Asbury Park, New Jersey got its name from 19th century New York brush manufacturer James A. Bradley, who named it after Francis Asbury, the first American bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the U.S. Asbury Park is famous for its boardwalk and for music concerts. The city has nurtured the talents of actors such as Cesar Romero, Danny DeVito and Jack Nicholson and musicians Lenny Welch, Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi.
The 1920’s saw a lot of development in Asbury Park, including this casino. Unfortunately, unlike other buildings that were redeveloped in the past decade, the casino still seems to be just a frame of a building now.
The decline of the prominence of Asbury Park began in the Depression, and competition from shopping and amusements in other parts of New Jersey continued its decline. When my husband first took me on a tour of Asbury Park in the early 1990’s, it looked quite decrepit. In the past decade, however, buildings such as the Paramount Theater below were redeveloped. I posted another shot of the Asbury Park theatre in 2010, with a bit of its history. You can visit some cool shops like this one inside the convention hall and beside the boardwalk.
Pictured above is the Berkeley Carteret hotel, with the famous Tillie face in the foreground on the Wonder Bar. The hotel has a bit of personal history for me: when I was pregnant with my first child in the 1990’s, my brother-in-law knew the caterer who was working at the hotel during Passover. So he invited us to come and enjoy the bountiful buffet at the hotel. Unfortunately, I had morning sickness and could only eat the cucumber salad.
One of the amusements near the Asbury Park beach is this gigantic chess set.
Asbury Park Jewish history is one of the synagogue Sons of Israel: in 1904 the Orthodox Jewish community in Asbury Park incorporated as the Sons of Israel. My husband’s family belonged to this synagogue; sadly, it needed to sell the synagogue building and move out of Asbury Park in the 1980’s.
Interview with Iola Caplan: Iola Caplan is a friend of mine who now lives in Highland Park, New Jersey. In this interview, she talks about living in Asbury Park in the 1950’s and 60’s, including living through riots in 1967. She relates that the Hillel School also got its start in Asbury Park.