Archive for the ‘Ocean Grove businesses’ Category

Forever blowing bubbles in the Grove. Paul Goldfinger photo.



By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.   Re-post 2016.

We recently began a discussion about mega- events in town and about the various groups that do not come together as a community.  We suggested that there are too many huge events that literally swallow the Grove whole.  Just this past month we had the Giant Flea Market (CC)  and the Giant Craft Market  (CMA) and then Bridgefest (CMA).  On  Saturday, June 25, the town was consumed by Bridgefest, a huge event sponsored by the CMA.

An exception is the magnificent July 4 parade, a  culturally enriching experience for the entire community and visitors. That parade resonates with history and tradition, and it provides pride, enjoyment and solidarity  to the people of Ocean Grove.  It is the only mega-event that is embraced by everyone in town, so the parking crunch can be tolerated.

But during  these huge events, it becomes extremely difficult to park.  People drive all over town—circling to find a space.  Parking issues contribute to a toxic effect that goes along with the sound and the fury of these tourist invasions. It goes beyond putting your car away.  It effects our lifestyles

But consider this:  The larger issue is not parking per se.   It is, “Whom is the town for?” Most of us bought homes or rent here  because we love this unique ocean-front town.  It has  diversity,  spirituality, family values,  music,  history, tranquility, and beauty.  When you come into town, you feel transformed to another place in time.    It has the potential to evolve a unique 21st century culture. But forces here which run amok threaten the future of Ocean Grove.

Whenever a mega-day occurs, the whole town becomes different.   It is not the town we bargained for when we decided to live here. It becomes something uncomfortable for those who reside  here, and really, why should the tax payers/residents have to put up with so many massive chaotic festivals in our town?  Who decides what the limits are?   Who decides whom  the town is for?

Specifically, these events, such as the giant flea markets, bring nothing of value to the town—- certainly nothing with character, charm, education and pro-community culture.  What they do bring are huge crowds, congestion, something to do for tourists, and transfer of money to vendors and sponsors.  At best they help a few tourist oriented businesses such as shops and restaurants.   They also overrun the infrastructure including the roads, the parks, the beachfront, the parking, the emergency services, the trash collection, the police patrols, and the lifestyles of those who live here.  Who decided we should have such events?

We need more  small-scale community happenings that enrich a town for the benefit of its residents.  These enrich the town by promoting community and culture.

Consider the money. The Chamber of Commerce must make a lot when they have one of their large events.  But who gets the money?—not the town of Ocean Grove  which has the events forced on it and has to put up with it.  It isn’t the homeowners who maintain their homes, culture and lifestyles as an inviting backdrop.   Does any of the money go to town services or community events and programs, for example for kids, seniors and families ?

Why should we tax payers  have our town overrun by those who consume us  and then go home?  And that includes those who use our streets to park and then go to Asbury.

Look back and consider other towns you have lived in.  Think of ones that were desirable and had a strong sense of community.   Did they have comparable mega-festivals that took over the town and benefited very few residents..  What community events did they have where you lived?

Thus,  we have brought up the subject of community in this town and raised the question of who is in charge.  Who gets to decide what’s best for the community?  Unfortunately, it is not the people.  It is a variety of selfish factions acting for their own interests.

There is no game plan for Ocean Grove. It is a free for all, and the question of “whom is the town for” is not answered because the answer has not been identified.   Is it for the event sponsors, the people who live here, the CMA, the tourists, the business community, influential families who receive favoritism, the developers, the Neptune politicians, or the narrowly focused organizations—especially the misguided  HOA?

It is complicated due to the “anything goes” philosophy here.  What can be done?    How can the people get control?    Let’s continue the  conversation.



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OG Main Avenue. June 15, 2019. Paul Goldfinger photo ©.  Click images to enlarge.


Odyssey Coffee Shop. Ice coffee $4.25. . Blogfinger.net   6/15/19.


Love, Positano. Main Avenue OG. Paul Goldfinger ©. 6/15/19


Craft Show on the Pathway. 6/15/19 A fine kettle of fish. Blogfinger photo. ©  Not as crazy as the flea market.


Whereas the craft show was deja vu all over again, an interesting and varied crowd was enjoying the variety of treats on Main Avenue, especially on the south side.  The al fresco dining up and down the street added charm, and many young people were popping in and out of the shops, especially the Comfort Zone, artisan pizza shop, Positano boutique, and Odyssey coffee.  Music was softly playing.

The atmosphere was quite alive, and there was just enough congestion, but not too much.  This part of town needs to breathe.  Huge crowds don’t help, and you can see that on the Pathway where a different flavor was on display—-rocky road.




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From the Odyssey web site.


Odyssey web site


Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

Three things are facts:    I now know how to spell “Odyssey;  the owners of Odyssey Coffee Shop do intend to open at some time in the future; and they have a web site:  Odysseycoffee.net

On that web site it says:

“Odyssey Coffee will bring you top notch coffee, espresso, and tea – and the Jersey Shore’s freshest, most tastiest baked wonders. We’ll have a laid back yet efficient vibe so you can get in and out quickly if that’s your m.o., or stay put with your face in a book.”

“In my other life, as a scholar and teacher of Classics I’ve spent lifetimes in vibrant, vigorous coffeehouses filled with plants and ideas and chatter and sometimes silence — and these are the gifts that Odyssey Coffee will give Ocean Grove.”

The proprietors are a family from Ohio, now of OG—the Lipps.  The patriarch is Joey–a college professor.  So if you want to go there for a cup of Joey, you must show him your SAT scores.

We also know that Joey Lipp appreciates the visual arts:  This is from his web site.   They are the Sirens from the Odyssey.  They lure men who go to sea in ships.  So men, if you want to meet girls like these, get yourself a ship* and some will power.

*Note: I learned in the Navy never to call a ship a boat.

We are hoping to get some more specifics from Joey Lipp.  It’s time to come out of the closet and provide the folks from OG with more specifics.

And hopefully Joey will bring the Sirens with him, to lure Grovers out of a deep winter sleep.

VIXY AND TONY   “Siren Song” live:

Tony and Vixy




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Internet photo

We have written about this Airbnb subject before, but this “long time resident” contacted Blogfinger on April 7 because he is “totally disgusted by the abuse of certain homeowners who are turning their homes into one night or two night stand hotels” which he calls “hometels.”

He sent a letter of complaint about this to the Neptune Township Code Enforcement Department and cc’d Blogfinger.   Here is an edited version:

1. “These overnight hometels are in arms distance of my home and growing at an alarming rate.”

2. “They are destroying Ocean Grove as a community and a place to raise children.”

3. “They are creating a nightmare with parking, and come summer, it will once again become unbearable to live in this mayhem.”

4.  Mr. Totally Disgusted asks the Township to fine and raise the taxes of those landlords who are engaged in “rental abuse” and causing a “downward spiral” in town.

He ends his letter with “Let’s keep this town residential and not a one-night-stand-stopoff.”

Here is a link to Airbnb rentals in Ocean Grove.  One example offers a one bedroom apartment, 2.5 blocks to beach, from $200/night


Here is a Blogfinger post regarding airbnb:

Airbnb Blogfinger post summer 2017


EDITOR’S NOTE:   Is this a growing problem?   Do these rentals really impact our quality of life in the Grove?  Does the Township actually enforce a new Certificate of Inspection  (CI)  with each rental?  Does the township need to legislate this or just follow their existing rules?  —-PG




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Mermaid’s shell bra. For sale at the Beach House in OG. Warning: this bra must be worn by someone with a head. And don’t attempt to slow dance with her. Blogfinger photo 7/27/17.



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Daniel Hickman, luthier. “Don’t Fret Music.” Jersey Shore Arts Center. Paul Goldfinger photograph © Here Daniel checks the “playability” and alignment of an instrument that he has been working on. 7/18/17. Click to enlarge

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

Did you ever dream of traveling around the country in a van with a rock band?  Well, Daniel Hickman of Tennessee, currently of Ocean Grove, did just that for five years when he was in his twenties.  But he wasn’t a musician. He was a technician who made sure that the group’s guitars were fit as a fiddle.  Daniel loved the experience;  is there any doubt? ——– especially if you read  Keith Richards biography.

Daniel has trained for years working on guitars—-repairing them and building them.  He continued studying his craft with experts along the way as he traveled all over America with the Latin Rock group  “de Sol.”  He calls himself a “luthier”  (definition:  “a maker of stringed instruments such as violins or guitars.”)

Daniel comes from an artistic family and he probably inhaled guitar music living near Nashville.   His career as a luthier has been progressing since 2005.  After that rock gig, he moved to New Jersey and found himself with a very special business opportunity at the Jersey Shore Arts Center in Ocean Grove  (66 South Main Street in Neptune) where he has had a workshop/studio since 2015 called “Don’t Fret Music.”

Daniel is  grateful to Herb Herbst and the staff at the JSAC for providing him with a rare situation. He not only builds and repairs guitars and other stringed instruments,, but he has begun a program to provide lessons in  guitar,  piano,  and uke.  Dan has recruited a talented young teacher to work with students of all ages, and the lessons are given in a separate space off Dan’s workshop.  He also repairs amps and he is moving into “retail.”  Daniel plans to develop a “full service guitar shop and music store.”  His shop is downstairs off the parking lot, with a private entrance to the left.

At the age of 32, Daniel is ambitious and enthused. “We are in the infancy of Don’t Fret Music.”

Daniel’s workshop/studio is a fascinating place, and to watch him work, you get the impression that he is highly competent. He worked on my guitar–he is an exacting craftsman.

Daniel is excited about the future of the Jersey Shore Arts Center. “There is a lot going on here,” he says;  “The venue is full of talented artists in residence ,some of whom paint, do screen printing, social media, and photography.”   There also is an acting ensemble “La Strada.”    He wants to be supportive of his artist colleagues at JSAC.

One of his ambitions is to see a variety of new music performances in the  JSAC theater.  He hopes for bluegrass and jazz among the choices. This ambition seems very real given the recent downsizing of the secular  programming in the Great Auditorium and the real need for some musical variety to satisfy OG’s diverse demographics and to balance against the music scene in Asbury Park.

Blogfinger will help promote new music  and arts programs in Ocean Grove. It sounds like the JSAC  may be on the threshold of something more than yoga and children’s ballet.  Currently there is an arts show going on. Call them for details.

Daniel’s shop is open Tuesday through Saturday 3 pm -7 pm except Saturday which is 11 am to 5 pm. Call 732 361 5060  or DontFretNJ@gmail.com or the web site: DontFretNJ.com.

On August 20, Daniel is inviting the public to an open house to celebrate his second year anniversary in Ocean Grove. There will be music, food and other festivities.  More info. to come.   And, for the record, Daniel lives in Ocean Grove and he “loves the town.” It makes him happy because he knows his neighbors, people say hello, and the town is charming. Daniel knows most of the business people in the Grove and he feels at home here.

de Sol   “Blanco y Negro.”



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Francis Asbury Manor. April, 2017. Blogfinger.net photo. ©


To the Editor:
I read with mounting concern over the “pending” sale of the Francis Asbury Manor. The FAM has always been an asset to Ocean Grove – providing health care and residency to many elderly Grovers over the last several decades.

The loss of the FAM is one letdown- however we “Grovers” should be more concerned with what’s going to replace it?

After reading the article it appears the facility is outdated and can’t compete in the present healthcare market. Are the new owners going to completely renovate it? Are they going to demolish it and rebuild a new code compliant/healthcare compliant building? If so -why wouldn’t the current owners do that? If not -what type of facility is it going to become?

Is it another potential buyer similar to the Laingdon Hotel’s bid to become a drug rehab facility?   Are they going to use it as a halfway house ? A dormitory ? Or other facility that isn’t as regulated as healthcare that can fly under the radar with sub- standardized rooms- outdated fire sprinkler systems- old heating systems- wiring – plumbing etc. ?
I think these questions need to be asked and answered before the largest facility in  Ocean Grove is sold down the wrong path.





May 3, 2017

Ed Revel is a “long time Grover.”

Editor’s Note:  The sale of the FAM occurred yesterday.  Reportedly, the new owners will continue the same operation including the staff and the residents.  The sign has not changed yet to “Allegria.”  The new owners are the Sage Co. who are in the business of running senior residences.  Don’t forget, any other use would require a variance from the Neptune Board of Adjustment.  —-PG

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Township Committee

Township Committee

Quotes from Township Committee minutes are  below.   Reading minutes is much more fun than sitting through those meetings. 

Jan 9 minutes:

Ken Buckley (HOA  Trustee) stated that he trusts that summonses will be issued to people parking in the snow emergency zones and for failure to clear snow from sidewalks.

Jan 23 minutes:

Ms. Rizzo stated that the  (Parking) Task Force did a great job and came up with good recommendations. She indicated that she is favor of moving forward with angled parking on the north side of Main Avenue between New Jersey and Lawrence Avenues and on the west side of Central Avenue between Webb and Main Avenues.

Mr. Williams also noted that a Sub-Committee of Task Force members was created to examine parking permits. It was noted that parking permits would not increase the number of parking spots or decrease the number of cars. Concerns were raised about permit parking proposals such as increased demand for non-permit spaces, impact for families with multiple vehicles, fairness to hotels and bed-breakfast establishments, and cost of the start-up and enforcement of about $90,000.

Mayor Brantley thanked the parking task force. He felt they did a tremendous job and it has improved the situation.

Feb. 13 minutes:

Ken Buckley (HOA big shot)  stated that the shoveling of sidewalks in the recent snowstorm was good and issuing summonses really works.

Jack Bredin, 94 1⁄2 Heck Avenue, stated the name of Wesley Lake on the tax map was changed from Wesley Lake to Wesley/Retention Basin. He went to a Wesley Lake Commission meeting and they stated they really had no input into that name change. Asbury Park assured him that they had no part in the name change. He asked at a Township meeting how did it get changed and Mr. Bishop stated they were told to change it but he did not mention by whom. He stated he believed that Mr. Bishop thought to himself that somethings were left better off not said.

Editor’s Notes:

–Isn’t it great that the OGHOA was pleased with itself after pushing for fines to punish those who didn’t shovel?  Ken Buckley should get a medal for that one.   What’s next—-bad parking techniques, raking leaves the wrong way?

The Committee was pleased that they are going to squeeze more cars into town using more diagonal parking without addressing the more fundamental problem of too many cars.  The HOA Parking Committee also loved the idea.

And how hard did the HOA  push to get we taxpayers stickers to reduce our parking concerns?

—-Why isn’t the HOA pushing the Township to deal with land use violations that guarantee more and more cars and crowding in town?

—And why didn’t the HOA find out why Committeeman Brantley was showing developers around the North End site last year.  Why was this activity part of his job as an elected representative of we the people?

—And why isn’t the HOA trying to find out why Wesley Lake has undergone a worrisome name change?  Well don’t expect the HOA to get involved in Wesley Lake’s problems. Here is an item from their November 2016 minutes regarding items to discuss for 2017:  “Westley Lake pollution”   If you can’t spell it, you’re not likely to be helpful.

As we can see from the minutes, no one in the big chairs on the podium will tell the truth about the Wesley Lake name change.  Why are all our committeemen willing to accept an answer of “we don’t know” or “we can’t say?”

—-And  what has happened to the HPC guidelines?  The HPC made an initial fuss over what they saw as a threat to the town’s future and then they clammed up and joined the other opaque silent groups in town. Did somebody from the shadow government threaten them?    Meanwhile the HOA Nov. minutes say, “It appears as if the goal of the township is to limit the power of the HPC to reduce cost to home owners.”  So why don’t we hear from the HOA on this matter?   Why is the HOA perpetually busy going against the taxpayers of Ocean Grove?

—-And Carol Rizzo, the only  Committeeman from Ocean Grove, seems to have jumped on the big boys bandwagon up on the podium. She seems reluctant to step out of the box and tackle some of the worrisome issues for OG such as violations of land use laws and investigating the secretive North End situation with a questioning eye.  She seems to be sticking with safe zones such as parking.  We would welcome hearing from her as to her activity vis a vis Ocean Grove.  Maybe she can lead the charge for  better fire safety in the Grove.

—And what does the Committee think about drug rehab facilities in town?  They don’t seem to want to be daring and proactive when a potent issue like this shows up. This subject may reactivate this year, especially if funding for such facilities is retained at the federal level.

MARY McCARTY   from Chicago  (Of course, this song would apply to all members of the Committee–just change mama to poppa as needed.)

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Paul Goldfinger photo.   Painter Diane Hutchinson turned this image into a painting  (see link below)   ©

Paul Goldfinger photo. Painter Diane Hutchinson turned this image into a painting (see link below) ©


Diane Hutchinson painter



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#50 Main Avenue.   July 10, 2016. Blogfinger photo ©

#50 Main Avenue. July 10, 2016. Blogfinger photo ©  Click for details.

As reported before on Blogfinger, Ocean Grover Kevin Chambers sued the Township and the developer over what he called illegal zoning in the rebuilding of #50 Main Avenue, a retail/residential building.  The judge did not agree with Kevin’s arguments in the case.  That doesn’t mean that Kevin was wrong.  We  expect to hear from him with a formal statement. Meanwhile, there is the possibility of an appeal.

If you visit the site, you will be impressed with the setback which seems to leave a relatively narrow passageway between the building and the curb.  But the developer has defended that setback as being consistent with what existed before, and the project did obtain approvals from the Township.


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