Asbury Park, New Jersey

"Asbury Park" redirects here. For other uses, see Asbury Park (disambiguation).
Asbury Park, New Jersey
City of Asbury Park

From Left: Asbury Park Convention Hall (image courtesy of Dave Frey), Main Street, Tillie, Cookman Ave, Old Heating Plant, Philadelphia Toboggan Company Carousel

Map of Asbury Park in Monmouth County, New Jersey, along the Atlantic Ocean (also see: full-state map).
Coordinates: 40°13′22″N 74°00′37″W / 40.222884°N 74.010232°W / 40.222884; -74.010232Coordinates: 40°13′22″N 74°00′37″W / 40.222884°N 74.010232°W / 40.222884; -74.010232[1][2]
Country  United States
State  New Jersey
County Monmouth
Incorporated March 26, 1874 as (borough)
Reincorporated February 28, 1893 (as city)
Named for Francis Asbury
  Type Faulkner Act (Council-Manager)
  Body City Council
  Mayor John Moor (term ends December 31, 2018)[4][5][6]
  Manager Michael Capabianco[5][7]
  Clerk Cindy A. Dye[8]
  Total 1.603 sq mi (4.151 km2)
  Land 1.424 sq mi (3.687 km2)
  Water 0.179 sq mi (0.464 km2)  11.17%
Area rank 441st of 566 in state
36th of 53 in county[1]
Elevation[9] 16 ft (5 m)
Population (2010)[10][11][12]
  Total 16,116
  Estimate (2015)[13] 15,818
  Rank 158th of 566 in state
14th of 53 in county[14]
  Density 11,319.5/sq mi (4,370.5/km2)
  Density rank 24th of 566 in state
1st of 53 in county[14]
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC−5)
  Summer (DST) Eastern (EDT) (UTC−4)
ZIP code 07712-07713[15][16]
Area code(s) 732[17]
FIPS code 3402501960[1][18][19]
GNIS feature ID 0885141[1][20]

Asbury Park is a city in Monmouth County, New Jersey, United States, located on the Jersey Shore and part of the New York City Metropolitan Area. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population was 16,116,[10][11][12] reflecting a decline of 814 (−4.8%) from the 16,930 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 131 (+0.8%) from the 16,799 counted in the 1990 Census.[21]

It was ranked the sixth-best beach in New Jersey in the 2008 Top 10 Beaches Contest sponsored by the New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium.[22]

Asbury Park was originally incorporated as a borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 26, 1874, from portions of Ocean Township. The borough was reincorporated on February 28, 1893. Asbury Park was incorporated as a city, its current type of government, as of March 25, 1897.[23]


Early years

Asbury Park beach, early twentieth century
Ross-Fenton Farm, circa 1900

A seaside community, Asbury Park is located on New Jersey's central coast. Developed in 1871 as a residential resort by New York brush manufacturer James A. Bradley, the city was named for Francis Asbury, the first American bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States.[24][25][26]

Bradley was active in the development of much of the city's infrastructure, and despite his preference for gas light, he allowed the Atlantic Coast Electric Company (precursor to today's Jersey Central Power & Light Co.) to offer electric service.[27] Along the waterfront Bradley installed the Asbury Park Boardwalk, an orchestra pavilion, public changing rooms and a pier at the south end of that boardwalk. Such success attracted other businessmen. In 1888, Ernest Schnitzler built the Palace Merry-Go-Round on the southwest corner of Lake Avenue and Kingsley Street, the cornerstone of what would become the Palace Amusements complex; other attractions followed.[28] During these early decades in Asbury Park, a number of grand hotels were built, including the Plaza Hotel.[29]

Postcard of Asbury Park and Ocean Grove Railroad Station, dated 1908

Uriah White, an Asbury Park pioneer, installed the first artesian well water system.[30] As many as 600,000 people a year vacationed in Asbury Park during the summer season in the early years, riding the New York and Long Branch Railroad from New York City and Philadelphia to enjoy the mile-and-a-quarter stretch of oceanfront Asbury Park.[30] By 1912, The New York Times estimated that the summer population could reach 200,000.[31]

The country by the sea destination experienced several key periods of popularity. The first notable era was the 1890s, marked by a housing growth, examples of which can still be found today in a full range of Victorian architecture. Coinciding with the nationwide trend in retail shopping, Asbury Park's downtown flourished during this period and well into the 20th century.

Asbury Park,New Jersey Depot Station In 1903

1920s and modern development

Asbury Park boardwalk, c. 1935


The 1920s saw a dramatic change in the boardwalk with the construction of the Paramount Theatre and Convention Hall complex, the Casino Arena and Carousel House, and two handsome red-brick pavilions. Beaux Arts architect Warren Whitney of New York was the designer. He had also been hired to design the imposing Berkeley-Carteret Hotel positioned diagonally across from the theater and hall. At the same time, Asbury Park launched a first-class education and athletic program with the construction of a state-of-the-art high school overlooking Deal Lake.


On September 8, 1934, the wreck of the cruise ship SS Morro Castle, which caught on fire and burned, beached itself near the city just yards away from the Asbury Park Convention Hall; the city capitalized on the event, turning the wreck into a tourist attraction.[32]

In 1935, the newly founded Securities and Exchange Commission called Asbury Park's Mayor Clarence F. Hetrick to testify about $6,000,000 in "beach improvement bonds" that had gone into default. At the same time, the SEC also inquired about rental rates on the beach front and why the mayor reduced the lease of a bathhouse from $85,000 to $40,000, among many other discrepancies that could have offset debt.[33] The interests of Asbury Park's bond investors lead Senator Frank Durand (Monmouth County) to add a last-minute "Beach Commission" amendment to a municipal debt bill in the New Jersey legislature. When the bill became law, it ceded control of the Asbury Park beach to Governor Harold Hoffman and a governor's commission.[34][35] The city of Asbury Park sued to restore control of the beach to the municipal council, but the New Jersey Court of Errors and Appeals (until 1947, the state's highest court) upheld the validity of the law in 1937.[36] When Durand pressed New Jersey's legislature to extend the state's control of Asbury Park's beach in 1938, the lower house staged a walk out and the Senate soon adjourned, a disruption that also prevented a vote for funding New Jerey's participation in the 1939 New York World's Fair.[37][38] In December 1938, the court returned control of the beach to the municipal council under the proviso that a bond repayment agreement was created; Asbury Park was the only beach in New Jersey affected by the Beach Commission law.[39]


In 1943, the New York Yankees held their spring training in Asbury Park instead of Florida.[40] This was because rail transport had to be conserved during the war, and Major League Baseball's Spring Training was limited to an area east of the Mississippi River and north of the Ohio River.[41]

The Casino's boarded walkway that links Asbury Park to Ocean Grove. As of 2008, the casino is being renovated.

With the opening of the Garden State Parkway in 1947, Asbury Park saw the travel market change as fewer vacationers took trains to the seashore.

1950s and beyond

In the decades that followed the war, surrounding farm communities gave way to tracts of suburban houses, encouraging the city's middle-class blacks as well as whites to move into newer houses with spacious yards.

With the above-mentioned change in the travel market, prompted by the opening of the Garden State Parkway in 1947 and the opening of Monmouth Mall 10 miles (16 km) away in Eatontown in 1960, Asbury Park's downtown became less of an attraction to shoppers. Office parks built outside the city resulted in the relocation of accountants, dentists, doctors, lawyers, and other professionals. Moreover, the opening of Six Flags Great Adventure (on July 1, 1974), a combination theme park and drive-through safari located on a lake in Jackson Township—and close to a New Jersey Turnpike exit—proved to be stiff competition for a mile-long stretch of aging boardwalk amusements.

The vacant streets of Asbury Park were a common sight in the 1980s and 1990s.

Riots that broke out in the city on July 4, 1970, resulted in the destruction of aging buildings along Springwood Avenue, one of three main east-west corridors into Asbury Park and the central shopping and entertainment district for those living in the city's southwest quadrant.[42] Many of those city blocks have yet to be redeveloped into the 21st century.

Although it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places,[43] Palace Amusements was closed in 1988 and was demolished in 2004 despite attempts to save it.[44] The complex had featured the famous face of Tillie, a symbol of the Jersey Shore.[44]

In 1990, the famous carousel at the Casino Pier was sold to Family Kingdom Amusement Park in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where it continues to operate.[45]

21st century

Former Howard Johnson's renovated and reopened in summer 2007 as Salt Water Beach Cafe on the boardwalk in Asbury Park

From 2002 onward, the rest of Asbury Park has been in the midst of a cultural, political, and economic revival, led by a burgeoning industry of local and national artists. Its dilapidated downtown district is undergoing revitalization while most of the nearly empty blocks that overlook the beach and boardwalk are slated for massive reconstruction. In 2005, the Casino's walkway reopened, as did many of the boardwalk pavilions.[46]

In 2007, the eastern portion of the Casino building was demolished. There are plans to rebuild this portion to look much like the original; however, the interior will be dramatically different and may include a public market (as opposed to previously being an arena and skating rink). There has also been more of a resurgence of the downtown as well as the boardwalk, with the grand reopening of the historic Steinbach department store building, as well as the rehabilitation of Convention Hall and the Fifth Avenue Pavilion (previously home to one of the last remaining Howard Johnson's restaurants). The historic Berkeley-Carteret Hotel, which is to be restored to four-star resort status, was acquired in 2007; the first residents moving into the newly constructed condominiums known as North Beach, the rehabilitation of Ocean Avenue, and the opening of national businesses on Asbury Avenue.

The Asbury Park Boardwalk in August 2013. The boardwalk repair projects were completed in May 2014.[47]

After Hurricane Sandy, Asbury Park was one of the few communities on the Jersey Shore to reopen successfully for the 2013 summer season. Most of the boardwalk had not been badly damaged by the massive hurricane. On Memorial Day Weekend 2013, Governor Chris Christie and President Barack Obama participated in an official ceremony before a crowd of 4,000, marking the reopening of Asbury Park and other parts of the Jersey Shore. The "Stronger Than The Storm" motto was emphasized at this ceremony.[47][48]

Gay community

Since the 1950s at least, Asbury Park has had a growing gay community. After the property values plummeted, gay people from New York City purchased and restored Victorian homes, leading to a rejuvenation of parts of the city.[49] In 1999, Shep Pettibone opened Paradise Nightclub, a gay discotheque near the ocean. He has since also opened the Empress Hotel, the state's only gay-oriented hotel. Another notable establishment is Georgie's (formerly the Fifth Avenue Tavern). Every summer the Jersey Gay Pride parade during Sand Blast Weekend draws thousands of gay people to the city. Sand Blast Weekend (formerly called Road Trip Weekend) was started by the local gay homeowners who wanted to encourage friends from the tri-state area to come check out the up & coming beach town and hopefully make it a regular destination year-round. In 2010, Road Trip Weekend became Sand Blast Weekend, renamed after the popular gay dance on the beach, which had become the main event of the Road Trip Weekend.

Music and entertainment

Asbury Park, NJ skyline 2015

The Asbury Park music scene gained prominence in the 1960s with bands such as the Jaywalkers and many others, who combined rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and doo-wop to create what became known as the Sound of Asbury Park (S.O.A.P.). On December 9, 2006, founding members of S.O.A.P. reunited for the "Creators of S.O.A.P.: Live, Raw, and Unplugged" concert at The Stone Pony and to witness the dedication of a S.O.A.P. plaque on the boardwalk outside of Convention Hall. The original plaque included the names Johnny Shaw, Billy Ryan, Bruce Springsteen, Garry Tallent, Steve Van Zandt, Mickey Holiday, "Stormin'" Norman Seldin, Vini "Mad Dog" Lopez, Fast Eddie "Doc Holiday" Wohanka, Billy "Cherry Bomb" Lucia, Clarence Clemons, Nicky Addeo, Donnie Lowell, Jim "Jack Valentine" Cattanach, Ken "Popeye" Pentifallo, Jay Pilling, John "Cos" Consoli, Gary "A" Arntz, Larry "The Great" Gadsby, Steve "Mole" Wells, Ray Dahrouge, Johnny "A" Arntz, David Sancious, Margaret Potter, Tom Potter, Sonny Kenn, Tom Wuorio, Rick DeSarno, Southside Johnny Lyon, Leon Trent, Buzzy Lubinsky, Danny Federici, Bill Chinnock, Patsy Siciliano, and Sam Siciliano. An additional plaque was added on August 29, 2008 honoring John Luraschi, Carl "Tinker" West, George Theiss, Vinnie Roslin, Mike Totaro, Lenny Welch, Steve Lusardi, and Johnny Petillo.[50]

Musicians and bands with strong ties to Asbury Park, many of whom frequently played clubs there on their way to fame, include Fury of Five, The Gaslight Anthem, Clarence Clemons, the E Street Band, Jon Bon Jovi and Bon Jovi, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Patti Smith, Arthur Pryor, Count Basie, The Clash, U.S. Chaos, Johnny Thunders, The Ramones, The Exploited, Charged GBH, Marty Munsch, Gary U.S. Bonds, along with many more.

Asbury Park is considered a destination for musicians, particularly a subgenre of rock and roll known as the Jersey Shore sound, which is infused with Rhythm and Blues. It is home to The Stone Pony, founded in 1974, a starting point for many performers. Smaller venues are Asbury Lanes and The Saint, which bring original, live music to the Jersey Shore. Asbury Park Convention Hall holds larger events.

In 1973 Bruce Springsteen released his debut album Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J. On his follow-up album, The Wild, the Innocent and the E Street Shuffle, one of the songs is entitled "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)". Several books chronicle the early years of Springsteen's career in Asbury Park. Daniel Wolff's 4 July Asbury Park examines the social, political and cultural history of the city with a special emphasis on the part that music played in the city's development, culminating in Springsteen. Beyond the Palace by Gary Wien is a comprehensive look at the local music scene that Springsteen emerged from, and includes many photographs of musicians and clubs. Against the backdrop of the fading resort, Alex Austin's novel The Red Album of Asbury Park tracks a young rock musician pursuing his dream in the late 60s/early 70s, with Springsteen as a potent but as yet unknown rival.[51]

A B&W multi-camera recording of Blondie in 1979, just prior to the release of their fourth album, Eat to the Beat, was taped at the Asbury Park Convention Hall on July 7, a home-state crowd for Jersey girl Debbie Harry, who was raised in Hawthorne.[52]

The Golden T-Bird Awards were established in 1993 by Scott Stamper and Pete Mantas to recognize and support significant contributions and achievements of local and regional participants in the music industry. The name of the awards was changed to the Asbury Music Awards in 1995. The award ceremony is held in November of each year, most recently at the Stone Pony.[53]

The New Jersey Music Hall of Fame was founded in Asbury Park in 2005. There are plans to build a museum somewhere in the city as part of the redevelopment.[54] The Wave Gathering Music Festival was established in 2006. The festival is held during the summer. Businesses across Asbury Park offer food, drink, art, music, crafts, and their stages for performances. Stages are also set up in parks, on the boardwalk, and in other open spaces. The event takes place over several days.[55]

In 2003, actor Robert Pastorelli founded the Garden State Film Festival, which draws over 30,000 visitors to Absury Park each spring for a four-day event including screenings of 150 features, documentaries, shorts and videos, concerts, lectures and workshops for filmmakers. In 2012, a film industry exposition will be held for the first time in Convention Hall during the Festival.[56]

The Bamboozle Music Festival was held in Asbury Park in 2003, 2004, and 2005.[57] The festival returned to its original location for the ten-year anniversary in 2012, headlined by My Chemical Romance, Foo Fighters, and Bon Jovi, drawing over 90,000 people to the city over the three-day span in which it was held.[58]

On October 5, 2013, the largest gathering of zombies was achieved by the 9,592 participants in New Jersey Zombie Walk at the Asbury Park Boardwalk.[59]


Asbury Park's nightlife includes The Stone Pony. On Main Street is The Saint, (formerly the Clover Club), a club that showcases local and emerging acts, as well as established performers. Across town, on Fourth Avenue, is Asbury Lanes, a no longer functioning vintage bowling alley and bar with live performances ranging from musical acts, neo-Burlesque, hot rod, and art shows. Though it has been closed for now, it is currently being restored to its former glory. Bought by the newly opened Asbury Hotel sitting adjacent on Fifth Avenue, it will be connected with the hotel. An above ground passageway has already been built to connect the two buildings. An educated guess to its reopening would be Spring 2017. The Baronet, a vintage movie theater which dates back to Buster Keaton's era, was near Asbury Lanes, but its roof recently caved in and the building was demolished. The Asbury Hotel pays homage to this once great theater with its 5th floor rooftop movie theater called "The Baronet". The Asbury Hotel also has an 8th floor rooftop bar, paying homage to the former building inhabitants and calling it "Salvation". In a town that was once nearly abandoned, there are now over 60 restaurants, bars, coffee houses, and live music venues situated in Asbury Park's boardwalk and downtown districts.

Popular with numerous Asbury Park residents and visitors is the monthly First Saturday event. On the first Saturday of every month, Asbury Park's downtown art galleries, home design studios, restaurants, antique shops, and clothing boutiques remain open throughout the evening, serving hors d'oeuvres and offering entertainment, to showcase the city's residential and commercial resurgence.[60]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city had a total area of 1.603 square miles (4.151 km2), including 1.424 square miles (3.687 km2) of land and 0.179 square miles (0.464 km2) of water (11.17%).[1][2]

Unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the city include North Asbury and Whitesville (located along the city's border with Neptune Township).[61]

The city borders the Monmouth County communities of Interlaken, Loch Arbour, Neptune Township and Ocean Township[62]

Deal Lake covers 158 acres (64 ha) and is overseen by the Deal Lake Commission, which was established in 1974. Seven municipalities border the lake, accounting for 27 miles (43 km) of shoreline, also including Allenhurst, Deal, Interlaken, Loch Arbour, Neptune Township and Ocean Township.[63]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201515,818[13][64]−1.8%
Population sources: 1900-1920[65]
1900–1910[66] 1900–1930[67]
1930-1990[68] 2000[69][70] 2010[10][11][12]

2010 Census

At the 2010 United States Census, there were 16,116 people, 6,725 households, and 3,174 families residing in the city. The population density was 11,319.5 per square mile (4,370.5/km2). There were 8,076 housing units at an average density of 5,672.4 per square mile (2,190.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 36.45% (5,875) White, 51.35% (8,275) Black or African American, 0.49% (79) Native American, 0.48% (77) Asian, 0.12% (20) Pacific Islander, 7.64% (1,232) from other races, and 3.46% (558) from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 25.53% (4,115) of the population.[10]

There were 6,725 households, of which 24.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 18.2% were married couples living together, 23.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 52.8% were non-families. 42.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 3.33.[10]

In the city, 23.8% of the population were under the age of 18, 10.7% from 18 to 24, 30.7% from 25 to 44, 24.5% from 45 to 64, and 10.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34.0 years. For every 100 females there were 95.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.9 males.[10]

The Census Bureau's 2006–2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $33,527 (with a margin of error of +/− $2,802) and the median family income was $27,907 (+/− $5,012). Males had a median income of $34,735 (+/− $3,323) versus $33,988 (+/− $4,355) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $20,368 (+/− $1,878). About 31.1% of families and 29.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 44.9% of those under age 18 and 26.0% of those age 65 or over.[71]

2000 Census

As of the 2000 United States Census[18] there were 16,930 people, 6,754 households, and 3,586 families residing in the city. The population density was 14,290.0 per square mile (5,629.4/km2) making it Monmouth County's most densely populated municipality. There were 7,744 housing units at an average density of 5,416.7 per square mile (2,090.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 15.77% White, 67.11% Black, 0.32% Native American, 0.70% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 6.49% from other races, and 5.53% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 18.58% of the population.[69][70]

There were 6,754 households out of which 31.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 20.2% were married couples living together, 26.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.9% were non-families. 39.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.36.[69][70]

In the city the population was spread out with 30.1% under the age of 18, 10.6% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 44, 18.3% from 45 to 64, and 11.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 88.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 83.2 males.[69][70]

The median income for a household in the city was $23,081, and the median income for a family was $26,370. Males had a median income of $27,081 versus $24,666 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,516. About 29.3% of families and 40.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 46.5% of those under age 18 and 37.1% of those age 65 or over.[69][70]


Urban Enterprise Zone

Portions of Asbury Park are part of an Urban Enterprise Zone. In addition to other benefits to encourage employment within the Zone, some stores are allowed to apply a reduced 3½% sales tax rate at eligible merchants (versus the 7% rate charged statewide).[72]


The award-winning weekly newspaper The Coaster has covered local news in Asbury Park since it was founded in 1983. The owner of TriCity News, a weekly news and art publication for Monmouth County, chose Asbury Park for its headquarters.[73]


Berkeley Hotel, south face 2007

There were at one time many hotels along the beachfront. Many were demolished after years of sitting vacant, although the Sixth Avenue House Bed & Breakfast Hotel (formerly Berea Manor) was recently restored after being abandoned in the 1970s. Hotels like the Berkeley and Oceanic Inn have operated concurrently for decades, while the Empress Hotel and Hotel Tides were recently restored and reopened. The Asbury Hotel, located on 5th Avenue, is the first hotel to be "built" in Asbury Park in 50+ years. It stands where the old Salvation Army building once stood, which has sat vacant for over a decade. The building itself was not torn down, but the entire inside was gutted and redone. Glass paneling was added to the front and all the original outside brickwork was kept. While located a block and a half from the beach, a great view of the ocean is still offered by the upper floors and rooftop.

Currently open hotels include the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel (formerly the Berkeley-Carteret Oceanfront Hotel), The Empress Hotel, Hotel Tides, Asbury Park Inn, Oceanic Inn, Sixth Avenue House Bed & Breakfast Hotel, Mikell's Big House Bed & Breakfast and The Asbury Hotel.



In 1943, the New York Yankees held spring training in Asbury Park to comply with restrictions on rail travel during World War II.[76]


Local government

The City of Asbury Park is governed within the Faulkner Act, formally known as the Optional Municipal Charter Law, under the Council-Manager form of government. The city was previously governed under the 1923 Municipal Manager Law form of New Jersey municipal government until voters approved the Council-Manager form in 2013.[77] The government consists of a five-member City Council with a directly elected mayor and four council positions all elected at-large in non-partisan elections, to serve four-year terms of office on a staggered basis in elections held in even years as part of the November general election.[5][77]

The form of government was chosen based on the final report issued in August 2013 by a Charter Study Commission that had narrowed its options to the weak Mayor Council-Manager form or the strong Mayor Faulkner Act form, ultimately choosing to recommend the Council-Manager form as it would retain desired aspects of the 1923 Municipal Manager Law (non-partisan voting for an at-large council with a professional manager) while allowing a directly elected mayor, elections in November and grants voters the right to use initiative and referendum.[78] The four winning council candidates in the November 2014 general election drew straws, with two being chosen to serve full four-year terms and two serving for two years. Thereafter, two council seats will be up for election every two years.[79]

As of 2016, members of the Asbury Park City Council are Mayor John Moor (term ends December 31, 2018), Deputy Mayor Amy Quinn (2016), Eileen Chapman (2016; appointed to serve an unexpired term), Barbara "Yvonne" Clayton (2016) and Jesse Kendle (2018).[4][5][80][81][82]

In May 2016, the City Council appointed Eileen Chapman to fill the vacant council seat expiring in December 2016 that had been held by Joe Woerner until he resigned from office.[83]

Myra Campbell, the last mayor under the old form of government, was the first African-American woman to be chosen as mayor when she took office in July 2013.[84]

Fire Department

The Asbury Park Fire Department is the only fully career department in Monmouth County.[85]

Asbury Park's fire station includes one staffed Engine Company, one staffed Truck Company, two staffed Basic Life Support Ambulances and a Duty Battalion Chief, operating four engines, two ladder trucks, a Technical Rescue Response Vehicle. The department has 50 employees, which includes 49 who are cross-trained as Emergency Medical Technicians.[86]

Federal, state, and county representation

Asbury Park is located in the 6th Congressional district[87] and is part of New Jersey's 11th state legislative district.[11][88][89]

New Jersey's Sixth Congressional District is represented by Frank Pallone (D, Long Branch).[90] New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Cory Booker (D, Newark, term ends 2021)[91] and Bob Menendez (D, Paramus, 2019).[92][93]

For the 2016–2017 session (Senate, General Assembly), the 11th Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Jennifer Beck (R, Red Bank) and in the General Assembly by Joann Downey (D, Freehold Township) and Eric Houghtaling (D, Neptune Township).[94] The Governor of New Jersey is Chris Christie (R, Mendham Township).[95] The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Kim Guadagno (R, Monmouth Beach).[96]

Monmouth County is governed by a Board of Chosen Freeholders consisting of five members who are elected at-large to serve three year terms of office on a staggered basis, with either one or two seats up for election each year as part of the November general election. At an annual reorganization meeting held in the beginning of January, the board selects one of its members to serve as Director and another as Deputy Director.[97] As of 2014, Monmouth County's Freeholders are Freeholder Director Lillian G. Burry (R, Colts Neck Township; term ends December 31, 2014),[98] Freeholder Deputy Director Gary J. Rich, Sr. (R, Spring Lake; 2014),[99] Thomas A. Arnone (R, Neptune City; 2016),[100] John P. Curley (R, Middletown Township; 2015)[101] and Serena DiMaso (R, Holmdel Township; 2016).[102][103] Constitutional officers elected on a countywide basis are County Clerk M. Claire French (Wall Township),[104] Sheriff Shaun Golden (Farmingdale)[105] and Surrogate Rosemarie D. Peters (Middletown Township).[106]


As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 7,404 registered voters in Asbury Park, of which 2,723 (36.8%) were registered as Democrats, 464 (6.3%) were registered as Republicans and 4,209 (56.8%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There were 8 voters registered to other parties.[107]

In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 89.1% of the vote (4,317 cast), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 9.9% (480 votes), and other candidates with 1.0% (49 votes), among the 4,896 ballots cast by the city's 8,486 registered voters (50 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 57.7%.[108][109] In the 2008 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 87.4% of the vote (4,693 cast), ahead of Republican John McCain with 9.7% (522 votes) and other candidates with 0.5% (28 votes), among the 5,372 ballots cast by the city's 8,429 registered voters, for a turnout of 63.7%.[110] In the 2004 presidential election, Democrat John Kerry received 81.9% of the vote (3,659 ballots cast), outpolling Republican George W. Bush with 17.0% (759 votes) and other candidates with 0.3% (28 votes), among the 4,466 ballots cast by the city's 8,255 registered voters, for a turnout percentage of 54.1.[111]

In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Democrat Barbara Buono received 67.5% of the vote (1,488 cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 30.9% (682 votes), and other candidates with 1.6% (36 votes), among the 2,287 ballots cast by the city's 8,819 registered voters (81 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 25.9%.[112][113] In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Democrat Jon Corzine received 75.1% of the vote (1,728 ballots cast), ahead of Republican Chris Christie with 19.1% (440 votes), Independent Chris Daggett with 4.3% (100 votes) and other candidates with 0.4% (9 votes), among the 2,301 ballots cast by the city's 7,692 registered voters, yielding a 29.9% turnout.[114]


Public schools

Asbury Park's public schools are operated by Asbury Park Public Schools. The district is one of 31 former Abbott districts statewide,[115] which are now referred to as "SDA Districts" based on the requirement for the state to cover all costs for school building and renovation projects in these districts under the supervision of the New Jersey Schools Development Authority.[116][117]

Students from Allenhurst attend the district's schools as part of a sending/receiving relationship.[118] In July 2014, the New Jersey Department of Education approved a request by Interlaken under which it would end its sending relationship with the Asbury Park district and begin sending its students to the West Long Branch Public Schools through eighth grade and then onto Shore Regional High School.[119]

As of the 2011-12 school year, the district's five schools had an enrollment of 1,998 students and 234.5 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 8.52:1.[120] Schools in the district (with 2011-12 enrollment data from the National Center for Education Statistics[121]) are:[122] Bradley Elementary School[123] (PreK-5; 505), Thurgood Marshall Elementary School[124] (PreK-5; 527), Asbury Park Middle School[125] (527) and Asbury Park High School[126] (406)

In March 2011, the state monitor overseeing the district's finances ordered that Barack Obama Elementary School be closed after the end of the 2010–11 school year, citing a 35% decline in enrollment in the district during the prior 10 years. Students currently attending the school would be reallocated to the district's two other elementary schools, with those going into fifth grade assigned to attend middle school.[127] During the summer of 2012, the school board approved funding for development plans to house the Board of Education in the vacant Barack Obama Elementary School. The school board awarded $894,000 to an architect firm to handle the renovation design and subsequent project bids. The estimated cost of the renovation was $1.6 million.[128]

In 2006, Asbury Park's Board of Education was affected by the city's decision to redevelop waterfront property with eminent domain. In the case Asbury Park Board of Education v. City of Asbury Park and Asbury Partners, LLC, the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division affirmed a ruling in favor of eminent domain of the Board of Education building on Lake Avenue.[129] The Board of Education moved to the third and fourth floors of 603 Mattison Avenue, the former Asbury Park Press building, where it paid $189,327 in rent per year.[128]

In February 2007, the offices of the Asbury Park Board of Education were raided by investigators from the State Attorney General's office, prompted by allegations of corruption and misuse of funds.[130]

Per-student expenditures in Asbury Park have generated statewide controversy for several years. In 2006, The New York Times reported that Asbury Park "spends more than $18,000 per student each year, the highest amount in the state."[131] In both 2010 and 2011, the Asbury Park K-12 school district had the highest per-student expenditure in the state.[132] As of the 2010 school reports, the high school has not met goals mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act and has been classified as "In Need of Improvement" for six years.[133]

Charter schools

The Hope Academy Charter School, founded in 2001, is an alternative public school choice that serves students in Kindergarten through eighth grade. Admission is based on a lottery of submitted applications, with priority given to Asbury Park residents and siblings of existing students.[134]

Students from Asbury Park in ninth through twelfth grades may also attend Academy Charter High School, located in Lake Como, which also serves residents of Allenhurst, Avon-by-the-Sea, Belmar, Bradley Beach, Deal, Interlaken and Lake Como, and accepts students on a lottery basis.[135]


While 8 of the 17 murders in Monmouth County in 2006 took place in Asbury Park, and 7 of the county's 14 murders in 2007, by 2008 there was only one murder in Asbury Park and five in the whole county. The city's police had added 19 officers since 2003 and expanded its street crime unit. After a spike in gang violence, violent crime had decreased by almost 20% from 2006 to 2008.[136]

In the calendar year through August 26, 2013, Asbury Park has had 6 homicides; there have also been 17 people non-fatally injured in shooting incidents.[137]

In February 2014, "Operation Dead End" arrested gang members of the Crips and Bloods; one Asbury Park patrol officer was arrested for aiding gang members.[138]

On June 16, 2015, Asbury Park police officers arrested a Neptune Township off-duty police officer for the murder of his ex-wife on an Asbury Park street in broad daylight.[139]

Asbury Park's crime statistics
Year Crime Index Total Violent crime Non-violent
Crime rate
Per 1000
Violent crime
Rate per 1000
Non-violent crime
Rate per 1000
1994 1740 386 1354 103.6 23.0 80.6 2 20 175 189 [140]
1995 1461 290 1171 93.6 18.6 75.0 2 11 147 130 [140]
1996 1590 305 1285 101.9 19.5 82.3 2 23 139 141 [141]
1997 1525 357 1168 89.1 20.8 68.2 1 11 190 155 [141]
1998 1240 251 989 72.4 14.7 57.8 0 16 116 119 [142]
1999 1183 302 881 69.4 17.7 51.7 3 16 139 144 [142]
2000 1224 337 887 72.3 19.9 52.4 1 13 161 162 [143]
2001 1431 398 1033 84.5 23.5 61.0 5 14 184 195 [143]
2002 1260 347 913 74.4 20.5 53.9 3 9 172 163 [144]
2003 1293 378 915 77.0 22.5 54.5 2 7 183 186 [144]
2004 1429 360 1069 85.6 21.6 64.0 3 5 196 156 [145]
2005 1313 346 967 78.1 20.6 57.5 3 10 148 185 [146]
2006 1305 387 918 78.5 23.3 55.2 8 7 194 178 [146]
2007 1070 351 719 64.7 21.2 43.5 6 11 184 150 [147]
2008 1265 319 946 76.3 19.2 57.1 1 6 153 159 [147]
2009 1370 353 1017 82.8 21.3 61.5 2 6 178 167 [148]
2010 1491 344 1147 92.5 21.3 71.2 3 13 188 140 [148]
2011 1540 260 1280 95.6 16.1 79.4 4 11 114 131 [149]
2012 1252 247 1005 78.9 15.6 63.3 3 10 84 150 [150]
2013 1106 264 842 69.7 16.6 53.1 6 9 126 123 [151]

As of 2013, the Asbury Park Police Department has 88 police employees: 74 men, 10 women, and 4 civilian.[151]

Public health

Nearby hospitals include Jersey Shore University Medical Center and Monmouth Medical Center.

In 2014, there were 906 reported cases of HIV in Asbury Park. Additionally, there were 407 AIDS-related deaths and 70 deaths of people who had HIV (without AIDS diagnosis.)[152] To help people living with AIDS and their caregivers, a not-for-profit foundation called The Center provides assistance with meals, housing, and transportation.[153]

In 2012, Asbury Park reported 6 cases of syphilis, 59 cases of gonorrhea, and 139 cases of chlamydia.[154]


Roads and highways

As of May 2010, the city had a total of 36.20 miles (58.26 km) of roadways, of which 33.78 miles (54.36 km) were maintained by the municipality, 0.92 miles (1.48 km) by Monmouth County and 1.50 miles (2.41 km) by the New Jersey Department of Transportation.[155]

The main access road is Route 71 which runs north-south. Other roads that are accessible in neighboring communities include Route 18, Route 33, Route 35 and Route 66. The Garden State Parkway is at least 15 minutes away via either Routes 33 or 66.

Public transportation

NJ Transit offers rail service from the Asbury Park station.[156] on the North Jersey Coast Line, offering service to Newark Penn Station, Secaucus Junction, New York Penn Station and Hoboken Terminal.[157]

NJ Transit bus routes include the 317 to and from Philadelphia, and local service on the 830, 832, 836 and 837 routes.[158]

Notable people

People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Asbury Park include:

In popular culture

Palace Amusements and the Tillie mural have featured in numerous works of popular culture. Additional works reference Asbury Park, specifically.

For example, in the song "At Long Last Love" (1938), originally written by Cole Porter for the musical You Never Know (1938), Frank Sinatra sings "Is it Granada I see, or only Asbury Park?"[185]

Bruce Springsteen named his first album "Greetings From Asbury Park, N.J." in 1973 and described his early life there. The artist has also dedicated many songs to Asbury Park such as "4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)" and "My City of Ruins" on his 2002 album, "The Rising".

The group mewithoutYou references Asbury Park several times on their album Ten Stories (2012). The song "Bear's Vision of St. Agnes" mentions "that tattered rag shop back in Asbury Park", and the song "Fox's Dream of the Log Flume" mentions the pier and sand dunes.

Asbury Park was used for the location filming of the crime drama City by the Sea (2002), starring Robert De Niro, James Franco and Frances McDormand, which was nominally set in Long Beach, New York, where no filming actually took place, according to a disclaimer that was included as part of the closing credits. The film features scenes set on a shabby, dilapidated boardwalk and in a ruined/abandoned casino/arcade building. Residents of both places objected to the way their cities were depicted.[186] Asbury Park appears at the start of the 1999 film Dogma.

The Sopranos' Season 2 finale "Funhouse", originally aired in April 2000, includes several discrete dream sequences dreamed by Tony that take place on the Asbury Park Boardwalk, including Madame Marie's as well as Tony and Pauly playing cards at a table in the empty hall of the Convention Center. The episode's title alludes to the Palace, which is also shown.[187]

In a 1955 episode of The Honeymooners ("Better Living Though TV"), Alice Kramden ridicules husband Ralph Kramden's seemingly never-ending parade of failed get-rich-quick schemes, including his investment in "the uranium field in Asbury Park".[188]

See also


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  128. 1 2 Mulshine, Molly. " School admins finalize move to Obama building Relocation should be complete by next summer", Asbury Park Sun, September 13, 2012. Accessed June 15, 2014. "The board of education [BOE] is finalizing plans for administrative offices to move from downtown Asbury Park to the Barack H. Obama building on Bangs Avenue [pictured above]. The district's administrative staff has occupied a floor of The Press Building at 603 Mattison Ave. [right] for several years, paying $189,327 annually, or about $15,000 per month, for the space."
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  160. Pike, Helen-Chantal. "Asbury Park's Glory Days – The Story Of An American Resort", Gameroom magazine reviewed by Tim Ferrante. Accessed June 18, 2007. "I didn't know Bud Abbott was born there. It was also the home town of then hair stylist Danny DeVito (yes, there is a photo of the famed actor in his family's shop!) and the childhood stomping ground of Jack Nicholson."
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  164. Bernstein, Adam via The Washington Post. "Frederick Bayer, 85; biologist studied corals in deep sea", The Boston Globe, October 23, 2007. Accessed June 15, 2014. "Frederick Merkle Bayer was born in Asbury Park, N.J., and raised in southern Florida, where he became an amateur naturalist and a collector of seashells."
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  166. Staff. "Boardwalk fortune teller Madam Marie dies", Asbury Park Press, July 1, 2008. Accessed December 2, 2012. "Marie Castello, who had told fortunes since the 1930s and became famous for her presence and predictions on the Asbury Park boardwalk, died Friday, her great-granddaughter, Sally Castello said today."
  167. Blackwell, Jon. "She kept America in Vogue", Asbury Park Press, May 14, 2001. Accessed July 31, 2007. "Born in Asbury Park on March 14, 1877, Edna barely knew her father, who split up with her mom while she was still an infant."
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  170. Williams, Candy. "Manhattan Transfer keeps it swinging with Greensburg show", Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, December 4, 2009. Accessed July 28, 2011. "Even before he founded the quartet, Hauser was singing professionally since age 15, when as a teenager living with his family in Asbury Park, N.J., he started up a rock 'n' roll quintet called the Criterions."
  171. Anderson, Dave. "Sports of The Times; Hess Mulled The Return Of the Jets", The New York Times, May 9, 1999. Accessed February 9, 2012. "'I was born and brought up in Asbury Park, N.J.,' Hess said that day in a rare appearance at a news conference."
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  173. Genocchio, Benjamin. "ART; Making Art Amid The Ruins", The New York Times, May 22, 2005. Accessed December 30, 2007. "Mr. Melee took his money and bought a house in Asbury Park, after falling in love with the decaying grandeur of the Jersey Shore."
  174. "Greetings From Asbury Park", NJN. Accessed June 18, 2007. "Rick Benjamin, founder of the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, and a specialist in the music of Arthur Pryor – an Asbury Park musical superstar long before Bruce Springsteen – who transformed the forbidden music of Ragtime into wholesome popular entertainment."
  175. Mikle, Jean. "Arthur Pryor, Asbury Park's first musical superstar", Asbury Park Press, August 3, 2014. Accessed October 25, 2015. "The next year, Pryor moved to Asbury Park. That summer marked the beginning of the nearly two decades that Pryor's band made the city its summer home. Pryor eventually bought a farm in West Long Branch, then a sparsely populated, rural community.... Pryor was working on a conducting comeback in 1942, when he suffered a stroke and died at his West Long Branch home."
  176. Wilkowe, Ellen S. "Man with a horn", Asbury Park Press, February 8, 2009. Accessed February 4, 2011. "After joining the Jukes Rosenberg moved to the Shore area and lived in Belmar, Long Branch and even across from the Stone Pony he said."
  177. Staff. "Charles J. Ross Dead. Prominent Travesty Actor Succumbs at 59 at Ross-Fenton Farm", The New York Times, June 16, 1918. Accessed February 9, 2012. "Charles J. Ross, many years ago a member of the Weber and Fields Company and later a headliner in vaudeville in the team of Ross and Fenton, died at his home in North Asbury Park today."
  178. Lustig, Jay. "Revisiting E Street: Ex-Springsteen sideman looks forward to Shore gig", "The Star-Ledger", July 15, 2005. Accessed July 30, 2007. "Sancious grew up in Asbury Park and Belmar. The E Street Band was named after the address of his mother's Belmar home, where they sometimes practiced. Sancious lived in Red Bank in the late '70s, before relocating to his current hometown, Woodstock, N.Y."
  179. Staff. "Arthur Siegel, Song Composer And Pianist, 70", The New York Times, September 17, 1994. Accessed May 20, 2012. "Mr. Siegel, whose career in show business spanned nearly five decades, was born in Lakewood, N.J., on Dec. 31, 1923, and grew up in Asbury Park, N.J."
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  181. McAlpine, Ken. Off-Season: Discovering America on Winter's Shore, p. 227. Random House, 2010. ISBN 9780307539038. Accessed June 15, 2014. "Bruce Springsteen lived in Asbury Park. He used what he inhaled there — the boardwalk, Madam Marie's, every beach town's drifters and dreamers — to touch his first tentaive fingers to the pulse of life at the Jersey Shore and, Given man's common desires, beyond."
  182. Lucia, Peter""Asbury Park Life Stimulus For Author"". Archived from the original on 2008-06-14. Retrieved 2008-04-10. , Asbury Park Press, October 2, 1995. Accessed April 9, 2008.
  183. Cotter, Kelly-Jane. "The Year in Entertainment", Asbury Park Press, December 27, 2009. Accessed February 2, 2011. "Radio personality Wendy Williams who grew up in Asbury Park and Ocean Township became a TV star this year with her syndicated talk show."
  184. Nye, Peter Joffre. "Newark, N.J., Started a National Cycling Tradition", United States Bicycling Hall of Fame. Accessed July 21, 2008.
  185. Pike, Helen-Chantal. Asbury Park's Glory Days: The Story of an American Resort, p. 88. Rutgers University Press, 2007. ISBN 9780813540870. Accessed January 30, 2014. "Four years later, Porter wrote another musical, You Never Know, with a signature song, "At Long Last Love", later made famous by crooner Frank Sinatra. The song included the line 'Is it Granada I see, or only Asbury Park?'"
  186. Saslow, Linda. "Gritty City by the Sea", The New York Times, September 15, 2002. Accessed August 27, 2015. "'IF Robert De Niro doesn't mind that everyone calls him Al Pacino,' Louis Navarro figures, 'Asbury Park shouldn't care that it's portrayed as Long Beach.' That pretty much sums up what Asbury Park residents are feeling these days, at least those who have seen the movie City by the Sea, the latest slap to be endured by a city that is slap-happy over more than a decade of decay and disrespect."
  187. Adams, Erik; Dyess-Nugent, Phil; Eichel, Molly; and McGee, Ryan. "A favorite Sopranos episode visits the 'Funhouse' in Tony's head", The A.V. Club, January 15, 2014. Accessed August 8, 2016. "There are boardwalks all over the Jersey coast, so why pick Asbury Park? For those familiar with the shore town its landmarks are featured prominently. The most obvious aspects are the shots of Tony in front of the stately Convention Hall and the surrealistic pan featuring two of the city's most iconic murals: amusement park fun face 'Tillie' and Madam Marie's sign. Asbury Park was a city in steady decline when Tony Soprano landed there."
  188. Barron, James. "'HONEYMOONERS' ISN'T OVER FOR ITS FANS", The New York Times, August 26, 1983. Accessed August 27, 2015. "Most of the action took place in the Kramden kitchen, and the story line often centered on Kramden's spectacular get-rich-quick schemes, which always turned out to be spectacular flops—wallpaper that glowed in the dark, uranium-mine speculation in Asbury Park, N.J., a 'handy housewife helper' gadget and no-cal pizza."

Further reading

External links

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Preceded by
Loch Arbour
Beaches of New Jersey Succeeded by
Ocean Grove
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