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4th of July, Asbury Park. A History of the Promised Land - download pdf or read online

By Daniel Wolff

"Wonderfully evocative…a grand, unhappy tale of racism and actual property, political hardball and beach pleasure-seeking."―A.O. Scott, New York instances booklet Review

When Bruce Springsteen known as his first album Greetings from Asbury Park, he brought a new release of enthusiasts to a fallen seashore inn city that got here to symbolize working-class American lifestyles. beginning with the town's founding as a spiritual promised land, song journalist and poet Daniel Wolff plots a path via Asbury Park's a hundred thirty years of entwined social and musical background, in a narrative that captures all of the attract and heartbreak of the yankee dream.

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He set up a dilapidated fire engine, "Old Wash ington," at the end of Sixth Avenue. " One summer, he had tanks built at the foot of the fishing pier and displayed a pair of sea lions. The attraction was so popular he had to install grandstands, and when the sea lions died, he replaced them with giant turtles. "Not a person to be easily understood," as his contemporaries wrote, the self-made man built a city that reflected his enormous contradictions. " A land speculator, he supported a limit to how much property an individual could own.

Nothing obviously important has happened. Two men lie side by side in the dark as the ocean crashes before them. But something about the moment so burnt itself into the white man's consciousness that fifteen years later, when Asbury Park is a prosperous tourist town and Bradley decides to write a short history of it, this bathing incident takes up one of only thirteen paragraphs. And Bradley reprints the story weekly for years in the local paper he owns. " What exactly that meant, we never learn.

It was a "sea-shore cosmopolis" that drew the most elegant urban vacationers. On July 4, 1870, what Bradley and the other Ocean Grove pioneers would call the debauchery reached new heights. Three miles outside town, the Monmouth Park racetrack opened. Built on 128 acres of land, Monmouth Park featured the largest grandstand of any racecourse in the country. Its total opening-day purse was a mind-boggling $31,000 and lured gamblers from New York, Philadelphia, and beyond. " Methodists might campaign against The Branch— its loose women, liquor, and crude dance bands— but as the New York Times correspondent wrote that summer, "The truth is that few men who are engaged in the active business of life can withdraw themselves all at once .

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4th of July, Asbury Park. A History of the Promised Land by Daniel Wolff

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