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New York City. Undated. silver gelatin print by Paul Goldfinger ©

New York City. By Paul Goldfinger ©. Silver gelatin print.

 

 

HOLLYWOOD STUDIO SYMPHONY    “Fly a Kite” from the movie The Kite Runner.

 

 

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A. Park as seen from Ocean Grove across Wesley Lake. Paul Goldfinger photograph © c. 2014

A. Park as seen from Ocean Grove across Wesley Lake. Paul Goldfinger photograph © c. 2014.  click to enlarge  RE-POST 2018.

 

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor@ Blogfinger.net   Photos and text.  Relevant in 2018 regarding the contrasts between Asbury Park and Ocean Grove.

 

In case you haven’t noticed, according to last Sunday’s NY Times,  Asbury Park, at least the part by the ocean, is a huge success attracting hot-shots from all over the mid-Atlantic to this “beach destination.”  It seems that the turning point is the new 110 room Asbury Hotel, a brilliantly conceived venue which the chief designer, Anda Andrei, calls “luxury with modesty.”

According to the Times, the “City  by the Sea” has officially risen from the ashes and has become a place where “everyone and everything” is happening.  Below are some of the observations reported  by the Times in their featured article in the “Next Stop” series on Sunday, July 10, 2016, written by Eric Lipton, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist:

“IStar is the NYC based real estate company that owns all 35 acres of beachfront land.  Madison Marquette is the company in charge of leasing retail space at the beachfront.   These companies plan to invest over $1 billion in AP over the next 10 years.”

Regarding the demographics of those who populate the scene in AP, it is described as an “eclectic mix of professionals, families, young bar hoppers, and a large gay population—-all of them across income levels.”

The author of the article said, “Now the rebirth of Asbury Park is no longer in question.  The only question that does remain is how much of Asbury’s character will be retained as it becomes a summertime mecca again.”

The executive in charge of iStar told the Times that “his company is determined not to turn Asbury Park into Disneyland.”

You can already get a feel for that when you check out the eating establishments on the boards—no pizza slices and French fries for them.

“The music scene is still the element that holds Asbury Park together with at least eight venues featuring live music.”

Paul Goldfinger photograph ©

Paul Goldfinger photograph ©

Downtown more than two dozen restaurants and bars comprise an eclectic collection of fine shops, galleries, and bakeries.   The Festhall and Biergarten across the lake from OG is filled with “over 700 patrons on busy weekend nights.”

Clearly this Times article was aimed at a crowd that would respond to the “Brooklyn by the beach” nickname, but when Eric Lipton wondered about retaining the original AP “character,” it wasn’t clear what image he had in mind.

The article failed to consider that AP is a city that consists of more than just a destination for glitterati.  There are people who live there who are ordinary folks—not hipsters, and they bring a beautiful down-home, multi-racial sensibility to the City which has deeper roots than fancy restaurants and cool destinations.   There is a tapestry in Asbury Park, not just designer clothes.

Asbury Park Boardwalk. Paul Goldfinger photo. ©

Asbury Park Boardwalk. Paul Goldfinger photo. ©

Also there is no recognition in the article of the state of affairs in some parts of town west of the tracks, the poverty, the unemployment, the poor condition of Main Street,  and the pervasive crime problems, primarily surrounding the considerable drug scene over there.

Farmer's market in the Caorusel building. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

Farmer’s market in the Carousel building. Paul Goldfinger photo ©  click to see the fun.

And as we all know who live in this area, Asbury Park is not isolated—it has neighbors. Regarding the “eclectic mix” that visits A. Park, the author says that the mix is “in striking contrast to the more stuffy (and staid) nearby beach towns, like Spring Lake.”

Uh, excuse me, but if you are going to contrast Asbury to a nearby town, there is an actual striking contrast with next door Ocean Grove, just south of A. Park—-a much more interesting place than “staid” Spring Lake.

There is a small reference to OG in a side bar which, like most inattentive media, gets it wrong about us—painting us as some shriveled-up museum-like religious town.  He says, “Ocean Grove is a dry town built around religious summer camps—God’s Square Mile is its slogan—-so no bars with music there. But it is a museum of Victorian architecture.”

Ocean Grove as seen from Asbury Park. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

Ocean Grove as seen from Asbury Park. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

Eric Lipton  mentions our ” more than a dozen bed and breakfast options,” but who would want to visit our embalmed town?  The dynamic interaction between these two beach towns which is developing, goes unrecognized by the media.  Ocean Grove may not be where the cool crowd goes, but our history, diversity, beauty, quietude, and family lifestyles provide quite an impressive and favorable comparison to the sparkling high life going on across Wesley Lake.

So, what will Ocean Grove become by comparison as AP morphs into a very special place with its own character, fame, and attraction?  Will we evolve into a historical prototype of small town America with a famous Victorian architecture, a religious flavor, a unique character, a classy culture, and a wonderful personality of its own that will complement what is happening to the north?

Or will we be left in the dustbin of history as a place with stifling crowding, insoluble  parking concerns, a has-been Victorian success story,  condos all over town, a pseudo-Asbury  at the North End, and a town devoid of community—– known for gizmos and Abba on the Pathway but no art, culture, or values of its own?  All that will be left to focus on will be the Camp Meeting Association with its specific mission and lifestyle—worthy as part of the community, but less impressive all by itself.

CELIA CRUZ:  (Live)   Turn on the music and then look at the gallery below.

An Asbury Park gallery—-the other side of A. Park,  by Paul Goldfinger @Blogfinger.net.   Click on one and follow the arrows.  Use the small X upper left to return to Blogfinger proper  (or improper as the case may be.)

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Paul Goldfinger ©. September 2019.  Click to enlarge. Deal, NJ. Click to enlarge.

 

Geo George is the winner of our “name that Jersey Shore town contest.”  This snazzy color scheme is a bit unusual for Deal.

THE NIGHTHAWKS  “Top Hat, White Tie, and Tails:

 

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Ocean Grove. Undated. By Paul Goldfinger ©

Ocean Grove. Undated. By Paul Goldfinger ©  

ANDY WILLIAMS

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xxxxxx

Circ Lapopie, southwest France. By Paul Goldfinger ©

 

HIGH HIGHS.  “Open Season” from the soundtrack of Pitch Perfect.

 

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Italy. By Paul Goldfinger. Undated.  This is the place to eat seafood.  Click to enlarge.   Silver gelatin darkroom print by the photographer. ©

 

 

PATRICIA PETIBON from the opera Rinaldo (Act 2)  by George Frideric Handel (1711) and written in Italian  ( a first for the English stage.)

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Tuscany. c. 1996. By Paul Goldfinger. © Click left for larger view

Cinque Terre, Italy.   c. 1996. By Paul Goldfinger. © Click left for larger view. Re-posted from 2013.

 

HOT CLUB OF SAN FRANCISCO. “Souvenir de Villingen” from the album Yerba Buena Bounce  (composed by Stephane Grappelli)

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New Jersey Marathon in Ocean Grove. April, 2014. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

New Jersey Marathon in Ocean Grove. April, 2014. Paul Goldfinger photo ©  Click to enlarge.

 

 

DYLAN:  “You’re a Big Girl Now:”

“Bird on the horizon sitting on the fence

He’s singing his song for me at his own expense

And I’m just like that bird oh oh

Singing just for you

I hope that you can hear

Hear me singing through these tears.”

 

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:    The 2020 edition of the NJ Marathon was cancelled.  This year it will be held on October 16 and 17, and it will be returning to OG.  Registration is now open.  Go to thenewjerseymarathon.com for more information.

 

NJ Marathon goes through Oceanport in 2018. Photo by Ed Murray of NJ Advance Media for NJ.com. ©

 

 

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Ocean Grove North End. July, 26,  2019. Paul Goldfinger ©

 

NEIL YOUNG

 

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Northport, Maine. By Paul Goldfinger. ©

Northport, Maine. By Paul Goldfinger. ©  Click to make our family bigger.

 

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

The year was 1996, and I was attending a summer course at the Maine Photo Workshops.  It was called “Finding Your Visual Voice”  It was taught by a professor from the Savannah School of the Arts.   One day we went on a field trip to a pretty town on the Penobscot Bay called Northport.  It was such a peaceful place, and the quaint summer cottages were placed around a large center grassy area.

I was told that the town had a religious background, and every August people came for a camp meeting.  At the time I was only mildly impressed by that history, but later I learned that the town was settled in the 18th century, and somewhere along the way the Methodist Camp Meeting idea was adopted, and most visitors since the first camp meeting in 1849, still go there in August for religious reasons, although the web site says that the town was now becoming a “watering hole.”

Anyhow, it seemed like an All-American picture-perfect place.  While I was looking around for some photographic subjects a family, straight out of Norman Rockwell, came down the path towards me.  Great…this will be a terrific portrait of Americana.  My camera was set on a tripod ready to go, so I asked them if I could take their picture.

They cheerfully agreed, and as I looked at them through the viewfinder, I saw a loving, happy family, and I thought, “I’d like to be a member of that family, even for just a moment.” So I told them what I had in mind, and they loved the idea and welcomed me into the family for this shot.   There was only one exposure and then they went on their way.

Whenever I look at this image I think, “I’m so lucky to be adopted by this perfect family, even for only 1/250th of a second.”

 

ETTA JONES and HOUSTON PERSON:  “…through it all we all will be together, if the fates allow….”   The album: Together at Christmas, 2000.

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