I took these pictures 5 years and 3 months ago in and around Asbury Park, NJ. I took them with a 35mm and just had the film scanned to CD-ROM for your enjoyment. I posting them now because I’ll inevitably wind up there this summer taking more pictures. I can’t believe how much Asbury has changed for the better since I took these pictures and hopefully you won’t either.
A little context first -
Main St. (shown in the map below as “Monmouth County 15”) is actually the Main St. in 7 separate but contiguous towns. The area from Asbury Ave. south to Wesley Lake is the downtown. The area from Sunset Ave. (and Sunset Lake) north to Deal Lake is North Asbury. The area west of the railroad tracks was always a ghetto. At first it was Italian with a small black population along the southern blocks but as the Italians moved out to the suburbs along Rt. 35 in the 50’s and 60’s black families from the South filled the void.
Downtown – practically mothballed. Again, this was 5 years ago. All of these buildings have somce been converted to lofts.
In between downtown and North Asbury, a few blocks off of the boardwalk are a handful of hotels struggling against the weather.
A little ironic, I think.
This one met the wrecking ball 3 years ago.
This was put up half-assed by a Connecticut developer who tied up a dozen oceanfront blocks in his bankruptcy cases. The only reason he started building anything here was to hold off his creditors. He used the rest of the waterfront as leverage. It had to be torn down because it wasn’t properly footed
Palace Amusements (Bruce Springsteen’s “Tunnel of Love”) you might notice that the clown on the left has no head. The giant neon head that was atop Tillie was the source of much local controversy and has since been carefully preserved and will reappear as part of Asbury’s waterfront redevelopment.
The southern part of the old Carousel house and just behind it the old powerplant.
Looking north up Ocean Ave. from the roof of what used to be a HoJo but is now a Senior Community Center. The squat building in the middle left is the Stone Pony
Looking north on the Boardwalk
The Carousel again. For awhile there used to be a skate park in there that was supposedly run by the local biker gang.
The rest of the Casino behind the Carousel.
More Casino. When it was built the ocean was much further away. Now the waves run right underneath it. As you can see it’s seen more than its fair share of hurricanes and nor’easters.
This is the Victorian (and Methodist) idea of a Casino, mind you, that meant something more like “house of entertainment” rather than “a place to gamble”.
Looking north across Sunset Lake. This part of Asbury Park has always been mostly white and residential.
Looking east on the lake towards Convention Hall.
For Sale signs abound. People cashing in on recently rehabbed houses.
The invasion of the Manhattan gay scene had already begun in earnest. Of course, Asbury has always had a sizeable gay community, most of them just lived on the other side of Wesley Lake in Ocean Grove. The Manhattan couples were buying up the Victorians for summer homes while the Ocean Grove crowd has been mostly people local to Monmouth Co.
a bleak Main St. The real Main St. here is Cookman Ave. that runs through downtown. “Main St.” is also known as State Highway 71.
More Main St.