Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Asbury Getaway

Ever since I was invited down to Asbury Park for a weekend by a friend three summers ago, I have been one of the town's biggest cheerleaders. (Click on the Jersey Shore link below to see some of my previous posts on the subject.) Once one of the most popular destinations on the Jersey Shore, Asbury Park fell on hard times in the 70s and 80s due to racial tensions and corrupt local government. That is, until the gays found it in the late '90s. Imagine it--grand old Victorian beach houses just blocks from the ocean at rock-bottom prices. Sure, the neighborhood around them was pretty shabby, but nothing a few gay urban pioneers couldn't conquer with some fresh paint, perennials and a flair for design. Fast forward a few years and the town is now in full-scale renovation, homes are being bought and sold, new condominiums are being built and a movement to restore the waterfront to its former grandeur is underway.

This past weekend I was invited by my sister, whom I encouraged to buy a home in Asbury almost three years ago, for Road Trip 6, the town's biggest gay and lesbian event all Summer. There are beach parties, big name DJs and headline entertainers. (We saw Judy Gold at the newly renovated Paramount Theatre--hilarous!) Despite gloomy weather reports, Saturday turned out to be a perfect day for the beach and the rain stayed away long enough on Sunday for my sister's house full of guests to enjoy brunch on the patio.

The community pride in Asbury is such that celebrations are called for almost every weekend. Earlier this summer the town celebrated its 110 anniversary of the incorporation of the city. A grand and memorable party was planned for the occasion featuring among other things, a cake designed by Ace of Cakes' chef Duff Goldman modeled on Asbury Park's storied carousel. The episode featuring the cake and the town's anniversary party will air on the Food Network tomorrow night (August 2) at 10 PM Eastern. I am told that my two-year-old niece, Charlotte, who was visiting that weekend might be seen getting her groove on to one of the bands playing at the festivities. Catch the episode if you can!

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10 Comments:

At 11:04 AM, Blogger Spider said...

My roommate from college was from Asbury Park - and I visited there several times in the late 70's, early 80's - while it was in disrepair, yo could see the charm and potential even then. Glad to hear that it is making a comeback.

 
At 1:15 PM, Blogger knicksgrl0917 said...

hey! i'm going to cali this weekend and won't be back until september...here is the website i was talking about where i made extra summer cash. Later! the website is here

 
At 2:24 PM, Blogger Donnie said...

Wow....I love Ace of Cakes! I'll make sure to watch.

 
At 10:06 PM, Blogger LSL said...

Is that cute little pumpkin you?

 
At 9:39 AM, Blogger Michael said...

LSL, Lord, no! That's not me. That was a vintage of Asbury's carousel I found on the web. It was taken in the '40s I think. I'm not that old. ;-)

 
At 3:20 PM, Blogger Diane said...

Charlotte and I were there again a few weeks ago visiting Aunt Lisa. It really has come such a long way. Every time we go, more stuff has been done. The boardwalk is fantastic and the beaches are gorgeous. We were down at the beach in the late afternoon and there was a jazz combo playing outside the old Howard Johnson's on the boardwalk with outdoor cafe tables. It was all so lovely.

 
At 7:00 PM, Blogger Matt said...

Michael, aren't you in your early 20's???

 
At 9:15 PM, Blogger LSL said...

Oh, lord, I'm sorry! Eek, I had to be the one to ask. You don't look a day over 29!!!

 
At 7:23 AM, Blogger Big Ass Belle said...

how lovely! a whole town rescued by the gays!! what a grand thing. and another town for my list of potential move-tos.

so, in tulsa news, we . . . well, we dug up a buried time capsule to find that the brand new belvedere within had turned into a bucket of rust and so we all hung our heads, sighed deeply, and dreamed of other places, other towns, anyplace away.

 
At 9:17 PM, Blogger Marina said...

Nice pic!
My boyfriend and I are doing an art installation in Asbury Park carousel house this May and we are looking for any pics of actual Asbury carousel like the one you posted. Would you be interested in giving us permission to use it?
Enjoyed your blog!

 

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