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Guess the City 171: Ghost Town Edition 2

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This isn't a real Guess the Ghost Town because I think it's probably too easy. I wanted to post it though in case anyone was unfamiliar with this town. I'll leave out the name, so feel free to guess.

It was originally developed as a resort for Methodists:
2159gtgtkinda011.jpg

This seems to be the most cherished icon for those who went there when they were younger:
2159gtgtkinda02.jpg

Here it is today:
2159gtgtkinda15.jpg

One of the first hotels:
2159gtgtkinda03.jpg

Here it is today, among the few places still operating in the area:
2159gtgtkinda04.jpg

A rundown hotel:
2159gtgtkinda05.jpg

Another:
2159gtgtkinda06.jpg

Abandoned waterfront casino:
2159gtgtkinda07.jpg

From a different angle:
2159gtgtkinda08.jpg

The developer opted for 100-foot wide roads:
2159gtgtkinda09.jpg

Typical sight:
2159gtgtkinda10.jpg

The once bustling boardwalk:


Ruins of another hotel:
2159gtgtkinda12.jpg

The builder of this eyesore went bankrupt mid-construction:
2159gtgtkinda13.jpg

Another abandoned amusement area:
2159gtgtkinda14.jpg

Speaks for itself:
2159gtgtkinda16.jpg
 
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PlannerGirl said:
Asbury park NJ
I hope you knew that already, because I just removed the name from the first photo. I thought I cleaned it up earlier but apparently didn't. You're too fast!
 

PlannerGirl

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hehe, thats ok i could have googled the film name and figured out where it was shot.
 
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jordanb said:
Googling "Palace Amusements" also works.
Yeah yeah, but c'mon how many rundown seaside resort towns are there? I'm sure someone could have guessed it without cheating.

Oh well. This is my favorite section of the forums, so I just wanted to contribute something.
 

Super Amputee Cat

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Knew it just by looking at the pictures.

BTW, if you're ever at the video store and can't think of a rental, check out City By The Sea with Robert Deniro. It's set in Long Beach, NY but filmed in Asbury Park and they have some good shots of the devastation.
 

JNA

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Story about the the face in Photo #2 and # 3
Tillie lives
Famous face is saved from Palace razing as onlookers cheer

The Asbury Park Press 6/12/04
http://www.app.com/app/story/0,21625,981190,00.html

Tillie, the painted clown with the menacing grin who presided over the city boardwalk for 48 years and who graced publicity stills for rock icon Bruce Springsteen, is saved.

"Tillie became an enduring icon to Springsteen fans when he included references to the Palace in songs, including "4th of July Asbury Park (Sandy)," "Born To Run" and "Tunnel of Love." Tillie also was the backdrop for a publicity photo of Springsteen and the E Street Band and was used by the rock star on promotional items and on the cover of the "Lonesome Day" CD single.

Tillie appeared in John Sayles's movie "Baby It's You," and Robert DeNiro's "City By The Sea." Tillie had a guest-starring role on "The Sopranos" and appeared in "Zippy the Pinhead" comics, according to the Save Tillie group.
 

Cardinal

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What a shame to see such great buildings sitting in ruins. You would think that with its location, architecture, and unique attractions, it would be a great entertainment center.
 

mgk920

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Cardinal said:
What a shame to see such great buildings sitting in ruins. You would think that with its location, architecture, and unique attractions, it would be a great entertainment center.
I didn't even have to wait for the images to load to correctly identify this place. I had it when I saw the description of the half-built building.

I do agree that it seems kind of odd that such a wreck of a resort town can exist so close to such major population centers. I just guess that passing time and changing tastes (and the New Jersey state legislature, with them only licensing gambling casinos to Atlantic City) can have a profound effect on entertainment choices.

Mike
 

Rem

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No wonder it went broke - a casino district for methodists? Should have invited the Catholics along.
 

Gedunker

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mgk920 said:
I I just guess that passing time and changing tastes (and the New Jersey state legislature, with them only licensing gambling casinos to Atlantic City) can have a profound effect on entertainment choices.
Don't even get me started on what casinos have done to Atlantic City's architectural heritage. What a crime!
 

Miko

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Since this is one of my hometowns, I just gotta post.

First, the Asbury Park Casino was not what you're thinking. There was no gambling (Atlantic City is the only NJ town that allows gambling). It was an amusement hall. The name "casino" was a very common Victorian term for 'place of entertainment', and Victorian casinos were usually large halls with room for dancing, concerts, meetings and lectures. I understand that years ago, there was a "rollerdrome" or skating rink in the Casino.

Most of the devastation you're seeing is recent. When I was a kid, in the late 70s/early 80s, the Casino was a thriving arcade with carousel, bumper cars, games, and a funhouse. Palace Amusements, too, was thriving, and featured a Ferris Wheel that was nearly 100 years old. Each car bore the name of a NJ town. The beaches and boardwalks were busy. Families, teenagers, and seniors all came out for a stroll on the boards in the evenings.

Asbury Park had trouble with some race rioting and white flight in the 70s, followed by years of serious drug activity. But the real damage was caused by corrupt city government and idiotic development in the mid-to-late-80s. The concrete monstrosity in one of the pictures was originally intended to be condos associated with a "Michael Jackson Family Theme Park" -- no joke.

I go to the boardwalk still when I visit home, and it's heartbreaking to compare the devastation of today with what was a really fun, busy beach resort only 20 years ago.

Before we get out the Kleenex though, it's important to note that Asbury is on the upswing again. As another post noted, it would be pretty impossible for a beautiful stretch of public beach in a Victorian waterfront town in the wealthiest county in the wealthiest state in the country to continue going downhill. BIg money is hovering over Asbury right now. There are already a lot of people who have moved in and started re-floating the town commercially with small businesses.

What I find sad, though, is that the very historic waterfront structures are not going to be preserved in their present state. I am particularly sad about the loss of the Palace, which is being torn down as I write. Despite heroic efforts toward preservation, the state allowed developers to destroy this one-of-a-kind example of seaside resort architecture and design. They've missed an opportunity to ensure that Asbury remains truly unique. Without distinctive landmarks like the Palace, Asbury will look like just another Shore town with ostentatious condos.

For some very interesting information, Google the website of "Save Tillie", the Palace Preservation Campaign.
 

boilerplater

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I, too enjoyed those amusements when I was a kid, not that long ago. They had indoor rides at Palace amusements...I remember the ferris wheel in another building nearby. A few years ago I peered through the dusty windows to find no trace of it. A teenage boy in sock feet was walking in circles on the splintering boardwalk. An old man was in a shouting match with a mother with two toddlers over her parenting skills. Other than that the boardwalk was desolate, on a June saturday. The town has become a dumping ground for the county's mentally ill and indigent. The Stone Pony still gets some cool acts sometimes, and Springsteen has his annual Christmas concert at the convention center. Those seem to be the only events which attract crowds anymore.

You know, unless you go to the remotest corners of some of the oceanfront state parks, this is the only place on the Jersey shore where you could find some solitude. Its a place to go when you're seeking an "Ozymandias" kind of mood.

"Beyond the Palace Hemi-powered drones scream down the boulevard"
-Born to Run, Springsteen

Today the boulevard hosts little traffic.
 

Miko

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I read today that Madame Marie just repainted the beautiful sign on her shop and reopened...after 8 years (!).

That's gotta be a good sign.

There was also a story about the renaissance in Coastal Living this month.

Things are about to change in AP.

(Nive avatar, by the way, boilerplater -- when I saw it I just knew you had an NJ connection!)
 

boilerplater

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(Nive avatar, by the way, boilerplater -- when I saw it I just knew you had an NJ connection!)
Yeah, born and raised! We'll have to go for slurpees sometime. So 7-11s really remind you of NJ? There are so damn many of them here, but Wawa and Quick check seem to be outcompeting them.
 

JNA

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boilerplater said:
Yeah, born and raised!
Where does/did your family live?

Growing up I lived in Westfield, and Haven Beach.
 

boilerplater

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JNA said:
Where does/did your family live?

Growing up I lived in Westfield, and Haven Beach.
I thought the "Rt. 72 Eastbound" was a NJ location. When I was 18 I crashed a 3-wheeler in the Pine Barrens just off Rt. 72, eastbound no less, just east of the RR bridge. One of my more unique experiences was fighting a forest fire in the pines, protecting the ramshackle houses of "pineys". Odd little subculture there of people who live in the woods, some of them descendants of Tories who fled there when they realized the British were losing the war. Ever read John McPhee's book about the Pine Barrens?

My Dad lived in Westfield and Elizabeth when he was young. I was born in Boonton, grew up mostly in Willingboro in Burlington County (NJ's Levittown!) and my Mom still lives there. I reside in Trenton now, but am considering moving out of state, for a variety of reasons, among them a desire to experience life in another part of the country!
 

tsc

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I actually have a lot of family in Jersey. I lived in Little Silver for 1 year. My mother is from Livingston and my grandparents had a place in Chadwick on the shore. I spent many a summer in Jersey.
 

JNA

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boilerplater said:
I thought the "Rt. 72 Eastbound" was a NJ location.
Yes it is, Eastbound from the Parkway, and even Route 9 to Long Beach Island (LBI)

boilerplater said:
Ever read John McPhee's book about the Pine Barrens?
Yes, and have read his The Control of Nature and many other of his books.
 

Miko

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That John McPhee book is terrific. In fact, I just bought and read a book called "The MEadowlands", by Robert Sullivan, in hopes that it would be as good as "The Pine Barrens". It wasn't. It was interesting, but the author just wasn't equal to the topic.

I grew up in Red Bank and still visit NJ often. My parents are still there. Yeah, 7-11s are thin on the ground in other parts of the country. Hanging out at the Sev's was a ritual in high school...

I hope your Mom was OK during the flooding last week. The summer camp that I worked at for 8 years is in Medford; it was very badly damaged, although they got the kids out safely.

I love New Jersey, in general. I used to spend a lot of time sticking up for the state and trying to change its image among outlanders. At this point though, NJ is so damn popular that I have decided it's crowded enough. I'm not going to promote it to anyone else! Let'em think it's a sinkhole of filth -- maybe they'll stay away. The rest of us know the truth.
 

boilerplater

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Hey Miko, was that Camp Ockanickon? I went there for weekedn camping trips with the "Indian Guides". I spent a few summers at Day Camp Worth, near Lumberton, a town shich also experienced severe flooding last week. I thought Camp Ockanickon had been made into a subdivision of luxury homes. They had a huge man-made lake there. It may have had one of the dams that failed. Its a real mess down there. Just today they re-opened a bridge on Rt. 70 that was washed out.

Red Bank is a cool town. Voted "Hippest town in NJ" by NJ monthly or some such mag.

My Mom's place was far from any flooding. Thanks for asking.

Speaking of John McPhee, it is with good reason that critics call him "The World's Best-read bore"! Who else can make geology dramatic?
 

Gedunker

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I get a kick out of the fact that the three Plainfields are each in a different county: can any of my homey's name 'em (without googling, that is?).

I grew up in NP, but have lived mostly in Hoosier country almost 20 years. My sister lived in Margate and taught in AC (very sad indeed that the Knife and Fork is in such trouble). Very sad about AC generally. When we weren't staying with my sister, we used to day trip to Sandy Hook.

Anybody ever hike the Water Gap? Visit Lake Hopatcong and Bertrand's Island?
 

JNA

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Gedunker said:
I get a kick out of the fact that the three Plainfields are each in a different county: can any of my homey's name 'em (without googling, that is?).
North Plainfield, Somerset County
Plainfield, Union County
South Plainfield, Middlesex County

Gedunker said:
Anybody ever hike the Water Gap?
When I was in the Boy Scouts we hiked up to Sunfish Pond and canoed the Delaware River.
 

Gedunker

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JNA said:
North Plainfield, Somerset County
Plainfield, Union County
South Plainfield, Middlesex County


When I was in the Boy Scouts we hiked up to Sunfish Pond and canoed the Delaware River.
Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner! In fact, NP used to be part of Union County, but was annexed to Somerset in the 1870s or thereabouts.
 

jresta

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I grew up in Oceanport, which is 5 miles north of "the Park" and lived for a while in Allenhurst and Bradley Beach. Two cents on all this -

As far as Asbury Park's decline - it wasn't alone. Every town from Sea Bright to Seaside Heights took a hit (some more than others of course) when the Parkway opened and again when it was widened south of the Asbury tolls. The riots were a problem as was the white flight but i wouldn't go so far as to say the riots caused the white flight. The northeast section of the city has always been white and still is. The southeast section was home to downtown, a lot of old hotels, B&B's, summer houses, etc. The northwest was mostly italian and the southwest has always been black. The italians (some of my dad's family among them) started moving out of Asbury Park in the late 60's early 70's as they were gaining that middle class status. They all moved across the lake to the Wanamassa or Wayside sections of Ocean Twp. or out to Shark River Hills or the rest of Neptune Twp.

When the tourism market was taking a beating in late 70's and early 80's all of those hotel owners in the southeast jumped at the chance to convert their hotels and houses into SRO's to handle all of the patients when the mental health services were privatized. This had a lot to do with hastening the demise of downtown. Downtown and the train station were then surrounded by projects and boarding houses in Asbury Park and Ocean Grove.

When describing residents of Ocean Grove it always went "half-deads, crazyheads, or newlyweds" meaning that anyone who lived there was either way past retirement, had a mental disability, or was too equity poor to buy in any other beach town. The gay community started moving to Ocean Grove in the 80's - and their clubs and bars were across the lake in Asbury. It's really only in the last 5 years that i've been aware of Asbury proper being "the place" to buy in Monmouth Co.

Asbury is on the serious upswing, as in, it's too late to get in on a planner's salary. The Boardwalk area is really the only part that still looks like a ghost town. A lot of that is because the parcels are extremely large and the construction is tied up in the state beauracracy. As far as i know a few hundred condos are going up (albeit in the northeast section) just north of the Berkeley-Carteret. New lofts, restaurants and shops are going up all over downtown and the rehabs i've seen in the last 4 years north of downtown and east of Main St. are nothing short of amazing. Even on the "west side" of the tracks you can't touch anything over 1,000 sq. ft. for under $200k. It looks to me like the crime and drugs are being pushed south and west into Neptune Township.
 
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