Windows at the top reaches of the Tabernacle. All photos by Paul Goldfinger ©

Windows at the top reaches of the Tabernacle. All photos by Paul Goldfinger © Click on all photographs to enlarge them.

By Paul Goldfinger MD, Editor @Blogfinger.net   Re-posted from June, 2014.

The Bishop Janes Tabernacle is the oldest permanent structure in Ocean Grove, build in 1877.  It is an airy, open building consisting basically of one room and  a center section on top where  a sweep of windows allows light to stream in from above  and illuminate the seating below–symbolic perhaps, or very practical, or both.

Light and breezes come inside. ©

Light and breezes come inside. ©

Ted Bell, Ocean Grove historian and author, showed us the 19th century ventilation system which keeps the place cool.  Downstairs there is a ring of large doors and windows.   The latter open in a curious way, but there is a purpose to the design. The window aims the warm breezes upward where they can stream through the top  row of windows.

Ted Bell shows how the lower level windows open. ©

Ted Bell shows how the lower level windows open. ©

Outside, the light trickles and flows through the trees to hit the Tabernacle and creates moving patterns on its outside walls and illumination for the prayer books inside.

outside one


BACH:  Double concerto in D minor for 2 violins and strings.  With Yehudi Menuhin, Alberto Lysy, and Camerata Lysy Gstaad.


—- Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger

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Julia Jackson, 1862. She was Julia Cameron's neice and her favorite subject. Julia J. was also the mother of writer Virginia Woolf.

Portrait of Julia Jackson, 1862. She was Julia Cameron’s niece and her favorite subject. Julia Jackson was also the mother of writer Virginia Woolf.  From Photograph magazine.  Dec. 2016.

By Paul Goldfinger, Photography Editor @Blogfinger.

The Met in New York had this to say about our guest photographer :  “One of the greatest portraitists in the history of photography, Julia Margaret Cameron (1815–1879) blended an unorthodox technique, a deeply spiritual sensibility, and a Pre- Raphaelite–inflected aesthetic to create a gallery of vivid portraits and a mirror of the Victorian soul…”

I wish I had written that sentence.

Julia Margaret Cameron was British, but she spent much of her life in India and Ceylon.  She worked with a technically difficult technique that involved harsh chemicals:   albumin printing from wet collodion negatives.  Some exotic artists today enjoy  using methods like this, but they must be really dedicated.

In her time, Cameron was criticized by other photographers because of her artsy soft-focus results, but painters were more likely to  appreciate her work.    I am a big fan of those 19th- early 20th  century impressionistic photographers.

Cameron’s work is currently being shown at the Cleveland Museum of Art until Feb. 5, 2017.  So, if you are traveling for fun and games in Ohio, do stop in Cleveland for this photo exhibit.

MARIAN McPARTLAND, jazz  pianist.  “Our Love is Here to Stay,”  by George and Ira Gershwin.     Speaking of pioneering (British)  women, Marian McPartland   (1918-2013) was a “trailblazing” jazz star at a time when there were few women in jazz.  She was a composer and the founder of a record label.  From 1978-2011, she was known for her famous radio show “Piano Jazz” on NPR.   I used to listen to her play and  interview musicians. Marian performed all over the world, and she was still composing as she approached age 90.

Marion McPartland performs at age 90.

Marian McPartland performs at age 90.

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Ted Bell giving a historic tour in Ocean Grove. Here he demonstrates the size of a finial. Paul Goldfinger photo


Ted Bell, an author, a naturalist, and an Ocean Grove historian died this past week.   An obituary can be found in the Coaster.  Ted will be missed in the Grove.

At Blogfinger we will especially remember his willingness to help us with authoritative information about OG history.  And, at a personal level, we will miss his wonderfully  good-natured sense of humor.

Most recently Ted left his mark by championing the restoration of the historic Fitzgerald Fountain in Founders Park. Many of us saw him there for the dedication.


Here is a link to a Blogfinger article about a Ted Tour from 2015:

Link to Ted talk.


PAUL ROBESON  once performed in the Great Auditorium.  Here is a tribute to Ted: a re-post of our 2016 article about Paul Robeson in the Great Auditorium and a recording of one of the great spirituals that he was famous for.

Paul Robeson in the Great Auditorium



—-Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

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Food Bank on Gladiolus Avenue in Fort Myers, Fla. Paul Goldfinger © March, 2016.

Food Pantry on Gladiolus Avenue in Fort Myers, Fla. Paul Goldfinger © March, 2016.  Re-post from 2016.  Click to enlarge


By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.

Colors do affect emotions.  Designers and marketers are very interested in how colors effect our moods.  There are scientists who specialize in this subject.

So whenever I pass the Food Pantry in Fort Myers, I wonder about the colors. It seems like some thought went into this yellow-green color scheme.

Is this just an attempt to create a cheerful tint for those who go there, sort of like rose-colored glasses?   Or is there a message there having to do with food sustainability or more generally, the environment?

Perhaps the message is, “For those of you who come here, know that we are interested in more than merely filling your bellies”

I don’t know what goes on inside, or what it looks like inside, but the message I see is that the poor people who come for assistance receive more than some canned vegetables.  They probably receive heaping portions of good will, smiles, compassion, and support.

Occasionally I see people there, milling about in small groups, chatting.  So that’s the core answer:  It is a community where people socialize and find hope—-discussing more than just eating.

NATASHA PATAMAPONGS  From An Afternoon with Bob James

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Wegmans Ocean store, April 27, 2019. ©


Paul Goldfinger,  Editor @Blogfinger.net

Yesterday at Wegmans, they were offering samples of their new chocolate chip bagels. I told the bakery supervisor that she will never see me buying one of these travesties of justice. “They are against my religion,” I told her.  I would rather eat cow on a Main Street in Bombay then munch one of these in public at Wegmans.  What would my grandmother think?

This is a form of cultural assassination.  Bagels were brought to this country by Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe after several centuries of baking authentic bagels–mostly in Poland.   Where is the respect?  Can you imagine gefilte fish in an Irish bar?  Or matzoh ball soup at an Italian deli?

The original kinds of bagels from the “old country” were plain, onion, poppy, salt, and sesame.   Later a few other kinds were added and have become “authentic” including “everything,”, garlic, and pumpernickel.  But chocolate chip? Oy vey!

Not authentic: cinnamon raisin , asiago,marco polo, and blueberry.

There are places in New Jersey that  have succeeded to create authentic “Jewish style” bagels such as the Hot Bagel Bakery in Oakhurst.  Here’s our link to that unique eatery:

Hot Bagel bakery

But Wegmans, which has a Kosher department, has really come off the rails with this one. When the rabbi comes to inspect, let’s hope he doesn’t spot the chocolate chip imposter. He would surely plotz  (ie pass out.)

THE BARRY SISTERS:   Jewish  Music from Eastern Europe.  They are singing in Yiddish and English.  The former is known by Yiddish speakers as  “Mamalushin,”  i.e. the “mother tongue.”  

This song is “Tum Balalaika”–a Yiddish folk song. Tum is “play” and balalaika is a Russian stringed instrument.  You may recall it used for “Lara’s Theme” in Dr. Zhivago.

Russian Jews also played the instrument.

And here is the Lara’s theme by the Balalaika Ensemble:  


* “Feh” roughly translates into “Yuck.”

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Asbury Park dog beach. July, 2015. Paul Goldfinger photo. ©

Asbury Park dog beach. July, 2015. Paul Goldfinger photo. ©  Click to enlarge.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net

This image was originally posted on Blogfinger in the summer of 2016. And now, while we are on the subject of revealing bathing suits, let’s take a close look at this photo.

Sure the yellow suit is interesting, but it’s not everything it’s cracked up to be.  No this image also  tells us something about the broad-minded folks in A. Park.

Maybe we can borrow some mojo from the A.Park crowd and let’s nag the CMA until they grow some wider boundaries and offer a dog park or a dog beach in the Grove.  Sure you can take your dog on the beach in the winter, but it is in the prime season that we have huge numbers of dogs–resident and tourist owned.

And here is a musical tribute to the lovely woman in that yellow bathing suit:


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By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger   (Rich and I did this in 2015;  it’s time to open it up again in 2019–just send me a comment and I will add you to the list of lies.)

Rich Lepore of the HUB store in Auditorium Park and I were reminiscing in 2015 about lies that our parents told us when we were kids.   In Yiddish, such bull stories were called “bubbemycins” (trans: old wives’ tales).

So he and I exchanged a few and then Rich suggested we have a Blogfinger bubbemycin event.   Sent us your favorite one or two, and we will wind up with a prize for the most fanciful of lies on the home front.

You can participate using a fake name if you don’t want your parents, living or dead, to punish you. You can offer a few sentences of explanation if needed.

PG: My father hated when I would walk around the house wearing sox. He said, “Don’t do that—it’s against our religion.”   So, although I never became a religious scholar, I did eventually realize that he was “hocking my chinick” (annoying me with nonsense.) But, to this day, I hate walking around in my sox.

Rich: My parents said I would be up all night if I had a cup of coffee in the evening. Later I learned that I could sleep all night after coffee.

Rich: We couldn’t go in the water after eating anything because we could have a fatal cramp and drown. One day I snuck into the water after eating a Twinkie, and I didn’t drown. Now I don’t go into the water at all.

Kathleen Cluba:  This brings back so many memories of my mother who I miss and think of daily. She always used to tell me to eat the crust on my bread as it would give me curly hair. Well, I’m pushing 70 and my hair is still very fine and straight and worn short. OMG, I look like a peach.

Ogrover: So many little ones to choose from like … Lima beans are just green mashed potatoes with the skin on … Keep making that face and it will stay that way … You can’t make a living as a Skee Ball player … oh wait, that one is probably true.

A Little Risqué:     “Don’t ‘make out’ ..you could get pregnant…oops I hope this isn’t too risqué.”

—-Editor’s note:  Risqué—Are you kidding?  Many of our readers will learn something from your comment.  I wish I could find a time machine and send your bubbemycin sample back to the junior girls at Rutherford High School.

Penny:   “Don’t go outside with wet hair, you’ll catch a cold!”

BILLIE HOLIDAY  “It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie.”      (Editor:  Religious scholars will tell you that it is indeed a sin to tell a lie, even though it is not exactly in the 10 commandments.  But there is that pesky commandment about bearing false witness….that’s a lie. )

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Seaside Heights, N.J. Behind the boardwalk. Paul Goldfinger photograph 2018. ©  Click to enlarge.

By Paul Goldfinger Editor @Blogfinger

In high school my friends and I went to Seaside Heights in the summer.  We knew that we could find girls and great music in Jersey Shore bars such as the Chatterbox and the place in my photo above.  But alas, we weren’t old enough.

However, 3 of us had a band, and we played in the Red Rail Restaurant/Bar in Lavalette.  We got a cabaret license to let us play at the Red Rail—but no alcohol for us. It was a very adult clientele who wanted fox trots and jittter-bugs.  They were like our parents.  And there were some folks sitting at the bar staring at us and requesting songs like “Fascination,” a waltz.

No hard-core rock and roll there, and all the girls in their summer clothes were elsewhere.

We had an apartment over a garage, and we sometimes met girls after work at about midnight on the Seaside boards where there were some who couldn’t get into the bars either.  When they heard that we were in a band, we……well, let’s say a little celebrity goes a long way.

Last year, walking our grandson on the boards in Seaside, the sight of this place brought back some of my own American Graffiti moments.




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Carousel in Seaside Heights by Paul Goldfinger ©. Undated. Note the intricate details.



Seaside Heights. By Paul Goldfinger. ©


Wurlitzer music “After the Ball.”


Interview with author Perdita Buchan by Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.net


Perdita Buchan has published books before, both fiction and nonfiction, but this historic novel is special for reasons with local interest including a setting in a town patterned after  Ocean Grove called Riverbeach.  Elements of the story include the Great Auditorium, a huge hurricane, the tent village and the Choir Festival.

Perdita has been interested in carousels for years, and her research allowed her to feature a group of immigrant wood carvers from Italy, Germany, and  Eastern Europe who mostly worked on carousels in America, but in Europe they often carved religious figures for churches and synagogues.

The technical discussions in the book regarding the carvers are fascinating, for example, the interior horses are less intricate than the ones on the outside, and different carvers had specialties such as the ones which carved exotic animals and did their research by going to the zoo and sketching.  Others specialized in painting the horses in great detail, with bright colors.

The book features Giacinto, who came from Italy in 1912.  He became a carousel carver in Philadelphia when those horses were in great demand. His experiences spanned the years of great immigration in America, and his life tells that story of transition and adjustment.

In the novel, Giacinto moves to the Jersey Shore in 1939 where he becomes the caregiver for an 8 year old orphan Gypsy girl.

Most shore towns had such carousels, including Ocean Grove and Asbury Park, but they are gone now.  Their popularity waned after the Great Depression.  There was a resurgence of interest in the 1970’s as folk art.

There has been an effort to find the Asbury horses and bring them home.  The Asbury Carousel House remains, but contains no carousel now.  Now only two Jersey shore towns have authentic carousels, including Seaside Heights and Ocean City.  In Seaside Heights they had two, but only one was hand carved, and that one survives but is not currently on display.

According to the book review by Nelson Johnson, “The Carousel Carver vividly recreates the world of the immigrant carvers—from the inspiration found in fiery horses big cats and children’s laughter to the clatter, sawdust and politics of Philadelphia’s bustling multicultural workshops.”

Shelley Brown, another OG author, reviewed Perdita’s book for Amazon and said, “Readers who admire exceptional writing are bound to admire this book.”  She says , “It is difficult to convey the authentic  humanity of the wonderful characters, and the delicacy of their interactions.”

Perdita will have an “author event’ on September 21, 2019, from 3-4  pm at Booktowne, 171 Main Street, Manasquan, New Jersey.  The book can be purchased at the Comfort Zone in Ocean Grove.

As a resident of Ocean Grove for nearly 20 years, Perdita has enjoyed her historic cottage on the south-side of the Grove.

She wound up here after emigrating from England as a child and then living in Florence, Italy, Vermont , Philadelphia, Massachusetts, and New York City. She has been a writing teacher for many years and she has worked in publishing.

We met over at the Odyssey Coffee Shop on Main Avenue. where she usually goes for good coffee.  She likes the idea of more “culture” in town, so she was thrilled when the Odyssey opened followed by Balzac. In addition to her books, she has written short stories and essays which have appeared in publications such as the New Yorker, House Beautiful, and the New York Times.

Perdita is always writing, and she works at it when she is not entertaining grand children.

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You can’t always get what you want. Paul Goldfinger photograph ©

Just because this agreement is signed by the Mayor and the Redeveloper OGNED  doesn’t mean that the project will ever be completed.  The Redevelopers Agreement for the North End Redevelopment Plan should be subtitled  “Promises, Promises” because it is filled with nothing but those. See Jack Bredin’s report below.

Jack Bredin, Blogfinger reporter/researcher, was present at the September 9, 2019 Committee Meeting when this long delayed document was approved by resolution.


By Jack Bredin, Blogfinger reporter/researcher, September 10, 2019. Ocean Grove, NJ.

At the September 9, 2019 meeting of the Township Committee, a 100+ page report, with attachments and exhibits (Resolution 19-316,) was passed with no dissenters.

It had been written by the Township’s Redevelopment Attorney.  The report attempted to list all of the items that were NOT accomplished over the past 11 years, items that are necessary to start construction at the North End, and a recommendation for the Mayor to sign a “Redevelopment Agreement” with OGNED LLC.

It would have been easier to just say, “Nothing has been accomplished in 11 years.”  This 100 page report is an attempt to “pull the wool over our eyes.”

The only thing that was new in the report was that Mayor Rizzo’s Redevelopment Committee recommended that the Township Committee drop its requirement that the Redeveloper file “financial guarantees” with the Clerk assuring that the project would be completed and on time.

At the 7:00 p.m. Regular Meeting after the 6:00 p.m. Workshop, about 40 residents were present, but OGNED did not attend.  The Camp Meeting Association did attend.  They are the landowner of the 3 acre site and they took notes.   About 6 residents spoke against the resolution, and no one spoke for it.

The OG Home Owners Association is already on the record from day one, 2008, supporting the North End Redevelopment project.

All residents with questions were told, “You can ask that question at a Planning Board meeting.”

Because Mayor Rizzo is the Class 1 member of the Planning Board, she should be able to answer all questions regarding the North End Redevelopment, but she appointed Dr. Michael Brantley as the Class 1 member of the Planning Board in her place, and he voted in 2008 that the redeveloper “shall” be required to post “financial guarantees.” And last night he voted, “The redeveloper ‘may’ post financial  guarantees, to assure the successful completion of the project.”

This change of one word from “shall” to “may” is a financial benefit to the Redeveloper that other developers do not get, and could be detrimental to OG residents if OGNED LLC goes bankrupt or cannot build an underground parking garage as approved by the Township, and they all voted for it.

Editor’s Note.  Paul Goldfinger @Blogfinger.net.

Why should OGNED have been at the meeting?   That Redeveloper has no interest in what the public thinks. You may recall when OGNED visited the HOA and refused to answer certain questions from the audience.

All these documents will be signed in private, out of the public’s view.

The Agreement raises all sorts of questions that currently are not answered.  The Redeveloper thinks he can complete all the approvals and documents within 14 months, but it likely will take longer than that.  And the actual construction project will probably take at least 5 years.  During that time, there will be major hardships on those who live near the project, and the document promises that those concerns will be assuaged.

Most of us wonder about the underground garage which will be huge.  It will have to be flood-proofed and it will need massive pilings to hold its weight as well as the weight on top of it. None of that information is yet available, and the garage is barely mentioned in the document.

And we also wonder where all the equipment and supplies will be kept during construction.

Here is a partial list of what is promised in this Redevelopers Agreement:

a.  “Any and all required goverment approvals” will be obtained including DEP (Federal and State.)

b. A final site plan with all needed engineering approvals to go to the Planning Board.

c. A  “traffic impact study.”

d. A “project schedule.”

e. “Financials” which “may” be supplied.

f. A “minimization impacts” statement.

g.  A long-term lease agreement between the Camp Meeting Association and the Township/OGNED.  We don’t know if all this has been thoroughly worked out. But in the end, all condo unit owners (51)  will have their own individual ground rent arrangements with the CMA. Other components are also condo units such as the hotel and the retail entities.

h. And much more…..You can read the entire Agreement.  The HOA sent it around a few days ago. Email them. The Neptune web site has not posted it.

So, after years of Blogfinger ‘s wrestling with this damn topic, we find that democracy has lost out to apathy….a failure of the people to participate in the process.  So we at Blogfinger finally agree, “You can’t always get what you want.”  But maybe the citizens of Ocean Grove will eventually get what they need.

ITUANA:  From the soundtrack of “Big Little Lies.”

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