Archive for the ‘Fascinating Ocean Grovers’ Category

Moe Demby, Blogfinger reporter/photographer, visits the OG beach with Chico on a quiet late afternoon in April. 2015

Moe Demby, Blogfinger reporter/photographer, visits the OG beach with Chico on a quiet late afternoon in April. 2015.  BF photo.


BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB  “Veinte Anos”  (Twenty Years)


Read Full Post »

Nov. 27, 2022.  We first met Mildred Hardeman in 2013.   Below is our article from then with an interview.  And below this is an update regarding her historic home.



Mildred Hardeman on the porch of her Ocean Grove home. Paul Goldfinger photo July 2013

Mildred Hardeman on the porch of her Mt. Tabor Way, Ocean Grove home. Paul Goldfinger photo and video.  July 2013


By Paul Goldfinger, MD, Editor, Blogfinger.net.  Ocean Grove, NJ.  update 11/27/22



Mildred Hardeman was born in Alabama in 1921.   At the time of the depression, her family moved to Texas so her father could find work. Then they moved to Georgia where she went to high school. Her mother urged her to seek higher education, so she obtained a scholarship to an all-girls college in Athens, Georgia in 1942.

Shorter College had 200 students then. They encouraged careers for women. Today it is Shorter University and has several thousand students.

While at Shorter, Mildred got a job as assistant to a faculty member who encouraged her to move to New York City. Mildred obtained a Ph.D. in philosophy and psychology at Columbia University.

No university in NYC would hire her to teach philosophy–that field was reserved for men— but Queens College hired her to teach psychology. Over the years she taught at the college level while living in NYC.

She purchased a home in Ocean Grove in the 1970’s after reading an article about the town in the New York Times. She came by train, and it was love at first sight.




The historic home that she purchased required a complete remodeling, but since then she has had to do very little work on the building. At first she only came here on weekends, but after her retirement, she moved here full time, leaving her beloved New York City behind.

Mildred used to love to walk all over town, but lately she pretty much stays home. Some years ago she bought a car, but she parked it in front and never drove it. It was sold after three years.

At the age of 92, Mildred’s love affair with Ocean Grove continues. She enjoys chatting with folks walking by. When I went over to interview her, she was sitting on her porch reading all the news that’s fit to print. She was happy to tell her story to me, but she was a bit baffled when I tried to explain Blogfinger to her (sometimes I baffle myself). But we’ll bring our iPad over to introduce her to the Internet.

Paul Goldfinger, editor @Blogfinger

MUSIC. What do you choose for a philosopher? We decided on “Across the Universe” by John Lennon and played beautifully by guitarist Bill Frisell. It is said that Lennon ‘s melody for this piece was influenced by his interest in Eastern religions.

(note: If you know any fascinating Grovers who might be willing to be interviewed, please send me a brief summary and contact info. )

Read Full Post »

Ocean Grove beach. 2014. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

Ocean Grove beach. 2014. Paul Goldfinger photo ©  Click to enlarge.  Blogfinger.net




Read Full Post »

New perennial plantings  at Pilgrim Pathway and Pitman

New perennial plantings at Pilgrim Pathway and Pitman

Beautification Project at work in Auditorium Park. © can Bredin photo.  May, 2015.

Beautification Project at work in Auditorium Park. © can Bredin photo. May, 2015.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor at Blogfinger.

The Ocean Grove Beautification Project is an independent group of volunteers who tend to many of the beautiful public gardens around town. The first link below tells you a great deal about this team of workers.

Recently they completed the design and planting of new gardens around the periphery of the Camp Meeting Association offices at Pitman Ave and Pilgrim Pathway.  The garden is 80% perennials, shrubs and trees, but flowers will “pop” every year at the office entrance.   The design was created by Mindy Arcoleo of Ocean Wholesale Nurseries  in Jackson, NJ.  who worked with Conny Ogden, co-chair of the OGBP.  This and other works by the group are financed by citizen contributions as well as money from the Women’s Auxiliary of the Great Auditorium—–also a private OG organization.

A closeup collection on the corner. It is a curious cluster of different perennials. Blogfinger photo.

A closeup collection on the corner. It is a curious cluster of different perennials. Blogfinger photo.

The new garden is fairly complex, with multiple species arranged in a dramatic way.  One of the focal points is a weeping dwarf red bud tree. (It’s weeping because it’s not taller).  This fine garden is special and is worth seeing next time you are strolling around town.  Connie says that the new gardens have a “Wow factor.”

Maybe next time the Project will plan to plant a peck of pickled peppers.

2012 BF article about the Beautification Project


So do you think it’s boring doing gardening?  No way say the kids from the Beautification Project.  After mucking in the dirt, it’s time to party. Here is their favorite after work song. It’s by The Hot Sardines:

Read Full Post »

Steve Valk. Ocean Grove, NJ. August 3, 2013.   By Paul Goldfinger ©

Steve Valk. Ocean Grove, NJ. August 3, 2013. Portrait by Paul Goldfinger ©

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

There are so many Grovers who make this their part-time home, that we need to consider the “Grover” nickname to include them as well as full timers. Steve Valk’s family has owned a home in the Grove for generations, and he has spent many summers here. As a Cornell student, he would work at the Grand Atlantic Hotel as a waiter or a cashier. This summer he returns to spend the month of August in the Grove with his family and visiting his contacts in the art world.

We met over cappuccinos at the Barbaric Bean where we huddled under the awning to avoid the rain. Steve said that he loved Ocean Grove, and he shared a childhood memory of the “magic” that he perceived when all the cars would vanish on Saturday night resulting in a “total transformation” on Sunday.

Steve’s mother came from Germany, so he has always been fluent in that language. He majored in German studies and film in college and he moved to Berlin after receiving an offer to be an assistant director at the well known Schiller Theatre. He has worked in “culture and the arts (theatre, opera, contemporary dance, et al)” and has been mentored by some major figures in that world including Robert Wilson, a famed avant garde stage director and designer. Steve eventually moved to the Frankfurt Opera to work with William Forsythe, one of the world’s foremost choreographers.

Steve describes himself as a high energy, “brash” person who has participated in all sorts of creative artistic endeavors over the years. Recently he founded the first Institute of Social Choreography with William Forsythe, and others.

He says that “social choreography” is a new concept in which the arts can be more than just entertainment ; instead they can be transformative tools as people confront a complex world and need new ways to implement changes in their lives. The term “choreography” is not merely about dance. It is about mingling art of all types with life and thus to expand the capacity for improving how we live.

In Germany, Steve is currently involved with building a state-of-the art homeless shelter where he will use these concepts to integrate social work with the arts. He is very optimistic; “You can change everything.”

It is obvious from our conversation that he is engaged in new, important, and complicated ways of thinking about our world. He is an innovator who could become internationally famous. You can look at his Facebook page for more information.

Facebook page Institute of Social Choreography

PHILLIP GLASS : Robert Wilson worked with Phillip Glass, and Steve Valk loves Phillip Glass, so here is The Plant-Boy’s Song (From the Witches of Venice)

Read Full Post »