|Paradise and Vacant Lots
||[Jun. 27th, 2005|11:52 pm]
Promenade of Wonders
A few years ago I found myself just outside of Asbury Park, New Jersey (in Ocean Grove to be exact). The area, in general, had the disheartening vibe of a seaside town that someone had started to tear down, but had become bored with it and left it in ruin. There was something perversely alluring about it, like Miss Haversham in Great Expectations who sits among the decaying bits and pieces of her never-to-take-place wedding, living in the past in a rotting wedding dress as she herself withers away. The Jersey seashore is full of grandiose buildings decaying in the salt-tinged air. |
The once great Metropolitan Hotel is now nothing but a crumbling shell. Or, you have the Casino that now stands pitiably dilapidated. Once a wonderland of amusement, the Palace now looms on the boardwalk like something out of a crack dream. The Boardwalk, in general, is one abandoned dive after another. The age of the grand dame department store has obviously come and gone. Amid the historic ruins, the frame of a condo from the early-1990s that was never completed stands on the beach.
Sad and pitiful, really. The preservationist in me sees such potential yet the realist in me knows that the majority of these sites will end up like Plaza Hotel where only ghosts of what once was remain. As one urban explorer states: “One by one these buildings are being torn down to make way for new construction that never happens. While the decay of these buildings was sad, the vacant lots that increasingly replace the hotels and amusements that used to welcome visitors are even sadder.” The drug dealers, prostitutes and corpses on the beach add yet another heartbreaking element to the already gloomy scene.
[x-posted on my own journal]