Asbury Park's Glory Days: The Story of an American Resort

Overview


Long before Bruce Springsteen picked up a guitar; before Danny DeVito drove a taxi; before Jack Nicholson flew over the cuckoo's nest, Asbury Park was a seashore Shangri-La filled with shimmering odes to civic greatness, world-renowned baby parades, temples of retail, and atmospheric movie palaces. It was a magnet for tourists, a summer vacation mecca-to some degree New Jersey's own Coney Island.

In Asbury Park's Glory Days, award-winning author Helen-Chantal Pike chronicles ...

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Overview


Long before Bruce Springsteen picked up a guitar; before Danny DeVito drove a taxi; before Jack Nicholson flew over the cuckoo's nest, Asbury Park was a seashore Shangri-La filled with shimmering odes to civic greatness, world-renowned baby parades, temples of retail, and atmospheric movie palaces. It was a magnet for tourists, a summer vacation mecca-to some degree New Jersey's own Coney Island.

In Asbury Park's Glory Days, award-winning author Helen-Chantal Pike chronicles the city's heyday-the ninety-year period between 1890 and 1980. Pike illuminates the historical conditions contributing to the town's cycle of booms and recessions. She investigates the factors that influenced these peaks, such as location, lodging, dining, nightlife, merchandising, and immigration, and how and why millions of people spent their leisure time within this one-square-mile boundary on the northern coast of the state. Pike also includes an epilogue describing recent attempts to resurrect this once-vibrant city.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"In Asbury Park's Glory Days, award-winning author Helen-Chantal Pike chronicles the city's heyday—the-ninety-year period between 1890 and 1980. Pike also includes an epilogue discribing recent attempts to resurrect this once-vibrant city."
New York Times

"Ms. Pike spares neither villain nor hero in her saga of her favorite resort. There are mobsters and stand-up clergymen; showgirls and shopkeepers; restaurateurs with class and the classy people who kept them in business. Most of all, there are the little stories told by just plain folks interspersed throughout Ms. Pike's historical narrative."
Princeton Packet

"In Asbury Park's Glory Days, award-winning author Helen-Chantal Pike chronicles the city's heyday—the-ninety-year period between 1890 and 1980. Pike also includes an epilogue discribing recent attempts to resurrect this once-vibrant city."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813540870
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2005
  • Series: Rivergate
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 680,771
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2007

    Asbury Park-Glory Days

    In her book, 'Asbury Park's Glory Days, author Helen-Chantal Pike has fulfilled a long-standing need. A biography of one of the Jersey shore's most significant seashore towns. The history of Asbury's rival resort, Long Branch, had already been chronicled by the WPA's writer's project, back in the 1930's. Those forgotten writers did a thorough job with the Branch's storied past. But Asbury lacked a significant memoir. Pike has taken on the task, and aced it beautifully. The book, published by Rutgers University Press in 2005, is a treasure chest of souvenirs, written and photographic, of the Park's fabulous past. Even the hard cover, beneath the jacket, is reminiscent of a fine old family trunk in the attic. The jacket itself is a colorful array of scenes of significant spots from within Asbury's borders and past. The contents are crammed with wonderful characters, places and incidents that filled Asbury Park's history. The town of Asbury Park has stumbled along a troubled path as well, and Pike looks at it all with a comprehending eye. She understands the problems of municipal government and changing demographics, and writes about them comprehensively. Her book is valuable in many ways, but three came through to me clearly. This is a book for everyone interested in New Jersey history, for everyone interested in the evolution of resort areas, and moreover, for everyone who wants to know how cities crumble from within, and succumb to inner city blight. Happily, Asbury Park is struggling to make a comeback, and is well more than halfway there, and Helen Pike's 'Asbury Park's Glory Days' is on top of it all. Don't miss this one! - Art Scott, Flagstaff, AZ

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2005

    A Great Read

    What a wonderful book. A great read! It is a 20th century history of Asbury Park but I suspect Asbury Park's story has parallels in communities throughout America. After all, anyone who lived through America's more recent history knows of J. Fred Muggs, Bruce Springsteen, Studebaker cars and the like. Recommended!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2005

    Time Travel in Asbury Park

    Helen Chantal Pike¿s latest creation, ¿Asbury Park¿s Glory Days,¿ is a ¿must read¿ for those searching for the answers to how one of the greatest resorts in the world during the 19th century could collapse into urban decay in the 20th century. This 200-page book covers the ninety years from 1890 to 1980, with a 2002 epilogue. The political, economic, social, and cultural events are included in this century timeline. The pages are richly illustrated with vintage photographs, documents, excerpts from newspapers of the time, and dozens of first hand stories from people (still alive) who resided and worked in this ¿city by the sea.¿ The architectural history of the theatres, hotels, public buildings, and the unique design of the city is remarkably researched and presented. ¿Asbury Park¿s Glory Days¿ is a smooth and enjoyable trip to the boardwalk, and is densely packed with facts and details for Asbury Park historians everywhere. I highly recommend it.

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