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North America > United States of America > Mid-Atlantic > New Jersey > Shore (New Jersey) > Monmouth County > Asbury Park-->
Asbury Park is a popular resort town among gay people and original live music fans at the Jersey Shore, in the state of New Jersey in the United States. It was made famous in the 1970s by musicians such as Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, and Southside Johnny.
Asbury Park was founded as a Christian retreat in the 1800s by a man named James A. Bradley. It remained one of the most popular family resorts in the United States until 1970, when race riots burned down much of the downtown area.
Soon radicals, beatniks, hippies, and musicians moved in, making Asbury Park a very diverse place. In 1988, the city had had about enough of its new cultures, and a plan to redevelop the entire waterfront went into affect. Most businesses were ordered to be closed, so the boardwalk, casino, hotels and amusements all closed for the redevelopment. High rise hotels and condos began construction, but were then abandoned before they could be finished, leaving the waterfront an odd mix of abandoned buildings and rotting construction.
The city declined in the 1990s, after almost all businesses failed. Crime rose, and Asbury Park had higher crime than any other town in Monmouth County.
However, in 1998, Shep Pettibone converted an abandoned Hotel into a gay nightclub, drawing thousands of gay travelers to Asbury Park. Every Friday night the city became the only place on the East Coast that could rival Fire Island! Gay couples began buying cheap homes, abandoned bars and nightclubs, closed storefronts downtown, and abandoned pavilions on the boardwalk, and restoring them to they way they once were. Today, Asbury Park is experiencing a vibrant rebirth!
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Visiting art galleries, going to the beach, shopping, dining and more can all be done on foot and are within close proximity to each other. The downtown shopping district offers antiques, beach accessories, cafes, art galleries and more. The first Saturday of the month is celebrated with local discounts, events, and other promotions.
While there is a smattering of shopping and food on the boardwalk, as of May 2008, most buildings there are still underdoing major renovations. There are two clubs, the Stone Pony and the club at the Empress Hotel. The renovation of the Paramount Hotel and Convention Center is complete.
Nearby Wesley Lake connects the beach to downtown. On the south side of the lake are fresh condominiums, beach houses, and bed and breakfasts. The north side is split between the commercial area of downtown, a small patch of new luxury housing, and a rougher neighborhood with several active construction sites.
The city's website lists current events, has a feed from the radio station WKTU, and accepts contributions from visitors.
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