Wintertime Meditations on the Jersey Shore
“Bud Fox: You could buy a whole beach house for that.”
“Darien: Yeah… in Wildwood, New Jersey”
- Oliver Stone’s Wall Street (1987)
Wildwood, New Jersey is my home town.
And a place I’d been away from for decades. This decades long gap was interrupted by a brief single day visit during a trip to the East Coast many years ago. It was serendipity, free time, a rental car, a day trip during business travel. On that single day trip, I remember the crisp, emotional memories rising from seeing my town approaching in the distance – over the tide lands from the Garden State Parkway – the waving marsh grass, cloudy sky and, quiet waters.
Time marched on. Hurricane Sandy crashed on shore but somehow overlooked my town.
Memories have gravity and they were pulling on me. It was 5 days after Sandy retreated up the East Coast that I came back, a trip that marked the beginning of regular return visits. What I discovered was little had changed – yet everything was different. I was seeing a familiar place from a new perspective – this summer place in dormancy, waiting for the returning crowds was at rest and revealing a new layer of itself.
These images are from a body of work developed over the last three years examining the surrounds of home in a different way and a different time than childhood memories. The boardwalk teeming with people in summer is quiet and alone, amusement park lights are eerily on without crowds to use them, the beach is empty, the ocean always at work. There is also abandonment - lost toys and artifacts from earlier times and travelers. None of this new but all of it was a surprise and a wonderful gift renewing old memories and creating new ones.