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Sandro Rosell
FC Barcelona President
Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Asbury Park, a city in seaside New Jersey, is enjoying a rejuvenation after a prolonged period as, in the words the NY Times Friday, “a ghost town.” 

In its report, the Times noted that the city has recently become enlivened with attractions, including a gallery featuring vinyl records, rock n’ roll shirts, and photographs of celebrities like Bruce Springsteen, Johnny Cash, Stevie Knicks, and more, all of which will be on display through Sept. 15. Springsteen himself recently paid a visit to Asbury Park as well.

The newfound hipness of Asbury Park is in stark contrast to its desolate appearance in 1996. In a January report, described the depressing scene when local Art Taylor returned to the area 21 years ago.  

“Planks in the boardwalk were rotted, missing or curling,” App’s Austin Bogues wrote in the report. “Landmarks like the Empress Hotel stood boarded up. And the once-proud Asbury Park Convention Hall that echoed with sounds ranging from Frank Sinatra to Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd was now a mausoleum to more prosperous times.” 

Describing his return to his hometown, Taylor said at the time that he could only describe Asbury Park’s condition as “haunting.” 

Fortunately, that sad reflection seems less accurate for the Asbury Park of 2017, which App noted is now lively and bustling at all hours with visitors and the sounds of local musicians. The report noted that parking revenue, a reliable indication of tourism, has dramatically increased, reaching $4.5 million in parking fees in 2016, marking a $1.9 million increase from 2013. The city has also experienced a sharp decrease in crime, with 1,216 major crimes reported in 2016, compared with 1,491 in 2010. 

Some locals attributed Asbury Park’s initial decline to “White Flight,” as the App report noted.  

“People were afraid to come into Asbury Park," one local noted. "When the economy shrunk based on the stores that were closing, Springwood Avenue was devastated." 

In a July report, the NY Post also commented on Asbury Park’s rejuvenation. 

“I like to joke that it took 30 years for Asbury Park to be an overnight success,” one resident, Neal Sroka, told the news outlet. “But now Asbury is ready for more upmarket product.” 

Users commenting on the Asbury Park Boardwalk’s Facebook page have also noted the transformation. 

“Coming back to Asbury Park after 20+ years I must say it has changed for the better,” one commenter wrote. “The beach is clean and relaxing.” 

For some, the area evoked nostalgic feelings.

“I am more than happy to say I grew up around Asbury area and still to this day nothing has changed,” one commenter wrote. “I love it here and since the upgrade I love it even more. The July 4th fireworks were awesome.”

By: Nathan Anders