Archive for the ‘Ocean Grove events’ Category

Members of the Neptune High School NJROTC honor guard and NHS 11th grader during the singing of the Stat Spangled Banner

Members of the Neptune High School NJROTC honor guard and NHS 11th grader Jordan Vinson during the singing of the Star Spangled Banner.  Ocean Grove, NJ. Paul Goldfinger photographs @Blogfinger    click  images  to enlarge.


By Paul Goldfinger, MD, Editor. Blogfinger.net 2023–repost.

Seventy two years ago, on a Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, America was attacked at Pearl Harbor, and 2,400 of our citizens died. The next day, President Franklin Roosevelt asked Congress to authorize a declaration of war. FDR said, “We will gain the inevitable triumph, so help us God.”

In Ocean Grove there is always a memorial ceremony on this date. I don’t know how long it has been going on, but it is a tradition. Not many towns have such an event, and this morning, at 11 am, a group gathered consisting mostly of members of the Ocean Grove Fishing Club and various veterans organization from the area. Also in attendance was an honor guard from the NJROTC at Neptune High School.  If they look familiar, you have probably seen them marching in Ocean Grove parades.

An 11th grader from NHS, Jordan Vinson, sang the Star Spangled Banner accapello, and it was lovely and heartfelt.  After the event I asked her if she ever sang the national anthem with an orchestra, and she “no,” but she gave me a big bright smile when I said, “Maybe some day you can stand in front of an orchestra in the Great Auditorium and sing it.”

It was cold up on the pier, but everyone stood and joined in the pledge of allegiance  and in the singing of  “God Bless America.” Joan Dawson, of the OG Fishing Club, spoke at the brief event which lasted about 30 minutes.  She mentioned the veterans and how we honor them at an event like this and then she proudly told of all the accomplished women now serving in the armed forces.

Firing volleys in honor of the dead

Firing volleys in honor of the dead.

Then a group of riflemen fired a volley in tribute to those who died that day.  The casings flew up into the air while the veterans present, wearing their VFW or American Legion hats, stood at attention and saluted.

At attention.

At attention during taps.

Robert Hodges, the Monmouth County Commander of the American Legion  and a lifetime member of the VFW told me that he commands over 20 chapters in the area.  I took his picture and he said, “I remember you.”

“That’s right”  I replied, “I put your photo on my blog, and I will do it again this time,” as I handed him one of our cards. The kids in the honor guard got Blogfinger cards and so did Jordan.

Commander Robert Hodges, Monmouth American Legion and VFW.

Commander Robert Hodges, Monmouth American Legion and VFW.

L to R: Joyce Dawson, Joyce Bradley, Pam James, and Joan Sunnerville. It was a day of J names.

L to R: Joyce Dawson, Joyce Bradley, Pam James, and Joan Sunnerville. It was a day for  J names.

Three patriotic  ladies from Neptune stood in front, side by side, to sing “God Bless America,” conducted by maestro Joyce Dawson. They sang with enthusiasm, and Joyce Bradley, the President of the  Neptune VFW Auxiliary asked  me to take their photo. I was going to anyhow.  Having been to this event before, I knew what to expect and I was not surprised at the pride and sincerity of those who were present.

If any members of the NHS honor guard send me an email, I can mail them a few  more photos  (Blogfinger@verizon.net)

RUBY BRAFF (cornet)  and DICK HYMAN (Wurlitzer theatre organ)     “America the Beautiful.”

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Luna Kaufman with Jason Tramm at Stokes Lecture.   PG photo©


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor Blogfinger.net

July 24, 2012.  Ocean Grove, New Jersey:   Luna Kaufman was 12 years old when the Nazis stormed into Cracow, Poland where she and her family lived in 1939. She spent the next four years in a ghetto, followed by three different concentration camps. She and her mother survived, but her father and her sister died in the Holocaust.

After the war Ms. Kaufman and her mother escaped to Israel and then finally to the United States in 1952, where she has devoted her life to educating others about the Holocaust. Her main themes are those of forgiveness and reconciliation. In particular, she has worked to promote good will between Jews and Christians, especially Roman Catholics.

She has had a long association with Seton Hall University, where she had taught. In 2009, they presented her with an honorary doctorate. Ms. Kaufman has written a book about her life (“Luna’s Life”), and in 2011 she went back to Poland to receive a medal from the President of Poland. Now, at the age of 85, she came to Ocean Grove to deliver a Stokes Lecture at the Bishop Janes Tabernacle.

Dr. Jason Tramm moderated the session where Ms. Kaufman related key events in her life and then took questions from the audience. One event stands out. It took place at a concentration camp where a Nazi officer put a gun to the back of her head.  She heard a click — the gun jammed.

When asked how she survived, she said, “I was just lucky.” While in “the camps” she said that people didn’t care about losing all their possessions  — “Only life was precious.” As for the lingering pain of what occurred, she said, “We can’t expect to fully repair the damage, but every bit of reconciliation is a building block to a better future.” She also said, “Being bitter is non-productive.”


“TO LIFE”  Zero Mostel  from the original Broadway cast of Fiddler on the Roof.


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Large crowd awaits the Governor of New Jersey: Chris Christie

Large crowd awaits the Governor of New Jersey: Chris Christie.  All photos by Paul Goldfinger @Blogfinger  ©  Click on all images to enlarge.


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger. July 3, 2014

Despite concerns about the weather, it was a sunny breezy festive day for the late morning cutting-the-ribbon ceremony on the boardwalk in Ocean Grove, New Jersey.

A large and happy crowd assembled in front of a raised platform for the speakers and along Ocean Avenue. A band played, lead by Harry Eichhorn, and free ice cream sandwiches were being distributed.

Crowd along Ocean Avenue. ©

Crowd along Ocean Avenue.  All  photos by Paul Goldfinger, Blogfinger.net


The media was out in full force with reporters, videographers and photographers along with trucks from Fox News TV and WABC TV.

The Governor arrived in a black SUV, right on time. He wore chinos and a red Rutgers shirt.   He walked briskly, right up to the platform.

Gov. Christie arrives at the Ocean Grove beachfront and walks the new boardwalk. Cheers and applause. ©

Gov. Christie arrives with his entourage  at the Ocean Grove beachfront and walks onto the new boardwalk. Cheers and applause.


Dale Whilden, COO of the Camp Meeting Association, was the MC and he gave the first speech. He thanked just about everyone who helped get us from Sandy until now including over 1,000 volunteers.

He said that our boardwalk is the “Jersey Shore’s boardwalk.”   As he introduced Governor Chris Christie, he said the Governor was “the backbone” of the effort to turn FEMA around.


Dale Whilden (L to R), Sen Jennifer Beck, Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande,Rep Chris Smith, Mayor Michael Brantley ©

CMA President Dale Whilden (L to R), Sen Jennifer Beck, Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, Rep. Chris Smith, and Mayor Michael Brantley  taking the new boards for a test drive and bragging about the FEMA victory.




Congressman Chris Smith ©

Congressman Chris Smith.



Ribbon cutting (really). ©

Ribbon cutting (really).


Here are some selected quotes from the event:

1. Governor Christie: “The Ocean Grove boardwalk restoration was the last one and the hardest one.”

“Rep. Chris Smith was relentless in getting FEMA to change its mind, and we couldn’t get it done without him.”

” State Sen. Jennifer Beck was constantly calling me and my office to push to solve Ocean Grove ‘s dilemma. I’m glad to have her as a partner”

“It took the most jumping up and down and the most yelling and screaming and that’s what they brought me in for.”

“A lot of folks still need help. It will take years to fully recover.”


2. Rep Chris Smith, “The denials by FEMA were unyielding at first. But FEMA had it wrong.”

“Support at all levels of government were essential—it was teamwork. But the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association’s leaders worked so hard to explain its position and they made the critical difference.”

3. State Senator Jennifer Beck came to the microphone with a big smile and exclaimed, “How beautiful is this boardwalk!!”   And the crowd roared its approval.

Sen Beck gave high marks to the Governor and to Marc Ferzan from the Governor’s office of recovery and rebuilding.


4. Mayor Michael Brantley thanked his staffers from Neptune Township who worked hard on the Ocean Grove boardwalk.


Gov. wades into crowd and poses with kids. ©

Gov. wades into crowd and poses with kids.

After the ribbon cutting, which was a photo op lasting a few seconds, the Governor delighted the folks by wading into the friendly crowd: taking selfies, giving hugs, greeting babies, talking issues and posing for photos. He stayed for about 30 minutes before getting back into his vehicle.


Gov. poses for another photo. He's really good at mingling with the folks.---making up for lost time. ©

Gov. poses for another photo. He’s really good at mingling with the folks.—making up for lost time.


All in all, it was a wonderful event–unusual for our town in that a large crowd assembled to join together and be happy for Ocean Grove  which had seemingly been ignored by FEMA but now was ready again for its favorite time of year.





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Jean Bredin photo. Blogfinger staff. © Sept. 11, 2015

Heck Avenue block party. Jean Bredin photo. Blogfinger staff.  Sept. 11, 2015

By Jean Bredin, photos and text.

Block Party was held on Heck Ave tonight.  It was Tres Elegante as there were candleabras on each table….delicious food choices….and Ruth Ann brought out her collection of VINTAGE hats for the ladies to enjoy…



Joyce Adase  (left to right), Lucy Lennox, and Robin Dabler sporting their vintage chapeaus.  Jean Bredin photo. Sept. 11, 2015





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Jack Arpert. Photo courtesy of Dad. Oct 2012.

By Paul Goldfinger

If you went to the Ocean Grove beach on the flea market weekend of September 8 and 9, you would have noticed that the surf was very rough. The season was over for the lifeguard staff, although a few of them were still assigned to patrol on that weekend, but only until 5 p.m.

One of the off duty OG lifeguards, 22-year-old Casey Hekker, was on the beach that Sunday with her dad, Jack Hekker. They are from Connecticut, but they have a summer place in the Grove. It was late in the afternoon, about 6 p.m., and she noticed that the hurricane waves were strong and that the currents were fast. She said that if the guards had been on duty, they would have been flying one or two red flags because of concerns about rip tides. As expected, the surfers were busy out there, but she didn’t notice any swimmers.

Also on the beach at that time was another off duty  OG lifeguard — Jack Arpert. Jack, a 21-year-old student at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, had returned to the Grove to go surfing on those irresistible waves with some of his friends.

He had moved to the Grove full time a few years ago from Glen Rock, and he has been a lifeguard here for five summers. Jack was known as a very strong swimmer and, according to Casey, “a great lifeguard.” All season the OG guards were saving people from drowning, but they were able to minimize the rip tide risks by their preventive techniques where they recognize the dangers and deny swimmers access as needed.

Casey told me that lifeguards feel safe surfing in such dangerous waters because they know what to do if they have a problem. She said that untrained swimmers, however, are at great risk because the rip currents tend to occur near the jetties, and a swimmer can be overwhelmed and sucked out to sea or into the rocks.

It was still daylight when Casey and her dad saw a blur run by at high speed. It was Jack Arpert carrying a boogie board that he grabbed when he noticed someone in trouble out near the end of a jetty. Casey and her dad looked out in the direction where Jack was going. They saw a man in the water by the rocks. He seemed to be swimming. But Jack evidently perceived something else going on — that man was in serious trouble. Jack’s dad, Judge Douglas Arpert, told us that experienced lifeguards can watch someone in the water and sense a problem even before it becomes apparent.

When Jack reached the man, he got the struggling victim to grab the board and then they both were drawn farther out past the jetty. The man, about age 60, was exhausted and having trouble breathing. Once Jack cleared the breakers, he began to bring both of them parallel to the shore and then turned to swim in.

As the two reached near the shore, Casey and her dad ran out to help. The victim seemed to be near collapse. His bathing suit had been ripped off by the rocks — he was totally naked. A crowd quickly gathered. Casey gave him a towel while he regained his breath. Jack was breathing hard, but he recovered quickly. Once it was clear that the victim was OK, Jack turned to rejoin his friends. He didn’t want to attract attention to himself. Both Jack’s dad and Casey told us that this hero is very modest. I asked Jack’s dad if his son had described the rescue and he said, “Jack just said that someone was in trouble and he helped.  That’s Jack.”

The victim got up and approached his rescuer. He said that he would have been dead without Jack’s assistance. He called Jack his “guardian angel.” Casey agreed that Jack Arpert had saved a man’s life that day.

We tried to reach Jack at school, but his voice mail has not been turned on. Also he didn’t answer a text message. Why am I not surprised? Jack Arpert, Ocean Grove lifeguard, did what he thought was necessary, and he’s “not the type” to seek acclaim.




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Ocean Grove at the Spring fling. Pilgrim Pathway. 5/15/16. Blogfinger photo ©

Ocean Grove at the Spring Fling. Pilgrim Pathway. 5/15/16. Blogfinger photo

Of course, when the Jersey girls in their summer clothes make their debut on the OG Boardwalk, this will seem modest.  Blogfinger will be covering that story from the culture/lifestyles viewpoint.

BUDDY HOLLY and the CRICKETS from the soundtrack of American Graffiti.:

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Modern Ocean Grove history:  Manchester fire 2010.


March 13, 2010. Photo by Ed Wyzykowski of Ocean Grove


By Paul Goldfinger

SUNDAY:  We had the opportunity this morning to speak to a knowlegable  source in the Monmouth County Prosecutors Office regarding the Manchester Inn fire (March 13, 2010)  investigation. After an exhaustive assessment, they have concluded that there was no foul play.  Although no specific cause was found, they have excluded arson. In addition, although a new boiler had been recently installed, there was no evidence that it was a factor in the fire.

The insurance companies have hired a private investigation team to evaluate the work done by Monmouth County officials.

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The Ladies Auxiliary of Ocean Grove has an estimated 400 members. Paul Goldfinger photo ©. 7/25/15.

The OG Aux. has an estimated 400 female members. Paul Goldfinger photo ©. 7/25/15.


Low prices rule. Big crowd in attendance on Saturday, the last day of the bazaar. Paul Goldfinger photo. ©

Low prices rule. Big crowd in attendance on Saturday, the last day of the bazaar. Women shoppers outnumber men 100:1.   Paul Goldfinger photo. ©


FOLLIES.   Stephen Sondheim.   New Broadway Cast album.   “Who’s That Woman?”


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Thursday, Sept 19. Preparations are being made for a big wedding tomorrow.

Friday, Sept 19. Preparations are being made for a big Saturday wedding.  Paul Goldfinger photo.  Sept. 19, 2014. ©


Modern OG history. 2014:    Congratulations to the Whilden and Simini families on the marriage  of  Jordan Whilden and Brittany Simini.  The ceremony will be in the Tabernacle, and the reception will be in big white tents spread out near the Auditorium.  Word is that there will be over 300 guests.


BYRON STRIPLING  with a song for the bride and groom:


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An OG artist decorated this Main Avenue home for a wedding later that day. The image was obtained shortly after sunrise. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

An OG artist decorated this #10 Main Avenue home with metallic strips  for a wedding later that day. Blogfinger collaborated with the artist to obtain this photo.   This  image was captured shortly after sunrise near the beach to catch the light and the breezes. Paul Goldfinger photo  2014.




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Main Ave at Pilgrim Pathway, Ocean Grove. Paul Goldfinger photo. 9/28/19.  Click to enlarge.


CAROLE KING describes true love in this wonderful song:



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Members of the championship lifeguard team from Monmouth County. From OG, Justin Lubas, Michelle Davidson and Jack Green IV. August 21, 2014. Photo by Paul Goldfinger © Click to enlarge

Members of the 90 member national championship lifeguard team from Monmouth County. They are holding the USLA trophy.  From OG team are Justin Lubas (L), Michelle Davidson and Jack Green IV.  Ocean Grove beach, August 21, 2014. Photo by Paul Goldfinger © Click to enlarge


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.  2014.

Until this year, the United States Lifesaving Association’s National Team Championship had been dominated by the team from Los Angeles County for 27 straight years. The last time Monmouth County had won that honor was in 1983.

Needless to say, the dudes from LA must have been a bit cocky going into this year’s competitions at Virginia Beach, but the powerful squad of 90 swimmers, rowers and line pullers from Monmouth County went to compete, as they do every year, and they went to win.

Among the team were 5 members from Ocean Grove including Michelle Davidson, Justin Lubas, Rick Cuttrell, Matt Gannon and Jack Green IV. Jack was also the coach.

In Ocean Grove, the role of lifeguard often gets handed down from one generation to the next. It’s sort of a cultural phenomenon in the Grove along with voluteering for the Fire Department.

The five OG lifeguards who went have been lifeguarding  here for many years.  The Monmouth County team contains quite a few college swimmers, and there is a strong tradition in this area of participating in life guard competitions. We had one in the Grove in July  (see link below.)   No wonder the team did so well in Virginia. It’s part of the fabric of life at the Jersey Shore.

Link to recent lifeguard competititon in OG:  LIfeguard link


Teams came to Virginia Beach from around the country, but they can come from lakes and other waterways besides oceans. The California team has the advantage of training year round.

The United States Lifeguarding Association trophy temporarily located in Monmouth County until next year. Click to enlarge. Blogfinger photo.

The United States Lifesaving Association trophy temporarily located in Monmouth County until next year. Click to enlarge. Blogfinger photo.

The Howard A. Lee trophy, which was on display today at the beach office, has been passed around to the overall winning team each year for the last 33 years, but mostly it has lived in LA.  Now it will get some of that Jersey salty air.   We learned about it from Jack Green IV, and we met 3 Ocean Grove athletes at the Beach Office today.  Those OG lifeguards who were there today for our photo shoot  were all for carrying the heavy trophy down to the ocean for their portrait on the rocks.

Michelle Davidson told us that quite a few women are on the team, and they compete against other women except for one event.


There's no place like home: Ocean Grove, NJ. Blogfinger photo.

There’s no place like home: Ocean Grove, NJ. Blogfinger photo. Click to enlarge.


It is an amazing accomplishment to win a national championship in any sport, and this lifeguard victory is no exception. The Monmouth County Freeholders have already honored the team, and the team deserves accolades from all the shore towns at the Jersey Shore.

And here’s some happy music  from Ocean Grove via the Bahamas to dance to and celebrate with—all 90 of you. Come on and do it!!


STEVIE S.  with “Hold Ya Head.”



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Cindy Bell of Ocean Grove conducts at the 2010 Choir Festival, July 10. Blogfinger photo

Cindy Bell of Ocean Grove conducts at the 2010 Choir Festival, July 10. Blogfinger photo.  Click to enlarge.


Jason Tramm will be conducting over 500 singers and a brass ensemble in the Great Auditorium in Ocean Grove, NJ..  As always, the musical infrastructure will be provided by the Hope Jones organ with Gordon Turk at the helm.


BACH.      To get you in the mood, here is a choral selection from Bach’s Mass in B Minor.



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