Thursday, August 02, 2007

I'm From Jersey! Are You From Jersey?

A face only a mother (And, the entire State of New Jersey) could love.

Palace Amusements Building
Kingsley Street (between Lake and Cookman Avenues)
Asbury Park, New Jersey


For over 100 years, Tillie, the bug-eyed, high-collared, grinning beacon of Palace Amusements, reminded all (Well, me at least) of the glory and wonder that what was — once, the greatest place on Earth — the Jersey Shore.

Unfortunately, in 2004, amongst protests from the State of New Jersey's senior historic preservation officer, who reminded the Palace owners that the complex was listed on the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places, and expressed her office's official position that "if saved, this complex could serve as a major tourist attraction as it did historically and be a cornerstone to the redevelopment plan of Asbury Park," the developers tore the building down. But, not before a little rescue mission.

Over four days in mid-June of 2004, Save Tillie members and a crew of sawing experts, steel fabricators and welders under the direction of Save Tillie member Gary Loveland of Universal Fabricators in Jackson, New Jersey, separated the Tillie mural from the Palace at the corner of Cookman Avenue and Kingsley Street. They sawed through foot-thick high density cinder blocks, and surrounded the mural with steel frames until the entire 16-foot high, 14-foot wide and 16 tons of Tillie were fully supported by the frame.

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection issued a waterfront redevelopment permit to the City of Asbury Park and Asbury Partners, directing Asbury Partners to preserve artifacts from the Palace Amusements complex, a National Register of Historic Places building in Asbury Park, and to reuse the artifacts in a new building that will be constructed on the Palace lots. The permit stated:

"Prior to demolition of the Palace, the developer will work with the City and its technical review committee to identify certain parts of the existing Tilly [sic] mural and Palace Amusement building that will be relocated and preserved. The preserved sections will be incorporated into a new hotel development or retail development at this location as a part of the lobby wall. The images of the existing Palace Amusement Building shall be incorporated into the design and flavor of the new structure of [sic] the site."

I'm sure that in some future display, in some gentrified hotel lobby or public park, we will be able to once again enjoy the smiling face of Tillie, and think fondly, and sadly, of Palace Amusements.


I started this post trying to figure out how to post a few songs from a great new recording by yet another Asbury Park icon. A friend of mine just finished touring with his new 'Boss' (playing sousaphone, trombone, mandolin, penny whistle, and euphonium), and came by the house bearing gifts of a CD and DVD of concerts recorded live in Ireland.

They sounded pretty good. Here's a few tunes.


Old Dan Tucker
Further On (Up The Road)
Love Of The Common People
Pay Me My Money Down
Growin' Up
(Buy: Bruce Springsteen With The Sessions Band: Live In Dublin)

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