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Asbury Park or sometimes called just "Asbury" is a city in Monmouth County, New Jerseymarker, United Statesmarker, on the Jersey Shore and part of the New York City Metropolitan Areamarker. As of the 2000 United States Census, the city population was 17,930.

Asbury Park was originally incorporated as a borough by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 26, 1874, from portions of Ocean Townshipmarker. The borough was reincorporated on February 28, 1893. Asbury Park was incorporated as a city, its current type of government, as of March 25, 1897.

The city is widely known for its rich musical history. It was ranked the sixth best beach in New Jersey in the 2008 Top 10 Beaches Contest sponsored by the New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium.


Asbury Park is located at (40.222399, -74.012098).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.6 square miles (4.1 km2), of which 1.3 square miles (3.7 km2) of it is land and 0.3 square miles (0.4 km2) of it (10.62%) is water.


As of the census of 2000, there were 17,930 people, 6,754 households, and 3,586 families residing in the city. The population density was 14,290.0/mi2 (5,629.4/km2) making it Monmouth County's most densely populated municipality. There were 7,744 housing units at an average density of 2,090.9/km2 (5,416.7/mi2). The racial makeup of the city was 15.77% White, 67.11% Black, 0.32% Native American, 0.70% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 6.49% from other races, and 5.53% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 18.58% of the population.

There were 6,754 households out of which 31.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 20.2% were married couples living together, 26.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.9% were non-families. 39.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.36.

In the city the population was spread out with 30.1% under the age of 18, 10.6% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 44, 18.3% from 45 to 64, and 11.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 88.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $23,081, and the median income for a family was $26,370. Males had a median income of $27,081 versus $24,666 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,516. About 29.3% of families and 40.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 46.5% of those under age 18 and 37.1% of those age 65 or ver.


Asbury Park beach, c.

Early years

A seaside community, Asbury Park is located on New Jersey's central coast. Developed in 1871 as a residential resort by New York brush manufacturer James A. Bradley, the city was named for Francis Asbury, the first American bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States.

Bradley was active in the development of much of the city's infrastructure, and despite his preference for gas light, he allowed the Atlantic Coast Electric Company (precursor to today's Jersey Central Power & Light Co.) to offer electric service. Along the waterfront Bradley installed a boardwalk, an orchestra pavilion, public changing rooms and a pier at the south end of the boardwalk. Such success attracted other businessmen. In 1888 Ernest Schnitzler built the Palace Merry-Go-Round on the southwest corner of Lake Avenue and Kingsley Street, the cornerstone of what would become the Palace Amusementsmarker complex; other attractions followed. During these early decades in Asbury Park, a number of grand hotels were built, including the Plaza Hotel.
Postcard of Asbury Park and Ocean Grove Railroad Station, dated 1908

Uriah White, an Asbury Park pioneer, installed the first artesian well water system. More than 600,000 people a year vacationed in Asbury during the summer season in the early years, riding the New York and Long Branch Railroad from New York Citymarker and from Philadelphia to enjoy the mile-and-a-quarter stretch of oceanfront Asbury.

The country by the sea destination experienced several key periods of popularity. The first notable era was the 1890s, marked by a housing growth, examples of which can still be found today in a full range of Victorian architecture. Coinciding with the nationwide trend in retail shopping, Asbury Park's downtown flourished during this period and well into the next century.


West view of Convention Hall & Paramount Theatre complex
The 1920s saw a dramatic change in the boardwalk with the construction of the Paramount Theatremarker and Convention Hall complex, the Casino Arena and Carousel House, and two handsome red-brick pavilions. Noted Beaux Arts architect Warren Whitney of New York was the designer. He had also been hired to design the imposing Berkeley-Carteret Hotel positioned diagonally across from the theater and hall. At the same time, Asbury Park launched a first-class education and athletic program with the construction of a state-of-the-art high school overlooking Deal Lakemarker.

Later years

Neither the Great Depression nor World War II were kind to Asbury Park. In 1934, the wreck of the SS Morro Castle beached itself near the city. In 1943, the New York Yankees held their Spring Training in Asbury Park. This was because rail transport had to be conserved during the war, and Major League Baseball's Spring Training was limited to an area east of the Mississippi River and north of the Ohio River.
In the decades that followed the war, surrounding farm communities gave way to tracts of suburban houses, encouraging the city's middle-class blacks as well as whites to move into newer houses with spacious yards. With the opening of the Garden State Parkway, Asbury Park saw the travel market change as fewer vacationers took trains to the seashore. After the Monmouth Mallmarker opened 10 miles away in Eatontownmarker in 1960, Asbury Park's downtown became less of an attraction to shoppers. Office parks built outside the city resulted in the relocation of lawyers, accountants, doctors, dentists, and other professionals. The opening of Six Flags Great Adventuremarker, a combination theme park and drive-through safari located on a lake in Jackson Townshipmarker- and close to a New Jersey Turnpike exit - proved to be stiff competition for a mile-long stretch of aging boardwalk amusements. Although it was placed on the National Registers of Historic Places, in 1988 Palace Amusementsmarker was closed, and was demolished in 2004 despite attempts to save it. The complex had featured the famous face of Tillie, a symbol of the Jersey Shore.
The vacant streets of Asbury Park were a common sight in the 1980s and 1990s.
The city's changing fortunes, together with municipal mismanagement, led to civic unrest. On July 4, 1970 riots resulted in the destruction of aging buildings along Springwood Avenue, one of three main east-west corridors into Asbury Park and the central shopping and entertainment district for those living in the city's southwest quadrant. In 2007 many of those city blocks have yet to be redeveloped.

21st century

From 2002 onward, the rest of Asbury Park has been in the midst of a cultural, political, and economic revival, led by a burgeoning industry of local and national artists. Its dilapidated downtown district is undergoing revitalization while most of the nearly empty blocks that overlook the beach and boardwalk are slated for massive reconstruction. In 2005, the Casino's walkway reopened, as did many of the boardwalk pavilions.

The year 2007 proved to be an important one, full of milestones for the redevelopment of Asbury Park. The eastern portion of the Casino building was demolished. There are plans to rebuild this portion to look much like the original; however, the interior will be dramatically different and may include a public market (as opposed to previously being an arena and skating rink). There has also been more of a resurgence of the downtown as well as the boardwalk, with the grand reopening of the historic Steinbach department store building, as well as the rehabilitation of Convention Hall and the Fifth Avenue Pavilion (previously home to one of the last remaining Howard Johnson restaurants). The year 2007 has also seen the purchase of the historic Berkeley-Carteret Hotel, which is to be restored to four-star resort status; the first residents moving into the newly constructed condominiums known as North Beach; and the rehabilitation of Ocean Avenue. Asbury Park looks to regain its reputation as the cultural and amusement capital of the Jersey Shore.


Local government

The City of Asbury Park is governed under the 1923 Municipal Manager Law form of New Jersey municipal government. The government consists of a five-member City Council, with all positions elected at large in nonpartisan elections, to serve four-year terms of office on a concurrent basis. After each election, the council selects a mayor and deputy mayor from among its members.

The Asbury Park City Council consists of Mayor Ed Johnson, Deputy Mayor John Loffredo, Kevin Sanders, James Bruno, and Susan Henderson.

Federal, state, and county representation

Asbury Park is in the Sixth Congressional District and is part of New Jersey's 11th Legislative District.


Redeveloped shops along the Asbury Park Boardwalk
Asbury Park, with Convention Hall in the background

Asbury Park is considered a mecca for musicians, particularly for a subgenre of rock and roll known as the Jersey Shore sound, which is infused with R&B. It is home to The Stone Ponymarker, founded in 1974, and a starting point for many performers. The Asbury Lanes, the Saint and the Wonder Bar are smaller venues, but both continue the tradition of offering original, live music to the jersey shore.

Asbury Park was an entertainment capital for many years, but after World War II it slowly became less visited and important, as noted above. Asbury Park regained fame after Bruce Springsteen released his debut album Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. in 1973. On his follow-up album, The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle, one of the songs is entitled "4th of July, Asbury Park ".

Several books chronicle the early years of Springsteen's career in Asbury Park. Daniel Wolff's 4th of July Asbury Park examines the social, political and cultural history of the city with a special emphasis on the part that music played in the city's development, culminating in Springsteen. Beyond the Palace by Gary Wien is a comprehensive look at the local music scene that Springsteen emerged from, and includes many photographs of musicians and clubs. Against the backdrop of the fading resort, Alex Austin's novel The Red Album of Asbury Park tracks a young rock musician pursuing his dream in the late 60s/early 70s, with Springsteen as a potent but as yet unknown rival.

Professional wrestler Bam Bam Bigelow, who was born in Asbury Park, named his finishing maneuver, an over the shoulder reverse piledriver, after Bruce Springsteen's first album, Greetings from Asbury Park, in tribute to his hometown.

In 2004, Asbury Park based musician Colie Brice (formerly of Phantom's Opera, Gemini, Brian Saint and the Sinners, Geena and Dragster, Luna Muse, the New Age Blues Experience, and currently with Captain James and the Pain) launched an Asbury Park-based label called AERIA Records, which was distributed by Universal Music Group. Over the past several years AERIA has steadfastly released albums by local artists such as Brian Amsterdam, St. Christopher, Agency, Juggling Suns, Colie Brice, Rick Barry, Brian Saint and the Sinners, James "JPAT" Dalton, The Hesh Inc., Boston indie rock pioneer Joe Harvard, Neptune native Metamorphosis Greg Wilkens, Last Perfect Thing, and Lost In Society featuring Richie Sambora's (BON JOVI) God Son Zack Moyle on guitar and vocals. On July 4, 2009 AERIA Records released its popular iPhone application featuring free mp3s, videos, photos, and event information pertaining to its eclectic catalog featuring original music by local artists.

In 2005, the New Jersey Music Hall of Fame was founded in Asbury Park. There are plans to build a museum somewhere in the city as part of the redevelopment.


Asbury Park's nightlife has been primarily, but not all, rock oriented. The Stone Ponymarker, the bar frequented by Bruce Springsteen, is still serving the rockers of the Jersey Shore. Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, before going on to international fame, was the house band at the Stone Pony in the mid-seventies. Mrs. Jay's Beer Garden, located next door to the Stone Pony until the mid eighties, was a popular venue for established as well as up and coming local rock bands. On Main Street is the Saint (formerly the Clover Club), a small club that showcases local acts as well as established performers such as Ben Folds, Jewel, and Cake. Across town, on Fourth Avenue, is Asbury Lanes, a vintage bowling alley that was revamped by local artists and musicians to create one of the latest performance spaces on the east coast. It has been the setting of anything from national music acts, burlesque shows, hotrod shows, art shows and performance art, and there is still bowling. Nearby is the Baronet, a vintage movie theater which dates back to Buster Keaton.

There are also a the well known gay club Paradise Nightclub at the Empress Hotel and the fun local gay bar Georgies.

Over the past year, a host of great new restaurants, lounges and bars have opened on the boardwalk: Tim McCloones Supper club, which features live entertainment, The Salt Water Cafe, Langosta Lounge, Stella Marina and the very hip Watermark Lounge.

Popular with numerous Asbury Park residents and visitors is the monthly First Saturday event. On the first Saturday of every month, Asbury Park's downtown art galleries, home design studios, restaurants, antique shops, and clothing boutiques remain open throughout the evening, serving hors d’œuvres and offering entertainment, to showcase the city's residential and commercial resurgence.


Urban Enterprise Zone

Portions of Asbury Park are part of an Urban Enterprise Zone . In addition to other benefits to encourage employment within the Zone, shoppers can take advantage of a reduced 3½% sales tax rate (versus the 7% rate charged statewide).


There were at one time many hotels along the beachfront. Many were demolished after years of sitting vacant, although the Sixth Avenue House Bed & Breakfast Hotel (formerly Berea Manor) was recently restored after being abandoned in the 1970s. Hotels like the Berkeley and Oceanic Inn have operated concurrently for decades, while the Empress Hotel and Hotel Tides were recently restored and reopened.

Currently open:


Asbury Park's public schools are operated by Asbury Park Public Schools. The district is one of 31 Abbott Districts statewide. Schools in the district (with 2005-06 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics are Bangs Avenue Elementary School (523 students), Bradley Elementary School (401) and Thurgood Marshall Elementary School (518) for grades K-5; Asbury Park Middle School (601) and Asbury Park Alternative Middle School for grades 6-8; andAsbury Park High Schoolmarker (620) for grades 9-12.

In February 2007, the offices of the Asbury Park Board of Education were raided by investigators from the State Attorney General's office, prompted by allegations of corruption and misuse of funds.

Students may also attend Academy Charter High Schoolmarker, located in Lake Comomarker, which serves residents of Allenhurstmarker, Asbury Park, Avon-by-the-Seamarker, Belmarmarker, Bradley Beachmarker, Dealmarker, Interlakenmarker and Lake Como, and accepts students on a lottery basis.

Gay Resort

Since the 1990s, a large gay community has emerged in the city. Downtown is full of gay businesses, there are numerous gay bars, and gay events. The annual Jersey Pride parade is held each June, and the city is home to the Empress Hotel, a popular gay resort.


Asbury Park has been afflicted with a high crime rate for several years. Drug and gang violence have been a persistent problem within the city, and by 2004 Asbury Park was ranked as one of the most dangerous cities in New Jersey. In recent years, however, Asbury Park has seen a dramatic decrease in crime due to proactive policing as well as gang task force operations at the county and state levels.

Notable residents

Notable current and former residents of Asbury Park include:

See also


  1. "The Story of New Jersey's Civil Boundaries: 1606–1968", John P. Snyder, Bureau of Geology and Topography; Trenton, New Jersey; 1969. p. 177.
  2. Pike, Helen-Chantal (2005). Asbury Park's Glory Days: The Story of an American Resort. Rutgers University Press, pp 8 ISBN 0-8135-3547-6
  3. 1888 Palace Amusements Online Museum. Retrieved 2007-08-17.
  4. Asbury Park, NJ Side O'Lamb: Urban Exploration of the Jersey Shore. Retrieved 2007-08-17.
  5. Pike, Helen-Chantal (1997,2003). Images of America: Asbury Park. Arcadia Publishing, pp 13 ISBN 0-7524-0538-1
  6. Suehsdorf, A. D. (1978). The Great American Baseball Scrapbook, p. 103. Random House. ISBN 0-394-50253-1.
  7. Aftermath Palace Amusements Online Museum.'.' Retrieved 2007-08-17.
  8. 2005 New Jersey Legislative District Data Book, Rutgers University Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, April 2005, p. 58.
  9. 2008 New Jersey Citizen's Guide to Government, New Jersey League of Women Voters, p. 54. Retrieved September 30, 2009.
  10. Wise, Brian. "From Croon to Doom Metal", The New York Times, June 5, 2005. Accessed November 2, 2007. "Even so, plans for a New Jersey Music Hall of Fame center on Asbury Park, where Mr. Springsteen got his start by playing in the scrubby clubs there."
  11. Geographic & Urban Redevelopment Tax Credit Programs: Urban Enterprise Zone Employee Tax Credit, State of New Jersey. Retrieved July 28, 2008.
  12. YouTube - Where to stay at the Asbury Park NJ beach for under $100
  13. Abbott Districts, New Jersey Department of Education. Retrieved March 31, 2008.
  14. Data for the Asbury Park Public Schools, National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved July 21, 2008.
  15. "Investigators probe Asbury Park Board of Ed", WABC-TV, February 22, 2007. Retrieved June 18, 2007.
  16. Academy Charter High School 2007 Report Card Narrative, New Jersey Department of Education. Retrieved March 12, 2008.
  17. Best and Worst Crime Areas in the State Of New Jersey
  18. Violence drops in Asbury Park | New Jersey Real-Time News - -
  19. Pike, Helen-Chantal. "Asbury Park's Glory Days - The Story Of An American Resort", Gameroom magazine reviewed by Tim Ferrante. Accessed June 18, 2007. "I didn’t know Bud Abbott was born there. It was also the home town of then hair stylist Danny DeVito (yes, there is a photo of the famed actor in his family’s shop!) and the childhood stomping ground of Jack Nicholson."
  20. Stewart Hoffman Appleby, Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved August 30, 2007.
  21. Theodore Frank Appleby, Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved August 30, 2007.
  22. Lustig, Jay. "Greetings From Neptune City, NJ", "The Star Ledger" October 27, 2007 Accessed January 18, 2008 "Atkins, who now lives in Asbury Park, says she considers herself a Jersey artist..."
  23. Bove, Steven. "Rick Barry""
  24. SmackDown Countdown 2006: Bam Bam Bigelow - The Beast from the East comes out of retirement, November 6, 2006.
  25. Blackwell, Jon. "She kept America in Vogue", Asbury Park Press, May 14, 2001. Accessed July 31, 2007. "Born in Asbury Park on March 14, 1877, Edna barely knew her father, who split up with her mom while she was still an infant."
  26. Stephen Crane at the "The Literary Encyclopedia." Retrieved December 10, 2006.
  27. Shaw, David. "DeVito! Although He Has a Penchant for Dark Comedies, Actor-Director Danny DeVito Is Serious About His Craft, His Family and His Cigars", Cigar Aficionado profile, accessed May 2, 2007. "Danny DeVito was born in 1944 in the shore town of Neptune, New Jersey--hence the name of his production company--and raised in neighboring Asbury Park, the youngest of five children (two of whom died before he was born)."
  28. Anderson, Dave. " Sports of The Times; Hess Mulled The Return Of the Jets", The New York Times, May 9, 1999. Accessed September 23, 2007. "'I was born and brought up in Asbury Park, N.J.,' Hess said that day in a rare appearance at a news conference."
  29. Genocchio, Benjamin. "ART; Making Art Amid The Ruins", The New York Times, May 22, 2005. Accessed December 30, 2007. "Mr. Melee took his money and bought a house in Asbury Park, after falling in love with the decaying grandeur of the Jersey Shore."
  30. "Greetings From Asbury Park", NJN. Accessed June 18, 2007. "Rick Benjamin, founder of the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, and a specialist in the music of Arthur Pryor – an Asbury Park musical superstar long before Bruce Springsteen – who transformed the forbidden music of Ragtime into wholesome popular entertainment."
  31. Lustig, Jay. "Revisiting E Street: Ex-Springsteen sideman looks forward to Shore gig", "The Star-Ledger," July 15, 2005. Accessed July 30, 2007. "Sancious grew up in Asbury Park and Belmar. The E Street Band was named after the address of his mother's Belmar home, where they sometimes practiced. Sancious lived in Red Bank in the late '70s, before relocating to his current hometown, Woodstock, N.Y."
  32. Lucia, Peter "Asbury Park Life Stimulus For Author", Asbury Park Press, October 2, 1995. Retrieved April 9, 2008.
  33. Nye, Peter Joffre. "Newark, N.J., Started a National Cycling Tradition", United States Bicycling Hall of Fame. Retrieved July 21, 2008.

External links

Image:Wonder_bar_ap.jpg|Wonder Bar at night.Image:Ap_conventionhallinterior.jpg|Interior of Convention Hall.Image:Ap_conventionhall.jpg|Southeast side of Convention Hall as seen from the Atlantic Ocean.Image:Ap_conventionhallstairs.jpg|Detail of vestibule stairway.Image:Ap_conventionhallarcade.jpg|Entry into Convention Hall through the Grand Arcade.Image:APCHGreetingsDay.jpg|"Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J." echo its most famous near-resident artist.Image:Ap_conventionhallroller.jpg|Convention Hall is used as a venue for the roller derby.Image:Firemen_memorial_ap.jpg|Memorial to Asbury Park Firemen.Image:Zombies_ap.jpg|Asbury Park zombies await the annual Zombie Parade.Image:Rodeo_ap.jpg|Asbury Park Rodeo next to the boardwalk.Image:Firetruck_ap.jpg|Asbury Park Fire Department fire truck.Image:Asbury_lanes_ap.jpg|Asbury Lanes bowling alley.Image:Madam_Marie_ap.jpg|Madam Marie's Fortunes.Image:Polarbear_plunge.jpg|Sons of Ireland Polar Bear Plunge.Image:AP_Deal_Lake.jpg|Deal Lake Western edgeImage:AP_One_Post_1.jpg|Old One Post Plaza Building Entrance (Originally Seacoast Trust Company)

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