Click on the word Blogfinger below to hear an unusual rendition of a classic New Orleans show and song.—Paul @Blogfinger; from 2014.


Vaughan's at 4229 Dauphine Street in New Orleans.  Photo: NO Easy Travel Guide. Vaughan’s at 4229 Dauphine Street in New Orleans. Photo: NO Easy Travel Guide.

New Orleans.  By Paul Goldfinger. © New Orleans. By Paul Goldfinger. ©

The fourth and final season of the HBO series Tremé finished last last month.  Tremé, about the people of New Orleans post-Katrina, was a wonderful show.  The New York Times just reviewed Season 4, and the link is below. The main themes included the music and musicians, food, crime, real estate wheelers and dealers, lawyers, cops and Mardi Gras parades and Indians.

Kermit Ruffins is a real life New Orleans musician who appears in the series.   Many of the scenes take place in actual  NO bars, restaurants and music venues.  Vaughan’s is on Dauphine Street, and our selection below was recorded live by Kermit Ruffins at that restaurant. The vocalist is Kermit’s daughter Misha who is studying classical piano at the Southern University of Baton Rouge.

“Do You…

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One of the Wesley Lake footbridges is shown. We thought this topic was sleeping with the polluted fishes. Paul Goldfinger photo. Blogfinger.net


New Jersey Avenue locked bridge at 1:28 am. June 15, 2019. Stephen Goldfinger, Blogfinger.net. © Looking towards Asbury Park.


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net  (Ocean Grove off-shore headquarters)

In a front page piece in the Coaster,  an Asburian noisemaker decides, out of the blue,  to make a fuss about those bridge gate  closures—-again.

In 2013 we did a poll, and over 200 Grovers participated.  77% favored the bridge lock downs.  The main reason was their proven benefit in preventing crime in that part of town.  The idea was implemented in 1995 for the two bridges.   We wrote a two part piece on the subject  in 2013 and received 50 comments, so it was a topic of great interest.   (see posts tomorrow June 15)

Now an Asburian Councilwoman, Eileen Chapman,  has decided to toss this stink bomb over at us again.  Is she running for something and now wants to find an issue?

It seems that all Ocean Grove gets from its “sister city” is grief.   Remember when they refused to support our application for FEMA funds after Sandy.  One of their ridiculous reasons had to do with the bridge closures.  Then there was a request by a Neptune Committeeman to have AP  help us deal with the Asburian invaders  from the north who have turned the Grove into a free parking lot.  They practically threw him out the door.  And as for Wesley Lake pollution?—nobody home!

This time the Coaster makes headline news out of her desire to open the locks. Why?    They must be hard up for copy.  There is no current reason to make a fuss about this now. —just because a bored  AP Committeewoman makes some noise.

This is what Chapman came up with:

a.  The lockings are a “mistake.”

b. “Public bridges belong to the people, not to the city or township, and no one has the right to randomly close it off….”

c. “Neptune may be opening themselves to potential litigation…”

d.   A Grover is quoted:  “I am really more embarrassed by the social message the gates present than anything.  I think it sends the wrong message…..It is an outdated idea and really inconvenient. I don’t think they deter crime.”

e. Randy Bishop is quoted as saying “Some {Grovers} look at the gates as a symbol of past racism and others as helping to address crime and today’s parking issues.”

f;  Barbara Burns, the HOA President says, “There are various opinions about the gates in the community. Some people want them and some people don’t–it is really difficult for the Homeowners Association to take a position,” she said.  She also said “Parking is a big issue now regarding the gates.”

Thanks Barbara for taking a stand on this.  Your indecisiveness is inspirational.


Editor’s note:  On June 15 we will offer two articles written in 2013 on this subject.   These posts give details about the history of the closures, and the second article  (Part 2) offers 50 comments by Grovers.

But if you have anything to say now, (June 2019), please post those comments with this post.  Just click on “Comments” below.    Thanks  Paul @Blogfinger.


CLARAMAE TURNER    Cast of Carousel   (movie score)  Rodgers and Hammerstein:

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South of the site, the boardwalk is shut down, and a gravel path is for passersby on the left. All photos by Blogfinger.net © June 14, 2019. Click on images to make larger.


This shows the new access from the North End lot across the boardwalk (minus boards) and onto the beach. Note the hazmat suits. © Blogfinger.net


Guards physically prevent anyone from stepping onto the work area. © 2 large shovels agitate the toxic piles.  Blogfinger.net



A sign on the fence makes reference to NJ Asbestos Work. Blogfinger.net.


Friday, June 14, 2019. Ocean Grove fire site at the North End:

Two large power shovels are at work moving the debris around and dumping some of it into a dumpster.  Undoubtedly that agitation is sending debris particles and dust into the air.

The boardwalk there is closed, and a cinder path, about 20 yards back, is available for bikers, walkers, runners, strollers to go by, back and forth.

Men in white hazmat suits are milling about on the site, and several guards are preventing anyone from going closer than the boardwalk.  No workers that I could see are wearing masks.

Boards have been removed from the boardwalk, leaving a sandy access path  from the North End dirt lot onto the beach.

There is a sign on the fence which says:   ASBESTOS.  NJ STATE….. (see photo above)

It is likely that the building wreckage does contain asbestos and probably other toxins as well. Why are the Neptune and/or State health authorities not offering warnings as well as instructions for the public?   Should anybody be walking by that site?  Do you want your kids biking over there?   Today was especially windy.

Workers at or near the 9-11 site were wearing respirators, and we all know about the long-term health consequences of that wreckage.

So far it seems that about 40% of the debris has actually been moved elsewhere, although I wasn’t there all day.  I did see two huge dump trucks.  Maybe they will be finished within a few days.   Then we will observe what happens next.

Paul Goldfinger, MD, Editor @Blogfinger.

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Image courtesy of Ted Bell's book "Images of America--Ocean Grove."

Image courtesy of Ted Bell’s book “Images of America–Ocean Grove.”  This 1878 view is of the OG side of Wesley Lake.  Two ferry boats carried people to and fro.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger  Re-post now from April, 2013.

We have reported on a recent north-south clash where the Asbury Park Council would not initially support the Ocean Grove bid for a FEMA appeal to help pay for the Grove’s oceanfront renewal following the Sandy destruction .  Later the Council changed its mind, but some lingering bitterness exists on both sides of the Casino, especially after a councilman called Ocean Grovers “riff raff.”

However, this clash has provided a small opportunity to consider the relationship between the two towns and it provoked some debate by Blogfinger commenters.  The basics are that the two towns are geographically neighbors, but are not “sister cities” in the true sense of the word.  Instead, the two towns are as opposite as you can get. Maybe “complimentary” would be a good adjective, but there is much at stake in this relationship, which we will cover later.

Ocean Grove, founded in 1869 by Methodist ministers from the Holiness movement, developed as a summer religious community.  Asbury Park, founded in 1871, by James A Bradley, named their town after a Methodist bishop, but went on to become a very secular place with a gay community going back to 1950 and a popular summer boardwalk and music scene going back to the turn of the 20th century.

In 1888, James Bradley, recognizing the growing population in AP, entered into an agreement with the OG Camp Meeting Association to provide a way for large numbers of summer visitors to cross Wesley Lake and get to the campgrounds. Up to that point, there were ferries and boats which would carry people back and forth for one cent per ride.

The two towns agreed that two iron bridges would be constructed.  One at the foot of New Jersey Avenue and the other at the foot of Pilgrim Pathway.  Little toll houses at the OG side would collect the one cent toll, and a policeman would be stationed there. AP borrowed $10,000 from the CMA to help build the bridges, and the two communities shared the income.  Interestingly, both sides agreed to post signs that said, “This bridge is private property and is not dedicated to the public.”  The reason for that proviso is unclear. Maybe it is to justify the toll.

Two iron bridges were built in 1888. This is the view of the AP side

Two iron bridges were built in 1888. This is the view from  the AP side. Click left for larger view.    Courtesy Ted Bell.

In 1899, a group of Ocean Grove residents and business owners petitioned the CMA to construct a “drive bridge” across Wesley Lake and Fletcher Lake as a way to help the commercial interests in town drive their wagons back and forth.  The goal was to have these bridges near the ocean.  In retrospect, the CMA saved the day when they would not allow those bridges to be built—for religious reasons.

In 1932, the iron foot bridges were replaced by the two concrete structures that we see today.  The bridges across Wesely Lake have provided a way to get across the water from one town to the other and have benefitted both sides for nearly 125 years.  Asbury Park has especially enjoyed these bridges because their boardwalk scene has been hugely popular for years. In the late 1800’s, about 600,000 people visited AP each summer.  Of course it went into decline for many years and is now making an impressive comeback.

About 15 years ago, a decision was made to lock those bridges on the OG side at midnight each evening as a crime-fighting measure. That is done at midnight by the Neptune Twp. Police Department.   It was a big success in that regard, but some controversy has now  surfaced regarding the continued locking practices.   In Part II we will talk amongst ourselves about this issue.  Stay tuned.

March, 2013 view from the OG side. By Michael Goldfinger. Left click for larger view

March, 2013.  view of Wesley Lake  from the OG side. By Moe Demby, Blogfinger.net. Click for larger view

SOUNDTRACK  “THE BRIDGES OF MONMOUTH COUNTY.”   Oh, sorry, The Bridges of Madison County.  It’s Johnny Hartman whose voice is deeper than the water in Wesley Lake.  Clint Eastwood did a fabulous job with the jazz soundtrack for that movie which starred Clint and Meryl. By the way, Clint and Meryl will be at the Blogfinger Film Festival, so get your tickets.  Here is Johnny with “It Was Almost Like a Song.”  (Is this about Springsteen?)


WAYNE T. BELL  (“TED”)  gave us permission to publish the two top  images from his book , one of the Images of America series, Ocean Grove.  This is a wonderful history of the Grove which everyone who lives here should own.  It is full of terrific photographs, magazine images, postcards, and documents. Ted’s book is still in print and can be purchased on line or at the Historical Society of Ocean Grove for $19.99.  Ted also wrote a similar book with vintage postcards of the Grove—also available at the HSOG.

GIBBONS : History of Ocean Grove  1869-1939

MICHAEL GOLDFINGER, photographer:  Lives in Tampa, but he used to live in the Grove and he visits here often.  (He looks in on his parents in case he has to drive us to the home.)  Michael is a former  staff photographer at the Asbury Park Press.  We have occasionally published his photos on BF  (the family business.)

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New Jersey Ave bridge seen from the OG side. April, 2013. PG photo

New Jersey Ave bridge seen from the OG side. April, 2013. PG photo. Left click for full view.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor  @Blogfinger.  This 2013 piece brought 50 comments. It is worth re-reading.

Every night at midnight, the NTPD locks the gates on the OG side of those two bridges.  At 5:00 a.m. the gates are opened.  This policy has been in effect since 1995 and was initiated by Neptune Township as a method to stop high crime rates on the bridge and on both sides of the bridge. Many of those crimes were happening in the late evening and early morning hours.  The police tried foot patrols, a police substation by the bridge, covert ops and decoys, but despite some arrests, the problems continued.

The top priority for the NTPD was to do the right thing from a public safety perspective.  Soon after the gates/locks idea was implemented, there was, according to NTPD Chief Robert Adams,  a “dramatic impact” on crime in that location, on both sides of the bridges.

The Lock

The Lock

In 1995 some individuals complained about the idea*, especially from the AP side, who viewed the locks as keeping Asbury Park citizens out.   Others said that the purpose of the gates was to prevent criminals from quickly escaping the Grove, but Chief Adams says that cutting off escapes was not the main mechanism.   Instead the benefit came mostly from reducing the number of criminals hanging around in those locations, something that would help both communities.   In recent years, the police have received no complaints about the bridge closures.

Chief Adams says that his department is “constantly re-evaluating”  all its policies .  However, at this time, he believes that the vast number of Grovers support the continued implementation of the bridge closures and he continues to place “public safety” as the main focus for police work in Neptune Township and, specifically, in Ocean Grove.

* Philadelphia Inquirer, Nov 12, 1995  link)  From Jamie of Ocean Grove:      1995 newspaper article link

Editor’s Note:  If you wish to comment on this topic, please tell us which side of the lake you live on.  I think your comments will have more credibility if you do, especially if you say your name, but neither is required.  —Paul


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Washington Post


Paul Goldfinger, MD.  Editor @Blogfinger.net

June 13, 2019.  Ocean Grove, NJ

The OGHOA announced today that there will be a “featured speaker” at their June meeting.

That speaker will be “Bill” Gannon, identified by the Home Groaners as “a member of Ocean Grove North End Development LLC (‘OGNED,’) the redeveloper of the North End.  Bill will update us on the status of the project and OGNED’s plans for the site.”

There is no mention of a Q & A, but presumably he will take questions from the floor.

It’s interesting that the announcement says that he will discuss “OGNED’s plans for the site.”

But surely the HOA President is aware that the Township Committee is in charge of this  “Area in Need of Redevelopment” project.   Did she invite someone from the Township? Why don’t Neptune officials report the details at the meeting?

Is Gannon now the spokesman for the North End Redevelopment Plan?  Where’s he been?  Who appointed him spokesman?


JOE BROWN:  “That’s the Way it Goes”   (by George Harrison)

“There’s a man talking of the promised land
He’ll acquire it with some Krugerrand
Subdivide and deal it out
Feel his clout
He can stoop so low
And that’s the way it goes.”

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Parked on Ocean Avenue: a Florida registered truck. Sign says “Hoboken.com. now leasing apartments and townhouses.” Blogfinger photo. 6/6/19  Click to enlarge.   This company is in the business of renting “affordable housing.”  Is there such a thing on Ocean Avenue in Ocean Grove?  Is this about speculation in short term housing rentals?

Our recent discussions about lifestyles in Ocean Grove have so far failed to consider changing lifestyles.  Those who imagine that Ocean Grove will stay as it was in Victorian times are deluded.  Even our “historic” houses are mostly not truly historic.  Very few “historic districts” are like Williamsburg  (Virginia)

And the CMA, which  is trying to swim upstream and make this town even more religious, will have a tough time with that.  It’s probable that its bullying methods will eventually be fought by those who live here.  Forget about our elected officials who don’t give a damn.

But, the fact is that nothing stays the same, and that will be true of how the housing in OG evolves along with how the demographics evolve.

We don’t know what this truck is doing here, but it stimulates speculation about the rental market in town

Short term rentals are a new reality, and although homeowners and others who live in the Grove may not like it, it’s going to be interesting to see efforts to stop it.

And the way that housing is used reflects changing lifestyles, mores, and beliefs.


–Paul Goldfinger, editor @Blogfinger.net



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Founders’ Park. 6/7/19. Paul Goldfinger photo ©  Click on the image.


Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

Tom Higgins and his two beautiful Bearded Collies were out walking in Founders’ Park  on Friday morning. His Collies are Jax (1 1/2 years old) and Coco (3 1/2 years old.)   Jax is the black and white and Coco is the brown and white.  Tom says, “We’re out every morning at the crack of dawn.”

I was trying to get some photos of Jax and Coco, but these two lovable characters were jumping around as I got my Leica lenses out of the way. Finally we got together for a portrait.

Tom says that Ocean Grove is a dogs’ world, and the popularity of dogs in the Grove is self evident. We agreed that OG needs a dog park or a dog beach.  Unfortunately, neither the Township or the CMA has made that happen.




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This is what Ocean Pathway should look like. Paul Goldfinger photo © Blogfinger.net   Click image to enlarge.


From Liquid Church Instagram




6/3/19  Ocean Grove, NJ



I have never seen neighbors  on the Ocean Pathway as angry as they are now. And, they are concerned that leaders from Liquid Church (LC) say they will be back every weekend.   LC’s website proudly announces that they are branching out into Monmouth County via Ocean Grove.

Residents ask why the Town was ever alerted to this activity as they have been to other events, such as the Flea Market.

Neighbors on the Pathway were appalled to see some seven food trucks (some with neon and offensive signs) blocking off streets and feeding hundreds on he lawn.  The beach was overwhelmed (no badge checkers.) Cars were parked illegally. Piercing, loud noises were broadcast from the Auditorium.

One neighbor went to the service and said there was nothing but loud music and screaming. The neighbors said the entire program was a pitch for members and it sounded like a cult.  There were lots of teens in the group.

By the way, the LC website implies that they welcome LGBTQ which I find ironic given the Camp Meeting’s closed views. (Perhaps Camp Meeting didn’t do their homework or CM is desperate for money, assuming LC is renting facilities.)

Neighbors here don’t care about LC’s mission, they just don’t want them invading our lawns, beach, streets, and facilities which we pay taxes and CM fees to maintain and enjoy.

Another underlying issue—Why was Saturday night entertainment removed in favor of the Liquid Church fiasco?


Sincerely, OG Resident.


TONY BENNETT:  This song supplies the mood that we usually expect in the Grove–especially on a Sunday at the Ocean Pathway.



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June 6, 2019. Paul Goldfinger photo. Blogfinger.net ©  Click to enlarge the piles.






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