Tuesday, May 26, 2015
MDW DTS!* *Memorial Day Weekend Down The Shore!
In Jersey, we say "down the shore," as in "I went down the shore on Memorial Day." It is as much of a conjunction as the disparate parts of the state are ever likely to have. My "down the shore" is mostly Asbury Park/Ocean Grove, a juxtaposition that says it all. The Asbury Insider -- and people I met -- talked about how empty Asbury was in the 1990s, and how long it took for life to return to the city. This made me reflect on the ways life and money move in the American city, stranding some, drowning others. The waves of investment are coming back to Asbury now, as they are in Jersey City and Brooklyn -- it might even reach Orange NJ. This seems like it should be good but what distorts it is the amount -- it's an all-or-nothing process that wreaks havoc on either end. Slavery was similar, in an odd way, to this system of real estate investment: it was designed for maximum profit and paid no attention to the needs of the people and the land. But people and land have needs -- among the need for continuity. New Jersey needs the shore, not just as a place for a dip and some ice cream, but as the place in which we get to know ourselves. As the site of our collective soul, if souls are located in landscape. As the place where we see the horizon in the far distance and remember that the world is full of wonder. Waves of water, waves of investment might wash us away -- but perhaps there is some Jersey Strong that we might exert, and find a way to stay?