Archive for the ‘Monmouth’ Category

Two of NJ’s oldest and largest psychiatric facilities slated for demolition

A few weeks ago the state announced that it was seeking bids to demolish the main Kirkbride building that was the primary building at Greystone. A number of old buildings have already been torn down and now the state intends to finish the job. This week similar plans were announced for Marlboro. Marlboros demise was actually announced 2 years ago but numerous studies had to be done before any actual demolition could take place. The facility opened in 1931 and closed in 1998 though alcohol rehab treatment is still done in a handful of buildings if I recall correctly. Now abandoned for 15 years the buildings have deteriorated and natural decay mainly from weather and water damage has let asbestos contaminate the halls. I visited there myself about 7 years ago but I would likely not visit today if given the chance. Though the buildings may structurally be sound, certain areas have weak floors and that, coupled with the asbestos would far outweigh any benefits of exploration. It is estimated that it will cost 75M to demolish the buildings safely, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the cost were closer to 100M. I say that because the state estimates restoring the Kirkbridge building at Greystone would cost well in excess of $100M. The The question then becomes what to do with the sprawling estate, and a park seems a likely choice given the emphasis on Green Acres preservation. Anything would be better than to sell it off and make more subdivisions.

Jim Gary’s 20th century Dinosaurs at the LSC

Jim Gary is a world famous scupltor and artist who is best known for creating extremely detailed dinosaurs from automobile parts. His dinosaurs have been exhibited internationally and command a high price in the art world. You can read about Jim Gary and his work in more detail here. In 2011 the bulk of his collection was shipped to Florida, where it is currently on display at the Tallahassee Museum. I documented their disassembly and packing here. A few sculptures remained in Colts Neck, and are now on loan for the next two months to the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ, one of several dinosaur related events going on at LSC. I recently visited LSC and witnessed prep work being done to restore one of the dinosaurs for display. I also spoke to Ellen Lynch, Exhibition Operations Lead, and Mary Meluso, LSC media director, about Jim Gary, his dinosaurs and the 25th anniversary of the LSC.

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The two sculptures are on display at Liberty Science Center in the Wildlife Challenge, an outdoor exhibit for children.

Twenty years ago, when Liberty Science Center first opened its doors to the public, the special exhibitions gallery featured a large display (over 4000 sf) of Jim Gary’s fascinating dinosaur sculptures. To mark the anniversary, LSC is featuring two of Gary’s dinosaurs (Running Raptor and Brontosaurus) in an outdoor exhibition, Wildlife Challenge. There are several dinosaur related exhibits and attractions at LSC now including:

* The film “Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia” in the IMAX Dome Theater.

* Dinosaur Discovery – Visitors climb into an excavation pit to dig through sand for signs of fossils.

* Animatronic Dinosaur: See and hear a lifelike, animatronic model of Yangchuanosaurus, a Late Jurassic dinosaur, in the Eat and Be Eaten exhibition.

To complement this, there are even more limited run dinosaur-themed offerings mentioned here.

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The LSC has used art in its science exhibits before, including

* Art of Science – an exhibition of the top 45 photographs selected from Princeton University’s annual juried competition of the same name.

* A Spatial Portrait – an interactive digital artwork by artist Leni Schwendinger.

* Works by Sonic Architecture artists Bill and Mary Buchen are featured on the pathway leading to Liberty Science Center.

* Digital Darkroom: a digital photo manipulation exhibit created by former Bell Labs staffer, Bill Cheswick.

The Liberty Science Center is providing for the restoration of the two pieces, due to 20+ years of exposure to the elements. The velociraptor needed far less work and was already on display while the brontosaurus was being prepped. The restoration includes sand blasting the entire sculpture, welding repairs and priming and painting the sculpture prior to its public installation. LSC has been consulting with the Jim Gary Foundation on the details of this work.

Below are pictures of the brontosaurus (minus the head and neck) being sandblasted. The work was done by Dry Ice Blasting by Advanced Indoor Air Quality. The company does all manner of sandblasting, working on walls, houses, and cars. According to the workers, they often are called upon to clean up old pieces of art to be repainted. They blasted the surface of the metal with Black Beauty Abbrasive, made from coal. Once the paint is removed, the bare metal surface can be primed and painted.

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Sculpture on loan from the James T. Gary Foundation, courtesy of Kafi Benz, studio director, Jim Gary’s Twentieth Century Dinosaurs (www.kafi-benz.com) ]

Tillie stuck in a shed?

the 16 ton Tillie remains locked in a storage shed

Tillie may have survived the wrecking ball in Asbury Park, but preservationists are beginning to worry that the 16-ton grinning icon could meet its end in storage before developers find a use for it. Packed into makeshift sheds on sewage-treatment plant property beside the Atlantic Ocean, the painted images may be in danger of decay, critics say. They point out one of the sheds blew apart over the winter and had to be replaced.

The grassroots organization that saved the image of the toothy cartoon carnival barker when the historic Palace Amusements was demolished five years ago is pressing the city and its oceanfront developers to abide by a state permit by giving Tillie a better storage place — and more respect.

But with construction projects in Asbury Park taking a hit from the foundering economy, Tillie is low on the list of priorities, prompting an appeal for Gov. Jon Corzine’s intervention.

“After 1,000 days of trying, our organization has exhausted all available avenues within Asbury Park to resolve this dispute,” Bob Crane, president of Save Tillie Inc., wrote in an April 26 letter to the governor. “We no longer believe any resolution is possible in the city.”

Formed in 1999, Save Tillie unsuccessfully fought to preserve Palace Amusements, which has been featured in several movies and a few episodes of “The Sopranos.” It was frequently mentioned in songs by Bruce Springsteen, whose musical career was nurtured in Asbury Park.

But the group was successful in convincing the city and developers to preserve sections of the building, part of which dated to 1888. When the Palace was razed five years ago, crews first removed a 16-by-10-foot section of cinder-block wall with Tillie’s image and two 10-by-10-foot portions with bumper car murals.

The sections were cited in a state Coastal Area Facility Review Act (CAFRA) permit, which requires the city and developers to preserve them until they are incorporated into a luxury hotel that has yet to be built on the former Palace site at Cookman and Kingsley avenues.

Though it was supposed to be a temporary arrangement, those images, which adorned the building for about 30 years before it shut down in 1988, have spent the past five years in a storage shed on the grounds of the city’s sewage treatment plant a few dozen feet from the ocean. Without proper ventilation and a sound roof, the murals risk damage from mold and water, Crane said.

He’s urged developers to move the murals. The state Department of Environmental Protection vowed to ensure the city and developers complied with the permit. The city had set an Aug. 1, 2006, deadline for moving Tillie and the other murals.

Gary Mottola, chief operating officer for boardwalk redeveloper Madison Marquette, said he’s unsure of Tillie’s future. In the recession, developers are prioritizing their projects, and he’s not certain where Tillie fits.

“Tillie’s not an isolated thing. There are a number of things about the redevelopment that have to be revisited,” Mottola said. “Right now, Tillie is one of a lot of issues that need to be thought about in terms of how we take this waterfront.”Outside the sentiment for Tillie by some preservationists, there is nothing historically significant about the wall, he said, noting it could be recreated with materials purchased in any home-improvement store.

Even before the murals were preserved, they were chipping and peeling. Any restoration, Mottola said, would most likely entail removing the images from the cinder blocks, because they are decorated with lead-based paint now considered hazardous.

In a swipe at Crane, who lives in Maryland, Mottola said no one from the city or elsewhere in the state has expressed interest in Tillie to him.

But city manager Terence Reidy said neither argument is pertinent. The only thing that counts is the state permit saying Tillie must be preserved and incorporated into a building, he said.

“It doesn’t matter whether you love Tillie or don’t love Tillie; it’s part of the CAFRA permit,” Reidy said. “The city will weigh in and do whatever is necessary to be in compliance with its CAFRA permit.”

He said the city two weeks ago contacted the DEP about the lead paint issue and is awaiting word on whether that changes anything. No determination has been made, he said, about how the mural would be restored.

As for finding a new home for Tillie, he said, there’s a spot already picked out behind city hall on the west side of the railroad tracks. It’s waiting for the developer whenever he decides to move it.

this blog entry originally posted 6/3/09

Asbury Park considering a topless beach

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I didn’t know that parts of Sandy Hook are clothing optional or that there is no ordinance against being nude on the beach. I don’t understand how that works when there are laws against public nudity in general though. The fact that Cape May had problems w/sexual activity is not surprising though it is disapointing. Actually it is surprising. When I go to the beach, I get sand in places I don’t want sand, and I wasn’t naked or engaging in prohibited activity. That’s gotta itch and just be generally uncomfortable. Right?

Edit: this post was published in 2010 and apparently the town has rejected the idea since then.

a giant auto graveyard in central jersey

I came across this location thru a friend. he was kind enough to tell me the location on condition I not reveal it. So I won’t. So don’t ask. This place is unlike any place I have ever seen. it has all manner of vehicles including RV’s, ancient pickup trucks, jeeps, numerous types of trucks, construction equipment, fire trucks, flatbed trailers, bulldozers, even asphalt paving machines. There are easily 60-70 vehicles here in a variety of states of decay.

Then there is the debris, refuse and construction material. It really is a junkyard, a dumping ground. i did some research into the place and it appears to be an old farm that was later bought by a large corporation for reasons unknown. I am researching ownership further to try and determine the history of the place.

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all the pictures on flickr

The Roadside Diner(saur)

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The RoadSide Diner is located at the circle at the intersection of Route 33 & 34 in Wall, NJ. It is a quaint little diner only open for breakfast and lunch and its well liked in the community. What sets it apart from other diners is the present of a dinosaur in its parking lot. Created by renowned local artist Jim Gary, the aptly named Diner-saur, was placed here because this was one of his favorite places to eat. Ever since 1993 it was here unless it was on loan somewhere. The stegosaurus has become a permanent fixture here since Gary’s death in 2005. Gary was most famous for his lifesize dinsosaurs that he made out of car parts, many of which can easily be identified upon close inspection.

Since most of Gary’s dinosaurs are now on semi-permanent display at the Science Museum of Tallahassee, if you want to see one of his works up close this is one of your few opportunities. Besides, you can stop in and get some good old fashioned comfort food at the same time. Just make sure to check their hours, they don’t do dinner.

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my girlfriend posing with the diner-saur

Jim Gary on wikipedia

Coast Guard selling off two lighthouses to the top bidder

The lighthouses need a lot of work however. About 5-6 years ago I convinced the Coast Guard to let me go w/them on one of their spring maitenance runs to all the lighthouses in the delaware bay so I got to visit them up close. Some of them are only accessible by climbing a ladder from a rocking board deck up to the lighthouse because they’re built on top of a submerged shoal. Yhose were fun to climb. I am not sure if I ever posted pictures or not but if I didn’t I’ll have to post those. Lighthouses, especially those away from the coastline are amazing, I can only imagine what it must be like to be in one during a severe storm all alone. I’m going to see if I can contact the person who buys this one (if it sells) and interview them for a project I am working on. Should be interesting to see how they restore it to liveable conditions.