Archive for the ‘Ocean Grove portraits’ Category

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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Michelle managed Seasons General Store on Main Ave while it was open. She took care of the prizes for BF contest winners. She has since changed careers. By Paul Goldfinger c. 2015.  ©

BEATLES:   This song by McCartney and Lennon contained some French lyrics. It won a Grammy.

“Michelle, ma belle
These are words that go together well
My Michelle”

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Spring is soon. Ocean Grove , NJ. Stephen is a Grover .  April, 2015. Paul Goldfinger photo ©


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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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Jean and Jack Bredin of Ocean Grove. 2015. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

Jean and Jack Bredin of Ocean Grove. 2015. Paul Goldfinger photo ©  Blogfinger.net.



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Ronald Naldi about to leave for a concert in Ocean Grove.  2015. Paul Goldfinger portrait.

Ronald Naldi about to leave his tent  for a concert in Ocean Grove. 2015. Paul Goldfinger portrait.

We first posted this shot of the great tenor Ronald Naldi one year ago.  Here is a link which tells about this photo and offers a recording of Ron performing on one of his albums of Italian music.  But meanwhile,  here are the Chiffons offering a tribute of their own.



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Kylie DeMartine of Ocean Grove celebrates the 4th with two of her closest friends. Chris DeMartine photograph. ©

Kylie DeMartine of Ocean Grove celebrates the 4th with two of her closest friends. Chris DeMartine photograph. ©


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While a press mob was besieging Nagle's, and the Gov was inside, this diner was not distracted.   Paul Goldfinger photo. ©  6/10/16  Ocean Grove, NJ.

While a press mob was besieging Nagle’s, and Gov. Christie was inside, this diner was not distracted.  Paul Goldfinger photo. © 6/10/16 Ocean Grove, NJ.


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Summer, Kelly and Katie. OG beach. 2009. Paul Goldfinger portrait. ©

Summer, Kelly and Katie. OG beach. 2009. Paul Goldfinger portrait. ©  Click to enlarge.


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Bradley Beach. 5/15/16 Paul Goldfinger photo. ©

Bradley Beach. 5/15/16
Paul Goldfinger photo. ©

Robert  is a medical researcher who lives in Ocean Grove.  We met him in Bradley Beach where he was waiting for a friend on his day off.  We liked his style, thus the portrait.

ALLISON ADAMS TUCKER   “Volver”  From her album Come With Me

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