Helen Demby of Bayonne, NJ 1945. Posing with Martin Litinger her grandson and my cousin. From the Goldfinger family album.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.

Helen Demby (my grandmother)  came to the United States after being persecuted as a Jew in Poland.  She came around 1915 with my grandfather, a few kids and then more children born here (total 9 including my mother.)  She had 3 daughters and 6 sons.  I have her citizenship papers.

My grandfather Chaim was a tailor (he sewed uniforms for the Czar). They lived in a row house on the Boulevard in Bayonne NJ with one bathroom, a tiny kitchen, and a few bedrooms.  4 sons served in WWII, and this photo was obtained by the family photographer Jean Litinger (my aunt.)  Marty was being welcomed home after serving with the Coast Guard on  a ship in convoys traveling  the North Atlantic with supplies for England and Russia. He told me that he stood on deck during horrid storms when the bow would rise up high into the air along with the waves.

The East European Jews  (Ashkenazi) spoke a language specific to their group called Yiddish. It was a blend of Hebrew, English, German and a few other languages. Yiddish matured into a vehicle for music, literature and everyday conversation.  The family spoke Yiddish in the house, but everywhere else  they all spoke perfect English unless they met a “landsman” on the street.

Grandma Helen was a sweet, kind woman. My mother was the songstress in the family, so we had lots of  Yiddish and American music.

Yiddish music can be very sentimental.  This song “Mamaleh” is a tribute to mothers.  It is sung by Yaacov Shapiro and is very beautiful:


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“The All Blacks” rugby team by Peter Bush of New Zealand. From Photograph Magazine.


Peter Bush

By Paul Goldfinger, multi-media editor @Blogfinger.

Peter Bush, of New Zealand, is a most unusual professional photographer having spent his entire career photographing one sport and one team, the All Blacks, a legendary rugby team.  His photographs, taken on and off the field document a sport that makes our professional football teams appear puny.

He is now 88 years old.  Most of his work was done in black and white, a style that is so dramatic and full of emotion, that his own color work is ordinary by comparison.  I know nothing about rugby, a sport that barely has made a showing in the US, but Bush’s images speak for themselves in all their powerful grandeur.

A gallery showing of Bush’s All Black work is now in progress at Anastasia Photo. 143 Ludlow Street, NYC.  9/19-11/23/19






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Who can we trust to do what’s best for Ocean Grove?   Paul Goldfinger photograph. 2018 ©.

By Paul Goldfinger, MD, Editor @Blogfinger.

On October 10, 2019. The Neptune Township Committee passed ordinance 19-34. Below is the “explanatory statement:”

This ordinance authorizes the execution of a Public Access Easement Agreement with OG North End Development, LLC to set forth the terms and conditions for public access to open space, such as the waterfront promenade, pedestrian plaza and view corridors within the North End Redevelopment Project.” 

It also includes Wesley Lake which is mentioned elsewhere.

So, OGNED is granting Neptune Township an easement, but because the project is a public Redevelopment plan, Neptune has to pass that easement granted to itself.

You can read the entire ordinance, including the Public Access Easement Agreement by going to the Neptune web site and click on minutes and agendas.  (Neptunetownship.org)

The easement is ostensibly designed to allow the developer OGNED  (who is leasing the land from the CMA)  to make sure there are places where the public can go  (see Attachment A in the document.)  But what is not stressed is that there are some exceptions.  You may recall that one of the two buildings which will be built will be against the boardwalk and consists of a “boutique hotel”and “condominiums and “retail.”

They plan an area called the “Pedestrian Plaza” which is spelled out in their “Open Space Plan.”  The Plaza is “an area in front of the grand entryway to the Hotel, running south from the Hotel entryway to Spray Avenue for the purposes of providing the public with certain open air gathering space.”

Regarding the “Waterfront  Promenade”, ie Lake Avenue (called Beach Avenue by some) and Wesley Lake, it will be “dedicated public open space to which the public shall have continuous, uninterrupted access twenty four hours per, every day.”   But the other “Public Access Areas” may be closed during (up to ) dusk to dawn daily.

And  the “Pedestrian Plaza” access may not be treated like the other “public” areas;  its access may be limited, and the Hotel can “impose reasonable restrictions upon public access.”   Also, the Hotel may elect to “close the Pedestrian Plaza to the public on occasion for certain periods of time for purposes of hosting private events, such as, by way of example, weddings”

And there is more:  Although they say that the public will be granted “regular  and meaningful” access to the “Pedestrian Plaza” during the off-season (Fall, Winter an Spring,) it seems that they can (or will)  close it to the public during the prime season.

The wording here is confused, but it seems to say, in so many words, that summer is off limits to the public at the Pedestrian Plaza.

Note there are no illustrations that we have seen which show these “public” areas.


BILL FRISELL   From his album When You Wish Upon a Star.



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"The Hand of Man" (1902) by Alfred Stieglitz.

“The Hand of Man” (1902) by Alfred Stieglitz.

Paul Goldfinger, Photography Editor @Blogfinger.

Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946) was born in Hoboken of a German-Jewish immigrant family.   He first trained as an engineer, but later he discovered photography.   After the turn of the century he moved to New York City where he began an illustrious career as a fine art photographer and gallery owner.  He led the photo-secessionist movement which was about promoting photography as a fine art.  He also introduced America to many European impressionist painters.

Stieglitz published the first fine art photography journal called Camera Work which existed from 1903-1917.  All the images in Camera Work were made with an exquisitely beautiful method called photogravure which utilized etched copper plates to make the prints.

Stieglitz had his gallery in New York City. It was called Gallery 291.  Stieglitz was also the husband of the painter Georgia O’Keefe who posed for many nude studies by her spouse.

One of my favorite Stieglitz Camera Work images is a photogravure called “The Hand of Man” taken (see above)  in the the New York Central Railroad Yards.  It is one of only two known train photographs by Stieglitz. I have a copy of the other which is quite similar and is called “In the Central Railroad Yards (1910.)”

In the process of convincing the world that photography was a full-fledged art form, he often gave his images names that may seem somewhat pretentious  such as the title of our featured photograph.  Another of his photographs, a NYC skyline, was called, “The City of Ambition.”

Below are some samples of the kind of critical analyses which are often brought to bear for works titled this way.  Personally I think these sorts of images, as gorgeous as they may be, should not be given titles.  Better to let the viewer form an opinion.

From the Museum of Modern Art in NYC:       “The Hand of Man was first published in January 1903 in the inaugural issue of Camera Work. With this image of a lone locomotive chugging through the train yards of Long Island City, Stieglitz showed that a gritty urban landscape could have an atmospheric beauty and a symbolic value as potent as those of an unspoiled natural landscape. The title alludes to this modern transformation of the landscape and also perhaps to photography itself as a mechanical process. Stieglitz believed that a camera could be transformed into a tool for creating art when guided by the hand and sensibility of an artist.”

From the Pratt Institute of Art and Design:    “The title serves a dual purpose, both serving as a commentary on the idea of the hand of the photographer and his ability to depict this modern world in such a fashion, but also more figuratively man’s footprint on the landscape and how humans have transformed their surroundings.”

And finally, this is what Alfred Stieglitz himself said about photography as art,  “In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.”

FATS WALLER:  So if art appreciation is about the pursuit of reality, here is  Fats Waller with:  “Until the Real Thing Comes Along.”


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It’s sometimes hard to explain a joke or a cartoon. Oftentimes the New Yorker cartoons are just plain funny, but other times they exhibit  satire or sarcasm,  or just another way to look at the world.


Bob Bridte is the winner.  I love his analysis (below.)  I suspect he is from NYC where parents as in the cartoon try to find creative ways to protect their kids. But those who know New York know how brave and smart those city kids can be.


“A daughter is growing up, but the parents still worry about her being out and about alone…so they prefer her to be accompanied when out on the streets….so here we see her, walking, perhaps singing to herself, and the parents have implemented full ‘accompaniment’ with a quartet walking behind her. She is now ‘accompanied’! It’s a tall order, so they question if they need do it much longer….”


I was attracted to the imagery of the cartoon. You can imagine this school girl walking happily with a quartet behind her.  It is a parental wish fulfilled when a child’s world is propelled by music.

I was reminded of the line from the poem    “…with rings on her fingers and bells on her toes, she shall have music wherever she goes.”*  Would it be that she could have music her whole life.   —–Paul @Blogfinger.

We will put Bob in contact with Jack Spratt  (aka Jack Bredin) for the prize.


*From an English poem:

Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross,
To see a fine lady upon a white horse;
Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,
And she shall have music wherever she goes.[2]


Mary Ann Campbell:



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Pine Barrens in New Jersey. 2013. Paul Goldfinger photo. © Pine Barrens in New Jersey. During the Cranberry Festival.  2013. Paul Goldfinger photo. ©   Click on photo.  Re-post BF.


2018 Chatsworth Festival. Kettle Korn.  Paul Goldfinger photo. ©


On  October, 19 and 20, the 36th annual Chatsworth Cranberry Festival will be held in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey.  Check the web site and mark your calendar.  It’s fun!   It runs on Saturday and Sunday, but we suggest Sunday morning before the crowds show up.  It opens at 9 am.

There are a wide variety of edibles made with cranberries, but also arts and crafts, and plenty of local color. There is a huge section with stuff for dogs. And there is a food truck section with tables, bathrooms, and live country music accompanying the munching.

Spend an hour or two, buy some cranberries  (to use with Eileen’s recipe) and then hit the road.


By Eileen @Blogfinger.net


By Eileen and Paul Goldfinger @Blogfinger.net

Set your gps to Chatsworth, and as you come into town, get near to the congested center and park in one of the lots, such as the Pinewood Antlers Club on the left. Then it’s a short walk to the Festival, and the exit is easy when you leave.

Recipe for homemade cranberry sauce by by Eileen Goldfinger, Food Editor @Blogfinger.   She uses berries purchased at the festival and frozen until needed, as for Thanksgiving.  Wegmans also carries fresh cranberries around Thanksgiving time.  Eileen usually shares a 7 pound box with her sister Hope who comes every year for our annual visit to Appalachia in the Garden State.

1 cup of water

1 cup sugar

2 cups fresh cranberries

1 orange, peeled and diced

1 tablespoon orange zest

1/8 cup Grand Marnier (optional)



Mix sugar and water in a medium sauce pan.

Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar.

Add cranberries and bring to a boil; then reduce the heat and gently boil for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat.

Cool to room temperature.

Add diced orange and zest and Grand Marnier.


Makes approx. 2 cups of cranberry sauce. In general, if used as a condiment, it will serve about 4 people.




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8:30 am. Vicky Redfern of Harrisburg, Pa. surveys the empty Ocean Grove beach.

8:30 am. Vicky Redfern of Harrisburg, Pa. surveys the empty Ocean Grove beach.   Click images to enlarge. Re-post from the autumn of 2013.

Bikers whiz by an empty Ocean Pathway Paul Goldfinger photo Sept 4 8:30 am ©

Bikers whiz by an empty Ocean Pathway
Paul Goldfinger photo Sept 4, 2013,  8:30 am ©


By Paul Goldfinger,  Editor @Blogfinger.net


On a beautiful September 4 morning, there were just a few scattered walkers, joggers, bikers and dogs tugging on leashes.   The beach was totally empty.  Lifeguard stands were standing together in a bunch.

Vicky Redfern is in town to sign papers for her new OG year-round home.  She was wondering if there is anything to do here in the winter.  Anybody want to comment on that?     There are 12 comments below which are of interest.

My suggestion would be to take tango lessons.  Here’s Gato Barbieri from “The Last Tango in Paris:”

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Postcard. Gates were opened permanently in 1980.

Postcard. Gates were opened permanently in 1980.

This sign hangs in the Historical Society museum on Pitman Ave.

This sign hangs in the Historical Society museum on Pitman Ave.  Blogfinger photo.

A ruling by the NJ Supreme Court in 1979 declared this and other blue laws to be unconstitutional as administered by the Camp Meeting Association.  The official governance turnover to Neptune Township took place in 1980 after the US Supreme Court refused to hear the case.

As you can see, the “gates” were not actually gates.   There was a chain.  The police officer was an Ocean Grove policeman.  Now you can even get a bus in OG  on Sunday into New York City.



Paul Goldfinger, Editor  @Blogfinger.   (this post is from 2014, but history is always timely, and the comments with this post are very stimulating.)   If you have any comments now, please send them by email or by using the comments button below.

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New marina construction: floating docks, bulkheads June 9, 2013

New Shark River Municipal Marina construction: floating docks, June 9, 2013

New bulkheads, docking posts, water and electric almost complete

New bulkheads, docking posts, water and electric almost complete. Blogfinger photos.


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.  This topic came to the surface after Sandy, but it was relevant before then and is relevant today.  Read it now in 2019 and you will see the similarities between Sandy and now.    Neptune Township has not changed its stripes—it takes from Ocean Grove but doesn’t give.

It is a bizarre relationship that should be subject to legal scrutiny, but that doesn’t happen.   We get minimal value for our tax dollars while other parts of town have favorite nation status.  It was unfair then, and it is unfair now, and the 800 pound gorilla in the Township, the OG Camp Meeting Association, is not interested in recognizing this conundrum.  (defined as “A paradoxical, insoluble, or difficult problem; a dilemma.”)


The Fairness Dilemma in Neptune Township: (June, 2013) on Blogfinger.net

There are two similar public recreational places in Neptune Township: The Shark River Municipal Marina and the Ocean Grove Boardwalk. The Marina is owned by Neptune Township, while the OG Boardwalk is owned by the OG Camp Meeting Association. Both places are open to the public and provide public services.

Neptune manages and maintains the Marina, while the CMA does the same for the Boardwalk. Supposedly the Marina is self- sustaining, requiring no taxpayer dollars for its routine functions. The OG Boardwalk receives no taxpayer dollars from Neptune Township either.

But along comes a massive storm called Sandy, and there is destruction in both parts of town. A cleanup ensues after the storm, and Neptune Township borrows a great deal of money and  quickly begins to deal with the mess at Shark River. It sends crews everywhere except the beachfront at Ocean Grove. Its workers do not step beyond the eastern curb of Ocean Avenue.

Marina building after post-Sandy demolition by Neptune Township

Marina building after post-Sandy demolition by Neptune Township

Ocean Grove embarks on a slow cleanup, mostly with the help of volunteers. A remarkable outpouring of support brings help from around the state and other states as well. While the CMA struggles with its oceanfront cleanup, it tries to figure out how to pay the bills for the boardwalk reconstruction. Because of the uncertainty of financing, a phased project is designed. Once FEMA rejects their initial application, they know that the boardwalk will not be done for this coming summer.

In February, 2013, construction work begins at the Marina to replace bulkheads, docks, electric and water systems. The Township is sure it can get funding from FEMA. Their confidence lets them issue bonds while they wait for FEMA to pick up 75-90% of the bill.

Now, June, 2013, expensive floating docks are arriving and being installed at the Marina along South Riverside Drive at the Shark River. There are plans to rebuild the Marina buildings which were demolished. The Marina will be operational this summer; boaters are already enjoying their new dockings. The Riverside Park across the street has already been rebuilt to help lift the spirits of the citizens who live near the river. The final reconstruction of the Municipal Marina will be expensive.

Riverside Park is across the street from the Marina.

Riverside Park is across the street from the Marina. Blogfinger photo June 10, 2013

In Ocean Grove, a part of town which is almost identical in population to Shark River Hills, minimal rebuilding of the boardwalk has occurred—paid for by the OGCMA. There are no  plans to reconstruct the entire middle of the Boardwalk at this time. No FEMA money is approved, and an appeal has been denied.

Not a dime has been paid by Neptune Township for the oceanfront cleanup, nor do they intend to help pay for the boardwalk. They have given some advice and moral support, but evidently, it appears that they are certain that it is not their business. The Mayor says that no money can come from NT because the Boardwalk “is private.” In fact the financial burden for that is all on the CMA, generous donors from outside, and the people of Ocean Grove.

Yet the citizens of both parts of town pay taxes to Neptune and the Federal Government. One part is being helped, but not the other part. The only difference between the two is that the owners are different. But in terms of public service, they are essentially the same. In fact Ocean Grove serves many more people on their Boardwalk than are served at the Marina.

Where is the fairness in that? The people who live by the ocean want access to their public place restored just as those who live along the Shark River do.

OK, the CMA owns the boardwalk, but it is used as a public facility and it has been recognized as such in the past by court rulings. (ref: State Sen. Jeniffer Beck) The CMA has acted in good faith all these years by maintaining the boardwalk so that it is accessible and free to everyone. I bet most of the boardwalkers never wonder who actually owns that wonderful place, and Neptune has not objected in the past to the public services provided by a private group. They were OK with the unique private/public relationship as long as they were getting, but not giving. But now, after the storm destruction, the boardwalk is recognized only as being private. They seem to have forgotten the rest.

Maybe the FEMA bureaucrats see a distinction according to their rules, but to the people of the Grove, it fails the smell test. The situation requires special consideration by Neptune Township because fairness is the American way, and, in our country, rules are often changed in the interest of fairness. Neptune needs to take down the smokescreen, start thinking out of the box, and try harder to find a way to help the taxpaying citizens of Ocean Grove.

2019 update:  A private fund raising effort by the CMA brings in over $1,000,000 (the Together Fund.)  The Township eventually issues bonds to help pay for part of the boardwalk, but that isn’t the same as free money provided by FEMA to the Shark River area.  Eventually FEMA did award some money after appeals, but not enough to rebuild it all in the Grove, and they denied payment to bring back the pier after initially promising  payment.  It took several years to restore the entire boardwalk, one of the slowest beach towns to recover.  Meanwhile, while the CMA had to beg for some FEMA money, parts of Seaside Park were rebuilt twice.

Today, Neptune Township continues to show little interest in its “historic district,” and it refuses to recognize the specific demographic of “OG residents.”

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Jack the cat. Photo by Marylou Shipman.© Nov. 2016.

Jack the cat. Water color painting by Marylou Shipman.© Nov. 2016.

Original post 1/23/17:

From Ocean Grove artist Marylou Shipman. October 6, 2019.

“Hello Paul…Back in November I was taking my daily walk for coffee when I spotted the purr-fect photo-op right outside of Blogfinger headquarters. There, perched atop your beautiful  porch railing, was Jack the cat from Mt. Tabor Way.

“He made my job easy…more than willing to sit while I snapped several shots, trying to get the composition just right for my watercolor painting. This is a rare event, as you can imagine because the typical cat will not hold a pose if he does not want to. Perhaps Jack was waiting patiently for that next big OG news story to come in.”


Editor’s note:  (Paul @Blogfinger)  We are privileged at Blogfinger to be able to exhibit MaryLou Shipman’s series of cat paintings.  Aside from her great technical skill, MaryLou has created a rogues gallery of actual cats who are also Grovers. She observes their personalities and captures their individualities.

As for Jack Sprat, “The Jack Sprat alluded to in this English poem is reputed to be King Charles I (1625-1649) and Henrietta Maria, his Queen (1609-1669).”  (From the history book of nursery rhymes.)

2019 update: MaryLou  is “still going strong.”  In an email to Blogfinger she says, “Jack can usually be found curled up comfortable into a wicker chair cushion on his own porch on Mt. Tabor Way. I consider Jack to be my good luck charm. His painting won “Best in Show” in the 2017 Canterbury Juried Art Exhibition of Rumson, NJ. The painting was also accepted to the 2017 NJ Watercolor Society’s 75th Annual Juried Exhibition and most recently accepted to the 2019 Audubon Artists 77th Annual Exhibition at the Salmagundi Club, New York, NY, October 28-Nov 8. Very exciting!

Congratulations to MaryLou for her well deserved recognition as an artist.  We are posting her latest work separately.  —

Marylou’s cats  remind me of the Broadway show “Cats” where each cast member is unique.

Here is the most famous song from the show Cats:  “Memory”   (not memories). This version is from the original Broadway cast album.


–Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net


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