A wedding was held here on Saturday, August 1, 2020. Tidying up on Sunday…Paul Goldfinger photograph. ©

By Paul Goldfinger,  Editor @Blogfinger.net

It is a wonderful place to hold a wedding.  We walked by on Saturday afternoon and saw that a beautiful event was in progress on a beautiful day in the Grove.   The house is one of the largest single family homes in town, at Heck/Main/Ocean Avenues.

The guests were sitting about on the porch and on the lawn, wearing masks,  holding drinks, and chatting.  Pictures were being taken, and it looked like a memorable time.

Across the street was the beach and the  Ocean, and on Sunday a car parked out front said  “Just Married.”

This dwelling has been made available by the owners for catered events.  In earlier years, the owners used to host reunions of Rutgers University and the Hudson Car Club.  It was fun to see those cars show up along Ocean Avenue. American cars are much more interesting than the British models.

Weddings in the Grove have been a sensitive subject since the 2007 angry clash at the Boardwalk Pavilion, although that was about a civil union.

There have been some weddings on the non-fishing pier, but since the Fishing Club was carried away during Sandy, that venue is now out of the question.

Some weddings have been held at the  OG beach in recent years, but usually only for photo shoots.


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Not so much this summer. Internet photo.



As you all know, there are some new variables this summer that could impact parking in the Grove, so it is reasonable to ask how these issues have affected your parking experience in 2020. It’s hard to believe that they won’t.

Let’s try to have a good turnout for this poll.  That would enhance the credibility of results.  It may be useful in comparing to the professional CMA analysis being done this summer.

Blogfinger:  The Management




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By Paul Goldfinger, Photography editor @ Blogfinger.  Original post  2013. Ocean Grove, NJ.

I found this “Season’s Greetings” photo card at a flea market/art show.  I was intrigued by it.  Clearly the work  was by a serious artist. The name George Hukar sounded familiar, and a Google search revealed that he was a photographer and painter from California.

George  (c. 1895-1975) was a founding member of the San Dieguito Art Guild. He taught painting and photography  and he published an article about dark room work in the 1940 Christmas edition of Popular Photography . (Note the cover below.)

It is a bit of a “leap of faith” to believe that the George Hukar from the San Diego area is the one who made my 1931 holiday card, but I am going to assume that it is so.

This is not an ordinary “Season’s Greetings”  card.  It actually is a limited-edition  hand-made silver-gelatin photograph which was sent as a card in 1931. I suspect that George Hukar was known to his friends as someone who would send out an original work of art each December.

The color of the print indicates that he tinted it with some darkroom chemical (toner) such as selenium or a variant of  sepia or gold.  The lighting makes the image. The model’s face is made dark using a darkroom technique called “burning.”

Perhaps this image  was the inspiration for “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.”  I also like the idea that George would make his own Christmas cards in the darkroom. I have been doing that myself, in small limited editions,  inspired by George’s work, although I have never photographed a nude subject other than my kids bathing in the kitchen sink.  (That would be when they were very small.)

George Hukar's article is mentioned along the left side.

George Hukar’s article is mentioned along the left side.

Years ago, when all photographs were black and white, there were many creative things that could be done in the darkroom. George Hukar’s article in Popular Photography was called ” Studio Tricks,” so I can see why he did so well with this photo card.

Editor’s  note:  The post above is originally from 2013, and since then we have heard from others who knew George Hukar.

In 2018 we  said this:

In 2013 I spoke to a woman from the San Dieguinto Photo League in California. But she had no record of this photo, however, we could verify George Hukar’s roll in the League.

Today  (4/29/16) we got a comment from someone who recognizes our George Hukar as the artist  who did the Christmas photo card.

Then, re-posted on September 15, 2018.,  it’s not every day I get to write about photography, solve a photo mystery, and post a nude on Blogfinger. We did get some additional information then.

July 28, 2020.  We just received the following letter from Chrystal Snyder who is in Tempe, Arizona where it was 115 degrees yesterday, and 109 degrees today.

Hello, Paul

I just happened upon your Blogfinger post from 12/26/2013 that mentioned George Hukar of the San Diegito Art Guild. George was a friend of my father, Dick Snyder. He became an informal “uncle” to me and my sisters from the time he moved to San Diego in about 1960, becoming a key part of our extended family.

George was part of the Taliesin Fellowship in Spring Green, Wisconsin, in the 1930s. Through Olgivanna Lloyd Wright, George became a student of the teachings of Georgy Gurdjieff. I heard many stories of his time at Taliesin during my childhood.

My dad and George were friends and fellow commercial photographers in Chicago in the 1950’s. I haven’t seen the 1931 Season’s Greetings card you posted so I can’t confirm whether that one is his. I can say that George was a wonderful mentor to me. I spent countless hours with him in the darkroom and countless more roaming the city, the beach, the zoo and botanical garden, studying light and shadow and getting lost in the thrill of capturing a composition that expressed my own slant on the world.

Chrystal included a rare old photo of George.

Thanks for an unexpected opportunity to relish memories of a beloved friend and mentor!

Chrystal Snyder

Thank you Chrystal for adding to our collection of George Hukar information…a far cry from picking up a photocard at a flea market.

Paul @Blogfinger.net






Attn Grovers:  You will recognize the name Tali Esen Morgan, the long time musical director in Ocean Grove.  His beautiful house stands today on Abbott Avenue, the Tali Esen Morgan House.

Here is a link you might enjoy:    Tali Esen Morgan House OG

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Casino in A. Park. July 25, 2020. Paul Goldfinger © Blogfinger.net



By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net


Photo note:  I like to “shoot’ in the Casino because of the subdued light. It is especially good for color rendition.  I once photographed the NJ Marathon as it wound its way through the Casino towards A. Park.

The 2020 NJ Marathon will be held in November this year instead of April.  Mark your calendars and bring your cameras.


BEE GEES  from the soundtrack of Saturday Night Fever.  “More Than a Woman.”


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Ocean Avenue parking glut at 8:30 am on an OG Sunday. ©

Paul Goldfinger,  Editor@Blogfinger. net

It’s Sunday, July 26, 2020, at 8:30 am.  The beach is closed and so is the downtown. There are no discernible CMA events now, although later this morning there will be a Great Auditorium service attended by 100* spaced out worshippers.  And there will be a service in the Boardwalk Pavilion in 30  minutes, but so far that venue is nearly empty.   This does promise to be a terrific beach day,  but not for another four hours.

Normally when I come down to the boards on a Sunday at 8:30 am, there are plenty of parking spaces, but now there are far fewer available spaces than usual. There are quite a few walkers on the boards, but nothing approaching a crowd.

Granted this is one of the 4 peak weekends of the season, but something is missing from the equation.

I have to assume that many of those spaces were reserved yesterday or even on Friday.   Someone told me that the diagonal spaces on Ocean Avenue are supposed to be for beach tourists, since many Grovers walk to the beach.

But this strikes me as needing an explanation.  Any ideas?

Since Pres. Badger of the CMA has been sounding off about Ocean Grove parking in the Coaster and the Asbury Park Press, it seems that this conversation is incomplete.  He never mentions the CMA programming when he discusses the “diverse parking requirements of OG.”  (Coaster July 23, 2020).

This is Camp Meeting Week starting today, so is that an issue? And he has been very nonspecific when mentioning that “the number of people coming to the beach has increased dramatically this year.”  But has the number on the beach really increased dramatically, especially when that number is restricted and normally it is not?

He also blames those who are renting in town. This is what he said: “Summer rentals  in OG have to be for at least 31 days, and that has brought more cars into OG.”    So he thinks that those who rent for one month or more would bring more cars than from those who would have rented for less than 31 days.  Really?  Does he have any proof of such assertions?  Or is he reading tea leaves at the OG Tea House?

The reason Blogfinger keeps blabbing about parking here, is that parking is an endlessly fascinating problem, now with a “nationally recognized” planner prowling about town and gaining data despite all the variables and shifting sands. It is an issue that has defied solutions over the years, even as OG has become more and more popular, with more and more cars, and with a little help from our friends: the free parking explorers from A. Park

Read the comments from our parking article the other day regarding the Coaster piece.  Ray Sutera said that trying to provide more spaces is not going to work, but we at Blogfinger have been saying for years that a real solution  would involve reducing the numbers of cars coming to town—basic math, worthy of an SAT question.  We could make things much better by reducing the sucking sound of tourism coming into the Grove and redefining  the very nature of our version of “small town America.”

We need to change our priorities as is suggested by THE CHIMES, a group from an era when going to the beach did not require programming.

“If there’s a cloud above,

if it should rain we’ll let it”

“Heaven is in your eyes.”


The CMA petitioned * the Governor to allow more than 100 visitors at services in the GA,. but evidently that request is currently denied.

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James A Bradley in Asbury Park. Accused of racism.  Paul Goldfinger photograph. ©  From 2017.  Reposted in 2018.


Are there any historical clouds over 19th century Ocean Grove? Paul Goldfinger photo. ©


Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

We wrote about James Bradley as part of our Ocean Grove history trail.  Bradley was a wealthy New Yorker who was a huge fan of Ocean Grove.  He not only founded Asbury Park and Bradley Beach, but he was the first person to buy a lot in Ocean Grove (1870) when Rev. Stokes, placed the lots “for sale.”

Now, a group in Asbury wants to take down the statue of James Bradley that has a prominent location in the park to the rear of Convention Hall/Paramount Theater.  It was placed there in 1920 for the city’s 50th anniversary.

Quote from the Asbury Park Press (APP)  9/29/17:    “Randy Thompson, founder of “Help not Handcuffs,” an organization that says it promotes drug policy reform and social justice, claims Bradley promoted bigoted policies on the boardwalk and the beach.”

“He helped segregate the town,” said Thompson, 43, of Asbury Park. “That was his business model.”

That group says that Bradley was a racist, but others in Asbury disagree with the notion that his statue should be taken down. Werner Baumgartner, AP historian is quoted in the APP:  “I don’t think you can call the man a racist, when society kind of dictated certain separations,” Baumgartner said. “It might have been business pressures more than anything else, rather than a personal desire to segregate races.”

Baumgartner said the city erected the statue in honor of Bradley’s philanthropy and said that the founder donated money to local black churches.

Other leaders in A. Park also oppose taking down the statue, including the Asbury Park Historical Society which said, “People should never forget the city’s late founder James Bradley’s ‘advocacy of segregation,’  but it draws the line on removing the statue erected in his honor near Convention Hall. ”  (quoted in the APP)

Don Stine is President of the AP Historical Society,  and he is quoted in the APP:

“If you’re going to take down the statues of people who were segregationists in the United States, you would have to take down just about the statue of everybody,” said Stine said. “It was a segregated society. It just was.”

Stine said he favored keeping statues and monuments in place so that people can “learn lessons from the past.”

“He said the Historical Society is conducting a review of all statues and monuments in the city to see if it can help with their preservation. ‘We believe all monuments in this city are worthy,’ Stine said.”

An academic paper about segregation in AP 1880-1890 by David Goldberg  (see link below) points out that there was “Jim Crow enforcement*”   in both the North and the South, and James Bradley was pressured by white tourists into segregating the famous resort. Here are a few quotes from that paper:

“By 1887, however, Bradley responded by officially restricting all African Americans, both those who worked as well as those who sought to vacation in Asbury Park, from the beaches and other shore facilities. By posting signs throughout the community and stationing officers at pertinent shore locations, Bradley prohibited all black citizens from the beaches, bathing houses, pavilions, and promenades.”

“Viewing the shifting racial landscape throughout the nation, Asbury Park’s black leaders saw the resort’s emerging Jim Crow character as part of a disturbing nationwide trend toward racially-defined public and commercial boundaries.”

“Since Asbury Park served as a Diaspora for the North’s geographically-diverse white citizens, their protests against integration highlights the racist and unreconstructed sentiment of the North after emancipation.”

“As Jim Crow became permanently enforced * throughout the North and the South after 1896, these tensions would prove central to African American’s struggle for “integrated leisure,” which became an important part of the fight for racial equality and social acceptance.”


History of segregation in Asbury Park 1880-1890

 From the book Ocean Grove in Vintage Postcards by Bell and Flynn (2004,) Asbury Park was a segregated resort in the early part of the 20th century. African-American residents and visitors were not allowed to bathe on the city’s beaches between the Casino and Convention Hall.
“They had to use the so-called “black beach” located between the Casino and the North End Pavilion (OG).”
“Interestingly, Bradley, a devout Christian, initially resisted segregating Asbury’s beaches but finally he did so reluctantly.”

Blogfinger agrees with Mr. Stine, but, given the current political trends, will it come as a shock if somebody wants the Stokes statue removed?

We know that black workers were hired in 19th century Ocean Grove  (and later)  to work in the hotels and restaurants.  They often stayed in segregated quarters, and there are old photos which show blacks posing with guests and other workers. We also know that black gospel singers and preachers performed in the Great Auditorium.

But we don’t know if African Americans came to the Grove for recreation such as the amusements at the North End, the boardwalk and the beaches.

We also don”t know if Ocean Grove’s leaders took any inspiration from the segregationists in Asbury Park or if they resisted segregation on moral grounds. Goldberg’s paper doesn’t mention the Grove.  We do know that Stokes worried abut secularism, but we found no references to racial issues in his autobiography.

Ocean Grove in the 19th century was a white Methodist town, but that was due to their trying to establish an enclave for Methodists, so the Town tried to limit its home-owning citizens by excluding all sorts of groups including Roman Catholics, Jews, and blacks.

And can we call that racism since the basis of exclusion was not color but religion—-unless they did exclude black Methodists. It’s probably more like isolationism rather than exclusionism.  It was more about keeping to themselves rather than keeping others out.  And it is certainly not segregation such as Bradley is accused of.

Stokes is probably safe from the 21st century witch hunters who are  prowling around the Jersey Shore.

If we can find any other information, we will post it.  Meanwhile this seems like an issue which we should follow.


ALISON KRAUSS  From the movie  O Brother Where Art Thou:  “Down to the River to Pray.”

“O brothers, let’s go down
Let’s go down, come on down
Come on, brothers, let’s go down
Down in the river to pray.”

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Bolognase sauce with linguini. Eileen Goldfinger photograph.©


By Eileen Goldfinger, Food Editor @Blogfinger.net.



½ pound ground beef

3 turkey sausages, remove meat from casings

1 celery stalk, minced

1 small carrot, minced

½ medium onion, minced

3 cloves garlic, grated

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon salt

10 basil leaves, julienned

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped

½-1 cup unsalted chicken broth

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 24 ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes

12 ounces Rao’s marinara sauce

3 tablespoons vegetable oil



In a 5 quart Dutch oven, heat vegetable oil on medium low.  Add celery, carrot, onion, garlic and 1/4 cup of chicken broth.  Sauté until vegetables soften, approximately 10 minutes.  Next add the ground beef and sausage meat and cook until meat is brown.

To this mixture add salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and tomato paste. Stir and cook for 5 minutes.  Add the San Marzano tomatoes to the pot and crush them with a wooden spoon.  Then add the tomato sauce and chicken broth.  Stir and simmer for 30 minutes.

For the final step add the parsley and basil, stir and cook for 10 minutes.

Serve over linguini or any pasta of your choice.

Serves 4


BILLY JOEL:  “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant”  Live from Shea Stadium, July, 2008.




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OG beach shot from the pier. July 16. What is your masking score? Paul Goldfinger © Blogfinger.net  Click for bigger look.

By Paul Goldfinger. Editor and restaurant reviewer @Blogfinger.net.

We did an impromptu mask survey on the OG boardwalk nearby.  As 40 people strolled or jogged or biked by that morning  (about 8 am)  12% were wearing a mask.  But those who weren’t were mostly busy distancing, however many were not.  No sign of any enforcement.

July 20, 2020. Blogfinger photo. ©

It was 7 am downtown when the All- Star Bagel shop on Main Avenue opened.  A senior male without a mask approached the open door and was served a coffee.  He then turned around and breezed right by me.  (yes, I wore a mask because that is usually expected in bagel shops—-of which I am sort of an expert)   Most have a sign that says  “no mask, no service.”

A boy then went to the window for bagels and he had no mask. (see photo)  In both cases, the customers were within about one foot of the masked waitress who served them at the door.

The risks conveyed during these two bagel shop transactions may not have been severe, but they could have been safer.  The waitress may have been safe  (maybe) but what if one of those customers had left a cloud of virus in midair just waiting for the next customer to step up?

By the way, the quality of the bagel experience there was good.  The thickness and texture of the toasted sesame bagel which I sampled was very good, and it was prepared exactly as ordered  (which is not always the case in other bagel shops) but there was a mild spicy flavor present, probably due to some flavoring, and detectable by only a few aficionados. That flavor bothered me, but most would probably not notice. I will try them again with a different flavor.

I had gone to another bagel shop recently called Bagel Express on Sunset Avenue.  They hand roll their bagels, and the quality is very good, but I found their “everything bagel” to be inedible due to excess salt, and the owner was rude.

Bagel Talk outside the OG gates is a nice operation, but their bagels are only average.

The famous “Hot Bagel Shop” in Ocean is very popular, but their bagels, which are very good, are as big as your head.  However you can “”scoop” them or cut out the center, but don’t cut your hand  (bagel injuries are mentioned in the Torah.)

I have such an injury on my left thumb sustained when someone called my name as I sliced an onion bagel. The scar is still there, but the laceration was successfully treated with a cream cheese and lox compress by a couple of Jewish doctors who were there fressing* in my dining room.

But, back to All- Star Bagel, the sloppy anti-virus effort could be a deal breaker for some.  But that’s something the “all stars”  could easily correct, and we will check it again.  Maybe one of their fans will suggest that they read this post.

Pop’s bagels at the Asbury Circle has a no-nonsense sign (below.)

Pop’s Bagels at the Asbury Circle. Note the sign on the door.

We will keep up our search for the best bagel shops in the area. There are fans who would travel long distances for a first rate bagel and lox sandwich.  Maybe they would travel as far as Buffalo:

From the show “42nd Street:”

*Trans:   Fressing means  “The act of eating without restraint; devouring.

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June, 2018 note:  This article was originally published on Blogfinger in August 2009, only two months after the blog’s e-birth. Needless to say, we had few visitors back then.  The story of the Ocean Grove “gates” is pivotal in the history of this town and  should be re-told occasionally so that those who are unfamiliar with the details can gain some perspective as they view life in the Grove now.  We re-posted it  in 2011, 2016, 2018, and then again now in 2020.

By Paul Goldfinger, M.D.   Editor @Blogfinger.net.


The year is 1875, and the Camp Meeting Association’s first President, Rev. E.H. Stokes said, regarding the gate closure on Sunday, “There is no human probability that these rules will ever be revoked.”  That same year, the President of the United States, Ulysses S. Grant, came to Ocean Grove on a Sunday.  A wooden picket fence with a swing gate blocked his way at the entrance to town, and he had to leave his horses and carriage and walk one half mile to his sister’s house on Wesley Lake. Then he went on to the open air auditorium, where 5,000 adults, children and Civil War veterans waited for his arrival.

Of all the “blue laws,” the ban on parking of all-wheeled vehicles and the ban on driving such vehicles into town, from midnight Saturday to midnight Sunday, was the one that seemed to best define the spirit of those Christians who came to Ocean Grove each summer for the chance to relax with their families and to praise God in a most unique environment. Only police, fire, doctors’ cars, and ambulance units could enter and leave.

Ocean Grove gates-1 - Version 2

In 1916 two stone pillars were erected, and a chain was used to prevent access into the town’s two entrances. A policeman would be in charge of opening and closing the “gates” and he would remain stationed in a little gate house at the Main Avenue entrance. That little house still stands. On Sunday nights, before midnight, a festive atmosphere would prevail, until the officer on duty allowed the folks to drive back into the Grove.

Some people moved to town just because of those Sunday rules, and, for most of those who lived in Ocean Grove, part time or full time, they totally supported the idea of Sundays free of noise, clutter, and secular distractions.  They didn’t care that they could not go to the beach, play ball, garden, smoke, play cards, drink alcohol, dance, buy food, mow the lawn, hammer a nail or even ride a bike. To them it was unthinkable that this rule might be abolished, because they thought that if it ever happened, Ocean Grove would never be the same.

Ocean Grove had received a charter from the State of New Jersey in 1870, which allowed the Camp Meeting Association to govern the town, including making laws (ordinances) and enforcing those laws with their own police department and municipal court.  The CMA governed in Ocean Grove, while the homeowners paid property taxes to Neptune Township. Ocean Grove received some services from Neptune, but Neptune considered the Grove to be a sort of private estate or gated community and thus they expected Ocean Grove to be somewhat self sufficient, even though Grovers paid full taxes. This tension between Neptune and Ocean Grove regarding taxes and obligations would be a point of recurrent stress for many years to the present.

As time went by, it became apparent that there were those in town who were not so enamored by the blue laws or by the CMA governance. Periodically there would be arguments about this, and in 1921, there actually was a secular Borough of Ocean Grove that lasted one year. After that, there was a suit, and the courts returned the town to the CMA over the issue of the “blue laws.”

In 1975, a lawsuit emerged and eventually made its way to the New Jersey Supreme Court in 1977. It was brought by The Ocean Grove News Service which wanted to be able to enter the town for one hour each Sunday at 2 am in order to deliver the Asbury Park Press. For years, the CMA had made an exception for those deliveries, but they tightened the rules so the deliveries were blocked, and the News Service sued.

The NJ Supreme Court went beyond the suit and considered the question of how a religious organization could govern a town, but they eventually decided to avoid church vs. state issues and, instead, they made a narrow ruling, based on “freedom of the press,” that allowed the newspaper deliveries to take place. The vote was 4-3.  The three in the minority would have taken governance away from the CMA. The ruling did not abolish the chains or change the authority of the CMA, other than in a one hour lowering of the barrier, once per week.

Just as that controversy quieted, another storm blew into town. A man named Louis Celmer, Jr., of Belmar, was arrested by the Ocean Grove Police for drunk driving. He was convicted in the Ocean Grove Court, but he sued in 1977 on the grounds that the court was illegal. The judge in the Monmouth County Court agreed that the OG court was unconstitutional and reversed the Celmer conviction and the Sunday closings.

The chains were temporarily taken down pending appeals, causing confrontations at the gates that summer, with people blocking traffic and setting up lawn chairs in the streets. At one point, according to a police officer who was there, a near riot ensued. Since the judge had thrown out the CMA rules, Neptune Township tried to help the CMA by approving an ordinance which banned parking in Ocean Grove on Sundays. So you could drive into town, but since you couldn’t park, you had to keep driving, or leave.

In 1978, The New Jersey Superior Court ruled that the OG Court was constitutional and they reversed the Monmouth County decision. The chains were now lawful once again. Many people became interested in the issues at stake. Letters to the editors of the APP from ministers, priests and even a rabbi encouraged support for the Sunday rules. It was said that 90% of Ocean Grovers wanted the ban to continue.

In 1979, the Celmer case was appealed again and went to the New Jersey Supreme Court. This time the composition of the court was different compared to the 1977 case.

On June 21, 1979, the situation in Ocean Grove was changed forever. The court voted 7-0 and said, “The 1870 charter is unconstitutional and of no force and effect.”   The ruling stated, “The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association of the United Methodist Church can be delegated neither the power to manage public highways or other public property, the power to make laws, nor the power to enforce Board rules through establishment of a police department and municipal court. These functions must hence forth be exercised by the governing body of Neptune Township, of which Ocean Grove forms a part.”

The court expressed its admiration for the CMA and its goals in Ocean Grove. The ruling said, “This way of life need not be abandoned on account of today’s decision. The Association may continue to adopt rules which it deems necessary to protect Ocean Grove’s unique cultural and spiritual characteristics. The inhabitants of Ocean Grove and indeed all others who so choose, remain free to voluntarily abide by those rules.”

Rev. Harold Flood, President of the CMA, said on June 28, 1979, in the Ocean Grove Record, that the CMA ordinances were no longer enforceable. He referred to the “former ban on Sunday driving and parking” and he asked that Ocean Grovers cooperate. He said, “The best we can do is to obey the law, and the law says our gates are open.”  The CMA Board then voted to take down the chains permanently.

But in the Asbury Park Press, Rev. Flood was quoted as saying that the parking ban would continue, because it is enforced as a Neptune ordinance approved by the State.  So the CMA, in collaboration with Neptune Township, tried to continue the Sunday ban by disguising it as a parking ordinance. The plan was to keep the “gates” open, but have the Neptune Police enforce the Sunday parking ordinance.*

That strategy would not work, because a group of Ocean Grove citizens, led by Mr. Joseph Krimko (subsequently the Mayor of Neptune Township) and Mr. Art Liotti, raised money and sued on the grounds that the Neptune ordinance was illegal. The case was decided in appellate court, and the ordinance was thrown out “three zip” as Mr. Krimko described it, in a recent interview with Blogfinger. When asked why he and his colleagues brought the suit, he said, “It was the right thing to do.”

So the chains came down permanently, and Ocean Grove did not fall into the sea. It did not wind up like other religious towns, including Ocean Grove, Australia, which was founded by the same Rev. Osborn who founded Ocean Grove, New Jersey. The Australian town no longer attracts Methodists. It is now a magnet for surfers.

Today, in Ocean Grove, New Jersey, some people still come because they love the spirituality of the town. It still is a traditional place, especially on Sunday, and the Camp Meeting Association continues its religious mission with great vigor. The CMA activities, the Victorian architecture and the town’s history all add to that special “flavor” which is still present and which suggests a place from 100 years ago.

The entrance to OG is now largely a symbol of freedom as seen in this photograph of Dec. 2017. Paul Goldfinger photo ©.


Changing demographics have contributed considerable diversity and a secular tone which add zest to the mix.  Now  (2020), in the town’s 151  year, it remains a one-of-a-kind special place to live in and visit, with elements of both the old and the new complementing each other.


Acknowledgments:  Mr. Ted Bell (Ocean Grove historian and author), Mr. Joseph Krimko  (former Ocean Grove Police officer and Neptune Mayor), Mr. Joseph Bennett (former Neptune Township Clerk), staff at Asbury Park Library and Neptune Township Library, and  “The Other Side of Ocean Grove” by Mr. Ted David.

Historical note:  We had some difficulty establishing the exact date in 1979 or 1980, when the chains came down permanently. The written materials and oral histories were unclear on this point. My best guess would be June 1979, after the Supreme Court ruling, but there were some indications that the chains were up and down a few more times into 1980, before they permanently left town.   —-PG

*Editor’s note: 2018.  Regarding that peculiar collaboration between Neptune Township and the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association in 1980, a collaboration designed to ignore the freedom ruling of the N.J. Supreme Court and constrain the citizens and visitors in OG, it reminds me of the current collaboration of the CMA and the Township regarding  the plan to turn the North End of OG into Asbury Park South—something that is not in the best interest of the citizens of this town.

What else has that partnership accomplished in the past for the “benefit” of those who live here?

That list includes the condoization of the Grove producing over 300 condo units, mostly without parking.  And the latest is the obscene granting of a use variance without justification and outside the NJ land use laws to allow a developer to turn the Aurora Hotel into 4 condominiums in a single family zone.

This arrogant action was delivered by the Neptune Township Zoning Board of Adjustment in 2018, in plain sight, and without any apologies to the citizens of Ocean Grove.

Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.

BROADWAY CAST OF HAMILTON   “Raise a Glass to Freedom—The Story of Tonight”



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It’s easier to fly than to find parking in this town. Sue Gioulis cartoon for Blogfinger.net

Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.

Talk about fake news, the Coaster has created a front page article   (March 2020)  about a parking study which has yet to be done.  According to Don Stine, a Coasterican who writes about the Grove, the CMA’s parking study is “much-anticipated.”  Really?  Who is much anticipating it besides Michael Badger, President of the CMA.  Badger  is using a much-expensive national company, Kimley-Horn to do the study, so we guess that Kimley-Horn is anticipating the study at least as much as the CMA.

And it is likely that any such company with a hyphenated name would be quite expensive. Badger hasn’t revealed how expensive, but the City of Lancaster had this firm do a parking study for $150,000.

So Badger will be having a big bill to pay, so why is he willing to pay it, when a parking study for OG should be done by Neptune, and they budgeted for $8,000?   It looks like the Badger Study will be gold-plated while the Neptune study will be coated with Wesley Lake sludge.   Evidently Badger doesn’t trust the Neptuners to do the job properly, and he seems determined to find parking for those who come to all those CMA events, both current and future.  Otherwise, why spend the money?   The CMA has not been known to concern itself about secular Grovers who actually live in town.

By rights, no study to benefit the Grove should be done by the CMA  since they have their own agenda and are a private organization.

Of course the Neptuners themselves have concerns about parking that don’t seem to  include Grover residents; after all the Township previously rebuked a permit proposal by the HOA Parking Committee, and Mayor Rizzo spit in the eye of the Better Parking Alliance which started out to help the residents of our town and wound up as a tool of Neptune, trying to solve the problems of everyone and anyone besides those of us who actually live here.

The Coaster quotes the new Neptune Mayor Robert Lane, Jr.. who said, “The study is a great thing that will look at all aspects of parking in Ocean Grove.”  How can the Mayor say that when the study is not done, and he has no control over its objectives and methods?

Do you believe that Lane thinks that the “study is a great thing?”  You think he is OK with the CMA elbowing him and his Committee out of the way in shaping public policy?   Badger can do as he pleases with the CMA, but he has no power in implementing a parking plan for the Grove, so why does Badger think he should spend the money?

Stine reports that  Kimley-Horn “has met with OGCMA members to confirm the goals of the parking study….”  How many OGCMA “members” actually live in OG?  Why are those “members” the ones for K-H to interview?

Golly, do you think that those “goals” will include an effort to help the residents of the Grove who suffer the most when mega-events frequently flood our town with cars ?  Badger says that “I am really hopeful we can find ways to make parking better for the people of Ocean Grove.”  But who are those “people of Ocean Grove” whom he wants to help?  Our town has a number of discrete factions, each with its own concerns, including the largest group—the residents who live here.

The Coaster tells us that the CMA has issued a press release.  So why didn’t Blogfinger get a copy?  In it, they say that Kimley-Horn will begin to meet with “stakeholders” who will be interviewed regarding “the current parking conditions in OG.”  These stakeholders include the Chamber of Commercials, the HOA Groaners,  “and Neptune residents including members of the Better Parking Alliance    (BPA.”)

Who is representing the residents of OG when these interviews occur?  Certainly not the dopey HOA whose idea of Grovarian public service is to have meetings about climate change, nonexistent antisemitism, and OG history.

So now, the BPA is being lumped in the category of “Neptune residents.”  That is an ignominious end for the BPA which so far has not earned the adjective “better.” And notice how the CMA has inserted the Neptuners into our problem. After all, what kind of “fair” solution would we have in the Grove  without providing special parking for Neptuners to come to the beach?

Editor’s note:   Any effort to make parking better for all by increasing the number of parking spaces is wasting time because all they can do is  redistribute the existing inadequate number of spaces.  As Blogfinger has said in the past, the only solution is to reduce the demand, for example by limiting the number of big events in town such as the Giant Flea Market and Bridgefest among others.

And any plan must play favorites among all who drive into town. But the one faction which overwhelms all of us in season is the Camp Meeting Association, and they are increasing the number of their religious based events.   Did you ever take their summer booklet and count the events—there are hundreds each season.

It will be fascinating to see the result of the CMA parking study, if they release it.  Meanwhile it will be every man, woman and undetermined gender for themselves.


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