Archive for the ‘Photography: The Other Side of Asbury’ Category

Deal Lake. Taken from the Elberon side looking toward A. Park. Paul Goldfinger photo. July12, 2016 ©

Deal Lake. Taken from the Loch Arbour side looking west.   Paul Goldfinger photo. July 12, 2016 ©  Click for maximum glitter. 

DEXTER GORDON.   Recorded July 7, 1970 in New York City   “The Christmas Song.”

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Fire station is at 800 Main Street, at Asbury Avenue in A.Park. Paul Goldfinger photo. 4/14/18.



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George Tice © Belmont Hotel, Asbury Park. 1974. This is a selenium-toned silver gelatin print.


By Paul Goldfinger ©. The Belmont burned down about 7 years ago.

By Paul Goldfinger ©. rear view.  Photo taken before the Belmont was destroyed by fire.

Paul Goldfinger, MD.  Editor @Blogfinger.   Re-posted from 2016 and 2018.    The editor’s note below still rings true in 2020 and has been updated.

There were two historic (over 100 years old) hotels in A.Park which were adjacent to each other on Asbury Avenue—-The Belmont and the Atlantic.   The Belmont had 50 rooms, but it was vacant in 2006.   The entire block was scheduled for demolition, but it burned down during a 5 alarm fire in 2006, along with the Atlantic, in December of that year.  The balloon construction made for a deluge with quick destruction up and down the buildings.

An AP historian said, in an APP article, that the buildings were considered historically significant to Asbury Park and Monmouth County.
“This site is one of the small remaining number of turn-of-the-century hotels that once flourished,” he said.

“The local historical society wanted to save the Atlantic and Belmont Hotels and have them refurbished to be used for residential purposes, but the society’s efforts were thwarted some years ago by the City Council and re-developers,” he said.

“And, now that the fire has destroyed the hotels, there is nothing left to do but start from the ground up.  They could have been adapted to modern uses, but now they are gone,” said the historian.

Residents said they were upset to see history disappear so quickly. “I hate to see it go,” Robert Razminas, 48, an Asbury Park resident for 25 years, said as the buildings burned. “These old places are Asbury Park history. They should be restored and kept up.”

George Tice* is one of America’s most famous photographers.  He is especially known for his work in his native New Jersey.  His specialty is documenting historic old buildings and neighborhoods, as in his photographs of Paterson, an old immigrant-based blue collar city.

The Tice photograph above of the Belmont is from an on-line gallery web site   (Paddle8).  In 1974 he photographed two Victorian houses in Ocean Grove.

Tice has published about 20 photographic books including one about the Amish in Pennsylvania and another in Ireland and England called Stone Walls, Grey Skies.

A platinum print from that book resides in Ocean Grove. Contact us if you want to view it. One of his most important books is Paterson.

Here is a link to a BF piece in 2013 which shows some of his images:


PHILLIP SMITH ( of Ocean Grove and the NY Philharmonic) on trumpet along with JOSEPH TURIN on piano play Gershwin’s “Someone to Watch Over Me”  Note: I spotted Phil—Phil Smith and the NY Philharmonic–on TV for the Live From Lincoln Center New Years Eve show on PBS.  The camera caught him having a string of rests and gazing ahead as Yo Yo Ma played a tango. He has since retired from the Phil, but he still spends summers in the Grove and plays in the Great Auditorium.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  This article rings true as we think about historic preservation in Ocean Grove. These two Asburian hotels could have been re-purposed into residences while maintaining their  historic “bones.” 

As noted before by Blogfinger, Asbury has an advantage for preservation because of the available land for parking, but that didn’t save these two structures—they were destined to be replaced by condominiums.

Evidently the idea of remodeling them into residences was not considered because AP has turned over that entire oceanfront area to trash-and -build-new developers without any worry about history.  They  don’t seem to care about AP’s history and they don’t mind turning much of their reclaimed property into condominiums. I recall when the beautiful old Metropolitan Hotel, a nostalgic place, which I visited before it’s death spiral, with much history, was allowed to rot and then be demolished.

However there is a huge difference between the two towns:  Ocean Grove is on the National and State Historic Registers, so we have an obligation to try and save historic buildings and not mow them down like dead ducks. But turning old hotels into condo’s here is contrary to our Master Plan which has a vision that is totally different than Asbury’s, and we really shouldn’t allow more space-clogging condo conversions of old hotels to occur, especially in defiance of RSIS parking standards.

Our old hotels need to be dealt with in ways that meet the special needs of our town, with the interests of the people and the history placed ahead of the developers and the politicians who want more money from the Cash-Cow-By-The-Sea.

Current related issues in 2018 directs our attention to the Aurora Hotel and the Warrington.*   We have posted articles about both, and both face an uncertain future in Ocean Grove;  and the best we can  hope for in both cases would be single family Victorian designer homes.

Phil Smith’s solo above  (“Someone to Watch over Me”) reminds us to protect our town’s historic treasures.

—Paul Goldfinger, Editor.

*The Warrington was destroyed in a fire on March 3, 2017. Its burned-out foundation is hanging around awaiting the results of some legal action related to the fire and its damages to the nearby neighborhood.

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Frank's 1406 Main Avenue near Sunset Avenue. Blogfinger file photo

Frank’s  at 1406 Main Street  near Sunset Avenue. Blogfinger file photo



Frank's Deli. Late morning in October. All photos by Paul Goldfinger ©

Frank’s Deli.  Late morning in October, 2015. All photos by Paul Goldfinger ©

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @blogfinger

In 2015  we featured Frank’s Deli and Restaurant in a BF post, and now we re-post it for 2017, with some updates. Not much has changed.  Here is a quote from that piece:

“You might also be tempted to turn into Frank’s Restaurant where everybody goes for  breakfast and lunch including cops, contractors, politicians,  bloggers, realtors, homeboys, celebrities, wayward Grovers, and stylish types from across the border on Cookman Avenue.”

UPS man waits for his sub delivery. Blogfinger photo ©

UPS man waits for his sub delivery. Blogfinger photo ©

I’m sure most of you are familiar with Frank’s, a local family-owned place where they have been cooking breakfast and lunch since 1960. It has a very down-home feel.  You can sit at a table or at the counter where you can watch the chefs work—poetry in motion.  “Those fries are getting cold; dump them and serve some hot ones,” says the cook; he is at the grill and he is a perfectionist.

He watches his little assembly line, with his back to the counter  and he doesn’t miss a detail.  He turns around  and asks us if everything is OK. They make more eggs, toast  and bacon than any other place in the area.  Frank’s is a destination with a pedigree–more so than any of the newly arrived eateries on Cookman-by-the-Grove.

Grillmaster efficient and accurate

Grillmaster efficient and accurate

The waitresses are attentive. They seem to know everybody and they are friendly and accommodating—-not like the diner waitress who waited on Jack Nicholson in Five Easy Pieces. If there are any waiters, we haven’t seen one. Besides, gender is out these days—–they are all “servers”  However, at Frank’s you feel like political correctness is not on the menu. It is a place to relax and speak freely.

Joe Maggio, owner at FRank's. From a Bruce Springsteen music video.

Joe Maggio, owner at Frank’s. From a Bruce Springsteen music video.

Joe Maggio is the owner and the main-man at the grill. His father started the business.   We go there often, but he was on vacation this time. However, his staff wasn’t missing a beat. One of the cooks noticed an elderly man near the end of the counter near where we were sitting. He called him by name and said, “How about a grilled cheese; I’ll make you one now.” The man grinned and said, “Thanks.”

Everything at Franks is fresh and made-to-order. BF photo

Everything at Frank’s is fresh and made-to-order. The toast was ordered that way.   BF photo   ©

You can walk up to the deli counter and order a superb sub. made to order. Even Bruce Springsteen visits Frank’s, and he included Frank’s in a 2012 music video.  Bruce  likes the turkey club.  In 2015,  Anthony Bourdain and Southside Johnny visited Frank’s while CNN filmed the episode for Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” show.

We get a kick out of the diverse clientele who are going in and out of Frank’s which  reminds me of some places my friends and I frequented when we were in high school in Rutherford. We would go to towns like Lyndhurst or Passaic to get soul food:  pizza and burgers.

At night, after walking up and down Park Avenue in Rutherford, we would visit Stio’s, a family luncheonette and ice cream place near the tracks that was so old, everyone and everything there seemed to be in slow motion. But all sorts of characters would show up, and we would laugh and joke and kid the owners.  Frank’s takes me back to that sort of Jersey place.  If you are from Jersey, you need a dose of that every once in a while.



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AP from Founders Park in OG..  By Paul Goldfinger. 2016. ©

AP from Founders Park in OG. By Paul Goldfinger. 2016. “. ..the hotels where we played games..”

ELLY STONE:     From Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris.

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Deal Lake. c. 2003. Silver gelatin print by Paul Goldfinger © Blogfinger.net

Deal Lake. c. 2003. Silver gelatin print by Paul Goldfinger © Blogfinger.net

KARRIN ALLYSON     This song, by Rodgers and Hammerstein, was written in 1951 for the King and I.

“We kiss in a shadow
We hide from the moon
Our meetings are few
And over too soon”

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By Paul Goldfinger, Editor@Blogfinger.net

It began in San Francisco in 1994 and is now celebrated around the world.  SantaCon has people dressed up as Santa or other Christmas characters in order to parade, party, sing, dance and carol.  We tried to find Carol, but she wasn’t there in A. Park where SantaCon was having a jolly old time at Johnny Mac’s Beer Garden and spreading out on the mean streets of downtown A. Park.

Blogfinger.net ©

All photos by Paul Goldfinger © at Johnny Mac’s Beer Garden in Asbury Park. December 12, 2015. Blogfinger.net © Click to enlarge.

It seemed like everyone was clutching a bottle of Bud as I made my way through the crowd. The muscular doorman let me right in when I told him I was from Blogfinger.  He probably would have let me in if I said I was from The Eat-in-town Gazette. It seemed like everyone was having fun, and many of the revelers wanted to pose for pictures. This must be a consequence of the world of selfies and Instagram, because these picture posers had no idea where their images would wind up.

I met an O. Grover over there named Patrick (You may know him—he’s a painter, not unlike Van Gogh). He asked me what day of Hanukkah it is. I didn’t know, so I told him to read Blogfinger where I have posted the only Hanukkah songs in the history of the Jews. We are the people of the book, but if we are so smart, how come we only have two Hanukkah songs after 2,000 years?  And as for books, all the Jews I know are reading their iPhones.

2 guys from Asbury. Blogfinger.net ©

Getting back to SantaCon, this crowd got lucky being outdoors, because it was 64 degrees today—a new record. It was so warm (how warm was it?) that a group of young ladies asked me to take their picture—“clothes on or off, it’s your choice,”  they said in the midst of a torrent of giggles and actual laughs.  I said,  ‘Clothes on, I’m in a hurry.”



Blogfinger.net ©


Blogfinger.net ©

Blogfinger.net ©

Cookman Avenue, Asbury Park ©



SHE and HIM:


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Asbury Park on Main Street. October, 2015. By Paul Goldfinger ©

Dunkin’ Donuts.  Asbury Park on Main Street. October, 2015. By Paul Goldfinger ©

This time of year, the best donuts can be found at farms that grow apples, make cider and then fry those wonderful apple cider donuts.  Such a place is in Chester at the Hacklebarney Farm Cider Mill and Bakery.  We used to live a mile away, and a visit there before Thanksgiving was always a must.

You should order a pie and plan a drive up to Morris County for that treat.  It’s only one hour and 15 minutes away.  This time of year we miss the woods, farms, country roads and small towns like Tewksberry, Far Hills, Peapack, Mendham and Long Valley.   You can also visit Jockey Hollow where the Continental Army spent a horrible winter while today it’s great for picnicking.


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Shopping for real estate. All photos by Paul Goldfinger. August 30, 2015 © Blogfinger.net

Shopping for real estate on Sunday.  All photos by Paul Goldfinger, Editor.  Early evening, August 30, 2015. © Blogfinger.net  Click all to enlarge.

Cookman Avenue. 8/30/15. © Blogfinger.net

Cookman Avenue. 8/30/15. © Blogfinger.net

Cookman Ave. WE later met this trio on the New Jersey Ave. bridge back to OG. I took their photo with their iPhones. © Blogfinger.net

Cookman Ave. We later met this trio on the New Jersey Ave. bridge back to OG. I took their photo on the bridge,  with their iPhones. © Blogfinger.net

Over by the beer hall, we met Vicki LaBella, former owner of the OG newsstand. She was leaving next week for a bike trip through England’s Cotswold region where there are lovely country roads and more sheep than people. She looked happy, slim and very fit.

Bonus photo:

Asbury Park. Blogfinger photo.

Asbury Park. Blogfinger photo.

And here’s a link to our article last year about the quirky Bond Street Bar:

Bond Street Bar

SPANKY AND OUR GANG   from the Summer of Love album.

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Sunset Lake, Asbury Park.  Paul Goldfinger photo ©  Blogfinger.net ©

Sunset Lake, Asbury Park. Paul Goldfinger photo © Blogfinger.net ©

MIKIS THEODORAKIS   “Horos Tou Zorba”  (Zorba’s Dance)   From the film Zorba the Greek

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