Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Asbury Park: Casino & Carousel

If you liked Asbury Park's Convention Center, then this will blow your socks off.Anchoring the main boardwalk on the other end from the Convention Center is a complex which includes the 'Casino', the Carousel, and the Old Heating Plant.Also designed by New York Beaux-Arts architects Whitney Warren & Charles Wetmore at the same time period, the complex is currently in flux between restoration efforts.The carousel itself was sadly sold in 1990 but the space would be a great concert venue or outdoor cafe.The details are just amazing. Part of the building on the beach side of the boardwalk has been torn down but plans are in place to possibly rebuild it to hold an indoor food market.This space is similar to the arcade at the Convention Center but obviously needs a bit more work to become fully occupiable.Again, the details all reference the beach location.The interior retains the original polished terrazzo and a lot of really great plasterwork.Hiding renovation of the former ice skating rink is this interesting painted billboard. Graffiti art like this exists all throughout the city and lends a fun bohemian vibe. I wonder what sign was originally housed so ornately?On the backside of the complex was my favorite building, the Old Heating Plant. Built by Warren & Wetmore, the utiliarian building was given the appearance of either a strange temple or swank beach bar. The purpose however was to cover access and machinery for the steam tunnels which fueled the complex of buildings along the boardwalk.The bronze urns are where excess steam was released from the machinery.Imagine the 2nd floor as a restaurant overlooking the ocean (or better yet my personal beachhouse!).The back has a loggia facing the canal. I imagine back in the day it was quite lovely but now is a bit forlorn.Reminders of Asbury Park's heyday are all around, as in this graffiti art mentioning a Cole Porter tribute: "Is it Granada I see or Asbury Park?".


Paisley Curtain said...

What an amazing place. There is so much detail, love the bronze urns for excess steam release. I am imagining steam coming out of the urns on a very cold winter day :)

Mark D. Ruffner said...

I hope that carousel has been tagged as a landmark — it's a jewel of a design! And the Heating Plant is almost a cathedral! I love the idea of having steam come out of those urns — I'll bet it had quite a surreal effect.

Karena said...

You have done it again Stefan! So many astounding architectural details...if I commented on all that I love I would be writing your post over again! Wow!

Art by Karena
2012 Artists Series

Kwana said...


Reggie Darling said...

I am loving this series on Asbury Park, as I loved the series on the Pitcairn buildings, too. I had no idea. How pleasing it is that there is an effort underway to restore, or at least care for, these marvelous seaside buildings and complexes in Asbury Park. A huge task, indeed! I am reminded of the slightly later Robert Moses-era buildings along the shores of southern Long Island, also superb. Thanks for these postings. Reggie

Ann said...

How lovely! I'm a bit behind on my reading but this was a lovely post. I'm so grateful that despite having sold the carousel, they did not lose the housing which is stunning in its own right. I agree, it would make a lovely restaurant or concert venue. Very nice!

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The Down East Dilettante said...

I'm late to this party, but WOW, consider my socks blown off.

Warren & Wetmore must have been a bit mad---they take their designs to the very edge, in the best sort of way---was at a party at their New York Yacht Club a few months ago, reminded once again how daring and imaginative they were.