My husband and I ventured out in the storm this afternoon to have a look at the ocean - can you see just how churned up it is with the storm? No, me neither. This view is typical of the northern part of the Jersey Shore - huge mansions and condos on the right and the concrete seawall on the left. The seawall is meant to keep the huge mansions from floating away in a big storm. In some towns, the people who own houses on the right side of the road (the river side) also own the rights to a private staircase over the seawall. The rest of us get to look at the concrete wall that keeps *us* safe from the ocean's fury. Yea right. The seawall only runs through those towns that are backed by the river; where it ends it's replaced by condos, hotels, and beach clubs that also block public access to the ocean. Until you get to Asbury Park.
Asbury Park is a ghost town and has been for at least the past twenty years. There was a time long ago when it was a seaside resort and a family place. Through the years it's become a seedy sort of place, yet I can remember as a kid going there on Easter Sunday all dresssed up to ride the rides and walk on the boardwalk. My husband remembers going there to race along the main drag when he was in high school. Bruce Springsteen made Asbury and its nightclubs famous.
Now it's just a very sad sort of place. Most of it, like the once gorgeous Convention Hall pictured above, is in some perpetual state of revival that never seems to come. What's not boarded up, falling down, or outright abandoned is "under construction" that seems to have been stalled for a decade at least. There's yellow police tape and orange construction barrels at every turn, but never any work being done. There are still plenty of families who make their home here, and some sections of town have been revived, but I don't know that the parts of Asbury that I remember will ever get back to what they were so many years ago. I don't think many people care about Asbury Park anymore or its future.
One thing that Asbury had going for it today was easy ocean access, not that we were willing to step out of the car to enjoy it. The gulls were in heaven, or so it seemed. I'm not sure what this was about, but there must have been something churned up by the waves to draw so many to one spot. The ocean was angry today, but the *historic storm* the weathermen predicted turned out to be nothing more than a rainy day with some flooded roads. Here locally, at least. Some places are being pounded with snow - glad it wasn't us.