Asbury Park

12/15/2014 3 albums Share: , , Album RSS
Asbury Park was "begun" in the late 1800s by a New York industrialist and real estate developer, James A. Bradley. In the resort town's heyday, hotels and restaurants bustled with travelers seeking a fun and relaxing time at the sea shore. Modern knowledge of Asbury Park is mainly due to Bruce Springsteen - his first album "Greetings from Asbury Park", his support of the city, and his songs about the Palace and other attractions.

"But as the 1980s progressed, Asbury Park’s status as a popular resort began to decline. The mayor was trying desperately to find a buyer for the city's once thriving Boardwalk. The amusement circuit’s two vintage carousels were sold and shipped out of state. The jazz and rock clubs were going to seed. Record scouts, once noticeable in the wake of Bruce Springsteen's maiden album, "Greetings From Asbury Park", were hard to spot. Mysteriously set fires continued to claim vacated buildings, and all over the city, huge empty blocks sprouted weeds, broken glass and the detritus of drugs and street sex." - from Asbury Park’s Glory Days: The Story of an American Resort by Helen Pike

Editorial: This paragraph from makes me sick: "Now the 20th century has turned into the 21st, and Asbury Park is experiencing a new renaissance. A delight for architecture buffs, the entire city boasts a rich inventory which includes Queen Anne Victorian, Gothic, Federal Revival, and Moderne structures. Students from the nation's leading schools of architecture have discovered Asbury Park's value as a field laboratory for various theses on historic preservation and urban revitalization. A number of buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. "

The city history skips right over the deterioration, abandonment, neglect, and failed revitalization plans of recent memory. They play up their historic preservation, while tearing down everything.

Of all the places I've been and love, I think Asbury Park is the saddest, most infuriating story of them all. What the planners are doing to the city to try to revitalize it is destroying all the character that the city had. I can understand the implosion of the c-8 building that was left as just a steel skeleton. But demolishing the Palace, and proposing a new one...? Why? Restore the one you have, the one that was on the National Historic Register - don't just save the sign for use in the new one. (Which according to, Asbury Partners have revealed no schedule for the construction of the new building or its plans for reusing these historic artifacts.) Maybe it wouldn't be an amusement park again, turning it into a restaurant was an ok idea in my opinion, or it could have been a museum to what Asbury Park was in it's glory days. The Metropolitan Hotel was the only hotel left from Asbury's glory days. It was being demolished during my visit in 2008. The value of the property alone allowed for a selling price of $4 million (in 2004, my friend and I called the real estate company to inquire on the building). The city is turning into the same old suburban condo shite that is everywhere, surrounded by a ghetto that made me scared to be anywhere in the city at all. So not everyone is interested in the kitch-factor present in some old buildings, but people still flock to Wildwood NJ, which promotes it's 50s doo-wop look to tourists. Asbury should have taken what they had and improved it, only sacrificing the structures that were unsafe and beyond restoration. Create things to do so people go there, don't just turn it into box buildings of overinflated costing condos. My god, it's so frustrating. *end rant*

The Palace was demolished in 2004. In 2007 the back of the Casino was demolished, but the facade saved and preserved, with plans to rebuild it to look like the original, and create a public market. The Carousel house remains and was being used for some kind of farmer's market maybe. The Wonder Bar has resurrected the image of Tillie, but that's all that remains of the Palace. And as I mentioned in my rant, The Metropolitan hotel was being demolished when I visited in 2008. Madame Marie, the fortune teller made famous by Bruce Springsteen in his lyrics, died in 2008 at age 93. Her family still tells fortune's from her booth on the boardwalk. Asbury Park did not suffer as much damage from Hurricane Sandy as other parts of the Jersey Shore and re-opened for the summer in 2013 where many other shore towns did not.



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