to convince  a woman to forgive him.

What does he want, exactly?  He confesses and he asks for forgiveness, but then he gets specific. There is a line, “Give me back your glance, give me back romance.”

I was clueless, but after years I learned about a woman’s glance and how full of feeling and messaging that can be.  And what does the lyricist mean by “romance.”


Sarah Vaughan recorded a song called “Don’t Look at Me That Way.” It’s about nonverbal communication.   And that “look” in the song speaks volumes, and I wish I knew that language back then.  Here’s a line from this  Cole Porter song.

“Since you began to play your role
I’ve lost my heart and I’ve lost my soul
But as for losing my self-control
Don’t look at me that way.”


And finally  there’s  Bob Dylan—a poet song writer.  And the use of language about love is sometimes hard to get.  What does he mean by “You’re a big girl now.? ” What a wonderful song, but listen carefully to the lyrics; don’t give up on it.

“Our conversation was short and sweet
It nearly swept me off my feet
And I’m back in the rain, oh
And you are on dry land
You made it there somehow
You’re a big girl now”

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Blogfinger remains in the spin cycle waiting for a North End scoop.


In June, OGNED seemed to be ready to sign a Redevelopers Agreement with the Township, but then there were delays.   Of course no reports of what was holding things up emerged.  Then we heard that last night’s (8/12/19) Committee meeting would have a secret executive session to move the process over the finish line, but instead, Vito Gadaleta reported that there had been no appreciable progress.

Are we to look forward to another 11 years of empty promises?

Why not junk the whole bloody mess and give us the 25 single family homes that was the original North End Plan?

What’s even more discouraging is the opaque shroud that surrounds this “public” process.  Our representative government has been chasing a secret agenda without revealing much of anything, and we have no recourse.

Maybe OGNED has lost its head like the Headless Horseman.    What kind of cock and bull story is this?


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Pt. Pleasant Beach. By Moe Demby, Blogfinger.net staff©





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