9 March 2014
The Casino at Asbury Park is one of those places that easily transports me back to summer day trips as a kid. Walking the boardwalk, the whirling of the carousel, the taste of orange sherbert at Howard Johnson’s… those memories still remain and draw me back again and again.
With camera in hand, I love to explore the memory of what once existed in contrast to the reality of what I now see before me. Peering around the Casino, long gone is the carousel, the slot machines and the haunted house ride. All that now remains are memories now transformed into treasures of childhood. The excitement of tokens, tickets and the allure of shiny new prizes of every ilk that always seemed too far out of reach.
And yet not all is lost. As long as that Casino still stands, hope remains that it may one day reclaim some of its former glory. Ski ball and pin ball machines may not return, but to see something fill that lovely space again would be a win for preservation.
As with time itself Asbury Park’s transformation isn’t static… it continually evolves. Worn concert posters are replaced by stark black walls, weathered memory-laden boards usurped by the latest pressure treated fabrications, and quaint beach shops give way to expensive gastric fares.
As a witness to these changes, I am confronted with that quintessential battle between progress and what I could so boldly term – nostalgic patina. While the foodie and shopper in me can appreciate restaurants and boutiques, the photographer and child within yearn for the visual interest of a retro half woman half octopus mural or the solitude of an abandoned building humbled by the elements.
For other shots I’ve taken of Asbury Park check out the Gallery.