Archive for the ‘Feature article’ Category

Morning, Main Avenue, Ocean Grove, New Jersey. By Paul Goldfinger

Editor’s note: 8//18/17.     Recently we have seen a fragrance shop and a Christmas shop open on Main Avenue.  We have been discussing the future of the Grove and we have questioned the idea that this should be a tourist town.

This article (below) from 5 years ago addresses that topic and will offer some perspective when we consider the businesses in the Grove today and when we realize that the residents of the town get short shrift if their  lifestyles are even considered.

By Paul Goldfinger, editor  @Blogfinger

In 2002, Mr. Ted David self-published a book called “The Other Side of  Ocean Grove.”  Mr. David was fascinated by the quirky nature of the town, so his chapters had titles like “The Wisdom Bench,” “Krisanna’s,” “Blasted Mosquitoes” and “The Gates.” Chapter 11, however, was called “Main Avenue.” About that subject, Mr. David said, “The Great Auditorium is the heart and soul of the Grove, but Main Avenue is its skeleton and nerves.”

Recently we learned that a toy store would open in town, and an interesting discussion developed as to the nature of Main Avenue and what kinds of businesses should be here. There is, however, no set policy on this subject, so perhaps we can learn something from history.

A long-time Grover told me that early in the town’s history there were businesses up and down Main and on the side streets. Judging from a published list from 1938, it would appear that she is correct. Ted David points out that the founders wanted businesses in town to serve only the community who lived here. They had little interest in tourism other than the summer church programs.

In 1938.* on Main Avenue, we had the following businesses:  1 restaurant, 2 pharmacies, 1 electrician, 3 plumbing and heating, 1 fish and vegetable, 1 bead shop, 1 jeweler/watch repair, 5 real estate/insurance, 2 newsstands, 1 taxi stand, 1 book/needle shop, 2 gift shops and 13 hotels. Down multiple other  streets were: 1 ice cream, 1 antique, 3 carpenters, 1 auto repair, 1 dry cleaning, 1 fish market, 1 greenhouse, 1 groceries and meats, 1 milk/dairy, 1 movie house, 1 butcher, 1 painting and decorating, and 4 restaurants.

Mr David points out that until around 1990, the downtown was still devoted mostly to businesses that served the townspeople. But since then, as Ocean Grove rebounded from a downhill slide in the ’70’s and ’80’s, the idea developed that Main Avenue should change to attract tourists, and that is where we are now.

Main Avenue 2010. Paul Goldfinger photo

In recent years we have lost a cleaners, an internist, a bank branch, a quality restaurant (Moonstruck),  two serious bakeries, a cafeteria, a real deli, a real grocery, a barber shop, a newsstand (recently), a gas station (at the hardware store) and a pharmacy.

Who’s to say what happens next on Main Avenue? In this town, we can’t even trust zoning to protect our town  (Remember Mary’s Place?)    We have a Chamber of Commerce, but what do they do for the town’s residents besides close Main Ave. for car shows and other events?  Do they ever consider the lifestyles and needs of those who actually live in town? And where’s our coffee shop?  

And is it time to abolish blue laws to give the town a pick-me-up? It’s been a new ball game since 1980. 

*  Ref: Gibbons History of Ocean Grove

JONI MITCHELL  “In France They Kiss on Main Street”

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MAGIC. Ocean Grove.  Click to enlarge. Paul Goldfinger  ©

Reposted from 2010 with the comments. Blast from the past, with a memorable last line:

By Mary Beth Jahn, former mayor and Committeeman.  She is the only Committeeman ever to comment on Blogfinger.

Hey OG Resident – Oh My!, guess what?  I was one  (a Grover), too, from 1993 to 2006.  I lived in the big orange apartment building on Main and Pennsylvania.  I got used to throwing my blinkers on for a few minutes in the fire zone, unloading the car, and heading for the 100 blocks of Heck or Abbott to park on Saturdays until the Aud. let out.

The bus service was there when I moved in, and it came in darn handy when the train to NYC went down.  In 1993, the majority of the Grove was serving mental patients, so the renaissance with stores and eateries has been and continues to be a delight and a true wonder of how determined citizens who are willing to take a gamble on a magical place can turn it around.

There was a time when Ocean Grove was much more isolated – no Dunkin’ Donuts (though we briefly had a Wawa there), no Windmill, no West Grove Square.  Not all progress is bad.  I’ll agree the density went wildly out of control in the 70s, 80s, and probably the the 90s, but when the state is paying you $1,600 per person, it was hard for owners of large hotels to turn that money down.  As for the triage bus the county has asked us to house, fuel, and insure, I haven’t spoken to one first-responder who says we shouldn’t have it, especially as the southern Monmouth area consolidates services.

That aside, what are the things you love about the Grove?  All that seems to be getting lost here.  I can’t tell you how many people in town I initially met at the old Wachovia ATM.  The Jersey Shore Arts Center is pretty amazing.  Shuffleboard is tons of fun.  The Historical Society and Camp Meeting have great events.  There’s Nagel’s and Day’s and the Starving Artist.  Smuggler’s Cove and Ocean Grove Flowers always have the perfect gifts for any occasion.  For a town that size, that’s hardly shabby.

We all control our own quality of life.  There are certain things we have to learn to live with, especially in a small area.  When we let the negative aspects take over the positive, sometimes you have to make choices.  I personally learned to turn a blind eye to parking on summer weekends so it didn’t make me crazy.  I knew what it was when I moved there, so it wasn’t like I hadn’t signed up for it.  I’m not saying that’s the approach everyone should take, but at some point, with this much anger roiling around some folks, maybe it’s time for some contemplative thought about focusing on the positive rather than the negative.

I moved out of the Grove for two reasons:  one was that I was still not in remission with my severe rheumatoid arthritis, and therefore, unable to perform most home repairs, which would have left the bulk of any work we could do ourselves on my sister, which wasn’t fair.  Second, we still weren’t sure whether I was going to fully go into remission (which I have, thankfully), but to be on the safe side, we needed a home which we could afford if I ended up on disability.  So far, so good.

I miss the smell of the sea when I walk out the front door, walking down the street to the ATM and News and Such, and spending time on the boardwalk.  When I think back on my time in the Grove, those are the things I remember most, not circling around blocks for a parking spot, and I suspect most people, when they remember this summer, will remember the great beach days, dinner parties, drinks on the porch with friends and family, Frisbee on the beach, and the like.

The sheer tininess of this town is part of what gives it the magic it has.  We can choose to grasp the magic and work toward solutions, or we can become bitter and ruin an entire beautiful summer’s worth of memories.

Which side are you going to choose – the magic or the tragic?

THE DUBS  (music added 2017)

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Gotkas at the flea market in Ocean Grove. 2005. By Paul Goldfinger

Giant flea market in Ocean Grove., NJ 2005. By Paul Goldfinger

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

In Ocean Grove, there are quite a few New Yorkers whose second language is Yiddish, or, at least, who like to use Yiddish words.  The language of Eastern European Jewish immigrants is filled with words and sayings  that are useful as terms of endearment, insults or as spice in an English sentence.  You don’t have to be Jewish to like Levy’s rye bread or to learn a few Yiddish words.

In NYC, people use Yiddishisms in their daily conversation such as “shlepping ” a bag of  bagels, whitefish salad and the 5 pound NY Times  up the stairs on a Sunday morning.  So, we consider it to be a public service in the Grove to provide some new words from the “old country”  so you can communicate with your New Yawk neighbors.

In this case, someone has kindly hung their underwear from a tree at the OG Flea Market. If only lingerie could talk. Anyhow, the Jews of the Lower East Side knew nothing of fancy underwear, but they did have a word for underwear, and that word is “gotkas”  (rhymes with the Hannukah delicacy  “latkes”).  There’s something amusing–even hilarious–about using this word to describe anybody’s unmentionables.  So, give it a try.

Note:   Last October we ran a piece on a similar theme — “My Mother the Indian”   If you click on the link, you can hear a Yiddish language song about a lovable hooker.


And, by the way, you don’t have to be Christian to like Christmas music:

THE KLEZMONAUTS from their Christmas album Oy to the World.

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Internet photo

Sports report from the Blogfinger sports department, Paul Goldfinger, Editor.    Updated to 2015.  Go Navy.  I still have my Navy sword which I keep in our OG bedroom in case the Barbary pirates show up seeking revenge.

On Saturday, December 12, there will be a battle in Philadelphia—Army vs. Navy. This rivalry goes back 116 games.  Navy has won 59 times, and the army 49, with 7 ties.    Navy has  a long winning streak, having won the last thirteen times.  The weather should be warm, so we won’t have to shiver our timbers;  it will be a spirited event at 3:00 pm on CBS.

But here in Ocean Grove, we have two neighbors on Seaview Avenue who have chosen opposite sides every year, and each year they hang out the appropriate banner.  At 18 Seaview is Liz Ogden’s house where the Navy reigns and the goats go baaaaa.  This is what she said yesterday, “The Flags are flying on Sea View Ave in excitement for the upcoming football game Saturday at 3pm..  I learned recently that my Dad marched in the 1953 Army – Navy Football game with the American Flag..  GOOOOO NAVY!!!!!  BEAT ARMY.


18 Seaview18 Seaview Avenue in Ocean Grove.  Liz Ogden’s house.

US Navy Band:    

Ted Bell's home at 24 Seaview Avenue. Blogfinger photos.

Ted Bell’s home at 24 Seaview Avenue. Blogfinger photos.  Dec 10, 2015 Ted’s team are the Black Knights and they eat beans while the Navy eats the gravy.

A few houses down at 24 Seaview is the Army house where Ted Bell will be cheering for the Army mules. Ted’s grandson is a graduate of the USMA and served tours in Afghanistan and Iraq.   Ted and Liz have been competing over this game for more than 10 years.  Ted gave us a quote: “Go Army, Beat Navy.”  Ted was there when the army beat the Brits at Bunker Hill.

Ted likes the traditions, especially when the two sides sing their alma maters at the end of the game.   He predicts that Army will win by a score of 13-12.  Really, Ted?   You can call him and make a bet.

Liz Ogden on Main Avenue counting her chickens. Her team are the "Midshipmen". © Paul Goldfinger photo. Dec 10, 2015.

Liz Ogden on Main Avenue, Ocean Grove,  counting her chickens. Her team are the “Midshipmen”. © Paul Goldfinger photo. Dec 10, 2015.

Liz: Watch out;  Ted may get your goat or steal your goat or eat your goat.

US Army Band      

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Pine Barrens, New Jersey. By Paul Goldfinger © 2013

Season’s greetings from the Pine Barrens, New Jersey. By Paul Goldfinger © 2013

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor  @Blogfinger   (reposted from 11/29/13)

At Wegmans this morning they were already playing Christmas music.  Ironically, they call today “Black Friday”–an odd name for a day that should still be basking in the glow of a happy, happy, merry, merry holiday.    An employee that I barely know breezed by and said, “Happy Hanukkah.”  I didn’t have time to respond, but I thought, why is she wishing me happy anything?— I don’t really know her.  I was already a bit numb from so many people in stores and elsewhere saying, “Happy Thanksgiving.”  What’s the point?  No amount of good wishes would have any impact on the happiness of my Thanksgiving. And then you have to say “Happy Thanksgiving” back, even though I don’t care about their Thanksgiving. What a drag.

When I was in practice, patients would come in and wish me a “Happy Hanukkah.”  So I would wish them a “Merry Christmas,” but these greetings always struck me as awkward. For one thing, what makes them think I’m Jewish?  I never told them.  Maybe I’m a Moroccan Muslim.  I would prefer that they wish me a “Merry Christmas” so that I can fit right in.  Then I won’t have to answer questions like, “Is it the fourth or fifth night now?” I seldom know exactly what night it is.  Besides, I know they think that Hanukkah is the Jewish Christmas, and I wish I could explain that it is not even close. In my house, when I was a kid, we said a blessing, lit the candles and ate.  That was it.  And just one present, if I was lucky.

So I went up to the café in Wegmans and sat down to have coffee and a bagel, and fiddle around with my iPad.  I’m wearing earphones, so I didn’t hear the man come up to me. When I sensed his presence, I looked up and there is a gentleman with whom I sometimes chat at Wegmans.  He said that he finds all these merry, merry, happy, happy  greetings to be a bit disturbing, because so many people are suffering in the world.  He mentioned the Central African Republic where, he said, “genocide” was occurring and also Syria, a place where he spent two years in the past.  There they are having death, destruction and a huge refugee problem.

I suggested to him that perhaps Americans are a bit delusional  because they don’t know about such places. I never heard of the Central African Republic, so he told me that it used to be a French colony.  I always learn stuff at Wegmans.  Today I found out that the mashed potatoes are in the dairy department.  Go figure!

OK, I know, you all think I’m a curmudgeon, or something else. But we all have our pet peeves.  Do you have any pet peeves as it pertains to the happy, happy, merry, merry “holiday season?”

And that’s another darn thing:  Say “Merry Christmas” and not “Happy Holiday.”  We’re all big boys; even big girls are big boys these days.  Americans can handle the possibility of being insulted. Let’s all jettison some piece of political correctness this year.   Let’s lighten up this happy, happy, merry, merry season and wish everybody a new greeting.  Try something unexpected like,  “Ain’t that somethin’?”

And if you see me, wish me a “Merry Christmas.”  You’ll find me wandering around the Wegmans lot looking for my bloody car.

THE DIMMER TWINS   (“True Blue Aussie Christmas album”)

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Lavalette, New Jersey c.1962. Charlie Francisconi on left (bass player) and Paul Goldfinger (ie Gary) on right. the Red Rail Restaurant.

Lavallette, New Jersey c.1962. Charlie Francesconi on left (bass player) and Paul Goldfinger (ie Gary) on right. In front of the Red Rail Restaurant.  Last posted 2013.

Bunny, me Charlie and Frank warming up in Frank's basement in Rutherford.

Bunny, I,  Charlie and Frank warming up in Frank’s basement in Rutherford.  We were college kids. Bunny and I were from FDU while Frank went to Seton Hall.  Charlie was a precocious high school senior whose girlfriend was our groupie.    Bunny rarely sang, but when she did, it was “Willow Weep for Me.”  (We weeped for her singing.)  Bunny was so slim that she could play between the white keys.    Wallpaper compliments of Frank’s Mom. There are no recordings of our group.

The Paul Gary quartet performed at college parties, bar mitzvahs, dances, bars and even a boat ride.  We specialized in dance music. I played alto sax in the FDU jazz band.  Frank Cancellieri and I, from Rutherford, have been friends since 4th grade. Bunny Celmer was from Passaic while Charlie was from Paterson.  We have stories from our one summer working in Lavallette. The Red Rail no longer exists. We were the only band at the shore that could play a cha cha or a fox trot and which did not feature rock and roll.

Our music was mostly jazz tinged standards.    Our theme song was “Almost Like Being in Love” from Brigadoon  by Lerner and Loewe.  This Johnny Hartman version is about the same tempo that we used, although ours was a bit faster–more suitable for the jitterbug.

At the start of the evening we would play a chorus, and then I would speak into the mike while the music got softer, and I would say, “Good evening ladies and gentlemen.  (or “ladies and germs.”) You are listening to the Paul Gary Quartet.  We hope you have a wonderful time tonight, so step onto the dance floor and join the fun.”  Then the volume would increase and I would play the melody on my Selmer tenor sax into the microphone. I loved to play into a mike–the sound would just float all over the place.

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Torro Shoe Repair and Leather Works. Ft. Myers, Fla.

Torro Shoe Repair and Leather Works. Ft. Myers, Fla.  By Paul Goldfinger © 2015.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

I went into the Torro  Shoe Repair and Leather Works shop on McGregor Avenue in Fort Myers, Florida, not far from the Edison and Ford estates.  The sign in the window offered cheerleading and kick boxing lessons. Inside, it was a small space with several machines to fix shoes and the sort of disarray that only occurs in places where artists or craftsmen work.    Somehow old-time shoe repair shops  like this survive because some leather items are too good to be disposable. My belt came from Pennsylvania via Bill’s Khaki’s, and I needed two holes added.

This is not a belt to throw away when the size needs adjusting. I’m a sucker for handmade items that have patina, enduring parts, mechanical mechanisms, and classy old-fashioned  styling, so this is the ad from Bill’s that got me to purchase their English bridle leather belt with a stainless steel buckle—this belt had “meaning:”

For years, customers have asked us to make a belt that goes perfectly with our khakis and jeans. But making a belt just for the sake of it wasn’t compelling… the belt had to have meaning. Then we found Floyd, a second generation Amish harness maker whose workshop lies deep in the remote mountains of Pennsylvania. This belt was our first collaborative effort. The end result explains why we went to such great lengths to bring these belts to you.”   

I never met the Torro craftsman who fixed my belt at the rate of $2.00 per hole.  I imagined him to be old-world in his manner, wearing a soiled apron that was tinted by hundreds of cans of shoe polish—-the kind that you had to rub into the shoe.  I thought he might have Puccini playing on the radio.   But he never materialized , and there was no music. Instead,  a pretty, slender, young  blond woman came out from the back. She had no patina or other signs of aging or handmade workmanship, but she did have style. Maybe she was the kick boxing instructor.

Anyhow she told me to leave the belt and come back later.  I said, “Don’t I get a ticket or something?”    She said, ” I just handed it to you.”  Uh oh, my cover was blown.  I was so busy being distracted that a tiny orange ticket wound up in my shirt pocket.  On it it said only “2 holes.”

Did I feel loved at Torro?  Not really, but I did enjoy the visit. And, my pants no longer tend to drift south.

PINK MARTINI from their album “Hang On Little Tomato.”




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The North End Redevelopmane Zone is bordered by the boardwalk, Wesley Lake and Spray Avenue.  Photo by Prosper Bellizia, Blogfinger staff.   ©

The North End Redevelopment  Zone is bordered by the boardwalk, Wesley Lake, Beach Ave,  and Spray Avenue (foreground).   West to east photo by Prosper Bellizia, Blogfinger staff. ©

Northeast aspect of the Redevelopment zone.  Prosper Bellizia ©

Northeast aspect of the Redevelopment zone. Prosper Bellizia ©


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

In the December 4, 2014 issue of the Coaster is a column called “Did You Know?” by reporter Bonnie Graham. The focus of the piece was to explain the functions of the Ocean Grove Home Owners Association. Ms. Graham interviewed HOA President Ann Horan and wasted no time in bringing up the controversial North End Redevelopment Plan (NERP).

In responding to Graham’s questions about the NERP, Horan made an unforced error and got the facts wrong,*  resulting in a mild tempest at the subsequent Township Committee meeting on December 22, 2014.  The NERP, after all, is a sensitive and critical subject in Ocean Grove.

Between Horan’s embarrassing factual mis-step in the Coaster  and the reaction to it before the Neptune governing body, our interest in revisiting the story of the NERP was aroused.   On top of that, Graham made a  comment in the same article  that “CMA COO JP Gradone had asserted last August, 2014, at the  legislative breakfast meeting, that the North End redevelopment project, which had been on the back burner for some time, is now on the front burner.”   Really ?

On January 23, 2015, Blogfinger asked Gradone about that quote, and he said, “We are currently in discussion with the Developer regarding the project.”   So there is  some life in the process after many years of mystery, and therefore it’s time for the public to pay attention once again.  It should be noted that work cannot go ahead on the plan without a signed Redevelopment Agreement between the Township Committee negotiators  (Committee-persons Jahn and Bishop)  and the developers.  

By way of background, in the year 2006, the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, owners of the undeveloped 2.37 acre North End property, decided to bring the desolate area back to its previous life where it was a lively place with a hotel, a cinema, attractions and shopping.  But one thing stood in the way—-zoning;  it was zoned for 13 single family homes.

So the developers of the property, including the CMA and others involved, created an end-run and convinced the Township Planning Board to redefine the area as a zone “in need of redevelopment,”  in accordance with the State Local Redevelopment and Housing Law.    This meant that the property was so “blighted,” that local government had to take over its management.  That new designation would allow a mixed use community to be built.

The design of a redevelopment was turned over to professional  planners in Middletown to come up with a ” framework” for a mixed use community at the OG North End. Ultimately, a much more detailed plan would have to be done before any construction could begin. Two planners signed the NERP, but no engineers did.

The developers of the plan include the OGCMA and a partnership called WAVE  (see below.)

In early 2008, the HPC, the CMA, and the OG Homeowners Association provided input which resulted in some changes in the NERP, and that was the last time that there were any changes made. The Planning Board approved the proposal, and in March, 2008, the Township Committee wrote the NERP into law.  A lawsuit was filed in opposition, and that held things up for awhile, but in 2010, Neptune Township won the suit.

The Plan includes a hotel with 80 rooms, 85 residential units consisting mostly of condos, some single family homes,  a “below grade” parking deck and  about 20  surface parking spaces. Parking is supposed to comply with RSIS State standards.   A 99 year renewable lease was part of the deal. The design was supposed to look Victorian.

You can read the  official NERP document at the Clerk’s office in the Neptune Township Municipal Building. It is no longer available on the Township web site, but we have located a link  (below) where you can read the entire planning report. **

For a variety of undisclosed reasons, the project has been dormant. Among the theories  are that a bad economy has been inhibitory and/or there have been difficulties getting all the approvals.

In 2011  the HOA passed a resolution asking that the NERP be scaled back. They offered some constructive ideas.  There is a link below reporting on their recommendations.  Unfortunately, nothing came of it.

In 2012  there were objections raised by the soon-to-be-elected Committeewoman Marybeth Jahn  regarding the size, scope and other details of the project.   Ms. Jahn spoke aggressively of changing the NERP in a totally retro direction, and everybody cheered.  It should also be noted that two other Committeemen were sympathetic to downsizing the project—-Eric Houghtaling and Randy Bishop.

Evidently buyers’ remorse was echoing through the town of Ocean Grove.  But not a single change was adopted despite these outcries.      Our October 2012 piece on this subject is linked below and is critically important reading material for every Ocean Grover.

In Sept. 2012, the following was reported in Blogfinger, covering the year-end Labor Day CMA meeting:  “CMA Trustee Douglas E. Arpert responded to a questioner who asked the status of the North End development of condos, homes and a hotel. The CMA and a company called WAVE (Wesley Atlantic Village Enterprises run by attorney William Gannon) are co-developers.  Arpert told Blogfinger they hope to conclude a redevelopment agreement with Neptune Township by the end of the year and to break ground in 2013.”    

But, of course, one month later, all of that changed with Sandy, and the developers planned to go back to the drawing board to “reassess” the plan. That made sense, because environmental regulations after the superstorm were going to change how things must be done in environmentally sensitive areas.  That was the last time we heard anything about NERP—until now.

So, getting back to the aforementioned HOA President Ann Horan’s December, 2014 Coaster interview, she said that the current  “North End Committee [and she listed the current members’ names] have  expressed the HOA’s concerns regarding the project to the Neptune Township Committee,  and their efforts helped to persuade the Committee to revise the redevelopment plan by reducing the number of proposed hotel rooms/condominium units, limiting the size of the structures in the site, providing for single family homes, and including an off street parking facility”

The problem with Horan’s December public statement in the Coaster is that she gave the false impression that the current North End Committee has been “active” in eliciting recent changes in the Redevelopment Plan.  But, as noted, there have been no changes in NERP since 2008—-7 years ago.

Horan’s statement was of sufficient concern that it was brought up at the Dec. 22, 2014 Township Committee meeting where her remarks were discussed publicly, and Committeeman Randy Bishop  found it necessary to make a public statement about it (see below.)   The Township Committee’s minutes are posted at Neptunetownship.org

The following is taken from the Committee minutes of Dec. 22, 2014:

Jack Breden, 94 1⁄2 Heck Avenue, read a recent Coaster article regarding the Ocean Grove Homeowners Association concerns regarding the North End Redevelopment Plan. The President of the Association, Ann Horan, is quoted that the Redevelopment Plan was changed based on recommendations from the Association. The article goes on to state that the Association got numerous elements of the Plan changed. Mr. Bishop stated changes were made to the Plan based on Association input before the Plan was adopted in 2008. There have been no changes made to the Plan since it was adopted in 2008.”

Because of the importance of the Redevelopment Plan to the town of Ocean Grove, “Horangate” has given us a heads-up to bring the plan’s story out of mothballs and into the public eye once again. Concerned citizens need the background to assess whatever may be coming our way re:  NERP.

Regarding starting work on the project, Committeeman Eric Houghtaling said three weeks ago, “I know that there are many, many things that need to be worked out before anything can be done on the Redevelopment project.”

Township Clerk Rick Cuttrell said earlier this month that he thought that the project had gotten all necessary approvals, including NJDEP, but he wasn’t certain and would find out.  We have not heard back yet on that inquiry.

So, now that the cat is out of the bag once again, and the history of the HOA’s involvement is cleared up, we will consider a series of more  detailed Blogfinger articles about the North End Redevelopment and what the future will bring.

It’s time to pay attention again, because anything new in this story, even just a dorsal fin in the water, must be made public. Currently the NERP is no different in size, scope or specifics than it was in 2008 when there were many misgivings in town about local congestion, environmental impact, parking,  and other quality of life issues. The project will affect the future of Ocean Grove in a major way.


1.   North end plan from 2008**


2.   Dec 13, 2010:  BF “basic fact guide” about NERP         Link to  2010 BF review

3.   May, 2011:  HOA passes a resolution which results in no changes to the NERP   HOA NERP resolution 2011 BF post link

4.  October 2012:       Very important article which all Grovers should read. Blogfinger was the last OG entity to plead for a reduction in the project.    Link:     BF Oct 12, 2012 North End article

BF quote from the Oct. 2012 article linked above  (a very important piece written shortly before Sandy:)  “If this is built, it will be the most massive construction project in Ocean Grove’s modern history. Its impact on all of us will be substantial, and that impact will begin at the opening gun, with the start of construction. ”  

If you use the BF search engine on the top of our home page, just type in “North end redevelopment plan” for more details.

WANTED:  Experienced researchers to help BF in assessing and investigating  this very important subject in great detail looking back and forward. You won’t get the details unless you, the people, get it yourselves.




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We've come a long way with the written word. Was this the first text message?

We’ve come a long way with the written word. Was this the first text message?

This post  about written communication was originally posted on Blogfinger in March, 2011 (linked below,)  but is now updated here.   Being a blogger, this topic interests me, as it probably does for most people who like to communicate effectively.  There now is a new book called “The Sense of Style–The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century” by Steven Pinker from Harvard.    Our post today  is not a book review (I just ordered a copy) but it indicates that writing style, like language itself,  is an evolving subject. Here is a link to a Time magazine review of Pinker’s book:     Time reviews writing style book     Also, in the 2011 BF article linked below are the names of two fun books on this topic.

Things haven’t changed drastically since 2011, but I think that text messaging has become more pervasive, and email less so. More adults have adopted text messaging since then and have found it to be a useful way to communicate. Text messaging causes a communiqué  to be read quicker than emails, and there is less chance that a message might be overlooked.  Of course, texts tend to be very brief and are not conducive to substantial conversations, although, for some, that is a good thing.  It is a form of “hit and run” communication.  Facebook is becoming even more dominant as a way for people to “speak” to each other, but personally I find Facebook to be too chaotic. Tweeting is also gaining in popularity, but such brief messages fail to convey any depth.

Our email inboxes are more crowded than ever, often with commercials, and some of us have taken the time to unsubscribe to many senders and erase hundreds or thousands of emails.   On the Internet, there is a growing loss of customer service where some large commercial web sites no longer even offer a phone number for customers to contact them via a real conversation. Many  companies are demanding that we do all our business on web sites, and that can be frustrating when one’s issue is not easily dealt with on-line. Not all web sites are carefully designed (witness the mess when the ACA was first rolled out last year.)

Voice recognition software, like Siri (on the iPhone,) once perfected, will make it easier to compose a message without typing with those tiny keyboards. But even now, I try to use Siri despite its shortcomings because I really dislike typing on a phone.

Finally, as far as effective communication is concerned, none of these methods  conveys the tone of voice or facial expression  that comprise the nonverbal dimensions of meaning. This is where a phone call or even a voice mail, or, even better, an in-person  discussion can reduce the chances of miscommunication.  I suspect that misunderstandings are rampant as people rush through the process of communicating with digital devices.

And, of course, fewer people send letters or hand written notes anymore. I discovered some time ago that my handwriting has deteriorated somewhat since the advent of word processing.  I also have found that I am not such a good speller since spell check and Google  have been developed, but that’s a good thing.  Yet, on Blogfinger, people still misspell simple words.  One person always spells folks as folx, even though we correct it every time.  Maybe looking up a word in a dictionary is a better way to remember spelling, or maybe people are  just stuck with words they will never spell right.

These are just some of the issues that are evolving since 2011.     What do you think?  What have you observed about your abilities to communicate as they have evolved into 2014?

Here is a link to the 2011 BF article on this subject:    2011 BF post on written communication

MUSIC.  Is letter writing extinct?  Do any of you write letters–even if only to yourself?  Here’s Anne Murray:

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