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  Field Notes From
The Jersey Shore

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The Jersey Shore On AssignmentArrows

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From Author

Cathy Newman

The Jersey Shore On Assignment

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From Photographer

Amy Toensing

In most cases these accounts are edited versions of a spoken interview. They have not been researched and may differ from the printed article.

Photographs by Amy Toensing


The Jersey Shore On Assignment Author The Jersey Shore On Assignment Author
The Jersey Shore

Field Notes From Author
Cathy Newman

Best Worst Quirkiest
    Lunch with Aunt Alice was the highlight of my coverage of the Jersey Shore. My Aunt Alice and her husband, Milt Ruben, used to run a game called Fascination on the boardwalk at Asbury Park. When I got the assignment to do the Jersey Shore piece, I thought it would be fun to invite her to lunch in Asbury Park and hear her stories about the old days. I hadn't seen Aunt Alice in years, so it was a terrific opportunity to get caught up with that branch of the family.
    Aunt Alice hadn't changed a bit; she was as brassy and opinionated as ever. "Asbury Park is kaput," she told me, then proceeded to talk about what the boardwalk was like in the old days, how it was The Place to go, and how people would actually dress up to "walk the boards." Afterward we went back to her home—she lives near the shore—and we went through some old family albums. She had some wonderful old photographs of my mother at the beach, which I'd never seen before, so I took them back and had them copied.
(For more on Asbury Park, read Newman's Letters From the Shore.)

    One always wishes for sunny days at the beach, but it rained and rained. I know many of the concessionaires on the boardwalk as well as motel owners on the shore weren't pleased by the lousy weather. When the sun retreats, so do tourists.

    The Bros. Grim sideshow, which was then playing on the Seaside Heights boardwalk, is a throwback to the old circus sideshows. The performers are the nicest bunch of folks you'd ever want to meet. Enigma is the tattoo man with horns. His partner, Katzen, has tiger stripes tattooed on her body and a pair of whiskers sprouting above her upper lip. William Darkë is a most amazing magician. Danielle is the fire-eating lady. And it's all run by an entrepreneur named Ken Harck, who used to be a rock band drummer.
Zoom In on photos from the Bros. Grim sideshow. Then meet the performers in Sights & Sounds.)


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