BY DAN DELUCA OF THE INQUIRER For me, growing up an hour down the Garden State Parkway in Ventnor, Asbury Park was a place to escape to, a destination where there was a music scene, unlike the rest of the culturally barren Jersey Shore. We made pilgrimages to the still-active Stone Pony in hopes of catching a Springsteen pop-in. Sometimes, we hit the jackpot. Others, all we got was Gary U.S. Bonds.
But when I drove there on a hot Sunday afternoon in July — stopping on the way into town at what seemed like the loneliest Starbucks in the world — I saw the same Asbury that Eric Mencher captures in these photos, the same one Springsteen wrote about in “My City of Ruins,” with a handful of people on the beach, a spooky stillness in the air.
All shore towns have a touch of sadness about them, because summer is forever ending, and good times disappear along with it. So looking out at forlorn empty lots and an all-but-abandoned boardwalk in Asbury in high season can be doubly heartbreaking.
[photo by ERIC MENCHER/PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER]