September by the Shore: Asbury Park

My last stop on the September at the Shore series is a quick trip to
Asbury Park, NJ. For some unexplainable reason, I’ve developed quite a
crush on this rundown seaside music town.

Earlier this year, on a gorgeous spring day, I was heading south on the
GSP, listening to Springsteen, when I got the urge to check out
Asbury Park, so I skipped the Turnpike and headed straight to exit 102 on the Garden State. I had never been to AP, but
I’d been hearing so much about how it was “making a comeback” that I had to go see for myself.

The Bamboozle Festival was in full swing, so there was lots of activity at
the Convention Center, where Bruce had played the Paramount
to kick off the release of Devils and Dust
just weeks earlier. I wandered the streets near the newly refurbished boardwalk, snapping
photos of the famous
Stone Pony and hollowed out hotels that whisper of summers past. Although
Asbury Park may not be thriving just yet, it is surely alive and kicking. Economic
redevelopment is well underway, and
positive signs of rebirth
continue to appear.

I’m really interested in monitoring the growth that takes place here in the coming years. In the meantime, I’m
studying up on the history of the community, and I’m currently half way through a fascinating book —
4th of July, Asbury
Park, A History of the Promised Land
— the story of the founding of the town as a Methodist retreat in the late
1800’s through the years to present day (2001). I’ll have to do a follow-up post when I finish the book. I’m also going
to try and catch the November premiere of the documentary
Greetings From Asbury Park at the Two River Film
Festival in Monmouth.

Asbury Park has an intriguing and captivating story to tell. It’s an up and coming shore spot to keep your eyes

[Previously: Sea Isle,
Point Pleasant,
Bay Head,
Atlantic City]