Repost from 2015, but still relevant. Paul @Blogfinger


"the Glad to See You" Tower. By Paul Goldfinger © “The Glad to See You” Tower. By Paul Goldfinger © The Casino is in the center of the photo.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

We’ve all walked by that peculiar-looking building on the left side of our photo above, adjacent to the Casino in Asbury Park, at the Ocean Grove North End.

Many of us wondered what that is/was. I’ve never heard a clear explanation until now upon reading a wonderful account, with photos, by Marlo Montanaro, a Jersey Shore photographer, who posted a piece on his blog called “The Monolith of Asbury Park.”

Marlo was able to get information and access inside of that mysterious place. He succinctly refers to it as “the steam power plant,” a name known to many old-timers in this part of the Jersey Shore.

The central tower, seen from the roof. By Marlo Montanaro © The central tower, seen from the roof. By Marlo Montanaro ©

The steam plant was built in 1930 in order to…

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Firemen’s Park. Ocean Grove. August 15, 2017.  Great Paul Goldfinger photo. ©


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

Great Pyrenees are  livestock guardians that originate in France and Spain.  The Pyrenees Mountain range extends east to west between the Iberian Peninsula and the rest of Europe  (between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean.)  This male weighs 110-120 pounds.

His breed is known to be gentle, intelligent,  and protective—–Great Pyrenees are terrific family dogs.  They are so smart that they can order a cappuccino in French or Spanish.

But imagine this great guy bounding into your bed in the morning  (I’m not referring to Kevin Chambers.)

This GP was spotted enjoying a visit to the Grove.  His owner agreed to this photo but did not want to reveal the dog’s name, and don’t try to find him on Facebook.

We have a prize for whoever comes up with a great name for him. And don’t say Englebert Humperdinck—that name is taken.

Note that “Great Pyrenees” is singular and plural, but the American Kennel club uses “Pyrs” for pleural.  I guess the best in breed gets the “Greatest Pyrenees” award.

*Thanks to Kevin Chambers for the headline.

ERNESTO LECUONA    from the album Cuban Originals    “Maria La O”


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Eileen’s chicken stew. Blogfinger photo ©.


By Eileen Goldfinger, Food editor @Blogfinger

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs cut into one inch pieces

1/4 cup searing flour

1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 2 inch strips

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 medium carrots, peeled, cut into small cubes

1 stalk celery, cut into small 1/4 inch pieces

5 ounces crimini or white button mushrooms, 5 ounces, cut mushrooms in half

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

salt to taste

14 ounces canned plum or cherry tomatoes

1 medium onion, cut into small cubes

2/3 cup unsalted chicken broth

1/2 cup red wine

6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

16 ounce package of frozen peas

5 small red or butter potatoes cubed


Using a medium size sauce pan, fill three quarters with water and bring to a boil.  Add the potatoes and cook until they are fork tender. Then pour off water and place the potatoes aside.

Combine flour with black pepper and lightly coat chicken pieces with flour. Heat oil in a 5 quart Dutch oven over medium heat until hot. Brown the chicken in small batches. Remove from pot and set aside on a plate.

Add celery, carrots, onion and garlic to Dutch oven, lower the heat and cook until the vegetables wilt, approximately 10 minutes.

Stir tomatoes, wine, and broth in Dutch oven and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, add chicken and peppers to the pot. Simmer covered for 1 hour. Stir occasionally.

After the one hour make sure the chicken is fork-tender. If not, cook until its is fork tender.

Taste sauce and adjust seasoning ( more pepper and salt if necessary.)  Add mushrooms, peas, and potatoes.  Cook another 15 minutes.

Add some additional chicken broth during the cooking process if the liquid begins to evaporate.


PUCCINI.  “O Mio Babbino Caro.”

Red wine is a must.  We had a Foris Pinot Noir  (2014)  from the Rogue Valley in Oregon—-Wegmans selection.  The bread is a Bastone, a crunchy-crusted Italian loaf from Mario’s in Fort Myers, Florida—by way of Sicily.

Serves 2-3 people

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Blogfinger walking the dog by the New Jersey Avenue bridge in OG on Sunday afternoon 8/12/18. ©  All photos by Paul Goldfinger.  Click to enlarge.


By Paul Goldfinger,  Editor @Blogfinger.net

I was playing “sit” with my son’s dog Pooja when I found out a few things.  First, cute girls will stop and pet a dog with lots of oohs and ahs and “what’s his name?”   “It’s a girl,” said I, but no one wanted to know my name.  (“Is it Mary or Sue?”   as in the song.)   I would have allowed them to pat my head, but no such luck.


Secondly I became distracted by the steady stream of people heading north to “sin city,”    But, to be fair, there were all ages, genders and sizes.  And they all seemed happy  to be heading in that direction, so the “Asbury Connection”  (with OG) seems to be working out.  On a summer Sunday, a walk to A. Park seems to hold great promise for laughter, fun, food, friends and ogling.

Grovers understand this, and so do the Grovarian realtors who are pushing this concept.

And where did they all park?  You know where.

A bridge not too far. Blogfinger photo. 8/12/18 ©


Heading north to the bridge from Asbury Avenue in the Grove.


Bring the kids. It’s not all babes, booze and bon-appetite. 8/12/18 Blogfinger photo


BOB GAUDIO  from Jersey Boys:



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New York Times, July, 2016. Fake news. Photograph by Tony Cenicola NYT.

This is Asbury Park in December 2016. They want to be a year-round attraction, but that goal seems to be a stretch—or is it?  Paul Goldfinger photo of the Asbury Beach near Ocean Grove. ©


A. Park. Sunday 3 pm 8/6/17. Beach and boards very busy. A long line waits for Korean food (MOGO). Cuban music wafts from Cubacan. Blogfinger photo. © Click to see more.


Heading to Asbury on the OG boards. 2018. Paul Goldfinger ©


A. Park near the ocean. Paul Goldfinger ©. 2018


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net.  Re-posted from summer 2017.  This is a topic worth reviewing.

It’s good to keep tabs on the neighbors. The “small city” just north of us is being treated to a media blitz that is designed to promote tourism to our  “sister city” on the other side of the Casino. There is no doubt that the deluge of visitors to Asbury Park is increasing, and we are positioned awfully close to this rapidly expanding and increasingly “in-our-face”  place. The Asburian invasion is real and is causing rising density and parking problems in the  Grove.

What do you Grovers think about the way that Asbury Park is progressing?  What is it adding up to, and how will it affect Ocean Grove? We have spoken about  the AP connection to the Grove and about how these two much different towns could compliment each other.

The photograph top  above was part of a NY Times article extolling the beach community of Asbury Park. The caption says:

“View of the amusement park area of Asbury Park from a rooftop bar at the new Asbury hotel.”   It gives the impression that there are permanent amusements like the ones above, but that was just a temporary carnival.

Over the course of the last year or so, Asbury Park has been named to a variety of “best” lists including being named  #1 as “the coolest small town in America” by Budget Travel Magazine. 

Source: http://us.pressfrom.com/lifestyle/travel/-56239-asbury-park-named-coolest-small-town-in-america/

Travel site Thrillist named AP as among the “25 best beaches in America.”

USA Today said that the Asbury Hotel  was the “best new hotel in America for 2016.”

Thrillist named AP to its list of “the top 13 beach destinations for tourists.”

Travel and Leisure magazine named AP as the “tenth best travel destination in the world.”  It ranked higher than Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Daily Meal named the beach bar by Convention Hall as one of the “top 25 beach bars in America.”  What in the world can you do with bloody Marys and clams on the half shell?

The New York Post said that Asbury Park “had finally made it” as a top tourist attraction in America.  Here is a link to our recent article about what was said at the Post:

NY Post article on Asbury Park

Car rentals.com named AP #14 to its “20 most unique cities to visit in your 20’s.”

NJ.com chose AP as “the top beach in Monmouth County.”

Oh, does Ocean Grove get any respect?  NJ.com made a list of “the best things to do in each of the Jersey Shore’s 47 towns.”  Even Deal is there, a town with nothing to do, but OG? You guessed it; we were AWOL.  But that’s probably a good thing if we want to lower density in the Grove.


VINCE GIORDANO AND THE NIGHTHAWKS   “Darktown Strutters Ball” from HBO’s Boardwalk Empire.  (A show about prohibition bootleggers in Atlantic City.)

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Hibiscus. August 8, 2018. Ocean Grove. Photo by Eileen Goldfinger  © gardening editor @Blogfinger.net

This tropical plant lives in the house for the winter and stays in its pot in our rear garden for the summer.  It likes lots of sun and doesn’t like too much water—keep it a bit on the dry side.


SCOTT McKENZIE from the movie The Graduate.

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Beefsteaks at Matt’s on Rt. 71 in West Belmar. 8/8/18


By Paul Goldfinger and Eileen Goldfinger (food editor @Blogfinger.net)

It’s a bit early for the local Jersey tomatoes to be at their peak. These at Matt’s, large and jumbo, are probably from South Jersey, but Matt has them, and Wegman’s does not.  We wait every year in late August for this agricultural event, and if you search our website  (search bar top right) just type in “tomatoes,”and you will see that we maintain an interest in this wonderful phenomenon.

Just make your favorite sandwich  (eg tuna or cheese) and put a slice of Jersey tomato on it and add a slice of Vidalia onion—make it on a Kaiser roll or some Jewish rye bread  (Wegman’s has all those, and even including onion rolls.)   A little Hellman’s mayo is the finishing touch.

Matt’s Market 2016 BF post

The best route to Matt’s is to take Memorial Drive into Belmar by the marina and turn left onto Rt. 71.   Matt’s is a short distance on that road, on the left side. Parking is a bit tight, but there is a small strip mall next door where you can park.


PERICO HERNANDEZ   “Oye Como Va.”  From the soundtrack of the movie Chef.



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“AURORA” Goddess of the Dawn by Ocean Grove artist Jack Bredin. ©  Click to enlarge.  August, 2018.   Photo of the painting by Rob Bredin.


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

Jack Bredin decided years ago to paint the historic Aurora Hotel.  This year he finally completed the project.  Jack usually begins by photographing his subject, and when he was doing that, he saw a woman watering her lawn near the Aurora.  It turns out that she is the owner of that house, and she gave Jack permission to use her in his painting.  The dog walker also was present on the day of the photographs and he also gave permission.

The historic Angel of Victory statue  is depicted at the lower right corner.  Jack has used the famous statue in other paintings.  Here is a BF link by Kathy Arlt regarding the Angel:

Angel of Victory

Jack works in oil on canvas, and his paintings often contain historic and current references.  For example, Jack always admired the giant American flag hung from the Aurora  at times such as the 4th of July.  But the flag obscured many details, so Jack placed bunting instead.

The vacant North End is readily seen.  Someday much of what Jack shows here will be considered historic   For example, the “White Whale” building near the upper right hand corner, will probably be demolished in the future.  And the glorious views currently available to all at the North End will be blocked by a commercialized OG North End  (aka “South Asbury Park.”)

Wonderful Victorian homes are shown in the foreground, but looming behind, like some prehistoric monster, is a condominium building, the sort of place that mars the views in the Grove.

Jack insists on accuracy in his paintings, while taking some minor liberties.   For example, the girl on the bike is a Heck Avenue neighbor named Jackie.  And the Aurora, the symbol of the Greek Goddess of dawn, will be converted into 4 condos if the out-of-town interlopers get their way,  with the gears greased by the feckless HPC  (def: lacking initiative or strength of character; irresponsible.) and the out-of-town, don’t-give-a crap Committee.

It should be noted that although Jack’s work might stimulate  political discussions, he never mixes art and politics.

You also can see that Jack has frozen the time of his subject by including the 16 story Asbury skyscraper currently going up near the ocean.   You can see the giant crane on top. What effect will that huge building have on life in the Grove?



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Home Groaners meetings.


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

Someone should buy a calendar for the HOA program director.  The HOA scheduled a guest appearance for the President of the OGCMA, Michael Badger, to review all things CMA for a bunch of Grovers on July 28.  But it sounds superfluous since on Labor Day, September 3, the CMA will have its usual end-of-season town meeting in the Tabernacle which will cover most of what was and wasn’t covered at the Groaner’s July 28 meeting.

Thanks to the Coaster, as they wrote down everything that was said at the meeting and crammed it all into a full page article guaranteed to render unconscious the worst insomniacs in town.

But, if you read the Coaster recitation, some interesting information can be found between the lines:

a.  Badger said that he has been asked why the CMA owns the land and why they don’t sell it for a big payday.    He said, “The CMA Board of Trustees owns the land, but we view this as a sacred trust on God’s land.”

So, evidently that sacred trust is the basis for wanting condos, shops and a hotel to be built instead of a park for all to enjoy or  a neighborhood of single family homes. That was the same sort of answer that caused the CMA to refuse to allow a dog park in town.  They said, “It is not compatible with our mission.”

b. Regarding the North End Redevelopment Plan, Nancy Clark of the HOA asked for an update.  According to the Coaster, “Badger said that they are in a waiting period at this time.  The  Camp Meeting  has signed off as the developers for this project, although they will continue to own the land. Permits and NJ DEP Coastal (CAFRA) approvals are being negotiated on at this time.”

He also is quoted as saying, “The developers and the Neptune Township Committee need to get together and review the process.”

Really??  What have they been doing the last 9 years?

And he said, “The North End development plan includes enough parking for those who will live in the single family homes, townhouses, and stay in the hotel planned for that location.”

So, evidently there is no concern about parking for all the car and truck traffic which will come and go into the North End development zone besides those mentioned. And what if some of those resident families have 3 or 4 vehicles?   Will that have a ripple effect throughout town?  You bet!

And do you think it is a coincidence that Badger never uses the word “redevelopment” when discussing the North End?   Instead he says, “Development.”  Does he know nothing about NJ Land Use Law or is this a devious way to make believe that no redevelopment ordinance was ever passed for the North End?

After all, what’s in a word?—-Oh, just the issue of the old single family home zoning or the free-to-be-you-and-me zoning free-for-all that is created in a redevelopment zone.  And it’s about whether the Township is in charge or the secret “developers” group who’s identity he refuses to reveal.

And, here are some issues that he failed to discuss in front of the Groaners and the Coastericans:

a. Ground rents.

b.  Maintenance of parks and curbs and sidewalks

c. The presence of a large community of residents in the Grove.  Does he know that they exist, and what is the CMA’s attitude towards that largely secular group?  Do they give a damn about the lifestyles and problems of those people?

d.  Their opinions and rulings regarding parking and related issues such as their opposition to meters and  permits for residents.  And what are they going to do about parking gridlock when one of their giant events is causing the residents to suffer from Parking Derangement Syndrome.?

And they threatened Neptune with a law suit over parking permits. Is intimidation-by-lawyer one of the group’s values?

e. Why didn’t he address the subject of “blue laws? ”  He mentioned it but failed to talk about it. Is it time to allow a liquor store in town?

f.  Does the beach open on Sunday at noon, or, as he said, at 12:30?  And why do they still insist on closing the beach on Sunday morning?   Is it because they want to leave parking open for their religious services?  C’mon CMA….come clean.

g.   Why did Badger  decide to attack the Airbnb renters as being a major cause of cars coming into town, especially on weekends?   He said, “We have a relatively unregulated weekend housing situation.”

Doesn’t he know that there are many reasons why there are so many cars on weekends?  Does he have any parking data to share with the town?    How about the crowded CMA weekend activities such as Bridgefest and Choir Festival?  Or the parking needs of all the tenters in the summer?

h .  Someone asked if the public would have full access to a future fishing pier if a fishing club building were to be constructed.    He said, “We are trying to maximize the benefit for all.”

Nothing-burger?   (def:  something lame, dead end, a dud, insignificant; especially something with high expectations that turns out to be average or pathetic, or over-hyped.)

At the end, a Neptune PD liaison officer spoke and said, according to the Coaster, “Smoking on the beach/boardwalk are banned in Ocean Grove,” when the signs on the CMA owned  boardwalk only mention the beach?

And how come smoking isn’t banned in CMA run parks other than the beach?  Actually, the  Township ordinance bans smoking on the beach and in public parks.   A number of OG parks are not public;  They are CMA owned  and do not have “no smoking” signs.

Here is a Blogfinger quote from 2015:

“No smoking on the beach. CMA allows smoking in their parks, but they probably made this specific area smoke-free because people pay to get on; they don’t pay to visit the parks, including Auditorium Square Park which, strangely, allows smoking despite the big wooden structure next door.”

So, can boardwalkers smoke on the boardwalk or not?  The NTPD needs to find out and tell us the truth.

And finally, when will the Coasterican reporter actually stand up and ask a question to help clarify and challenge some of these issues?    Or is the Coaster merely a journalistic copy machine and press release duplicator?




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Joy Adase in 2014 when she joined the garden tour. Paul Goldfinger photo ©

Four years ago, Joy and Mike Adase found the OG home of their dreams on Heck Avenue.  They sold their 5 bedroom house in Howell, downsized their stuff, and moved into a historic  (1885)  two-story, 2 bedroom,  1200 square foot Ocean Grove cottage at #97  What-the-Heck Avenue.

Here is a link to an article we posted about the Adases in 2014 when they were newcomers:

New Grover in town. What the heck.

Since they have been here full time, they have been  “in love” with the town of Ocean Grove and with  their unique home.

So this year, the Adases decided to join the house tour, sponsored by the Historical Society of OG, which was held on Friday, August 3, 2018.  During the tour, Mike and Joy got out of the way and visited one of their favorite spots:  New Hope, Pa.

Joy said that it was a lot of work to get her home just right for the tour, but she is happy to “share”  her  home with visitors;  the more, the merrier.  “I feel blessed to live in this beautiful town and in this home,” said Joy. Now that it’s over, she says, “I’m glad we did it.”

Docent Joanne greets visitors on the porch. Note the original metal awning. 8/3/18.  All photographs by Blogfinger.net

There were 8 homes on the tour, and many visitors, mostly women in groups of 2-4, were happily making the rounds.

The house was on display with five docents providing a lively tour.  Joanne, a neighbor, was greeting visitors on the porch. She pointed out the original metal awning overhead, which is rare in the Grove. The original doorbell is rung by twisting a knob.

Docent Mike explains the front parlor. Blogfinger photos © 8/3/18

Inside was another neighbor Mike who says he loves to chat, so being a docent is right up his alley, and this is the third year he is doing it.  He used the joke-of-the-day with every visitor, pointing out the “one butt staircase” heading to the master bedroom.

Visiting the living room. Blogfinger is seen in the mirror photographing.

On the second floor was Colleen, another neighbor.  She repeated the butt joke.  (awright awready with the butt jokes!)

Docent Colleen at the top of the staircase (room enough for one at a time)

Having neighbors conduct the tour offered an extra dimension of enthusiasm  as Colleen allowed visitors to poke their heads into the bathroom.

Of course, the whole house was lovely and spotless.  We met some visitors from out of town including: Pennsylvania, Ramsey and Midland Park.  Visitors to the Grove are well familiar with the exteriors of our homes, but to tour the interiors is quite a special experience especially for house voyeurs.

Docent Marty in the Serenity Garden. Blogfinger photo 8/3/18 ©

Outside was Marty who was enjoying showing the Serenity Garden.  This is another of those OG gardens that are quite special in small spaces.  She pointed out the grape vines growing on the side fence and the popcorn plant along the edge of the house.  Pick a piece and smell it to experience the Jersey Shore popcorn aroma.

The next day Joy relaxed on her porch, sipping from her Christmas cup,  happily reviewing the tour with Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net. 8/4/18




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