I’ve just returned - on this beautiful, sunny, blowy, breezy morning - from a walk along the Asbury Park, New Jersey, boardwalk. Things have certainly changed over the years for this NJ shore town - from its beginnings as a destination spot in the late 1800s, to my introduction to it as a fun amusement area when I was a little kid in the 1950s, to a depressed, drug infested mess in the 1980s, and now in its rebirth as a food/music/event destination, complete with a new, posh high-rise a block from the boardwalk. Convention hall is bustling with events and concerts, and the boardwalk restaurants and shops, as well as those along Cookman Avenue, are packed. However, there’s a forgotten area in Asbury Park - the south end Casino and Carousel House. The bones are still there to support a spectacular revival, but I suppose the money and interest are not. Both structures are gloriously Victorian and would be magnificent if restored. Imagine a carousel back in the beautiful building originally built for one! What a draw not only for the city but for the whole north Jersey shore area. Back in the 1950s, one of the shops in the Casino was a Planter’s Peanut roastery. The fragrance of the roasting peanuts was intoxicating, and we always stopped by to get a bag of hot peanuts to bring home. They also sold Mr. Peanut products, and I recall a set of little tin nut dishes we bought there. My memories of Asbury Park are precious, and I’d love to see its revival include a rebirth of the Casino.
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