Growing up, I could never envision the Asbury Park my parents told tales of. Small little remnants of their stories still remained in Asbury when I was a kid. I remember the carousel, the Palace Amusements, the Five and Dime store. I also remember how distraught these places looked and often tried to imagine this resort type place my parents spoke of. When I looked around, I saw the furthest thing from a vacation destination. I saw graffiti, weeds, crime, and a smiling face on the side of an abandoned building. Tilly’s face was like a small glitter of hope amidst a town of destruction. Then, one day, Tilly was gone too.
If you had told the “young, adolescent me” that in the future, the “adult me” would adore Asbury Park, I would have bet money on it that you were wrong. Dead wrong. Yet here I am today, totally, head over heels in love…with a town. Not only do I love this place for what it is now, but I love it for its story, its history, and the people who “Bought In” and brought it back.
I came to love Asbury through pure immersion. Paul’s affection for this town, you could say, rubbed off on me. If it weren’t for Paul taking me to Asbury on the weekends, I would not have discovered just how special it really is. He’s captured Asbury through the lens of his camera on both its bad days and its good, seeing its beauty when, at times, it wasn’t apparent to the naked eye.
Photo taken with a Holga toy camera with a plastic lens.