June 12, 2004

Greetings from Asbury Park. My friend Z just sent me a message from Asbury Park, letting me know that Palace Amusements, immortalized in Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run" ("beyond the Palace, hemi-powered drones scream down the boulevard"), is no more. The 116-year-old complex -- the oldest surviving amusement center in the U.S. -- was demolished this past week, despite local preservation efforts and its appearance on the National Register for Historic Places, in order to make way for a proposed hotel/convention center to be built on the site.

All is not lost, however. "Tillie, the grinning arcade clown presiding over the Asbury Park, New Jersey waterfront for 48 years," has been safely removed from the demolished building, and will be part of the new complex. This was, in fact, part of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection permit issued for the project: "Prior to the demolition of Palace Amusements, the permittee shall coordinate with Asbury Park, the City's Technical Review Committee and DEP to identify what portions of the Palace Amusement Building and the Tilly [sic] mural that will be relocated and preserved. [...] The preserved mural shall be either incorporated into a lobby wall of any hotel developed or on the outside wall should the site be developed into retail space."

Click here for a photo of Tillie being airlifted to safety.

Update: Thanks to Murph for sending along news on the ultimate Jersey bathroom accessory: Tillie Tiles!
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