Archive for the ‘Ocean Grove Topics’ Category

Fred Fred “Waterseller” Ohleth at the August 22, 2015 postcard and antique show. Auditorium Pavilion. Paul Goldfinger photo © Blogfinger.net


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor  @ Blogfinger.net


Fred Ohleth, a retired 6’4″ NYC police officer, lives in a tent each summer with his wife Linda. His family goes back in the Grove, so he keeps up the tradition.  In the off- season Fred and Linda (no, not Fred and Ginger) have a condo in the Grove.  Fred is the Commander -in-chief of a small band of water, hot dog  and treats sellers who cover a number of events in town, but they are best known for their supply side activities in the shadows of the Great Auditorium on Saturday nights—-tonight it’s the Beach Boys (as if we don’t already have a few of those around.)

Fred and Linda  travel to the wilds of Pennsylvania for those dogs.  You must try one!   These volunteers work hard and party hard when the show is over.

Stop by and say hello to Fred, Linda, Shirley, Barbara, Mike, Ted and all the others who make sure that no one is hungry or thirsty at the GA  (right across the street from the bathrooms. )   And yes, you can take bottled water into the GA.


Link to our article from May 2013:

BF link re refreshments at the GA


JANE SUMMERHAYS and NICK ULLETT: Original Broadway cast of Me and My Girl:



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Wayne (“Ted”) Bell (left), Cindy Bell, and Darrell Dufresne.   Blogfinger photo.   July 2011. ©


By Paul Goldfinger   re-post:


A delicate balance was precariously achieved today at History Day during a presentation sponsored by the Historical Society of Ocean Grove about the Great Auditorium.  The three authors of a soon-to-be published book about that extraordinary building discussed a variety of fascinating facts that are not widely known about the GA, but they didn’t want to reveal too much; after all, they need to retain some secrets in order to tantalize those who would buy the book, perhaps in September.  The tentative title of the long-awaited book—3 years in the preparation— is “The Great Auditorium:  Ocean Grove’s Architectural Treasure.”

Cindy Bell, Darrell Dufresne and Wayne (“Ted”) Bell offered a lecture-slide show in the Community Room, and then Mr. Bell took the group over to the Great Auditorium to check out some of the structural and engineering features that are so interesting and mysterious.

Cindy told us about the fund raising efforts by Rev. Stokes and his associates that went right to the wire as far as paying off the building in time.  No deficit spending for those 19th century Methodists. Darrell talked about strange features like the huge wooden pipes underground and the primitive and nonfunctional air conditioning system  found under the floor. He shared the secret of how the ceiling light bulbs are changed and he discussed how that massive roof is supported.


Ted Bell conducts a walking tour in the Great Auditorium. Photo by Eileen Goldfinger

During Ted’s GA tour, he was able to point out some fascinating facts about the installation of that huge Hope Jones organ  (the 3rd largest organ in the northeast after Atlantic City and West Point.)  One fact that leaked out has to do with the false impression that the GA is made totally of wood. The truth is that there is a steel framework that maintains the strength and rigidity of the building.


Steel buttresses and posts reinforce the GA to help support the roof. The pipes carry water in case of fire.    P Goldfinger photo.

We all hope that Ted and his colleagues complete the book before the CMA decides to build a bigger tabernacle.

Editor’s Note, 2014:  The Great Auditorium book  by Bell, Bell and Dufresne was published in 2012  and can be purchased at the Historical Society of Ocean Grove and on Amazon.com.  It is wonderful.

And Ted, Mr. Tambourine Man, thanks for playing a song for all of us in the Grove—PG




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Janet Page of Mt. Hermon Way gets ready to feed chocolate cake to her birthday party guests.

Janet Page of Mt. Hermon Way gets ready to feed chocolate cake to her OG birthday party guests.    Paul Goldfinger photos


By Paul Goldfinger   (2013—-remember when.  2022 update today)


There was a time when Ocean Grove was a dreary place. I saw that myself around 1996 when I came to visit my son Michael who had rented an apartment in the Grove.   He said, “Dad, you and Mom should buy a place here. The prices are terrific.”

We looked around.  Across the street was a sort of boarding house.  Next door, we saw a glassed-in porch where people in wheelchairs were wheeled out if it were sunny.

“Are you kidding?” we asked.  I recall talking to someone in front of his house when a person walking across the street made reference to  “Ocean Grave.”

But after some more visits over the next two years, we began to notice that changes were occurring and we finally realized that this town had potential.  By 1998, despite the dreariness, it was a “sellers market.”  There were few places to see.

We found a three-family house that was pretty crappy, although it was near the ocean. To be exact, it was a small one family that had been divided into a legal three family.  We bought it and eagerly anticipated when we could get down for weekends.

We began to witness some obvious demographic changes. I noticed that the cars were getting nicer around town and that a lot of remodeling was going on. But even better, we saw children, teenagers,  young families, bikinis, and signs of vibrant life all over the place.

The New York Times was disappearing each day at the news-stand, and fathers pulling red wagons with kids were crowding the counter at the bakery on Sunday mornings.

There was poetry at Auditorium Park, Ray Charles at the Great Auditorium, art shows on the boards, violin ensembles downtown, dancing in the streets, a brilliant 4th of July parade, and massive flea markets by the ocean, among a wide variety of other signs of life.   We moved here year-round in 2001.


Meet the neighbors at an OG house party.

Meet the neighbors at an OG house party.


After our arrival we attended an array of mostly neighborhood parties which underlined the evolving spirit of the place.

One time Eileen and I attended a party where I was the only male—not that it did me any good.  We’ve been to block parties and house parties. We witnessed the archetypal OG house party where thirty people would be crammed into two rooms—practically hanging from the chandeliers if they had any.  But nobody minds about that–in fact it’s quite charming.   And, to make matters more encouraging, things get better every year.

If you get to go to a good party in the Grove, please send us a photo.  We need you Bloogers, Grovers, Southenders, Northenders, Downtowners, Commenters and Kvetchers to send reports to Blogfinger@verizon.net.  And read the comments below.


Marge and Cousin Brucie

Margie and Cousin Brucie.


Eddie Chesler-Holmes enjoys the festivities

Eddie Chesler-Holmes enjoys the festivities


May, 2022:   Our hopes for continued improvements in our small town lives have been dashed lately.  As you know from our recent posts, the secular residential community has been ignored; neighborhood  parties are less (at least where we live;) the CMA has been expanding its religious “mission” instead of looking to be one part of a diverse community; organizations in town look inward and often disappoint  (like the Home Groaners;)

OG continues to be widely known as a “religious town,”  we have one party rule in Neptune—OG has no representation at the Mother Ship, the urbanized North End will become  a reality, and other trends  suggest a failure to move upward.

Some of you seem to believe that life styles in the Grove add up to a wonderful place, and so it is.  But it could  be better if enough of you agree that  it’s important.

How about sharing:  Tell us if you feel that the town is moving in the right direction. Send us a note  with specifics.   (Blogfinger@verizon.net  or comment below.)


KEN PEPLOWSKI AND FRIENDS.   “All the Things You Are.”


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PRESERVATION HALL JAZZ BAND “The Bucket’s Got a Hole in It.”

“Yeah, my bucket’s got a hole in it
Yeah, my bucket’s got a hole in it
Yeah, my bucket’s got a hole in it
I can’t buy no beer.”

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from the New Yorker:

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“Tents at Nighttime.”   A lovely painting by Theresa Troise Heidel, New Jersey water-colorist. Re-post from spring 2018.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net.  Re-post from spring 2018.

Theresa Troise Heidel is a New Jersey water color artist who has done many paintings at  the Jersey Shore, including Asbury Park and Ocean Grove. As a youngster, she got to stay for awhile at a family friend’s tent.  Her parents “sang in the Great Auditorium.”

She was enchanted by the tents. She said, “There was something magical about the way the rain sounded pattering the canvas above me, not to mention the aroma of fresh coffee being perked—-such atmosphere.”

About the painting of the tents at night, she said, “I invented the night life look.”

The Jersey Shore article featured a well-done story about several of the OG tent interiors which the writer got to visit.

But in this magazine, in its index section, where brief profiles of Jersey Shore towns are posted, we find that once again the media got it wrong about Ocean Grove.  They portray the Grove as a summer religious enclave where the main aspects consist of the Camp Meeting Association, the Tent Village, and the Great Auditorium.

The article extols the Hope-Jones organ;  “spiritual birth, growth and renewal;”  “worship;”  “praise events,”  “the world’s greatest preachers on Sunday, ” and “God’s Square Mile.”

And  again, there is little  recognition that our town is  a diverse place where a wide variety of people live, play and enjoy life.

Is it too much to hope for that the media might actually open their eyes and look beyond the religious trappings and stereotypes and recognize a town with many secular and historic aspects as well as evolving demographics?

Certainly the religious underpinnings of OG  are real and admirable, but other dimensions need to be recognized.

The last writer to successfully address these aspects was Ted David in his 2002 book “The Other Side of Ocean Grove.”*

At Blogfinger we make it one of our main themes  to portray our town and its lifestyles  as they really are.

The song below performed by Beverly Kenny captures the feel of this town.


*Ted David has an updated version of this book coming out this year.

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Ocean Grove, New Jersey 2019. © Google.  Click to enlarge.

By Paul Goldfinger,  Editor @Blogfinger.net

“Curiouser and curiouser!” cried Alice.  She was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak English.”

This is by Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.

You can click on the map above  (dated 2019)  to see a few interesting items:

a.  Since when are research maps marred by advertisements?  Notice the Asbury Beer Hall and the Arts Center in Ocean Grove.  Regarding the latter, where the Heck Avenue is the Great Auditorium?

b.  Wesley Lake is not wearing its latest official name as a “retention detention basin.”

c. The streets along the Lake, OG side, have no names.  What happened to Lake Avenue, that infamous walkway/official street? How about Main Avenue?

d. The North End Redevelopment Area seems to be carved out and made part of Asbury.

e. What about the extension of Ocean Grove into the Ocean?  Does that eastern boundary  presume to say something about ownership of the Ocean?  Or what?  Jack??

BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB   “Veinte Anos”   Are we speaking the same language in this town?

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Double header on Heck. By Moe Demby, Blogfinger staff. Sunday, July 2, 2017 © In the foreground is a motorized chair for the infirm.  A third  neighbor liked the ideas so much, he put out two garbage pails to save a space, and a couple of hours later, the space was there for his girlfriend returning from work as a hospital nurse.  The town was gridlocked, even with the new diagonal parking. But three spaces were blocked on this single block.

Who wants to pay high taxes for this?  Getting fed up yet.? Ready to move to California?  Save our town!

OG residents need to demand immediate relief: permit parking one space for each house. And a lifestyle change with reduced Township permission for massive events  (flea markets, craft markets, car shows/street closures) and demands that all remaining large events provide out of town parking.  And then build a wall to cutdown on freeload parkers who want to go to Asbury Parking mess.

Is it any wonder that Grovers have to resort to the above measures?

It is a disgrace that we can’t find parking in our town. Blogfinger encourages everyone to buy a cone and save a space.  Also hang a sign in your window asking for permit parking.  We hope to have a design for you next week.  Just print in on your home printer and show your true colors.



Addendum from “Around Town with Jean.”

Jean Bredin. 7/2/17 ©  Ocean Grove.


There is so much scarcity in parking spaces  in OG, that I was taken back some coming upon this mysterious structure on Mt. Hermon Way.
I am sure it has a logical purpose.  An extra bedroom for a last minute guest…a cover for smelly garbage cans,…maybe a compost heap…..or just nothing more than a deluxe parking spot saver.

Editor’s note:  Maybe a cover for a motorcycle.  (see comments below)

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Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.

The HPC Chairperson has notified Blogfinger that “any official statements representing the opinions of the entire HPC Board are not possible” per advice of their lawyer.

Debby Osepchuk, the Chairperson at the HPC, tells Blogfinger in an email that “a review of the Ordinance which controls the HPC duties and powers does not expressly permit the HPC to engage in a letter writing campaign to media outlets.”    In other words, this important institution of historic preservation in Ocean Grove has been muzzled.

For those who care what the HPC thinks, don’t expect any more statements in the media.

Unfortunately, this notice represents another example of the “silent treatment” which we have documented as being pervasive in Ocean Grove and which is part of the lack of transparency that prevents the public from learning the truth.

I imagine that the HPC will have to formally tell the Township how it feels about the new guidelines, and if they do issue something in writing, that statement should be accessible via the Freedom of Information Act or perhaps posted on the Township website.

Those of you who want to know more should contact the HPC directly or go to their meetings.  Maybe they would confide to individual citizens  (ie their neighbors.)     You also should be able to read the properly annotated version of the new guidelines when the Township posts that on their website, if they do.

Whether the guidelines will be changed to suit the HPC and those who support preservation in the Grove remains to be seen. The Township is in charge, and that is a disturbing concept given their track record of obscuring the truth.


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You think you have problems?

A wise Ocean Grover named Radar recently said that the Grove had too little space and too much of everything else.  He really did condense the situation down to the lowest common denominator. Most of the quality of life issues that are being raised on this blog boil down to Radar’s Law of Physics.

Regarding summers in the Grove, folks say that  we have too many cars, too many buses, too many huge events,  too many fumes, too much noise, too many beachgoers, too many tourists,  too much “junk” on the sidewalks, too many cones in the streets, too much taxes,  too much garbage,  and too much kvetching.

It looks like the ultimate solution is to get more space.   Perhaps we can get the Homeowner’s Association to invade Bradley Beach. But if we are stuck with Radar’s Law, then the best we can do is for all concerned to continue a civil discourse, maintain an upbeat attitude  and work towards some satisfying solutions. 

Blogfinger will try to help.  At least we, in cyberspace,  are taking up no space in town and we create no fumes  (except perhaps for some hot air).

Paul Goldfinger  (in the clouds @Blogfinger)

Cheer up Mary—Radar is still correct 6 years later.  It’s Cousin Brucie below:


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