The Recovering Asbury Park
The sixties were notable for many iconic events. Asbury Park’s decline was barely noticed, in spite of Bruce Springsteen (Greetings from Asbury Park was the album that made his career pop) Asbury fizzled out completely in the sixties.
Developers have come and gone, corrupt officials have come and gone, well-intentioned officials and developers have come and gone, and Asbury is still merely teetering on the brink of revival. Just when a comeback looked nearly foolproof, the economy tanked and well…you can figure out the rest.
But there are a few areas that have turned around. All along Mattison and Cookman Avenues shops and restaurants are doing well and have been for several seasons. The latest comeback area is the beach. Convention Hall is still going strong. Concerts are regularly scheduled there with decent and fairly well-know groups. Meatloaf was there last year and an upcoming weekend will feature Staind.
Sadly, the old amusement building is a shell. The carousel, bumper cars, and original Tillie are long gone and there doesn’t seem to be any hope of renovation any time soon. But the news is not all bleak. There is a new water park for the kids as well as mini-golf. The water park is not for big kids or teens. It was designed for younger children and the daily rate is under $10 so it is striving to be family friendly.
There are a number of places to eat along the beach, as well. You can sit outside facing the beach when the weather is nice and the view is spectacular. There are several good snack, sandwich, and drink places. I’ve been to Langosta Lounge several times. Their appetizers are delicious. The chef uses only fresh ingredients, as does the bartender. No mixes here, just fresh fruit and freshly squeezed fruit juices. My favorite is the Blood Orange Margarita, but the Asian Pear Margarita is also good. The house specialty is a Market Mojito with fresh muddled strawberries (I have no idea what that means, but I love the sound of it) and a “float of dark rum.” I’m not a rum drinker, but if I was, that sounds incredible. Doesn’t it?
The best appetizer, as far as I’m concerned is the calamari which comes with three dipping sauces; each is original and mysterious. I’m usually good as figuring out ingredients so that I can steal recipes, but I have no idea what is in their Diablo sauce or their Brazilian vatapa. The Thai sweet chile lime sauce is the best of the three.
For something more substantial try the quesadillas or my favorite: the Mediterranean salad with homemade hummus, feta, roasted peppers and kalamata olives. I’m getting hungry just thinking about it.
Go to www.theasburyparkboardwalk.com for more events and concert schedules at the local venues.