In early July 2016, the New York Times placed Asbury Park on the map as the Jersey Shore’s best beach destination. While development in the area had certainly picked up in recent years, for those who spearheaded the project in 2003, the recognition feels like a long time coming. Jack Green Realtor, John Loffredo worked as a city councilmen during the early stages of redevelopment, and in his opinion, “Asbury Park is just scratching the surface.”
Buying his first home in Asbury Park in 1985, Loffredo remembers well the desolation and punk rock, hole-in-the-wall bars defining this town. Thirty years later, Asbury Park now boasts a boardwalk full of chic pop-up shops and streets lined with modern, highly-rated eateries. However, despite the rapid and fervent development, which has given Asbury a trendy aesthetic, the town’s spirit runs deep and unwavering, and can be defined in one word: acceptance.
“I think there’s room in Asbury for everyone,” said Loffredo. “From millennials to baby boomers, whether you like restaurants or music – there’s all different types of music – and of course, there’s the beach, which everybody loves.”
Indeed, with live music in abundance, a weekly farmers’ market, film screenings, art gallery openings, and new restaurants, bars, and boutiques to explore, it is much more than just another beach town. While the sand and waves work as a natural and boundless playground for children, Asbury Park has a fantastic splash park in the middle of the boardwalk – a thrilling alternative for youngsters. Not to mention the Silverball Museum, Asbury’s historic and interactive arcade is a grand time for children and adults alike.
When it comes to where to stay,
Loffredo says the rental market is booming, but more importantly, for those looking to buy, the single family rebuilds are spectacular, and new high rises will allow more people to call Asbury Park home.
Developers are redefining the area’s curb appeal with craftsman style homes, but Loffredo says he would like to see some of the diverse housing remain, in reference to Asbury Park’s historic, Victorian homes. Although the town may seem unrecognizable to Loffredo’s Asbury of the late ‘80s, he welcomes the change with enthusiasm, and says he is most excited about the work they are starting on the west side of town. New, affordable housing will ensure Asbury Park continues to remain a place for everyone.
The New York Times article quoted a bartender saying Asbury Park is Brooklyn by the beach, a newfangled moniker alluding to Asbury’s time-old tagline “City by the sea”. Loffredo responded to this as any true local would, saying, “I think the spirit of Asbury will stay. There has always been and always will be Asbury Park.” And after further consideration, he mused, “Brooklyn wishes it was Asbury Park.”