“In 1974, the now legendary music club, The Stone Pony, opened its doors for the first time”
Crazy how a tiny seaside residential resort founded way back in the late 1800s grew to become one of the most famous coastal cities and vacation destinations on the entire East Coast of the United States. Having a perfect location didn't hurt. But location alone didn't rocket the city to stardom. A man-made structure sealed that fate. Shortly after the city's inception, a beach Boardwalk was constructed and featured an orchestra pavilion, public changing rooms and a pier extending into the Atlantic Ocean. News of the Boardwalk traveled fast and attracted new visitors from the surrounding areas. The Boardwalk also attracted entrepreneurs and entertainers looking to bring their brand of amusement to town and perform to the Boardwalk's growing crowds. As Asbury Park's popularity increased, so too did the size and offerings of the Boardwalk. In the 1920s, the additions of the Paramount Theatre and Convention Hall ushered in a new era of music and performing arts that still exists to this day.
Like all cities, Asbury Park experienced growing pains and fell on tough times for a number of years. And while the city's popularity and visitor count declined, the unique entertainment culture that created the city remained. In 1974, the now legendary music club, The Stone Pony, opened its doors for the first time. The Stone Pony hosted many native New Jersey musicians including Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen to name a few. Since then, many of the world's most popular musicians have played The Stone Pony and today it is considered to be one of the greatest rock & roll venues of all times. Venues like The Stone Pony, The Wonder Bar, the Paramount Theatre and Convention Hall have not only helped launch many musicians' careers but they also contributed to the creation of an entire music genre known as the Jersey Shore Sound.
In 2007, a new chapter in Asbury Park's rich history began. The Boardwalk started to undergo an extensive restoration process for some of its key historic features, including the Paramount Theatre and Convention Hall, as well as a complete revitalization of the rest of its facilities and the surrounding waterfront area. Today, the transformation is complete and the Boardwalk now combines the original majesty and glory of its past with modern design and sophisticated conveniences. More than 130 years ago, the Boardwalk's entertainment offerings and universal appeal contributed to the foundation and success of Asbury Park. With its new appearance, improvements and enhanced offerings, the Boardwalk is positioned to help solidify Asbury Park's future by attracting visitors for lifetimes to come.
Artist John Bass was a Boardwalk attraction for many years. Once considered among the world’s fastest painters, he would complete full-size paintings for crowds of spectators in under 15 minutes.