061101.Asbury Park, THEME DAY: “Something that is About to Disappear Soon”

November 1, 2006 at 1:48 AM | Posted in Architecture, Asbury Park, Bath, Conservation, New Jersey, Preservation, Restoration, Ruins, somerset, Waterfront | 5 Comments

050101.79.NJ.AsburyPark

I’m breaking the rules on this one. As a conservationist, I’m structure-oriented and this theme was almost too good to be true.

But I’m in Bath! I’m in the UK! Every British “Employees Must Wash Their Hands Before Returning to Work” sign has a lottery trust supporting a conservation board for it. England’s great this way, really. In fact, forty-nine percent of construction in Britain is for conservation purposes!

The problem for this theme then is that very little structurally will shortly disappear that I am familiar with, after being in the city for only a month (there are always minor altercations occurring and of course the loss of leaves for winter…). It is this dilemma then that takes me over the pond to the New Jersey shore where Monmouth County’s once great 1930s and ‘40s vacation destination of Asbury Park (founded in 1887 by James Bradley) has been decaying since the 1970s.

A long time ago when I was very young, I was lucky enough to be taken by my parents and grandmother into the Casino right before if was boarded up and shut to the public (at least I’m pretty sure it was the Casino and not Convention Hall). The inside has nice terra-cotta tiles, decorative bronze grills and light fixtures and a great “old timey” feel. More than the rest of Asbury, the Casino is not only decaying but slowly falling into the water (similar to the fate of the Brighton West Pier in the UK). It was the first building I saw that got me thinking about conservation since it “couldn’t be made anymore” and it “might disappear soon.” Hence, I figured it’d be great for this theme.

Today, I’m happy to report that Asbury Park is turning around. There’s a new mayor and beach goers have begun returning to the Jersey waters and the long and elegantly weathered boardwalk promenade. The last time I was there in 2006, the Convention Hall and part of the Casino had been opened up to walk through with blown up old postcard images as a tourist-draw. It seemed like a start to something good.

Take a look at the endangered Historical Buildings in your area. I’ll try to post some links later.

Cheers!
AIA 11 Most Endangered in US

The “New” Casino050101.78.NJ.AsburyPark

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