Friday, August 21, 2009

Doo-Wop by the Shore

When I went to Wildwood last week, some people said "Why? Why go to a beach town when you hate the beach?"

True, I do hate the beach. I hate heat. I hate excessive sun. I don't like to wear a bathing suit. I don't like sand. I do like to swim but it's hard to do laps with all those waves smacking you all the time.

But I like quirky culture. And Wildwood has plenty of that.

It's billed as the "Doo Wop Capital of the World." What that means is that plenty of old-fifties-era buildings still exist. Wildwood was a major center of pop culture fifty years ago, when the Garden State Parkway and the modern era of car culture was new and exciting. Think Happy Days. Think the Twist, tail-finned cars, Route 66-style, neon signs, and angular designs. Think a beach town in the vein of Disney's Tomorrowland, cutting-edge at the time. Kind of quaint and quirky now.

Gentrification has taken its toll on Wildwood as it has all over the US, but the crashing economy seems to have put a stop to that.

Bus tours of Wildwood's unique leftover architecture happen on Tuesday and Thursday nights. I've been meaning to get down there for a few years but it's tough to get out of work mid-week. I finally went last Thursday to check out Wildwood.

Here are some photos.


Matt Hollingsworth said...

For future reference: Croatia has beaches with no sand. And very small to totally non existent waves. There are more than 1000 islands and they protect the shore, so the waves are really small and don't erode the rocks down to sand. If it's very windy, there are waves. And during the day there are usually *some* waves, though very small, from boats. But the usual types of waves you're used to seeing don't exist here. More like waves on a lake. Just so you know!

Prof. Roy Richardson said...

WOW, hip, cool & groovy! Why didn't we know about this place when we were living up there? Definitely would have given it a visit!