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Crew-members: Doolittle raid on Japanese islands, April 18, 1942. 16 B-25B bombers took off from the deck of the USS Hornet.

By Kennedy Buckley of Ocean Grove, New Jersey   (Re-posted from 2012 on Blogfinger.)

I was 9, visiting Ireland, when the war started in 1939. To get home we embarked from Scotland, and Mom bought me some toy soldiers and a tank for the sea voyage home.

The bombing of Pearl Harbor was what changed life in the US; now we were in the war instead of watching. Lots of small banners with a blue star in the center started appearing in front windows, meaning a family member was in the service. My two older cousins from Philly went in, and  one would become an officer in the paratroopers (more about him later). Dad’s younger brother with no children was drafted — my dad not. Soon there were multiple flags in many windows.

Nobody was allowed to go up on the roof of my uncle’s tall apartment building in Brooklyn because a spy could see all the ships in New York harbor awaiting convoy. All  windows had to have heavy  drapes to prevent light shining out. If light could be seen, an Air Raid Warden blew a whistle until you fixed it. Rationing books were needed to buy food and things. Tin cans and tin foil were saved and collected for the “war effort.”

There was little car driving (gas and tires were rationed) so Esso (now Exxon) printed war maps instead of road maps on which you could follow the battle front as the Allies went through Europe and the Pacific. War news was really bad, defeat after defeat; however, our spirits were raised with very welcome GOOD news about a daring air raid on Tokyo by B-25 bombers flying off aircraft carriers. (The 70th anniversary of that raid just passed–in 2012.)

This family had 3 members serving. The service flag hung in many windows.

As the war went on, many of the BLUE stars in the windows started changing to GOLD, signifying the death of that serviceman.

Many of our neighbors in the tenements were Italian. Each family had a small storage room in the cellars. Italian families made wine there and stored it in big bottles. When V-E Day came, the celebrating started in the afternoon by bringing the wine to the street for huge block parties that went on into the wee hours. EVERYBODY drank. I was 14 and my buddies and I got falling drunk for the first time, rolling around in the street — nobody cared.

Newsreels of color war footage of the island by island battles in the Pacific were shown in the movie theaters. They were so gruesome that when the atomic bombs were dropped, nobody complained — soon after came V-J Day.  It was the end ….of that war.

4 brothers from the Demby family of Bayonne, NJ (Paul’s family) returned home after serving in WWII. Three were in the Pacific, and one (Marty) was in the convoys that plowed through the North Atlantic with supplies for Russia and England. PG family photo. 1945.  Front l to r.  Ben (Bronze star valor), “Duke” (subs), rear: Al on left (Sea Bees) and Marty  (Coast Guard).

 

Postscript by Ken:

The soldiers came back home in droves to try to begin a normal life. My cousin Jimmy, the paratrooper, was already back recuperating  in an Army Hospital. He had jumped twice in Europe, D-Day in France and later in Belgium. He lost most of his men in the 2nd jump and was badly wounded. He never really resumed a normal life. He married (I was in the Wedding Party) a wonderful, beautiful woman,  an ex-Rockette. He was in and out of Veterans hospitals until he died in his early 30’s.

I fear for the returning veterans from our recent and current wars. Will they get enough care? I really worry.

Kennedy Buckley   (Note:  Ken Buckley died earlier this year in Ocean Grove.)

 

MUSIC from that era:  A lot of the music was sentimental and often catered to the imaginations of homesick GI’s who literally spent years away from home and loved ones.

Here is Peggy Lee with the Benny Goodman orchestra with a song that undoubtedly reminded many GI’s of their girls back home.  —PG

 

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Note:   Ken Buckley, of Ocean Grove, wrote this for us in 2009 when Blogfinger was just starting and we had fewer readers. Ken was a buyer for a major New York department store.  Ken passed away this year.

 

Paris flower

Paris flower market. Paul Goldfinger photograph. ©

 

By Kennedy Buckley

Thirty years ago I was sent by a large department store to cover the showings in Paris. We were met at the airport by a rep from our Paris office and whisked to a chic small hotel on the left bank … the Lenox on Rue de l’Université … for a quick change of clothes and the start of our appointments at various showrooms around town. No time for lunch, “you’ll get a sandwich as you’re shown the new styles.” After some more stops, the suggestion of dinner was “poo-poohed” as two designer runway shows were to be squeezed in. Eventually back to the hotel for a late snack and a collapse onto a not-very-comfy single bed, but not before scheduling an early wake-up call for the next day’s big trip to the Prêt-a-Porter showings at the huge exhibition hall on the outskirts of town. Day one down!

(What about the wonderful restaurants and fabulous sights I heard so much of in preparation of this trip? All I’d seen was the Eiffel Tower out the taxi window as we sped from the airport.)

The Prêt-a-Porter venue was so distant, we took the Metro … buying a FIRST CLASS pass to have a chance at a seat. There were many hundreds of vendors there, spread out over an area twice the size of NYC’s Javitz Center. It required walking what seemed like miles of aisles to cover just SOME of the companies the rep had arranged in advance for us to see. Any others that seemed interesting while rushing about would require returning another day … and try to remember where their booth was located? Good Luck! Of course, we were again fortunate (?) to have secured tickets to a big-name designer’s fashion show that evening, so it’s rush back to get a decent seat, which allows no time for dinner … or even a (much needed) drink.

So much for day two. By now I realize I have already seen so much that if I don’t start writing some tentative orders from the day’s notes before I go to sleep, I’ll be completely lost. You may be wondering who the “we” are that I refer to. Well! Buyers have a merchandise manager who approves the orders, and the merchandise managers have a Senior Vice President. Plus, there is a Fashion Director overlooking the direction the store is trying to achieve fashion-wise. N.B: The only essential person in all this is the “buyer,” because if nothing gets bought, there is no need (excuse?) for anybody else to go to Paris. Get the “we” now? The Sr. V.P.and the Fashion Director are only around for the big-name designer runway shows and parties anyway.

I have to confess that many of the days and nights are distant blurs in my memory, so I will distill some showroom happenings into one typical example. After sleeping through the morning wake-up call … after a late night out … quick shower and dress hurriedly … I taxi to first appointment. No need to ask … it is obvious … coffee for me!!!

The models come past our table strutting their wares … turning if asked … and stopping if the style number is wanted. Although it is before 10 a.m., they are gorgeous, even though they have probably been partying late (it IS Paris). I become aware of a particularly striking one wearing a sheer black camisole with embroidered black polka dots, a couple of which, I notice, seem to be moving … (jiggling?) … I realize I am being paid to sit here, served croissant and coffee, to watch beautiful fashions parading past … what a wonderful world!

Enough about the work. Ten days (and nights) in Paris means some great food (try and forget our stupid dress buyer trying to order scrambled eggs, well done, at a famous sidewalk cafe) …  great entertainment … I don’t remember the singer’s name, but the standing room only crowd sang “I Will Survive.” The baths are an experience … going up La Tour Eiffel …

“Fashion” is what you observe: what real people walking around have put together … and small boutiques’ displays … Montmartre … Notre Dame … champagne at Crazy Horse! Ten days; all expenses paid (almost all)! Who needs to go to sleep? You can do that on the flight home.

Will I ever get back here? We will have to wait to see if the merchandise I order sells.

MUSIC:  Old Blue Eyes recalls what it was like checking out a beautiful woman:

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Eileen’s seder table. Passover 2012 (5772). Ocean Grove, New Jersey

J.A. Joel, Jewish soldier in the Union Army. 1862. Author of the Civil War seder article described below. (photo: Jewish Virtual Library)

During Reverend Stokes’ time, a Passover seder in the Grove would have been highly unlikely.  But these days, given the changing demographics in what used to be a one-size-fits-all religious environment, seders in the Grove do occur. The seder is a festive celebration devoted to family, traditional foods and retelling  the story of Exodus. A guide book called  the Hagaddah is used during the seder.

Although Passover is a happy holiday, the recitation of this phase of Jewish history is a solemn obligation and a touchstone for Jewish identity. Most American Jews celebrate a seder at Passover. But seders are held all over the world, and, although the framework is the same for each seder, there are many variations of  the rituals, depending on regional and cultural differences. It is surprising where seders have occurred in the past. We know, for example, that secret Passover celebrations were held “underground” during the Inquisition, in Spain and Portugal.

Image courtesy of the Jewish War Veterans of the USA. Two marines and a soldier attend a seder in 1944. In front of them are Australian matzohs. They are probably in the Pacific.

In America, there are reports of seders being held by soldiers during the  Revolutionary and Civil Wars.  There were matzoh factories in unlikely places such as Montana and the Dakotas.

In 1862, an account by  soldier,  J. A. Joel of the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Regiment,  of a seder celebrated by Union soldiers in Fayette, West Virginia, was published in The Jewish Messenger.  Joel and 20 other Jewish soldiers were granted leave to observe Passover.  They received matzoh shipped from Cincinnati.

Said Joel, “We sent parties to forage for Passover food while a group stayed to build a log hut for the services. We obtained two kegs of cider (Ed. note: wine was unavailable), a lamb, several chickens and some eggs. We could not obtain horseradish or parsley, but instead we found a weed whose bitterness, I apprehend, exceeded anything our forefathers ‘enjoyed.’ “   (Ed. note: The seder table includes “bitter herbs” to recall the terrible  times as slaves.)

Joel went on to report  how they used “Yankee ingenuity” to make substitutions for other traditional components of the seder. Those Jews who fought with the North felt like they had the moral high ground  (compared to Jews serving in the Confederate Army) because of the similarity between the freeing of Jewish slaves in Exodus and their participation in freeing the American black slaves. Happy Easter and Passover to those Grovers who celebrate these holidays.

Here is a link about a seder in Ocean Grove in 2011 with references to Haggadahs.

Ocean Grove seder 2011.

 

—Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

ETTA JAMES: “Down by the Riverside.”

 

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View of the Delaware Water Gap from John and Jean's property. By Paul Goldfinger ©

View of the Delaware Water Gap from John and Jean’s property. By Paul Goldfinger ©  Click  to see “simple gifts.”

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

Our old friends John and Jean live in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.   Their home is in Scotrun where, if you look at the sign quickly, you see “scrotum.”  I don’t know why, but that always makes me laugh.

They are up on 16 acres from where they can see the Delaware Water Gap. We have shown photos of their property  and their dogs on Blogfinger over the years.  When it’s winter up there, things can get difficult traveling on the historic road that winds uphill to their beautiful home, built  in the ’30’s and designed to be strong and to fit into that landscape. You drive past fields, woods, farms and a big old red barn.

John in their gorgeous kitchen. He has some specialties, including breakfast and leg of lamb for dinner. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

John in their  kitchen. He has some specialties, including breakfast and leg of lamb for dinner. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

John is a fabulous cook as well as a hunter, a gun collector and a raconteur .  He invented the Okeefenokie nickname for the Poconos and he specializes in training German Short-hair hunting dogs.   Jeanie is a nurse and a medical innovator  who co-founded with me  the first freestanding pacemaker clinic  in Morris County at Dover General Medical Center.  She then went on to co-found the first pulmonary rehab center in the area.  Jean is an opera/music buff and a clog dancer.

 John and Jean have visited Ocean Grove many times. She  likes to go to classical concerts and church services in the Great Auditorium.  He discusses food and cooking with Eileen. He likes to sleep in our 3rd floor bedroom in the summer where he cranks up the ac until it is “as cold as a meat locker.”

John and Jean Wiarda in Ocean Grove. By Paul Goldfinger ©

John and Jean  in Ocean Grove. By Paul Goldfinger ©

Jean sent us a note today describing her emergence from hibernation.  It’s a lovely piece of writing—I can see her sitting there, looking out over her woods and fields—gazing at the Gap.

“I just came in from outdoors – the FIRST morning I have been able to sit outside with Dotzie and my coffee in weeks, probably months.  The little porch outside the front door faces directly into the early morning sun and captures the warmth and holds it there in a little pocket formed by the shape of the building.  It was glorious – I had to wear my visor and eventually had to remove my fleece coat.  Hallelujah!!!

“Of course, this reprieve is going to be short lived – the polar vortex is coming back this coming week but . . . whatever.  At least we are having this little break.  Also, some of the snow on the roof is disappearing which is a relief!”

AARON COPELAND      “Simple Gifts”–an excerpt from Appalachian Springs.

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two

Eileen at the Café Volan in A. Park where someone else was making her coffee for a change. Paul Goldfinger photo. ©. 2016.  

 

By Paul Goldfinger. Editor @Blogfinger.net   Reposted from 2011

We recently got a new coffee bean grinder.  We get our beans from a roaster in Hackettstown called Greene Brothers.  They have the best Kenya AA.  In our house, although Eileen is the chief cook and I am the chief bottle washer, she does defer to me for coffee making.

I insist on carefully following every single special step (filtered water, fresh roasted beans, commercial style drip machine by Bunn, burr grinder by Capresso, etc).  It’s just a peculiarity of mine.  I am truly a coffee fusspot.  It’s too bad coffee isn’t grown around here be cause I would go to meet the farmer.

The new coffee grinder has a transparent top where the beans go, so it looks like there is no top at all.  I went to pour the beans into the grinder, but they just bounced off the top and spilled all over Eileen’s kitchen.  They rolled around with a clatter like some kind of rogue pinball machine run amok.  She, who is so meticulous about her kitchen and everything else, looked on in horror.  She knows that I am fundamentally sloppy, but she cannot get over it.  Eileen (NMI)  is so detail oriented that my nickname for her is “Minutiae”  (Actually I would love to make this her middle name since she doesn’t have one.)

The challenge was to pick up the beans one  at a time without crunching them underfoot.  When I tossed them into the grinder she was incredulous. “What’s the big deal,”  I said. “The coffee will get very hot,  and nothing can live in that coffee. Besides, you can eat off your floor.” Well, to be precise, we never eat off the floor.

She has a way of rolling her eyes in total disgust.  At times like this she is likely to say, “How can you be so inept when you can put a pacemaker wire into someone’s heart?”

I have no answer for her. I tell her that we will need some more Greene beans soon. She says,  “I have enough. I’m serving them for dinner.”

“No, no.” I protested;  “I don’t mean the green beans;  I mean the Greene beans!”

“ And also,”  I whined , “I’m sorry I spilled the beans.”

Eileen just looked at me and said, “I wish you wouldn’t spend so much time in my kitchen.”

 

PATTY AND THE EMBLEMS:

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By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net  Reposted from September, 2012 on BF.

I once met Mickey Spillane, the American writer of noir detective novels starring Mike Hammer. Spillane actually was a tough guy who looked like he could be a private eye or a private dick with a run-down office and a babe with long legs for a secretary.

I love that Mike Hammer image, and sometimes I put on my trench coat over a rumpled suit and wait in my office for a tough case to show up. It’s not easy making a living that way, and it’s not healthy either, chain smoking unfiltered cigarettes, sipping bourbon all day and packing a piece.

Then finally the big case showed up. Unfortunately it wasn’t a dame who brought the goods. It was Ogrover, a commenter on our blog “Noir Finger.”  He was like “deep throat” because I never heard his voice or seen his face. He showed up by email, hidden in the shadows of my hard drive. Anyhow, OGrover had a mystery for me to solve.

Monument in Auditorium Square Park—hidden in plain sight.

It seems he was slinking around Auditorium Square Park when he spotted a possible crime scene. A plaque in the ground, at the corner of Pitman Ave. and  Pilgrim Pathway. It was old and spooky, and no one had stolen it yet. OGrover moved slowly closer and closer and then he saw what it said: “Red Oak — State Tree New Jersey Tercentenary–1964.  Presented by the Woman’s Club of Ocean Grove.”

OG scratched his head and wondered if he, an octogenarian, had been around for the tercentenary. But that thought quickly vanished as he stared up at the tree. It was a reddish Norway Maple. “Holy mackerel!” thought OG. “This is a fishy case for Noir Finger.”

Red Oak tree. NOT!

I left Pussy Galore in the office and walked down by the Great Auditorium — talk about haunted houses!  Rattling around inside are the ghosts of President Grant, John Phillip Sousa, and the KKK.

I surveyed the situation and discovered that the Red Oak was indeed gone — instead there was a Norway maple.

“Holy fish oils! What the Heck Avenue happened? Were we going to have another unsolved crime in Ocean Grove? Should we call the coppers?  No way — I’ll handle this one myself.”

I emailed OG and agreed to take the case. He replied, “Piqued your interest?” Then he says, “I have a real hard time believing I’m the first to even notice it since 1964 lol.”

“OG,” I said, “Nobody says ‘piqued’ in Ocean Grove. And nobody ever said ‘lol’ to Noir Finger. After all, we are ‘noir,’ and don’t you forget it. What a turkey!”

So, with the amount of dough that OG was paying, I had to get an answer fast. So I contacted this old hand in town from the HSOG who calls himself “Anonymous,” a name that will be hard to trace, but not impossible. He actually cracked the case, so I give him credit — mystery solved.

It seems that the “Woman’s Club of Ocean Grove” planted the red oak for obvious historic and natural reasons (oaks do well at the shore). Then the oak died (so much for doing well at the shore,) and some genius replaced it with a maple. We don’t know who did or why, but we will keep looking.

Meanwhile, the “Woman’s Club of Ocean Grove”  disbanded* about 20 years ago, and we are still searching for survivors. Noir Finger will stay on the case until we get some answers. We’re open to suggestions.

SOUNDTRACK: By a noir sort of guy who likes to hang around bars at 2:45 a.m.:

See the comment below from Tom  and Pegi.  Pegi has resurrected the old WCOG.* And note that the correct spelling is Woman’s not Women’s.

POST SCRIPT: What good is a Mike Hammer story without a bit of sex ? I came upon a blogger who has been to Ocean Grove and who imagined a young woman staying at the Victorian OG Women’s Club Hotel, a building which still exists in town. I love her poem–click on link below:

The Women’s Club Hotel (est. 1870), Ocean Grove, NJ

(Plaque reads: A Respectable Hotel for Chaperoned Single Gentlewomen)

Ocean Grove Women’s Club Hotel

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Margaret Stickel on the porch of 91 Cookman, circa 1960

By Mary Walton, Blogfinger staff.  Re-posted from October, 2011.

Perhaps more than in most communities, the history of Ocean Grove lives in the hearts of families who have sunk deep roots in its sandy soil. For people like Paul Horn, a walk up Cookman Avenue is truly a trip down Memory Lane.

Some of his fondest childhood memories center on 91 Cookman, now a derelict house that has been prominently featured on Blogfinger’s pages. Earlier this year developer Jack Green purchased the house for the purpose of renovating it.

But for 41 years it was the home of Horn’s grandparents, John and Margaret Stickel, who bought it in 1924. Today Horn lives just down the street at 83 Cookman. Recently he and his wife, Loyce, and daughter, Cathy Cooper, reminisced about the family’s history.

margaret-john-stickel-2 (1)

Paul Horn’s grandparents, John and Margaret Stickel, immigrated from Germany in 1890

John and Margaret Stickel immigrated around 1890 from the Black Forest section of Germany to Newark, where John became a brewmaster for Krueger Brewing Company. They had ten children. After Stickel retired they explored the Jersey shore by train. When they reached Ocean Grove, says Horn, “they just decided without a doubt that this was where they wanted to retire.”

As a child, Horn, now 87, often visited his grandparents. He remembers being sent to buy breakfast buns at Friedman’s Bakery on Cookman Avenue in Asbury Park. When no older than eight or nine he liked to rise early and walk south on the boardwalk to Bradley Beach to watch fishermen haul their catch ashore in a craft that looked like a huge rowboat. The men would push the boat onto the beach, where it was hooked to a cable and towed in farther. The glittering fish were piled into a truck and taken to the ice house at Newark Avenue. The young boy found the sight of the boat deep with fish “amazing. My eyes popped just to see it.”

In a celebrated incident, now a staple of family lore, his grandfather John was swept up by a riptide and pronounced dead when pulled ashore. But a lifeguard refused to accept the verdict and pounded his chest until he drew a gasping breath. He lived another 15 years.

Says Cathy, “When my grandmother used to tell the story, at the end she always said the same thing. ‘And he had ice cream later in the day.’ ”

Margaret Stickel lived at 91 Cookman until 1965, when she moved to a nursing home and the family sold the house. Paul Horn’s mother, Frieda, a crack statistical typist, eventually moved to Mt. Hermon Way. Paul grew up to graduate from Yale and become a professor of psychology at Indiana State. But every summer he and Loyce would pack up the family station wagon and drive back to the Grove. They rented 83 Cookman before purchasing it in 1990.

Loyce Horn says that her daughters, Cathy and Holly, “spent every summer of their childhood in Ocean Grove. As soon as they graduated college, they moved to Ocean Grove. They married in Ocean Grove and they’re still in Ocean Grove.” (Sort of. Holly Horn, a professional violinist, lives in Manhattan but summers here and is the owner and director of the Ocean Grove Violin Academy. Cathy, a family therapist, lives in Neptune City.)

As 91 Cookman became, in Horn’s word, “horrible,” he and his wife would look away when they passed the house. Now, with renovation underway, they fantasize about keeping it in the family. (Green plans to sell it after he’s done with the renovation.)

A few days ago Paul Horn walked up to the house, where a dumpster is now parked in front. His grandmother used to call the verdant side yard her “outdoor living room.” He pointed to the dilapidated second-floor porch. “That’s where my cousin had his hammock.”

The memories live still.

Today: The Stickels’ great granddaughter, Cathy Cooper, and her dad, Paul Horn, on the porch of the old house. Photo by Mary Walton

MUSIC by Charley Pride:

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Members of the NYU team (L to R): Marlee Roberts (producer), Nora Unkel (assistant director), Craig Clayton (writer) , and Ben Nelson (director) on the porch at 124 Main Avenue. Paul Goldfinger photo.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor and film critic @Blogfinger.  Re-post from November, 2012:

Did you ever hear of Spike Lee, Joel Coen, Ang Lee, and Oliver Stone? Well those film makers are all alumni of the NYU Film School, a division of the Tisch School of the Arts. It is one of the finest film schools in the country, and we had a team of their students in town this weekend, making a short movie called “Still.”

Tisch School of the Arts. Greenwich Village. From the NYU web site.

Marlee Roberts, the producer of the film “Still,” spoke to us in the living room at 124 Main Avenue on a cold Ocean Grove Sunday morning. She and her production team had been looking for a house that seemed like it was from the 1950’s. When they found the “cozy” cottage on Main, they were “very excited.”

“We were searching for a special town for our film”, she said , “And this was perfect.”

The quaint little Ocean Grove cottage was buzzing with activity. Members of the team were all over the house when we stopped by. On Saturday they had recreated a party in the living room. They also had shot some footage in the old-fashioned kitchen and now they were upstairs in the bedroom. “Our film is rated PG-13,” Marlee said, “and it is totally student run—no faculty involved.”

Filming in the bedroom. Photo by NYU crew

It is evident that this is serious filmmaking. The actors are not only college students, but they are professionals, and the standards are quite high. When it was time to say, “Aaand action,” I could hear a voice call out from upstairs, “Nobody move, or talk…don’t even breathe.” Then everyone who had been moving, talking and breathing froze. It looked like a wax museum for a few minutes.

Lighting the set and adjusting the sound. Photo by the NYU crew.

Marlee told us that “Still” would be a short film—about 18 minutes— and the goal would be to distribute it to film festivals. It’s about a young couple who have found the fountain of youth, so their love story goes on for awhile.

The filming began in Secaucus, but the Ocean Grove setting was the main location. After 1 1/2 days in town, the crew would be going to Spring Lake and then Manhattan. After that the post-production work begins.

Marlee, an actress, singer and filmmaker, is an animated and lovely young woman from North Arlington, New Jersey, who promised to send us one of her songs for the Blogfinger Juke Box. We suggested that she let us show her finished film in town when it is ready. She liked that idea.

I can see it now: “The Blogfinger Film Festival presents ‘Still’.” Let’s do it!  (PS –does anyone have a red carpet we can borrow?). As for this article, it’s a wrap.

Editor’s Note: It was a delight to watch these young filmmakers work with such passion in creating an original film in our town. Thank you to Flo Meier, the owner of that “perfect” Ocean Grove cottage, who alerted us to this special event.

And to the crew of “Still” here’s a musical gift. Sidney Bechet, the great French jazz saxophonist, plays “Si Tu Vois Ma Mère” which is the opening music for Woody Allen’s new hit film “Midnight in Paris.” I suspect no NYU film student can possibly graduate without knowing Woody’s work.    —PG

 

2018 update photo from Marlee’s website Marleeroberts.com where you can see her stepping up the ladder of fame.   One of the winners at this event, Tisch 48 Film Festival, was Ben Nelson, the director of “Still,” seen in our photograph above.

Here is a link to a 2014 Marlee Christmas music video which we posted on BF.

Marlee Roberts music video

We recently received an email from Marlee.  She wanted to know how we were doing in Ocean Grove.  Maybe she could make a movie about our Parking Wars.

Tisch48+Award+Ceremony

Tisch 48 Film Festival- Red Carpet Awards Ceremony. Marlee is in front. The movie “Still” partly filmed in OG won an award here. 2012. Photo from Marlee’s website—Marleeroberts.com

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January 23, 2018.     This article was posted 4 months ago and is relevant today because of the latest news.  Read it for background.

The Aurora in Ocean Grove

The Aurora in Ocean Grove. 6 Atlantic Avenue.  Internet photo.

 

Aerial view of the Aurora. Source: Zillow

 

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger   (updated post from 2013)

The Aurora on Atlantic Avenue in Ocean Grove, NJ is listed as a single family home. It sits on 4 lots with ocean views from 3 levels (and the top.)  The house is still for sale—since 2013.

Built in 1884 , the Aurora  has a garage and room to park several cars  (or maybe two Bentleys).

This grand old hotel is considered a major Victorian historic treasure even when compared to the rest of the country  (per historian Ted Bell.)  It became even more renowned when the current owner converted it to a single family house.  It cannot be changed  back into a hotel.  If you buy it, you will need a few more bathrooms.  We are told that it needs a lot of work inside.

The Aurora Hotel when it was a hotel. They say that Broadway celebrities liked to stay there. (Source–Zillow)

The Aurora is perfect for the man who has everything, including more than one wife; or a playboy with lots of playmates.   And, in case you are wondering if there is enough room, the Aurora also has a finished basement.

So, even though the price has been reduced substantially and seems to be a relative bargain, the issue is what can a buyer do with it?   The current owner purchased the property because he wanted room for his large family, but 30 bedrooms?  That would be one bathroom for 6 bedrooms, which has the potential for some family warfare.

So what would a new owner do with this huge property?

Other uses, besides a single family  house, are technically prohibited because of zoning, including a hotel, a drug rehabilitation facility, a casino,  a brothel, a frat house, a dormitory for Yeshiva students, a rooming house for Camp Meeting religious tourists, a multi-family condominium, a school, or a rooming house.  You cannot rent rooms in Ocean Grove—so Airbnb is out.  And there is no parking for more than 4 cars.

Of course, creative zoning without on-site parking is part of the Ocean Grove/Neptuner culture.  How about Mary’s Place where two single family houses were supposed to go?  It is now a  spa/respite shelter for female cancer victims.  It is officially a single family house with 10 bedrooms.

The Mary’s Place  precedent might work for the Aurora. Turn that into a shelter for some victim group.  The Neptune Zoning Department has proven itself to be very creative under Bernie Haney. They were the ones who found a solution for Mary’s Place, not the Planning Board.  There’s a lot of money going into drug rehabilitation these days.  Del Ray Beach in Florida is such a place.

And how about the Grand Atlantic Hotel which was turned into a home for nuns?  What kind of zoning legerdemain made that happen?    And what kind of zoning allowed Grove Hall to become a conference center/65 room hotel for  visitors to use while attending religious based conferences?

Or consider the North End Redevelopment Plan which was supposed to consist of 25 single family Victorian style houses, but now the plans, after major zoning changes,  consist of 165 residential units including condominiums, an underground garage,  and a hotel.

And then there was the Surf Avenue House conversion into condominiums without parking.  That hotel was officially listed as a single family house before the owner got the designation changed to “hotel” so it could  go condo.    And how about the the Manchester Hotel which was to go condo until it burned down.

That’s the problem with precedents.   The double standards and favoritism in town create precedents.  What’s to stop the Aurora buyers from tapping into the same sort of special treatment?

JERRY ORBACH:

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A rare photo of moi when I was in my prime, just last week.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger  (interviewer and interviewee and interloper in chief:)

Q:  Why did you name Eileen Goldfinger as food editor?  Isn’t that nepotism?

A:  No.  I prefer to call it “affirmative action”

Q:  Where will you be eating dinner tonight?

A: Well, it should be in the dog house, but we don’t have a dog

Q: You really like music. How did that interest develop?

A: My mother sang show tunes all day long and she insisted that I play the sax—but not at the same time.  In the band I met some nice girls with rhythm, so I stuck with it. I liked to watch the horn players use their spit valves.

Q: Who is your favorite photographer and why?

A:  Edward Weston. Because his black and white images of peppers, sea shells, nudes and toilet bowls were beautiful and  unique…..also he slept with all his models.

Q: Do you miss practicing medicine?

A: Only the fun parts, like when I would talk into my stethoscope and say, “Testing, testing, testes.”  Some of my former colleagues still enjoy that one liner. But, you know, it’s all in the timing.

Q:  What was your most amazing medical case?

A:   A young woman came to the ER when I first entered practice.  She had a heart rate of 180/min.  I turned her upside down—-then right side up.  She was cured, and I was famous.

Q. What cars do you like?

A:    I love stick shift sports cars. Over the years I have had a Fiat Spider, Triumph Spitfire, Porsche 911 and a BMW Z4.  I don’t go fast, but my favorite maneuvers are cornering and acceleration.  (That’s how I am in bed also—when I am sleeping.)   In Ocean Grove I have the Blogmobile.

Q:  Were you in the military?

A. Yes, I was an officer in the  Navy Medical Corps  and I fought the battle of Virginia Beach.  I had three haircuts in one month and I loved the white uniform. I also had a rubber stamp that said  “bull****” The best part was the saluting—instant respect.

Q Why did Eileen agree to marry you?

A. It’s a fair question. She was 16 years old, and I took her for her first lobster and her second Broadway show.  I took her to see Fiorello, and she left the theatre humming—that’s what tipped the scales. If you can make a girl hum, that is a big deal.

Q. Why do you allow both Jack Bredin and Kevin Chambers to opine on BF?

A. Because they both laugh at my jokes and they both use their real names and they are not afraid to tell the truth.  Jack used to be in show business, and Kevin went to school with Walt Whitman.

Q: What is the future for Blogfinger?

A: We will spend a lot of time searching for an honest man.  We also hope to interview a real celebrity some day, like Ted Bell.

Q: What do you like best about Ocean Grove?

A:  I enjoy the way people are interested in raccoons, snow plows, good coffee, and flying the American flag on their houses. The demographics are fascinating: always changing— like the sands.     I also have an unpaid job as official thong counter down at the beach. Last summer the count was zero. You heard it first @Blogfinger.

Q:  If you could speak at a high school graduation, what would you say?

A:  For the boys:  “Have no fear; girls want sex also”   For the girls: “Read Erica Jong’s books and don’t believe the feminists.”

Q: What should we call you?

A.  Call me Paul. My middle initial is @.  Only my childhood friends call me Pee Gee. My last name  must be sung to the Shirley Bassey version of “Goldfinger”.  You can hear it at the end of the “about” section tab at the top of this page.

Q: What is the most outrageous idea that you ever had?

A:  “Kill the umpire.”

Q: What do you think of this interview?

A:  It sucks. Can I say “sucks” on this blog?

Q: What’s your favorite song?

A:  I have many, but I guess, anything that takes me back to the gym at Rutherford High School when, festooned with crepe paper, and with the lights semi-low, my friends and I strolled over to the girls’ side and found one who would slow dance with us.

For example, here are THE VELOURS with a song and lyrics that remind me of those dances when we all knew the rules.  When it was prom time,  it wasn’t just the music; it was the smell  of carnations pinned to the lapel of a white dinner jacket, a corsage on the girl’s wrist, and the rustle of those  crinolines.

 

 

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