Archive for the ‘Photography the other side of Asbury Park’ Category

Paul Goldfinger in Asbury Park. Dec. 5, 2019. ©


JACK NICHOLSON:   “La Vie en Rose” from the soundtrack of the film Something’s Gotta Give.

“La Vie en Rose” was the song that made Piaf internationally famous, with its lyrics expressing the joy of finding true love and appealing to those who had survived the difficult period of World War II.[9]


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8th Avenue on the east side of town. November, 2015. By Paul Goldfinger ©

8th Avenue on the east side of town. Lift up thine eyes unto the Lord.  Asbury Park. November, 2015. By Paul Goldfinger ©

TERCER CIELO :   Mariachi de San Diego

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4th Avenue, west side. Paul Goldfinger photo ©. Artist is Da D


NELLIE  McKAY:   “Wild Romantic Blues.”  from Boardwalk Empire.





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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


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor@ Blogfinger.net   Photos and text.  Re-posted from July, 2016, but 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 © Silver gelatin darkroom print. Undated. c. 1998.


STAN GETZ  (sax)  AND GARY BURTON (vibes.)  “Little Girl Blue.”   From the album Getz for Lovers.

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Wesley Lake from the OG side. By Stephen Goldfinger © Jan 4, 2018.


BILLY ECKSTINE   from  The Best of the MGM Years

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This Zombie was photographed 2 years ago in A.Park, but now we bring her back to the Grove. Paul goldfinger portrait. ©

This Zombie was photographed several  years ago in A.Park, but now we bring her back to the Grove for a command performance.  Arrrggh.   Paul Goldfinger portrait. ©


MARSHALL BROTHERS with a doo-wop performance for Halloween:

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Winter doldrums...can we laugh them off? By Bob Bowné January 7, 2016. © Special to Blogfinger.

Winter doldrums…can we laugh them off?  Asbury Park Carousel building.  By Bob Bowné January 7, 2016. © Special to Blogfinger. Click to enlarge.

FATS WALLER   “Winter Weather.”

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The other side of Wesley Lake: Raspberry Park. 2013. By Paul Goldfinger © Blogfinger.net

The other side of Wesley Lake: Nocturnal Asbury Park. 2013. By Paul Goldfinger © Blogfinger.net.  Click for the full monty. Reposted from 2015.


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This storm sewer in AP faces Wesley Lake. On it the inscription says "Drains to Lake."

This storm sewer in AP faces Wesley Lake*. On it (see below) the inscription  says “Drains to Lake.”     Note the existing condos, the condos under construction, and the field waiting for more condos.   Blogfinger photo.  11/11/16  © Click to enlarge.


Storm sewer in Asbury Park opposite Wesley Lake. Such drains are found all around that southern AP area including the commercial district at Cookman Avenue. Blogfinger photo. 11/11/16 ©

Storm sewer in Asbury Park opposite Wesley Lake. There is a relief of a fish.  How ironic!     Such drains are found all around that southern AP area including the commercial districts at Cookman Avenue and on Main Street where the sewers say, “Drains to Waterways.”   “Waterways” can only mean Wesley Lake—and then to the ocean.     Blogfinger photo. 11/11/16 ©


View from Lake Avenue in A. Park. Blogfinger photo. 11/11/16 ©

View towards OG  from A. Park’s  Lake Avenue. Blogfinger photo. 11/11/16 ©   Click to park your car;  or go to Ocean Grove and park for free.


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger and Jack Bredin, Reporter and Researcher @Blogfinger’’

Question: What have we learned since Part 1?

Answer: There may be some hope to save Wesley Lake as long as there are dedicated citizens like Patricia (Tee) Lesinski, a member of the Wesley Lake Commission, and Keith Fiori, a Board member of “Friends and Citizens for Wesley Lake.”

But Tee and Keith, along with the other committed volunteers working towards the rehabilitation of the Lake, are in an uphill battle, until fish start making campaign contributions to environmentally interested political candidates.

Or when more concerned citizens start showing up at meetings as suggested by Tee and Keith.  The world is run by people who attend meetings and share their concerns on the record.  While most of us were at home watching “Dancing With the Stars,” the politicians were “Dancing With the Developers,” and giving away Wesley Lake.

What can be done short of an investigation by the NJ State Attorney General?

Official Neptune Tax Map. Read the name of the body of water north of the Grove.

Official Neptune Tax Map. The new name of Wesley Lake is “Wesley Detention/Retention Basin.”     Click to read the name.

First, we must insist that the Neptune Township Committee explain the Wesley Lake name change as seen on the current Tax Map (above.)  That change was made without a formal resolution at the Committee. That new name suggests that the Lake is to become a municipal facility with some sort of mechanism to clean Lake water and deal with the runoff from the OG North End Redevelopment.   Or is the name change a hoax or smokescreen to deceive those who would approve the NERP?

The Tax Map is the official map, and all other Municipal, Commission, County, State DEP and Green Acre maps that identify the Lake must be consistent with the Neptune Township Tax Map, or the Committee must change the name back from “Wesley Detention/Retention Basin” to “Wesley Lake”—a name which it has had for nearly 150 years.

Then, as a start, Blogfinger has suggested that the Master Plans and Redevelopment Plans in both Asbury Park and Ocean Grove be revisited and reviewed to address the street-water run-off that flows into Wesley Lake. The dirty-water run-off into the Lake, mostly from AP, is the main source of pollution in the Lake.

In the photograph on top*, you can see a large empty lot where rainwater simply soaks into the ground, not into the Lake.   But that property will be developed, and all that water run-off will be added to the flow into the Lake.  The southern area of AP is replete with condominiums, high rises, paved parking lots, roads, and curbs which guide water to sewers.    This drainage area includes the dense commercial blocks around Cookman Avenue and on Main Street.   And the development of AP is still active with new and planned construction which creates additional  run-off into the Lake.

Treating the Lake pollution with chemicals and having periodic dredging and cleanups is just “kicking the cans down the road.” If the amount of dirty water keeps running into the Lake in increasing amounts with each new development, then the situation will keep getting worse.   And that spotlight will shine on Ocean Grove if the North End plan gets going as currently designed.

Clearly, dealing with the dirty water before it reaches the Lake and restoring the estuary are two significant ways  to solve much of the problem and will greatly reduce the need for Lake chemicals, cleanups and dredging.  And it will bring back natural life to Wesley Lake and reduce pouring dirty water into the Ocean.

Maybe Ocean Grove could once again have Illumination Night on the Lake along with boating, fishing and other recreational activities which can improve life styles in town and bring back the historic waterway that we had over 100 years ago.



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