|ASBURY PARK, NJ
Founded in 1887, Asbury Park was once one of the Northeast's most popular seaside resorts. In the early 1900s, people who now vacation in the Hamptons would have had their summer homes here. In the early to mid 1900s, Asbury Park was resilient, rebuilding entire sections of the beachfront after surviving devastating fires and hurricanes. Today, this same beachfront has yet to fully recover from a decline that began with race riots in the summer of 1970.
By the 80s and 90s, Asbury Park was better known for corrupt politicians and improper land deals than for summer fun. Downtown, even the Asbury Park Press moved away.
Today, Asbury Park is best known as the place where Bruce Springsteen got his start. Its unique seaside atmosphere has been a backdrop for The Sopranos, Chasing Amy, Dogma, The Wrestler, and acted as a stand-in for Long Beach, NY in the film City by the Sea.
As late as 2000, many of the picturesque structures from Asbury Park's long history remained standing. Though boarded up or falling apart, they gave visitors a hint at her once grand past. One by one, many of these buildings are being torn down to make way for new construction devoid of any of the charm, the appeal or the ability to draw visitors that the buildings they are replacing had.
While the decay of these buildings was sad, the vacant lots and generic buildings that increasingly replace the hotels and amusements that used to welcome visitors are even sadder.
Even though a new boardwalk is in place, and new restaurants and shops have opened, visitors looking to wax nosatalgic about childhoods spent riding the Swan Boats and Ferris Wheel are disappointed to find that even the most basic Jersey shore attractions are now missing. There are no arcades, no skeeball and no rides.
The purpose of this site is to document the history of Asbury Park before the ties with the past are gone. In the sections to the right you will find postcard views from Asbury Park's heyday contrasted with the same view as it was in the mid-2000s, shortly before demolition and today.
With that brief introduction, I invite you to explore Asbury Park.