Photo of Asbury Park’s Convention Hall by Acroterion / Wikimedia Commons
If you lived along the Jersey Shore in the ’80s and ’90s, Asbury Park was not a place you went. After getting its start in the late 1800s as a summer escape for wealthy residents of NYC and Philly, the 1.6-square-mile town boomed again in the ’50s and ’60s as a grungey, artsy hangout. But after the race riots in the 1970s, the town fell into disrepair and was forgotten by local stakeholders. Fast forward to today, and Asbury is booming–we once aptly described it as “Williamsburg meets Bruce Springsteen-land meets Venice Beach.”
Like many gentrifying/revitalized areas, the change can be attributed to a developer with foresight. In this case, the team at iStar realized the opportunity nine years ago. They now own 35 acres of land in Asbury, including 70 percent of the waterfront, and are investing more than $1 billion in the town. Their projects include the luxury condo Monroe, the renovated Asbury Lanes bowling alley/performance venue, The Asbury Hotel, and, most recently, the Asbury Ocean Club, a hotel-condo hybrid that made headlines for its $1,050/night suite. Unsurprisingly, iStar has received its share of criticism, but that hasn’t stopped New Yorkers from flooding the seaside city in the summertime. Ahead, we delve into the social and cultural landscape of Asbury and talk with iStar’s Brian Cheripka about the lesser-known politics behind their plans, why they decided to invest in Asbury Park, and what we can expect to see in the future.
New York City has some great local beaches, like the Rockaways, Coney Island, and Brighton and Orchard Beaches. But when you need a short break from all the spots you can hit via the subway, it’s worth remembering that there are some great beaches just a quick drive or NJ Transit/Long Island Railroad-ride away. Here are some of our favorite day beach trips from the city, from up-and-comer Asbury Park and Long Branch in NJ to long-time favorites like Fire and Shelter Islands.
Rendering by Binyan Studios
After over a decade in the works, the Jersey Shore is getting its first five-star boutique hotel. The Asbury Ocean Club, a 17-story hotel-condo, will open this June in Asbury Park, a hip beach community with working-class roots known for its flourishing foodie and surf scene, as well as its Bruce Springsteen connection. Opening this summer, the 54-room beachfront hotel occupies the building’s entire fourth floor and sits next to the pool deck, which offers water views. With its proximity to New York City, the Asbury Ocean Club Hotel hopes to attract New Yorkers looking for an oceanfront oasis. And the prices even mirror Manhattan, with rooms starting at $295 per night. Reservations officially launch May 1.
In just 70 minutes, you can drive from Manhattan to Asbury Park, New Jersey, and escape to one of the state’s most up-and-coming areas (think Williamsburg meets Bruce Springsteen-land meets Venice Beach). And if you want to do this pretty regularly, the town’s mega-developer, iStar, thinks it has found the perfect balance of urban luxury and beachfront living at their new condo/hotel the Asbury Ocean Club. Ranging from $900,000 one-bedrooms to two $6 million penthouses, the pricing is certainly more NYC, but on a recent visit, it was clear that the artsy vibe, live music scene, and booming foodie culture is uniquely Jersey Shore.
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In a city where hundreds of interesting happenings occur each week, it can be hard to pick and choose your way to a fulfilling life. Art Nerd‘s philosophy is a combination of observation, participation, education and of course a party to create the ultimate well-rounded week. Jump ahead for Art Nerd founder Lori Zimmer’s top picks for 6sqft readers!
The beautiful hills of Governors Island has a new sculpture by British artist Rachel Whiteread, and it is yours to discover through the entire season. Bring a tote or a T and get a custom screen print by Brian Leo, or head to GHOST art lounge to talk all things about artists JMR and CRASH. Head outdoors for a day time dance party at MoMA PS1, for a French film at Tompkins Square Park or to the gorgeous Morris-Jumel Mansion for live art and jazz. Celebrate sound at Pioneer Works, or if you’re feeling adventurous; hop a train to Asbury Park for sun, surf and the Art Star Craft Bazaar.
More on all the best events this way