2012-07-31 / Front Page
Looking for something to do Saturday night?
On the first Saturday of every month, many business owners in Asbury Park celebrate First Saturday with special events and extended hours. I had the opportunity to experience it in July, and if you missed it, you can check it out this Saturday, Aug. 4.
When I attended First Saturday Asbury Park last month, the streets were bustling with people exploring the many art galleries and specialty shops along Cookman Avenue and the surrounding streets, as well as the boardwalk, dining outdoors and indoors in restaurants, cafés and dessert shops, and strolling along, stopping to listen to live music provided by street entertainers.
One such band was The Road Show Band, a duo who performed to appreciative crowds outside of The Shoppes at The Arcade, 658 Cookman Ave.
Inside The Shoppes at The Arcade, I was delighted to find two levels of quaint shops. My visit morphed into a memory lane of sorts when I entered some shops with a retro vibe, most notably Flying Saucer and The Groovy Graveyard, as well as Asbury Archaeology.
The Shoppes at the Arcade houses several other businesses on its two levels, including Gallery 13, Essential Sounds Entertainment, Sitar Realty, Crust and Crumble Pizzeria and Bakery, and Expressions Hair Salon.
James Kaufman is celebrating the fifth anniversary of Flying Saucer, a retro store that carries vintage items from the 1950s, ’60s, ’70s and ’80s as well as newer reproductions that look vintage. He also carries items that have Asbury Park themes.
Kaufman plays vintage music and hands out retro snacks such as Twinkies, Yodels and cupcakes on First Saturday. Flying Saucer is a blast from the past with items for sale that will bring baby boomers back to their youth, including a circa-1960s kitchen table and chairs, vintage cameras, games and household items, and even cat clocks with eyes and tails that move from side to side, just to name a few.
Just the name Groovy Graveyard evokes psychedelic memories, and the huge collections of music and movie memorabilia, records, posters, vintage lunchboxes and collectables, accompanied by music of that era playing on a turntable, almost makes it all tangible.
The shop’s owner, Eric Krause, said as he changed the record playing on the stereo, “It’s everything I always loved as a child. It’s revisiting the ghosts of the past. My mom threw away my monster models, and I’ve loved vinyl records since I was a kid. It’s something physical and tangible that you don’t get from downloading. It’s history you can hold in your hands.”
Krause is also the owner of Video A Go- Go (“Bad movies at great prices”) at the Englishtown Auction Sales in Manalapan, which he has operated for 15 years.
Asbury Archaeology’s owner, Lawrence Gerard, opened the shop a month ago in The Shoppes at the Arcade. Gerard, a hairdresser who also owns The Salon at Manalapan by Lawrence Gerard, 167 Route 33, Manalapan, said Asbury Archaeology was born out of a lifetime of collecting. He said he amassed so much stuff over the years that he decided to share it with the world.
Asbury Archaeology has nostalgic items from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, such as a collection of low-rider banana-seat bicycles, graffiti art and pop culture art, Asbury boardwalk and carnival memorabilia, oil paintings, totem poles, and even vintage children’s rides, including a Flintstones car.
“I’m hoping that more antique dealers will come to The Shoppes at the Arcade,” said Gerard. Eyes of the World Eyes of the World, a fair-trade accent and accessory store that directly help support those who created the items by hand in 15 Third World countries around the world, has been at The Shoppes at The Arcade for just over six months.
The shop’s owner, Elini Passes, sells items created by a mix of local cottage industry artisans from those countries. She was proud to announce that the inventory purchased that week provided 30 meals for African children in one of the villages that the products came from.
Items for sale at Eyes of the World include jewelry, housewares, decorative items, lighting, furniture and children’s items. Passes, who has a background in rural public health with a focus in Third World health care, said her store puts together art, charity and culture.
“Asbury is growing and has had a lot of challenges over the years,” Passes said. “Unfortunately, there is a lot of stigma in Asbury Park. I’ve lived in wealthy communities and struggling communities and spent time in Third World countries with no running water. I can tell you it’s the people that make the town, not what they have. The more people who make purchases in my store, the more money I can throw back to the Third World countries.”