Archive for the ‘Ocean Grove lifestyles’ Category

Ocean Grove. Paul Goldfinger photo © Undated, probably July 4.  Click to enlarge.


JILL HAWORTH  from the original cast of Cabaret in 1966.

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Sunset Avenue Ocean Township.  Sunday morning. 4/23/17. Paul Goldfinger photo.  Click to look at this strange and happy sight. ©

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

One year ago, Ocean Township took advantage of a Federal grant.  They banned parking on Sunset Avenue beginning at the bridge with Asbury Park. On the AP side there were many cars parked, but on the Ocean Twp. side,  there were none. What a striking difference!

Instead, on the Ocean Twp. side of the bridge, bike lanes were established on both sides, and bikers were welcomed  — an unusual development for a Jersey Shore town.   A woman on a two wheeler was pulling a bicycle caboose with shade, screens, and a toddler inside as she headed towards Asbury.  Then a string of about 6 bikers were spotted happily and safely following the bike lane heading west.

The car -free avenue extends to Logan Avenue and then to Deal Road.

We spoke to a resident who said that the car-less avenue did not create parking problems down the side streets, but this area has no beach, and houses have driveways and garages. The bikers were very pleased.

He pointed out that bike riders in most towns have challenges.  If there is parallel parking, a sudden door opening can abruptly stop a passing bicyclist. As a result, in such locations such as Belmar  bikers are often seen peddling down the middle of the street, creating other hazards  And where there is diagonal parking, the space left for bikes forces them to the middle as well, or onto the sidewalks.

Ocean Grove boardwalk. Blogfinger photo ©

We have bicycles in the Grove, but the best bet is to go on the boardwalk during appropriate hours, such as 3 am to 10 am.  Otherwise, cycling is a bit hazardous all around town. Not only do we have diagonal and parallel parking of many cars, but our side streets are a maze with unpredictable stop signs all over and cars whizzing about like at a chariot race.

Also,  our parking situation  in OG is so bad, that we seem to have little interest in the fate of bicyclists.  Despite this, peddling around town is a popular social activity, but without the high speeders in spandex who sometimes race through the Grove, on the way to elsewhere.  However for the slow-pokes and the kids, it is a holly-jolly thing to do–but be careful.

Bradley Beach bikers race through the Grove on the way to A. Park.  Paul Goldfinger photo. ©

As for our parking problems, the Township Parking Task Force is busy trying to create more spaces by making our town more ugly.  And the Township continues to promote high density construction projects without parking. What we need are innovative ways to lessen the number of cars in town; those ways  have been discussed on Blogfinger. That would encourage more bikers.

Let Sunset Avenue in Ocean Twp. be an inspiration if not a direct roll model.

Here are a few links  about biking in OG:

biking in OG

recreational biking in OG

Or, take a walk with She and Him:

Editor’s note in response to Tom Costantino’s fanciful alternative narrative about parking in the Grove  (see Tom’s comment; click below) see the etching below which shows a historic Ocean Grove without a single horse or buggy parked on the lovely streets depicted.  Those founders made sure there was parking then by placing stables near the entrance to town.  One was where the Embury Arms now take up an entire block with private parking, and the other was west of Delaware Avenue  in the North End of town.

19th century Ocean Grove.

Our parking problems cannot be fixed without less cars in town.  For starters, let the sponsors of those huge events  (i.e. the CMA and the Chamber of Commerce) provide parking out of the gates, with a steady stream of buses in and out.  Then let’s cancel some of those street clogging mega-sales and substitute events that are for the citizens of Ocean Grove, such as concerts in the parks, art sales for local artists,garden tours,  poetry readings, film festivals, historic reenactments, town-wide yard sale, etc.

And we should offer relief to the homeowners with parking stickers.  And we need a solution to the motorized invasion by those parkers heading for A. Park. This summer those Asbury meters will be operable until 2 am every day, putting even more pressure on our limited parking in the Grove.

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Main Avenue, Ocean Grove. September 2012. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

Street musician.  Main Avenue, Ocean Grove. September 2012. Paul Goldfinger photo © The building behind burned down on Feb 6, 2015. Note the original setbacks. Reposted from September, 2015.

BLOSSOM DEARIE  “It Might as well be Spring”  (performed in French)

“I’m as busy as a spider spinning daydreams
I’m as giddy as a baby on a swing
I haven’t seen a crocus or a rosebud
Or a robin on the wing”

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Ronald Naldi in the Great Auditorium of Ocean Grove. By Paul Goldfinger , undated. ©

Ronald Naldi 2011 BF post


RONALD NALDI performing “Mattinata” from his album Torn A Surriento–Neopolitan Songs and Romances


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Submitted by Joe Grove:

“Can anyone explain the rules around “camping” in OG?  There is an old white van/camper that has been parked on various streets throughout OG for the past few years. The couple in the van sets their chairs out during the day to sit or are cleaning their carpets, emptying buckets of dirty water etc…the typical chores of camper life.

“Their favorite spots appear to be along Ocean Avenue, and one resident who complained was told by the police the campers aren’t violating any laws and can stay parked in front of his house. What I’m wondering is are they paying for a land lease like the other residents of OG? How about real estate taxes? Or sewage bills for dumping their sewage in the gutter?

“I guess the police officer may have given the simple hassle free answer, but obviously this couple has made OG their home for free and aren’t subject to a lease, a mercantile permit or any taxes whatsoever.

“This behavior is that of two vagrants shaking the dust off their carpets or dumping sewage in the street. If they want to pay their fair share and they can do so while squatting in OG, then so be it, but at least pay.”

TEDDY THOMPSON:  “King of the Road” from the film score of Brokeback Mountain

Editor’s note:  Joe Grove—please send us a photo.


From Neptune Township Ordinance 11-17 (Thanks to the citizen reporter who sent us this reference.)

” No storage shall be permitted on a public road.”

“Any such vehicles stored in accordance with this section shall not be occupied and shall not be provided with utility connections. Permanent or temporary overnight occupancy of recreational vehicles/boats is not permitted.”



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Main Avenue in the commercial area. Diagonal parking, an eyesore,  is offensive to anybody’s sense of beauty.   Blogfinger photo April 2017.


Firemen’s Park.   Two truckers stop for a rest along the edge of our park on Main Avenue. The openness is welcomed, and only parallel parking should be continued there.  Imagine how this airy view will be when the Neptunites install diagonal parking.    Blogfinger photo April 17, 2017.

As I drove along Main Avenue a few days ago, I saw a bus resting along the edge of Firemen’s Park. It is not an uncommon sight, as drivers seek a respite—one of the few such places in Ocean Grove. In addition, from a beautification point of view, the vista across Firemen’s Park towards Main Avenue is beautiful and is enjoyed by all who live around the park,  visit the park regularly, or just walk there as part of a strolling experience in that part of town.  For those who drive into Ocean Grove, it is the first scenic view they have,  coupled with the historic architecture in that neighborhood.  It is also the last scenic event as they drive out of town.

Soon the Township will add a significant dose of ugliness by placing diagonal parking along the Main Avenue edge of the park.  Ugh!

Why do we allow those Yahoos at the Mother Ship, in partnership with insensitive Grovers on the Parking Task Force, to make our picturesque town progressively repugnant-looking, one inch at a time?

Send an email, an old fashioned letter, a phone call or even a fly-over banner drone addressed to Mayor Michael Brantley and tell him that we want his support to stop the vilification of historic Ocean Grove.  His administration refers to us as the Neptune “Historic District.”  Since when is diagonal parking historic?  Tell him that in 19th century OG even the horses could not be parked that way.

This ongoing indifference to the beauty of our town must be stopped or we will look like another crappy shore town clogged with cars, dumpsters, crowds, and ugliness.


p.s.  Jack Bredin says,

“The lyrics from the song by the Eurythmics tells us ‘Some of them want to abuse you, Some of them want to be abused.’

“They could be describing Neptune’s relationship with many apathetic OG property owners.”


THE EURYTHMICS   “Sweet Dreams Are Made of This.”

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Ocean Grove New Jersey. Many homeowners in OG have done remarkable restoration work on their homes. This finial and gingerbread work is on Mt. Hermon Way.

A major commitment is required if we want a Victorian town. The cherrypicker was needed to to do the artistic multicolored detailed paint work (see the top photo.) The painter did her work in short shorts, attracting many aficionados of  Victorian colors. Blogfinger photos. 2002©

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

In a letter to Blogfinger on April 11, J. Cortese vented regarding what he sees as a deterioration in our town’s efforts to maintain historical preservation, and he sees the situation worsening over the last 10 years .

If you haven’t read his piece, here is a link:

I love you, you’re perfect, now change

Blogfinger’s writers and commenters agree with J., as do others in town, but is he correct to fear the eventual fatal decline of Ocean Grove as a very special historic place?

We agree that our election to the Federal and State  Historic Registers would be endangered if the deterioration that J. describes continues, consider this:

When we moved to Ocean Grove in 1998, the town was still in a pretty raggedy condition. Most streets had historic houses that were in serious states of decline. But you could see signs of life—indications that homeowners coming into town wanted to help bring these properties back to  life. 

We saw tremendous progress after that. Homeowners were putting up large sums of money to resurrect those irreplaceable Victorian buildings.  This effort showed results over the next 10 years where every street had multiple examples where beautiful and accurate historic work had been done. 

Derelict houses, while still existing, were no longer the main theme of our town’s architecture. Instead, most of our streets were uniquely lovely. 

This investment and commitment by homeowners is the main reason Ocean Grove looks so wonderful today as a Victorian-style community.  And Blogfinger and its supporters  are correct in criticizing Township officials, the CMA, and developers who are willing to exploit the town for financial reasons and to play fast and loose with zoning and land use regulations.

This network of exploiters produces results that yield less parking, less historic beauty, and more congestion. They are a force pushing us in a different direction. To add to the problem we have a Homeowners Association which has lost its way and a Historical Society which is barely visible in terms of preservation. The HPC is currently hiding in the shadows, and the Chamber of Commerce has no interest in the issue.  If all that continues, the town will, as J. predicts, lose what makes it so special as an authentic historic community.

We have interviewed many newcomers, and they all say, “We fell in love with this town,” and for good reason. 

I don’t have to tell you about the lifestyle of Ocean Grove now, an element that is apart from the architectual.   It is the organic component which adds a thrilling dimension to living here.  We have many children, young families, Wiffle ball games in the park, beautiful beaches, a vibrant porch culture, artistic events, etc.  We are a walking and talking town with smart, friendly citizens, and much of that stems from historic preservation.

However, not everyone in town agrees with the vision of people like J. Cortese, Kevin Chambers, Jack Bredin, Ted Bell, Blogfinger, HPC and others.  And if those forces, including citizens, elected officials, and organizations, which should be supportive, continue to turn away, the town will become something other than a Historic District.

As J. points out, many residents are just looking for a wonderful shore town to enjoy and to share with friends and family, and this one is very special and thus very popular.  And our proximity to the new Asbury Park will contribute to the popularity of OG.

Judging from the newcomers that I have met, they all want our town to continue being a place to love, but there are those who are not interested in our 19th century Victorian theme. So, although some of them will concern themselves with historic preservation, we don’t currently know how many will actually care.

We believe that most Grovers would hate to see the historic vision decline further, and hopefully most of us will stay involved and help to hammer out an aggressive plan for Ocean Grove’s Victorian survival . But will the dream be too much for too many?

REV. GARY DAVIS  from the album Harlem Street Singer

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Mt. Hermon Way. 2014. Paul Goldfinger photo. © Blogfinger.net. Click to enlarge.



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Rev. Stokes, the first CMA president, didn’t have to worry about zoning. Here he is taking a dim view of the Grove on a foggy 21st century day. Paul Goldfinger photo 2015. ©

By Kevin Chambers, Ocean Grove resident and activist.

The State Legislature enacted the first zoning enabling and planning acts in 1928 and 1930, respectively. Within these acts the state mandated that municipalities may not exercise their authority in ways which conflict with authority exercised by county, state, or federal governments.

Since 1928, this act has made it illegal to land-lock* any property within the state of NJ. In other words, the Township was banned from writing into its zoning an ordinance that prohibits curb cuts or driveways. Also this prohibited the OGCMA from prohibiting any person from crossing their property to access their lot.

When the state enacted RSIS in 1968, it further required that all municipalities rewrite their zoning ordinances requiring that the definition for a conforming lot must now include on-site parking. This barred Neptune from using the 30×60 foot lot size or 1800 square foot lot size as a conforming lot size definition within its Master Plan and zoning ordinance. Since that time, Neptune has been in contempt of court with each of its hearings dealing with Ocean Grove.

Regardless of the illegal zoning Neptune has established for OG, state zoning law still requires parking, through either the ordinance or through a variance.

All applications for new construction must seek a variance within Neptune if their lot is less than 5,000 square feet, which is the legal definition for a conforming single family lot in Neptune. But no matter whether a variance is granted, Neptune’s zoning must include the right within its zoning to have a driveway. It cannot deny a driveway within its zoning; that is in violation of law and in contempt of court.

Kevin Chambers

*In real estate, “landlocked” refers to a property that has no frontage or direct access to a public street, so the only way on or off the property is to cross land owned by someone else. Usually, a landlocked property gains street access through a legal permission called an easement.


“Long as I remember the rain been coming down.
Clouds of myst’ry pouring confusion on the ground.
Good men through the ages, trying to find the sun;
And I wonder, still I wonder, who’ll stop the rain.”



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