Posts Tagged ‘Magic moments Saturday night in Ocean Grove’

Downtown Ocean Grove in front of Nagle's. Paul Golfinger photograph ©  Click to enlarge.

Downtown Ocean Grove in front of Nagle’s. Paul Golfinger photograph ©  Click all photos to enlarge.

By Eileen and Paul Goldfinger, Editors @Blogfinger.

We were downtown last night, and there was a live show in front of Nagle’s. That may seem extraordinary, but for Main Avenue in the Grove, it’s business as usual. This is a very special place. A piano is placed in front of the restaurant/ice cream emporium , and tables and chairs are arranged in a rough circle around the “stage.” At the piano is a certain woman who has been performing her summer show for years. Her name is Alla Axelrod  and she sits at the piano, talks to the crowd, makes music and backs up a variety of vocalists who toss her a key and off they go.

Valery belts out a few standards. ©

Valerie belts out a few standards. ©  Click on photo to make it bigger.

Alla does a fine job keeping up with the singers regardless of where the tune  takes them. Even when the singer’s intonation heads south , north, or both, somehow the music still sound good. A sour note? No problem—the audience smiles and claps. It’s musical special sauce which is really about the power to enchant which music brings. Alla Axelrod is having a variety of singers perform with her this night. One is a teenager named Kaitlin, another is Valerie  from Manhattan, and then there is Lucille of Ocean Grove.

A man walked up to Alla. He had a dog and a parrot. If he had wandered into a bar, we could have a good joke. He placed the parrot on her head. Then he placed the parrot on Valerie’s head. Then he, the dog and the parrot moved on. Everybody smiled and laughed. Special sauce again. Last week we spotted a woman on the boardwalk with a parrot—a coincidence? Or magic?   Or is it Hitchcock and the birds?

A lively audience had gathered around, and they enjoyed the show while eating ice cream. The Nagle’s ordering window was constantly in motion, and there were lots of small children with their parents and friends—happy to be outside at night.

Nagle's pick-up window. ©

Nagle’s pick-up window. ©

Heading west on Main Avenue, diners were still eating al fresco at Yvonne’s. At Day’s, the line for their ice cream was long, as usual.

Alfresco at Yvonne's ©

Alfresco at Yvonne’s ©

Ocean Grove on a Saturday night is a unique and  special experience. Besides the downtown scene, over at the Great Auditorium, The Beach Boys are singing a medley of their greatest hits, and you can hear them quite well from the lawn seats or even a couple of blocks away by some of the tents or in the park at New York Avenue. A woman on a bench there is getting some good vibrations, singing with the boys.   You could even hear the audience inside and out singing, “Help help me Rhonda…”

And of course, the special sauce requires a special ingredient which is always present. What? Yes, of course—-the ocean.  Walk a few blocks and visit the ocean at night.  Go on the beach, listen to the music of the night, put your toes in the water, or walk on our new boardwalk. The total effect is a sense of being in a magical place where everyone is enjoying themselves and everyone feels totally comfortable. The children add immeasurably to that sense, and it is all soothed by the music, the twinkling lights in the shops, the porch people, the tent people, the Great Auditorium inside and out, and by the warm ocean breezes.

It seems like everybody is outdoors. There is no honky tonk or irrational noisemaking. Nobody acts weird, and no kids are screaming at each other. Even the dogs don’t bark. Unlike the magical kingdoms of Disney, this feels real, because people actually live here. It is a hometown unlike many others, even those which are at the Jersey Shore. What other town is like this one? Not too many.

Bewitched and bewildered. ©

Bewitched and bewildered. ©

A little girl in a long red t -shirt is standing in front of Nagle’s clutching an ice cream. She seems a little bewildered by all the people, especially in a nighttime setting when she might normally be in bed; and then Mom leans over and scoops her up to safety. Another magical moment in Ocean Grove.




Read Full Post »

Ocean Grove Main Avenue near Nagle's. July 26, 2014. Paul Goldfinger photo ©.

Ocean Grove Main Avenue.  July 26, 2014. Paul Goldfinger photo ©.  Re-post 2016.

I remember the first time I ever visited this town, as if it were just yesterday. My spouse and I had the perfect day at the beach, enjoyed a fantastic dinner al fresco at the Sea Grass, then took a walk to the Boardwalk to smell that ocean breeze, hear those summer night’s crickets at work and then to walk back along the magically lit Main Avenue’s  trees to guide us to the Nagle’s line for an ice cream cone.

While waiting in line, our smiles widened as our spirits were in cloud nine listening to an older man singing songs to music played by a keyboardist, while in front of Nagles. People crowded around in their beach chairs, intently listening and appreciating this special slice of Ocean Grove heaven. We reached the window to retrieve our ice cream, and I made eye contact with the gentleman singing, as he sang to me–we both smiled at each other and I danced to his tune.

It was at that very moment…that soul to soul connected special moment that I blurted out to my spouse — that we were going to move into this town by the Spring.

On the first day of Spring, we bought our home and we continue to live happily ever after in this charming town.

I can’t exactly relive that most perfect simple day again, but we will try to create similar memories like those again and again.


KENNY VANCE and the PLANOTONES soundtrack of Looking For an Echo:


Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: