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Archive for the ‘Ocean Grove lifestyle’ Category

Sackman Enterprises created 98 rental units near the beach in A. Park.  They own other properties in AP including a new condo project and the restored Steinbach building.  They also  own #60 Main Avenue in OG.   (the brick pizza building with high rentals)   Internet photo.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.

Here is a link to a post we published last July regarding the relationship between OG and A. Park. It raises some important issues.

OG AP connection

In Ocean Grove the pressure on “our” parking will continue to increase due to the Asbury parkers. And this is on top of other parking concerns such as the Camp Meeting Association’s plans to increase its year round programming, and the ambitious new activities at the Jersey Shore Arts Center which has new year-round events that have made life intermittently difficult over in that west end Grovarian neighborhood, and the JSAC has even more ambitious plans for the future.

And then there is the pressure  (as with the Warrington site) to create multi-unit condominium or hotel units without offering off-street parking. Added to the mixed bag is the  continued large-scale extravaganzas by the Chamber of Commerce which shuts down our streets and crams thousands of tourists for their big events.  They, the Township, and the CMA have done nothing to help residents with the parking situation during these grid-lock megalomaniac events.

Real estate in Asbury Park continues to be hot as millennials*  come into town to be close to the Asburian action. A side effect of that is the growing AP housing demand resulting in real estate spillover to Ocean Grove—–be close to the action while paying less for housing here.  But then we will see rising price pressure in OG.

If you go to any fine restaurant in A. Park you will find well-healed young people enjoying expensive dinners.  This trend will increase, and a large new high-rise building near the ocean will have condominiums, a hotel, stores and offices.

Some condos in AP have doubled  (or more) in value in just a few years,  and resales can bring up to $1 million.  There are quite a few smaller condominium conversions as well as large units all over Asbury-town, especially at their north end.    Of course they have parking problems that keep increasing.   A recent condo project recently took over a parking lot near Wesley Lake.  All of this development impacts Ocean Grove to some extent.  Woe is us!.

And how about the street water runoff into Wesley Lake?  Jack and I visited the Monroe  work site  a few months ago  (below)  and all we saw regarding the Lake’s ecology were a few ironic storm drains along the lake with a carving of a fish on them.

Where is the DEP?   We hear that the DEP plans to get involved in shore lake management, but so far, no news on that front.

Storm sewer on the Asbury side of Wesley Lake. Blogfinger photo. Click to see the ironic fish.

This is the newly built  Monroe which faces Wesley Lake on the AP side. Internet photo.

In addition, Bradley Beach has become hot with higher prices for homes that sold for a lot less not long ago.  This is the Asbury Park effect to the south of OG. And you can buy alcoholic beverages in BB.

It’s interesting that back in the day, when AP  had roaring honky tonk going on, people from BB, Avon and other southern destinations  would walk through OG, heading north on the boards, admire the scenery and the peacefulness of our town, and then proceed as fast as they could to reach the promised land of Asburian hot-times before some Grover calls them sinners.   Now the Asbury Park two-step is back again, and developers want to turn OG into AP South.com.

Some buyers are seeking houses in OG and BB as sources of income for Air B& B and more long range rentals.  From the point of view of OG residents, this is not good news.  This kind of activity can change Ocean Grove significantly.

*Millennials often are highly educated and have good jobs. Now they have saved some money and they are looking for housing around here.  Some condos in AP have doubled their valuations  (and along with it their property taxes.)

The  Pew Research Center will use 1996 as the last birth year for Millennials.    Anyone born between 1981 and 1996 (ages 22-37 in 2018) will be considered a Millennial, and anyone born from 1997 onward will be part of a new generation.

This is an explosive  time for the staid Victorian town of Ocean Grove.  Anyone who lives here, full time or part time or as a vacation destination should be aware.

LIANNE LA HAVAS     from the movie Loving Vincent—-“Starry, Starry Night”

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Ocean Grove beach. Feb. 243, 2015. By Bob Bowné. Special to Blogfinger. ©

Find a treasure.   Ocean Grove beach. Feb. 23, 2015. By Bob Bowné. Special to Blogfinger. ©  Click to enlarge.  

Negro y Azul:  The Ballad of Heisenberg.   From the TV hit  original series Breaking Bad

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Music on Main. Blogfinger ©

Music on Main. Rich Amole.  5/16/15 ©

Fletcher Lake. Rich Amole. 5/16/15 ©

Fletcher Lake. Rich Amole. 5/16/15 ©

LAVAY SMITH AND HER RED HOT SKILLET LICKERS    “Honey Pie.”

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Grove Hall. This is why young moms are young. Paul Goldfinger photo. © 7/27/17

FRANKIE LYMON:

 

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Neptune goes all out to clean up the Shark River area after Sandy, but they made believe that they had no responsibility to provide help at the OG oceanfront. If they are going to deny services to OG, than how about a tax rebate for us?  Blogfinger photo Nov. 2012. ©

 

OG volunteers clean up after Sandy. No sign of Neptune DPW at the beachfront. They made believe that it wasn’t their job by saying that the land was owned by the CMA. But what about the needs of the people of Ocean Grove?

Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

The relationship between the Township of Neptune and the Town of Ocean Grove has always been unnatural.   Ocean Grove is culturally, historically, demographically, and physically much different than the rest of the Township.    It is a strange and strained partnership, but Neptuners make believe that it is a good fit.

The decision to attach the town of Ocean Grove to Neptune Township was a bizarre  and archaic example of legislative  patronage, but Neptune makes believe that the historic error continues to make sense and they have refused to allow Grovers to seek a path on their own.  Even the wall in East Berlin eventually came down.

We pay property taxes to Neptune Township. They make believe that we are like the rest of the Township in terms of services paid for, but that’s not true.

We have few school-age children that use the schools compared to the rest of Neptune, but  Neptune makes believe that we are the same.

Neptune charges property tax to us for our leased land. They  make believe that we own our land. In reality the CMA claims to own  the land and collects lease charges from us. The Township should bill the CMA for the land tax, or, some arrangement should be made to turn over the land ownership to the homeowners.

Neptune won’t fix our sidewalks because they make believe that the CMA owns the sidewalks. That may be technically true, but the rest of Neptune gets their sidewalks fixed, and the CMA won’t fix our sidewalks. The Township and the CMA make believe that it is our responsibility, but why is that?  We don’t own the sidewalks.  In what towns do property-tax paying citizens fix their own sidewalks?

Neptune makes believe that we own the trees along the streets, but we do not. OG trees are in deplorable condition and pose risks to those who live, drive  and walk nearby. Does the Township allow trees along the streets in other parts of town to become unhealthy, ugly, and dangerous messes?  Neptune makes believe that the citizens should pay for tree maintenance.

Neptune is responsible for  some parks in OG, but they make believe that somebody else should maintain them.  For example, Firemen’s Park is a disgrace. They sure do a nice job with the park by the Shark River.

Neptune makes believe that Ocean Grove has representative government, but the Township Committee clearly has Neptune proper  as its priority.  Neptune makes believe that they are not exploiting our town for money  (ie the so called “cash cow” syndrome) but they are constantly looking for ways to find ratables in the Grove even if their decisions adversely impact our historic preservation and our quality of life.

Neptune makes believe that it supports the Grove’s special designation as a National and State historic site, but they consistently look for ways to defy the Master Plan and zoning ordinances that are supposed to look after the “historic district.” An example is the way that they defy RSIS rules.  Now they are working on a way to water down the HPC guidelines. They make believe that it is about fire safety.

Now they want to turn our North End into a big commercial zone that will hurt the Town of Ocean Grove.  They make believe that the project is good for the Grove.

Neptune makes believe that its first responsibility in OG is to the tax paying citizens who live there, but in reality, they act like we are invisible.  Just visit a Committee meeting to see how our neighbors are treated.  Instead, Neptune’s actual priorities are first the CMA, second developers and merchants, and third the Home Groaners Ass.

Neptune went all out to clean up and rebuild the Shark River area after Sandy, but they made believe that cleaning and fixing the ocean front was somebody else’s job. So an army of volunteers had to do it, and the CMA had to struggle to raise huge funds and to deal with FEMA. Neptune reluctantly participated later by supplying some bonds until FEMA came through.   The Township used  tax money after Sandy to fix other parts of town while denying us services and they make believe that this discrepancy doesn’t exist.

And now, as $800,000 has rolled in from FEMA for phase 3 post Sandy, the Township wants to build an unwanted bulkhead at Shark River instead of using the money to finally re-do the OG Boardwalk north of the Pavilion. They are favoring the marina area while making believe that the remaining OG Boardwalk repairs are unimportant.

So, we have  the Land of  Make Believe in Neptune, and we the people make believe that there is nothing we can do.

HARRY NILSSON  from the Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II music for Showboat.  The song is “Make Believe.”

“Others find peace of mind in pretending,
Couldn’t you? Couldn’t I? Couldn’t we?”

 

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By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.  Originally posted in June, 2015 on BF.  But spring is here, so we must pay attention to girls in their summer clothes. It is a tradition for our seashore community:

Ocean Grove beach, late 1800's. Courtesy of Ted Bell's book: Images of America---Ocean Grove. © 2000.

Ocean Grove beach, late 1800’s. Courtesy of Ted Bell author of: Images of America—Ocean Grove. © 2000.

Source: hanging at the HSOG museum. Blogfinger photo

Source: hanging at the HSOG museum. Blogfinger photo

The June day started out rainy and chilly, but later in the day it became Sonny and Cher;  it warmed up a bit, but it was still windy.

I went on the boardwalk and saw lifeguards at their stations. A green flag was flying along with “Old Glory.” But no one was swimming. In fact no one was in the water.

OG lifeguards. 6/6/15 Blogfinger photo ©

OG lifeguards. 6/6/15 Blogfinger photo © All photographs  from here down by Paul Goldfinger, Editor @ Blogfinger.  Click to enlarge all photos.

I walked up to one of the lifeguard stands and joked with the guards who stayed at their post, like soldiers guarding a “no-man’s land.” An older guard, “Cowboy Dave” was sitting in the rescue boat, 10 gallon hat on and blue sunglasses, but he was facing the water. He is either the first or the last in the lifeboat.  He said that he is from OG and that this is his 16th summer as a lifeguard. He reminds me of Robert Duvall smelling napalm in the morning. (Apocalypse Now)

Cowboy Dave. 6/06/15. Blogfinger photo ©

Cowboy Dave. 6/06/15. Blogfinger photo ©

I asked him if he saw any bathing beauties go by, because all that was out there was the surf. He pointed to some young ladies about 100 yards away who were the only ones on the beach, to the north. Clearly this was not a “no-womans land.” They wore some pretty small bathing suits, and one wore a thong—the first such sighting this season.   So it seemed like a good public interest news photo op for Blogfinger.

OG bathers. (Left to right) Hannah, Tui, Danielle, and Amelia. 6/6/15. Blogfinger photo ©

OG bathers. (Left to right) Hannah, Tui, Danielle, and Amelia. 6/6/15. Blogfinger photo ©  Click image to enlarge the bathing  suits.

When I walked to their location, it seemed like I should ask them why they are in Ocean Grove on such a bleak day. I was thinking that they looked like they should be in Asbury Park. I did not comment on their attire, but you can’t help but notice that this is much different than 1895.

As it turns out, they are coeds who are camping at Allaire State Park where they are renting a yurt. They were having a great time just being together and laughing and talking and telling yurt jokes. They said that they preferred Ocean Grove’s beach to any others. One of them had come to OG as a child.

They especially singled out Days Ice Cream and the summer tents as favorite spots. I only had one BF card which I gave them. Hannah offered to photograph it with her phone and give me back the original . Great idea, but I insisted that they keep the valuable souvenir.

I said goodbye and walked back to the lifeguards offering to sell them the names of the young ladies. They seemed interested, but ultimately I suggested that they get the names themselves.

So who says that we live in Ocean Grave? It’s time to bury that nickname.

Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

Saturday, June 6, 2015, Ocean Grove beach.

BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN

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This is what the north side of Main Ave. looks like with diagonal parking. this scene is near NJ Avenue, and the new plan will extend this to Lawrence Avenue. Jean Breding photo, Blogfinger staff.©

This is what the north side of Main Avenue   looks like currently with diagonal parking. This scene is near New Jersey Avenue, and the new plan will extend this to Lawrence Avenue.  Jean Bredin photo, Blogfinger staff.© 2/16/17.

 

This is the north side of Main Ave. along the edge of Firemen's Park. Imagine it clogged with diagonally parked cars. ©

This is the north side of Main Ave. along the edge of Firemen’s Park. Imagine it clogged with diagonally parked cars. © Jean Bredin photo; Blogfinger staff. 2/16/17.

 

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

In a Coaster article (Jan. 25, 2017) it was reported that the Township Committee approved “almost 100 new parking spaces”and that the Committee was “acting on recommendations presented by the ad hoc OG Parking Task Force.”  That task force has members on it from the OGHOA.

The plan includes creating diagonal head-on parking on the north side of Main Ave. from New Jersey Ave. to Lawrence Ave. The same is planned on the west side of Central Avenue from Heck to Webb avenues.

But diagonal parking is ugly. The “new spaces” are created by cramming more cars into a given space where currently there is parallel parking. Diagonal parking may be OK for commercial areas, but in residential areas it is not suitable.

On Main Avenue, starting from the eastern edge of Firemen’s Park and heading west, the diagonal parking will look congested and will visually and actually narrow Main Avenue. Currently that portion of the Avenue has an impressive and welcoming boulevard look.

For visitors who come into our historic town, they will not enjoy the same openness that currently shows off the Grove at its best with historic homes and a lovely park.   In addition the town will lose one of the few places where a bus or truck can legally pull over and give some respite for the drivers to get their bearings or have a coffee.

As for how our leaders feel about this idea, here are two quotes borrowed from the Coaster:

Deputy Mayor Nick Williams, a member of the Township’s parking task force said, “We are going to move forward with these recommendations, and I think the task force did a good job.”

Resident Joyce Klein who is a member of the OGHOA and chairman of their parking committee said, “This is a great start*  but I hope to think that this is the beginning and not the end of the parking study.” She is also on the task force.

So we will get some more spaces, but we don’t need more congestion and density as the price to pay in our residential areas while the town continues its slide downhill.  The policy makers think that this will be wonderful, but do you think these task force people are doing the right thing?

It seems that they believe that all Grovers care about is parking and that we will accept any new spaces no matter the price.   Do you think the task force gave any consideration to the appearance of our town—–how about  the more important variables such as air, space and light?   How about our quality of life?

This plan of squeezing more cars onto our streets fits in with the worrisome current pattern of more condos,  more density, and more crowding.  Making more spaces is not necessarily better than leaving those streets alone.

Who is this really helping?–the commercial and real estate interests, or the people who live here?  Help the residents  with parking stickers and do something to reduce the numbers of cars coming into town and the number of town-clogging events that are too often and create temporary paralysis for OG tax payers. Or build a parking garage somewhere.

This plan will be implemented by Memorial Day. Other ideas are also being considered, including even more diagonal parking on other parts of Central Avenue.

When it comes to policies that hurt our historic town,  if no one complains, they will soon do it again:

MARILYN MONROE   “Do It Again.”

 

 

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Who will care about light, air, lifestyles, and history in Ocean Grove? Paul Goldfinger photo. Click to enlarge. ©

Who will care about light, space, air, lifestyles, and history in Ocean Grove? Paul Goldfinger photo. Click to enlarge. ©

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

That two-story building, #58-60 Main Avenue, has shops on the ground floor and 5 rental apartments on the second floor.

The owner, Sackman Enterprises, of NYC and Asbury Park, wants to add a third floor. They want to renovate the apartments and turn them into five (5) two-bedroom condominiums with one of the bedrooms on the third floor for each unit.

The third floor may be added according to the HD-B-1 historic mixed use zoning. The lot is double, 3,600 square feet  (60′ x 60′). The maximum building height is 35 feet.  Blogfinger got to review the site plan today at the Municipal Building.  Luckily they gave us more than five minutes to study it.

The lawyers for the owner requested that their application be heard by the Planning Board, but there is reason to believe that the correct place would be the Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA). That is what the Planning/Zoning office thought in the first place and that is how they initially marked the paper work—–The application and plan have “ZBA” written on them.

But later that department decided to send it to the Planning Board as requested by the applicant’s attorneys.  We do not know the dynamics of that decision, but we suspect legerdemain.

The reason  that the ZBA would be a proper destination is that the building is non-conforming, and the third floor addition is non-conforming. Only the ZBA can grant the proper variances for the addition and for its use as condominiums.

And part of the problem for approving this project is density. It will increase congestion and parking problems in a part of town where those issues already exist. The Planning Board might not be interested in those aspects, but the ZBA may be.

In addition, an RSIS parking waiver should be proffered if the applicant wants to increase density without offering off-street parking.  Of course Neptune Township will likely ignore this Land Use law as they have done for years in approving condominium projects sans parking, all over town.

It seems that the owners want to finesse this project by having it sail through the calm waters of the Planning Board on Wednesday, December 14, 7 pm, in the Municipal Building.

If you are cynical about the way that projects get approved in this town, and if you are resigned to having the citizens of Ocean Grove lose these battles due to the lack of opposition, at least you can be informed. Come to that meeting. You can stand up and ask a question or not, but you may find it interesting to hear the discussion which may actually become heated and thus great fun.

The PB chair is Sharon Davis—–please be kind to our man Jack.

Link to the BF article on this subject 12/3/16. There is a photo of the building:

https://blogfinger.net/2016/12/03/going-up-owners-of-58-60-main-avenue-wants-to-add-a-third-floor-a-neighbor-is-concerned/

FRANK SINATRA AND COUNT BASIE:

 

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It seems like it’s hard to find quiet in a town that ought to provide a noise-free environment. One Grover told me that the noise problem is so bad that he would consider moving, except his wife doesn’t mind it. Another recent arrival from Manhattan said that Ocean Grove is noisier than the Gramercy Park area. A woman who lives near Wesley Lake (where we filmed the music video) hates the noise from Asbury.  Not everyone likes the music.

At the North End near Wesley Lake we have significant loudspeaker noise pollution from Asbury Park in season.  Now  “the season” merges left and right into spring and fall. Does the Parking Committee understand that the “season” lasts about nine months?

A couple of weeks ago the noise one evening was unusually loud, penetrating the inside of our house.   The Asbury noise comes from the Beer Hall, the Stone Pony outdoor venue and the variety of events going on there.  The video above, from Saturday, Dec 3, emanated from a live band at the shores of Wesley Lake, on Asbury’s Lake Avenue.  It was nonstop and horrible.

And how about the loud drunks from Asbury returning to their cars in the early morning hours waking Grovers from restful sleep?  Talk about disturbing the peace!

Then there is construction noise.  They are not supposed to begin work before 8 am, but a noisy bucket loader  on Main Avenue was making loud beeping sounds at 7 am that interfered with sleep.  They are also not supposed to make construction noise all day  Sunday.

For anyone who lives near Main Avenue, the traffic noise can get bothersome, but of course there is no way to fix that unless we only allow electric cars here.

But all week long, into the fall, we have weed wackers, lawn mowers, sanding machines and leaf blowers.   You can hear the weed wacker in the top video. Such noisy machines are usually used by landscapers and home owners to maintain their properties, but that is allowed by ordinance.

And the Neptune DPW entertains us with garbage pickups very early in the morning as well as their crews maintaining parks around town.

But shouldn’t loud noises of power equipment, at least on Sunday morning, be restricted even if the source is not a construction project?

Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

Note:  I would feel differently if the New York Philharmonic were playing by the shores of Wesley Lake:

Nutcracker Suite “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies.”

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Ocean Grove Fall Flea Market. Sept. 10, 2016. All photos by Paul Goldfinger. Blogfinger.net ©

Ocean Grove Fall Flea Market. Sept. 10, 2016. All photos by Paul Goldfinger. Blogfinger.net ©

 

By Paul Goldfinger,  Editor@Blogfinger.net

September 10. 2016.  Ocean Pathway, Ocean Grove, New Jersey.

The ad said “rain or shine,” but today at the OG Giant Fall Flea Market, there was a bit too much shine. It was hot—nearly 90 degrees, but nevertheless, a large crowd showed up, and there were sea breezes.

The Boardwalk Pavilion was crowded as a group had assembled to enjoy the simple pleasures of the shade along with cool air from the ocean.

I like the ambience of flea and farmers markets, while Eileen is more of a shopper. I, on the other hand, could visit every one of the 385 vendors here today and I would find absolutely nothing that I would want. But the photo ops—that’s another story.

If you are a photographer you can sympathize with me. At noon, with the light changing at every step and with my automatic meter being unreliable, I had to figure out exposures from moment to moment, and it was annoying to manually keep changing the settings.

Noon is the worst time of day to get good photos due to the harsh high-contrast light. I much prefer to shoot in the shade whenever possible. And then there are the flea market throngs, with a giant person stepping in the way just as a Jennifer Lawrence look-alike enters my field of vision.

Some people ask me why I photograph women.   The answer is quite obvious—what is more beautiful?  Even women enjoy looking at pictures of women, especially those unique types whose dress and manner are so graceful, interesting, and enticing.

And especially at the famous flea market on Ocean Pathway in the Grove, by-the-sea, where a photographer cannot deny girls in their summer clothes.

Flea Market  Gallery: First turn on the music.  Then  click on one then follow the large arrows.   To return to this page, click on the small X on the left.

WILLIE NELSON AND LEON RUSSELL  From the album One For the Road

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