10 signs you were born and raised in New Jersey


1. You have a special relationship with ‘the city.’

New York City was a place you visited on weekends with friends or where you went for a night out, but you always swore you’d never live there. Then, when you do move to the city, you run into six people from high school during your daily commute.

2. You’re familiar with the phrase, ‘near NYC.’

Traveling abroad, your response to the question “where are you from?” either gets you a rendition of “Born in the U.S.A.” or receives blank looks and apologetic shrugs. You get used to using our famous landmark of a neighbor to describe our state with the follow-up phrase, ‘…near NYC’.

3. You spend the summer on the shore, but you’ve never had a “Jersey Shore’ experience.

You know the shore is filled with more quaint Victorian Bed & Breakfasts than buff twenty-something partiers, and you have fond memories of spending summers there eating ice cream and doing puzzles. Sure, you still find yourself lying on the beach near flocks of tanned, tattooed bros occasionally (I did this weekend) but you’re just as likely to end up swimming near middle-aged moms who tell you which colleges their kids are going to.

4. You’ve been told there’s a Jersey accent but you’ve never heard it in the wild.

Ok, I can concede that most of us say ‘water’ differently than the rest of the country, but the idea of a unifying ‘Jersey accent’ you’ll encounter throughout the state is an urban myth. Like many things about Jersey, what you find in the north is different from what you’ll find in the south. And none of us say ‘Joisey’!

5. You know most of the stereotypes aren’t true.

Is Jersey a state filled with Italian-Americans with loose links to the mafia? Is it the unsophisticated state of McMansions and Real Housewives? Are we the Dirty Jersey you roll up your windows against while driving through on your way to NYC, or a state defined by the unhinged cast of the Jersey Shore? If you’re from Jersey, you know we aren’t any of these stereotypes, but you probably also have fun playing into them sometimes. Sure, we’ll tell you we know the mafia, but we probably don’t. (Or did they tell me to say that?)

6. You’re always excited to go back home because of the food.

Anyone born and raised in Jersey knows we’ve got great food. We have fresh food (we are ‘The Garden State,’ after all), we have classic food, we have guilty pleasure food. You were raised spoiled by the fresh corn and tomatoes you bought by the side of the road at farm stands, and used to a certain standard when you stop for an Italian Hoagie for lunch. Summers contained boardwalk delicacies like funnel cake and salt-water taffy or impulsive stops by a Stewarts for a root beer float.

For a fast meal or a late night snack, there’s always Wawa or one of the many, many diners our state is known for. Speaking of which, you know that diners aren’t just a staple of New York — New Jersey has the most, and many of the best, diners in the country.

7. You didn’t grow up pumping your own gas.

If you learned to drive in a state where you aren’t allowed to pump your own gas, you’re either from Oregon or you’re a fellow Jersey resident. You probably still sit waiting in your car for a while when you pull into stations in other states.

8. You know you’re in good company.

For a small state, we lay claim to many of the most talented people in the nation. From Alan Alda and Danny DeVito, to David Copperfield and Frank Langella, your fellow Jersey born-and-bred are names known throughout the world. Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen still make Jersey proud, and we may be stuck with Christie, but we can also claim Jon Stewart. You wouldn’t even have Game of Thrones without Jersey — not only is George R. R. Marin one of us, but so is Peter Dinklage. Would any other state have inspired Zach Braff to sing a song about his hometown?

9. You know we’re more than Newark Airport or that part of Elizabeth you pass on the Turnpike.

Everyone from Jersey is used to living in a small state with a lot of identities. We know that when you veer off of I-95, you’re likely to end up in beautiful historic towns with artistic communities, or find yourself driving through the peaceful forested area of the Pine Barrens. You understand that along with the industrial cities in the north, we also have vast farmland and untouched nature, quiet suburbs and those charming towns by the shore. You probably define where you’re from by north, south or central Jersey and understand what those differences are.

10. You’re quick to defend your state.

You may be okay being the butt of the joke from time to time, but when it goes too far, your sense of Jersey pride is always ready to come to the surface. We definitely won’t be okay with outsiders calling us “Dirty Jersey”. We might be divided by north, south and central, but we all know how great the real Jersey is and nothing brings us together like encountering someone who doesn’t.


The Story Of This Abandoned New Jersey Beach Town Is Incredibly Eerie

New Jersey has quite a few abandoned towns, but none offer the scenic views of Sea Breeze. The beautiful bayfront escape is accessible to the public and hosts haunting reminders of the past.

It gained popularity in the late 1880s when ferry service began between Sea Breeze and Philadelphia. Tourists flocked to the area and soon a hotel was built. The Warner Hotel, constructed in 1887, offered 40 rooms, a bar, bathing facilities and recreational activities to guests. The community came together for clambakes and boat races, until the hotel burned down in 1890.

A second hotel was built just over a decade later - The Seabreeze Hotel. Guests could rent boats to take out on the Delaware Bay and, rumor has it, they could also enjoy a stiff drink. even during Prohibition. Like its predecessor, the hotel burned down in 1940.

A popular tavern and several dozen summer homes could once be found in the area. The Sea Breeze Tavern, opened after Prohibition, operated exclusively as a bar until the 1940s when food was added. Though it started out as a small spot on a barge, it eventually grew into a thriving eatery. Run by the family of the original owners until 1985, it was unfortunately destroyed by Hurricane Gloria.

Many homes in the area met the same fate, though quite a few remained. A sea wall was built to protect what was left, but with little success. As the years went on, homes were lost to floods, fires and demolished by the EPA. Currently, several private residents remain, along with abandoned properties.

If you should decide to visit Sea Breeze, remember to respect the area and obey “no trespassing” signs. Isn’t it a bit eerie to see a once thriving neighborhood now loaded with debris, with little more than the sound of waves crashing against the shore? For more abandoned New Jersey, check out this factory off the Turnpike.


Haddonfield, New Jersey

Haddonfield is a borough located in Camden County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough had a total population of 11,593, [9] [10] [11] reflecting a decline of 66 (-0.6%) from the 11,659 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn increased by 31 (+0.3%) from the 11,628 counted in the 1990 Census. [20]

Haddonfield was incorporated by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 6, 1875, within portions of Haddon Township following a referendum on the same day. The borough became an independent municipality in 1894. [21] The borough was named for Elizabeth Haddon, an early settler of the area. [22] [23]


The 18 books every New Jersey resident should read before they die

Bob Peterson/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

Josh Edelson/Getty Images

How do you explain New Jersey? Start here, with a collection of 18 books — high-brow and low, novels, poetry, folklore, memoirs, natural history, sociology — culled from our bookshelves and recommendations from New Jersey librarians, writers, professors and poets, that best capture the infuriating, inexhaustible, incommensurable and indelible place we call home.

Henry Charlton Beck, 'The Roads of Home' (1956)

Start your travels with "The Roads of Home: Lanes and Legends of New Jersey," by the the man many consider to be the Garden State's first folklorist, Henry Charlton Beck (1902-1965). "The unsurpassed chronicler of small-town, back-road New Jersey, Beck wrote about such places as Little Ease, Recklesstown, Fooltown, Pasadena and many more. Start your travels with 'The Roads of Home: Lanes and Legends of New Jersey.' Beck was a quirky soul — an Episcopal minister and sometime newspaper columnist — and his books are must-reads for anyone interested in a New Jersey that every year seems to fade a little more into the past." — Peter Genovese, longtime Jerseyana writer for The Star-Ledger and NJ.com

Richard Ford, 'Independence Day' (1995) and 'Let Me Be Frank With You' (2014)

These are two of a quartet of books by the Mississippi-born Ford that follow former sportswriter and New Jersey resident Frank Bascombe, the latter written in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. "'Independence Day'] is a meditative and sobering masterpiece about a father and son. 'Let Me Be Frank With You' is more of a series of vignettes, in which we see Bascombe interacting with Jersey Shore homeowners . and is as notable for its chronicling of this natural disaster as for the interactions between people." — Frederick Reiken, Livingston native and author of "The Lost Legends of New Jersey" and "Day for Night"

Harlan Coben, 'Promise Me' (2006) and Janet Evanovich, 'One For The Money' (1994)

Harlan Coben's Myron Bolitar, the quippy sports agent/private eye from Livingston, and Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum, the hapless bounty hunter in heels from Trenton, are the king and queen of New Jersey comic noir. They're scrappy and snarky, but they're on the side of the little guy, and they love their pizza and their parents. How Jersey can you get? Evanovich is freshest with her first Plum novel, "One For the Money," while Coben's "Promise Me," which brought back Bolitar after a six-year absence, mixes in the suburban New Jersey anxieties that are hallmarks of Coben's standalone thrillers.

Junot Diaz, 'The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao' (2007)


Contents

  • 1 History
  • 2 Geography
  • 3 Demographics
    • 3.1 Census 2010
    • 3.2 Census 2000
  • 4 Governance
  • 5 The Great Auditorium
    • 5.1 Organ
    • 5.2 Performances and other events
  • 6 Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association
    • 6.1 Tent City
    • 6.2 Programs
  • 7 Hurricane Sandy
  • 8 Gay relations
    • 8.1 Civil union controversy
  • 9 Transportation
    • 9.1 Roads and highways
    • 9.2 Public transportation
  • 10 Climate
  • 11 Ecology
  • 12 Notable people
  • 13 References
  • 14 External links

On July 31, 1869, Reverend W. B. Osborn, Reverend Stokes, and other Methodist ministers camped at a shaded, well-drained spot on New Jersey's seashore and decided to establish a permanent Christian camp meeting community called "Ocean Grove." [15] About twenty tents were pitched that summer. By the following year paths were being graded, lots were sold, and plans were set in motion for a new town. [16] In the summer of 1870, near the site of the first tabernacle, a well was dug to provide fresh water. It was named the "Beersheba" well, for an ancient well used by the Biblical patriarchs Abraham and Isaac, and is still in existence. [12]

In the summer of 1870, near the site of the first auditorium, a well was driven to provide fresh water. It was named the "Beersheba" well, for an ancient well used by the Biblical patriarchs Abraham and Isaac, and is still in existence, though belatedly connected to the town water system in 1911. [12]

Drawing from the major population centers of New York City and Philadelphia, Ocean Grove soon became a popular destination during the growth of the camp meeting movement in post-Civil War America. Tents and an open-air wooden shelter for speakers, were erected in the 1870s, for the trainloads of visitors arriving by the New York and Long Branch Railroad after 1875. In 1877 alone, 710,000 railroad tickets were sold for the Ocean Grove-Asbury Park train station. [12]

A third, larger auditorium was built in 1880.

As Ocean Grove drew more and more visitors, the facilities were outgrown, and construction of the present Great Auditorium was completed in 1894. Originally designed to accommodate crowds of as many as 10,000 people, the subsequent installation of theater-style cushioned seating in many sections reduced seating capacity to 6,250. [17] It remains Ocean Grove's most prominent structure and the centerpiece of its summer programs (see more about the Auditorium further down the page). By the early 20th century, said The New York Times in 1986, it was called the "Queen of Religious Resorts . Visitors would travel miles to bask in the Victorian seaside splendor and to attend engaging, extroverted religious ceremonies. Millions of people, tourists and pilgrims both, made the trip to Ocean Grove every summer." [13] The social disillusionment around 1920 following World War I had a profound effect on Ocean Grove and church going in general. There was a decline in interest in camp meeting type activities and there was little in the way of new construction in the town after this time. One result was that Ocean Grove became a time capsule of late Victorian and early 20th century architecture.

Until Ocean Grove's municipal authority was folded into Neptune Township in 1981, it had its own set of unique laws, including one that made it illegal on Sundays to have cars on the streets of Ocean Grove. [18] This had a significant effect on the development of a close-knit community. People looking to get away for the weekend typically avoided the Grove (the beach was closed on Sunday, too). That meant the visitors were likely to be coming for a week-long visit or more. Most came to attend programs sponsored by the Camp Meeting.

President Ulysses S. Grant visited Ocean Grove during his time in office and made his last public appearance in this town. Other presidents to speak on the grounds included: James Garfield, William McKinley, Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Richard Nixon. Heavyweight boxing champions James J. Corbett and Max Baer and department store magnate F.W. Woolworth were among the celebrities of the day who vacationed in Ocean Grove. [12]

In 1975, Ocean Grove was designated a State and National Historic District as a 19th-century planned urban community. It has the most extensive collection of Victorian and early-20th century architecture in the United States. [12] The Historical Society of Ocean Grove maintains a museum and a restored c. 1884 cottage in addition to offering walking tours.

During the 1960s–1980s, the town declined along with much of the Jersey Shore, and was pejoratively called "Ocean Grave" due to the general air of decrepitude and the elderly population. [19] But beginning in the 1990s, and through 2006, Ocean Grove experienced a dramatic increase in property values and a considerable revival in fortune, particularly with the restoration of older hotel structures, many of which had deteriorated into single room occupancy ("SRO") quarters. Also – as part of this resurgence – a number of sidewalk cafés and shops along Main Avenue (the main business thoroughfare) now cater to visitors and seasonal residents.

Plans were announced in 2006 for a major new hotel and condominium development on property which has been vacant since the 1970s, when the old North End Hotel – once Ocean Grove's largest – was damaged by fire and subsequently demolished in 1980. [20] These plans have become controversial though, and in January 2008 the Planning Board of Neptune stated the North End Redevelopment Proposal was "inconsistent with the town's Master Plan". [21] On 13 April 2019, the remaining structures on the North End were destroyed by fire leaving the whole area vacant land. [22]

According to the United States Census Bureau, Ocean Grove had a total area of 0.428 square miles (1.109 km 2 ), including 0.372 square miles (0.964 km 2 ) of it is land and 0.056 square miles (0.145 km 2 ) of water (13.05%) is water. [1] [23]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1880620
18902,754 344.2%
19904,818
20004,256 −11.7%
20103,342 −21.5%
Population sources: 1880-1890 [24]
1990–2010 [9] 2000 [25] 2010 [3]

Because Ocean Grove is a summer resort community and many residences are unoccupied during the winter months, these statistics may not be representative of the population at all times of the year.

Census 2010 Edit

The 2010 United States Census counted 3,342 people, 1,948 households, and 616 families in the CDP. The population density was 8,979.9 per square mile (3,467.2/km 2 ). There were 3,132 housing units at an average density of 8,415.6 per square mile (3,249.3/km 2 ). The racial makeup was 91.41% (3,055) White, 5.48% (183) Black or African American, 0.03% (1) Native American, 0.87% (29) Asian, 0.03% (1) Pacific Islander, 0.81% (27) from other races, and 1.38% (46) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.34% (145) of the population. [3]

Of the 1,948 households, 7.9% had children under the age of 18, 23.0% were married couples living together, 6.3% had a female householder with no husband present and 68.4% were non-families. Of all households, 57.2% were made up of individuals and 17.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.64 and the average family size was 2.56. [3]

8.1% of the population were under the age of 18, 4.8% from 18 to 24, 23.7% from 25 to 44, 38.9% from 45 to 64, and 24.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 52.7 years. For every 100 females, the population had 83.2 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 80.6 males. [3]

Census 2000 Edit

As of the 2000 United States Census [7] there were 4,256 people, 2,331 households, and 785 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 4,564.6/km 2 (11,956.5/mi 2 ). There were 3,156 housing units at an average density of 3,384.8/km 2 (8,866.3/mi 2 ). The racial makeup of the CDP was 93.1% White, 4.0% African American, 0.1% Native American, 1.0% Asian, [25]

There were 2,331 households, out of which 10.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 23.6% were married couples living together, 7.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 66.3% were non-families. 56.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.67 and the average family size was 2.59. [25]

In the CDP the population was spread out, with 9.9% under the age of 18, 5.8% from 18 to 24, 33.5% from 25 to 44, 26.4% from 45 to 64, and 24.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 45 years. For every 100 females, there were 82.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.1 males. [25]

The median income for a household in the CDP was $31,935, and the median income for a family was $58,583. Males had a median income of $38,389 versus $31,886 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $26,232. About 5.1% of families and 13.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.0% of those under age 18 and 5.5% of those age 65 or over. [25]

The desire to develop a Christian seaside community for summer worship and relaxation led William B. Osborn (1832–1902), a leader of the camp meeting movement in mid-19th century America, to select the site of present-day Ocean Grove for its wooded, mosquito-free location. [12] Ellwood H. Stokes (1815-1895), a Methodist minister from Philadelphia, and others joined together to purchase a square mile of land fronting on the Atlantic Ocean. A state charter was issued to the newly formed Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association on March 3, 1870, granting the 26 trustees (13 ministers and 13 lay persons) the authority to purchase and hold the one square mile of real estate comprising Ocean Grove, and to construct and maintain all necessary works to supply the community with utilities and other municipal services, including law enforcement. [12]

Later, efforts to establish a separate borough of Ocean Grove were attempted many times. Ocean Grove was incorporated as a borough by an act of the New Jersey Legislature on April 5, 1920, from portions of Neptune Township, but the New Jersey Court of Errors and Appeals ruled the municipality unconstitutional on May 12, 1921, and the borough was dissolved as of June 16, 1921. [26]

Although Ocean Grove reverted to being a part of Neptune Township with the court's decision of 1921, the Camp Meeting Association continued to exercise local ordinance enforcement powers until 1981, when a newspaper deliverer successfully sued to end the resort's blue law banning Sunday vehicular traffic and requiring it to disband its police force and "municipal" court. [27] The Camp Meeting still owns all the land in town and leases it to homeowners and businesses for 99-year renewable terms. [12] The Camp Meeting Association currently keeps its beach closed on Sunday mornings between 8:30 am and noon, and Ocean Grove is still "dry", that is, the sale of all alcoholic beverages is prohibited. [28]

The Great Auditorium was constructed in 1894 and is mostly unchanged. The wooden building rests on bridge-like steel trusses laid on stone foundations. Aside from the trusses. It features numerous "barn door" entrances with colored glass, dormers, and panels that open for ventilation. Originally, the Auditorium was claimed to hold an audience of almost 10,000. Many of smaller, wooden seats were replaced in later years with cushioned, theater-style seating reducing capacity to an audience of 6,250 persons. [17]

The Auditorium has been called, "the state’s most wondrous wooden structure, soaring and sweeping, alive with the sound of music". [11] Its superb acoustics, resulting from its barrel-vaulted wooden ceiling, have been widely acclaimed, famed conductor Leonard Bernstein once compared it to Carnegie Hall. [17] In the days before electronic amplification, this allowed a preacher to be heard throughout the vast space. The building features a lighting system advanced for its time: arching rows of bulbs hanging from the varnished wood ceiling paneling. Also novel is a painted representation of a waving American flag (c. 1916) covered with light bulbs that flash in an undulating manner. Illuminated signs, possibly the very oldest surviving examples of that type (1894), proclaim "Holiness to the Lord" and "So be ye holy," a reflection of the emphasis at camp meetings. The illuminated Memorial Cross was placed on the Auditorium's front facade at the end of World War II in 1946. [29]

The hall is surrounded by 114 tents, which are occupied from May to September, as has been the case since 1869. Each tent is connected to a shed containing a kitchen and bathroom, the sheds are also used to store the tents during the winter. They are in such demand that there is a waiting list of some ten years for summer rentals. [11] [12]

Organ Edit

The Auditorium's pipe organ is one of the 20 largest in the world. [30] Installed in 1908 by the organ builder Robert Hope-Jones, its components have been rebuilt and expanded several times, especially since resident organist Gordon Turk and curator John Shaw took their posts in 1974. Additions made in the 21st century include a 14-rank echo division in 2008, in an effort to broaden the resources necessary to play repertoire of many styles and periods, and to restore those stops unique to the instrument as Hope-Jones conceived it. [31] In the 2010s, the organ continues to be further enlarged and revoiced, with additions underwritten by donors. [32] As of July, 2018, the organ has five manuals, 202 ranks, and 12,200 total pipes. [33] About 75 percent of the original Hope-Jones pipework remains extant, according to John Shaw.

Prominent organists to have played the Ocean Grove Auditorium organ include Edwin H. Lemare, Pietro Yon, and Frederick Swann. [31] Celebrated organist Virgil Fox gave his last solo concert in the building in 1980. Turk and guest concert organists play free recitals on most Wednesday evenings and Saturday afternoons in July and August. [29]

A popular organ piece, often played in the early years of the organ, was "The Storm", which featured the stops of the organ for thunder, lightning, rain, and birds singing. An article in the New York Times from 1909 reports on the annoyance of some at the frequent repetition of the performances of the piece. [34]

Performances and other events Edit

The Great Auditorium has over the years featured famed hymn writer Fanny Crosby, band leader John Philip Sousa, and tenor Enrico Caruso. More recently, singers Tony Bennett, Mel Tormé, Kenny Rogers, and Ray Charles have performed. [12]

The Auditorium continues to be the focus of cultural life in Ocean Grove. Among the concerts filling the summer schedule are [35] the acclaimed Summer Stars chamber music programs, which bring some of the finest classical musicians from Philadelphia and New York each Thursday night in July and early August. [29] Saturday nights feature popular entertainment, including appearances by Johnny Mathis, Ronan Tynan, Linda Eder, the Beach Boys, comedian Bill Cosby, and Christian rock stars such as Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, Nichole Nordeman, Hillsong United and Sonic Flood.

Since 1980, the Auditorium has hosted an annual memorial service for New Jersey law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. The service includes a full Honor Guard, bagpipe procession, and singing by state high school choirs (Princeton High School and both West Windsor-Plainsboro High School choirs have performed in the past). Police, soldiers, National Guardsmen, executive-level officials, and the governor typically attend.

The Auditorium is also used during the month of June for high school graduation ceremonies.

The OGCMA was founded in 1869. Its mission is to "provide opportunities for spiritual birth, growth, and renewal in a Christian seaside setting." [38]

The OGCMA's president is Dr. Dale C. Whilden. He succeeded political analyst Scott Rasmussen, who was president from 2006–2011. [14] The OGCMA's slogan is "God's Square Mile at the Jersey Shore." [39]

Tent City Edit

From May to September of each year, 114 tents are erected around the Great Auditorium. [40] These tents form "Tent City," a tradition of the Camp Meeting Association that dates back to 1869. Each tent is connected to a shed containing a kitchen and bathroom, the sheds are also used to store the tents during the winter. Tents are in such demand that there is a waiting list of over ten years for summer rentals. [12] Rent runs from $4,000 to $6,000 per summer. All prospective tent inhabitants are interviewed. Subletting of tents is not allowed, dogs, cats, and barbecuing are also prohibited. Tent inhabitants do not have to be Methodist, but they do have to support the association's spiritual missions. [41] [42]

Programs Edit

The Camp Meeting offers traditional and contemporary worship programs throughout the summer. Sunday worship services are held in the Great Auditorium. These services have featured preachers such as Billy Graham, Norman Vincent Peale, Robert H. Schuller, Billy Sunday, Ralph W. Sockman, David H. C. Read, Frank Thewlis, Tony Campolo, James A. Forbes, D. James Kennedy, Charles Stanley, William Jennings Bryan, Booker T. Washington, and Rodney "Gipsy" Smith. [12]

The music is led by a volunteer choir, along with professional soloists such as Ronald Naldi. [43] Gordon Turk accompanies at the Hope-Jones organ. Jason C. Tramm is the musical director. Lewis A. Daniels Sr. (1927–2012), was director of music from 1966 to 2004. [44] Since 1955, the annual Choir Festival held in July has gathered thousands of church choir singers, predominantly from the northeastern U.S., to sing "to the glory of God". [13] In 1986, New York television station WNET featured the Choir Festival on its Summerfare program. [13] The Choir Festival is also a regular feature on the Sacred Classics radio broadcast. [43]

The Camp Meeting also offers a contemporary worship service, "Pavilion Praise," in the beach's Boardwalk Pavilion each Sunday morning. A Bible Hour is held each weekday morning in the Bishop Janes Tabernacle, built in 1877, adjacent to the Great Auditorium. [29]

"Bridgefest," an annual two-day event, brings contemporary Christian music to young people and their families. The event is promoted by New York–area radio station "Bridge FM" (WRDR-FM). [45]

In 2012, Hurricane Sandy caused extensive damage in Ocean Grove. Over half of the town's boardwalk was destroyed, and the town's fishing pier was significantly damaged. [46] Ocean Grove was denied Federal Emergency Management Agency funding because the Camp Meeting Association is a nonprofit organization. While nonprofit organizations are eligible to receive FEMA funding, Ocean Grove was denied funding because the boardwalk was classified as being used solely for recreational purposes. [47] The town formed a group called "Together" to address storm recovery. The group includes the Camp Meeting Association, the chamber of commerce, the homeowners association, the beautification committee, the historic society, the fishing club, and Ocean Grove United, a gay and lesbian group. [47] [48]

Hurricane repairs are estimated to cost $3.5 million. [46] The "Together" campaign raised $1.5 million, including $750,000 for the boardwalk, $100,000 for the roof of the Great Auditorium, and $500,000 for architectural and structural repairs to Thornley Chapel. The Camp Meeting Association has appealed FEMA's funding rejection three times. [49] Federal officials also denied the Camp Meeting Association's request for funding in the wake of Hurricane Irene. [48] [50]

In 2013, members of the gay-rights group Ocean Grove United and the OGCMA joined up to co-sponsor an event aimed at raising funds to rebuild Ocean Grove's hurricane-damaged boardwalk. [51]

The third appeal by OGCMA to FEMA, supported by some NJ politicians, was accepted. As MaryAnn Spoto elucidated on NJ.com 7/3/14: "Sandy destroyed about a third of Ocean Grove's nearly half-mile of boardwalk. FEMA's $2.3 million to Ocean Grove includes $1.13 million for that project as well as money for three other recovery projects."

From the late 1990s through 2000s, Ocean Grove saw the opening of a large number of gay-owned restaurants, hotels, and stores. [19] According to the New York Times, Ocean Grove's gay and Methodist populations coexisted peacefully until a 2007 controversy over whether gay couples could conduct civil unions at the Camp Meeting Association's Boardwalk Pavilion. Previously, the Association sought to realize income from its structures by renting them as wedding venues. There were no religious restrictions placed on the ceremonies. Also according to The New York Times, "Ocean Grove has long been considered a community that embraced gay residents." In 2007, a representative of Garden State Equality, a LGBT rights advocacy organization, said: "I'm hearing from gay people all over the country who thought Ocean Grove was the leading light for gay tolerance and that's not the case anymore." [52]

In 2012, Christian actor Kirk Cameron gave a lecture in Ocean Grove on the subject of strengthening marriage. [53] Cameron's lecture sparked a protest by gay rights activists. After Cameron's speech, a lunch was arranged between members of the Camp Meeting Association and members of the gay community. Camp Meeting Association President Dale Whilden said, "This is an opportunity to show that we respect them." Democratic congressman Frank Pallone attended the event. Steven Goldstein of Garden State Equality, noted: "We may not agree on everything, but we are, today, starting to see each other as human beings." [54]

In 2013, the Human Rights Campaign, a LGBT rights advocacy group, included Ocean Grove in its Municipal Equality Index, a study that scores 291 American cities based on their inclusivity of LGBT people. Ocean Grove scored 77 out of 100, representing the second highest score for cities located in New Jersey. [55] [56]

Civil union controversy Edit

In 2007, two lesbian couples asked to have their civil union ceremonies at the OGCMA's Boardwalk Pavilion. According to the New York Times, "the couples' requests were rejected, and they complained to the state's Division on Civil Rights, which began a discrimination investigation." [19] The complaint stated that Scott Rasmussen, on behalf of the OGCMA, informed the couple it would not permit them to use the OGCMA's facilities for a civil union. [57] In 2008, the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights found that there was probable cause to credit one of the two couples' complaints, but rejected the other. [58] [59]

In an attempt to halt the state's investigation, the OGCMA filed a federal suit. [60] In the suit, the OGCMA wrote that it would be "thrust into government compelled expressive association with those who promote same-sex 'civil unions'" if it is forced to allow them at its facilities, and "such forced association would severely compromise the Association's desire to communicate to the general public a message consistent with its religious views on marriage and family." The OGCMA's motion was dismissed. [61]

Complicating the dispute over civil unions was the fact that Ocean Grove's boardwalk and beachfront were held in a 1908 ruling to be exempt from property tax because they "had been dedicated years ago by the association as a public highway." [62] The Boardwalk Pavilion lost its tax-exempt status in 2007 because the state ruled that it no longer met the requirements as a place open to all members of the public. From 1989 until the Pavilion lost its tax-exempt status, the OGCMA had received $500,000 in annual tax breaks through the state's Green Acres program. The boardwalk and beach remain tax-exempt. [52]

On January 12, 2012, Administrative Law Judge Solomon Metzger ruled that the Camp Meeting had violated the state's law against discrimination. [63] [64] The OGCMA discontinued use of the pavilion for weddings after the controversy started. [65] The Association no longer offers any of its property to the general public as wedding venues.

Roads and highways Edit

Interstate 195 provides highway access to Ocean Grove from the New Jersey Turnpike, Philadelphia, and points west. The nearby Garden State Parkway connects Ocean Grove with points north and south, such as New York City and Atlantic City.

Public transportation Edit

Frequent rail passenger service to New York City is provided by NJ Transit on the North Jersey Coast Line from the nearby Asbury Park station. New Jersey Transit offers service between Ocean Grove and Philadelphia on the 317 route and local bus service on the 830 route. [66] Additionally, Academy Bus has regular service to area shore towns and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Midtown Manhattan. [67]

The nearest airport having scheduled commercial airline service is Newark Liberty International Airport, 45 miles (72 km) north, while Monmouth Executive Airport for general aviation airplanes is just 6 miles (10 km) away. [68]

Climate data for Sandy Hook, NJ Ocean Water Temperature (18 N Ocean Grove)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Daily mean °F (°C) 37
(3)
36
(2)
40
(4)
46
(8)
55
(13)
62
(17)
69
(21)
72
(22)
68
(20)
59
(15)
51
(11)
43
(6)
53
(12)
Source: NOAA [71]

According to the A. W. Kuchler U.S. potential natural vegetation types, Ocean Grove would have a dominant vegetation type of Appalachian Oak (104) with a dominant vegetation form of Eastern Hardwood Forest (25). [72] The plant hardiness zone is 7a with an average annual extreme minimum air temperature of 3.8 °F (−15.7 °C). [69] The average date of first spring leaf-out is March 24 [73] and fall color typically peaks in early-November.

People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Ocean Grove include:


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