Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Greetings from Madam Marie's

I'm not a Springsteen obsessive--he can be overwrought as hell, but my daughter likes his Pete Seeger stuff--I just like weird scary old places. Asbury Park is the weirdest and scariest I've ever seen up close. I'm running north up the boardwalk from the gentle, rulebound beach towns, and see these dark satanic mill brickwork towers in the distance. It's the Casino, I find out. You can actually run (bike, walk) through both the Casino restoration and the Convention Center restoration, and I don't even want to think about the critters and spirits looming. Then there's the way the restoration is getting whipsawed between the condo bust and the corruption...hope it'll make it out with some of the history intact.
Course the black folks who've lived there for years have another point of view entirely.
The developers cut these holes in the plywood around the Casino restoration, so you can watch. I take a look, and get to talking to a biker looking in the next hole--a local. He gives me a quick tour of the brass and terracotta details around the ceilings, everywhere you look--medusas, crabs, fish, flowers and flourishes...then he says "they painted over it, but this friend, he's a crazy graffiti artist, he had painted here 'FREE LUNG DAMAGE.' This is asbestos central."
Great place to run! And a 5K coming up Saturday. Fuck it, it's the spice of life.

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