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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Mix It Up in Asbury Park


Two endangered landmarks: Wonder Bar and Asbury Lanes.  

4. Insider's Tip

Asbury Park, like Coney Island, is engulfed in a redevelopment battle that pits gentrification-minded builders against a petition-signing public. Give yourself a tour of the endangered businesses, many of which have already been bought up by developers. On Fourth Avenue, the nearly century-old Baronet Theatre, with its Art Deco signage, hosts free Newark Black Film Festival screenings on Friday nights through August 3. Next door is the for-now shuttered Fastlane, a legendary club that once booked Jon Bon Jovi and U2 but now only opens for events like this June's School of Rock festival. Then there’s Asbury Lanes, the local version of Bowlmore, where you can drink, eat, listen to live punk bands, and knock down pins all at the same time.

On Fifth Avenue, the divey Wonder Bar offers music, booze, pub grub, and Springsteen lore. (You’ll recognize it by the grinning clown, “Tillie,” on its crumbling turquoise façade.) A few blocks south, the legendary Stone Pony still gets a lot of big names, like Pete Yorn (July 28) and Robert Randolph & the Family Band (August 11). But that won’t necessarily save it from the wrecking ball—it’s smack in the middle of the redevelopment zone.

Published on Jul 12, 2007 as a web exclusive.

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