A big checkmark off of something on my bucket list today (sort of). Let me explain.
It’s no secret that I love old things, and I love “roadside america” (quirky things that can be found all around the country)- “Tilly” fits the bill for both items- he’s old, and he certainly is a quirky roadside attraction.
A bit of a history lesson today- in Asbury Park, NJ, there used to stand a building called Palace Amusements. It was a huge building, erected in 1888 on the southern tip of the boardwalk in Asbury Park. Inside the building was an amusement park- one of the few that survived the great depression. There was a fun house, a crystal maze, an antique carousel, skooter cars and an arcade (among many other things) all surrounded by larger than life (and goofier that life) clowns and other characters.
On the outside of this sea-foam green building were a few murals, one of them being a clown-like head with a giant toothy grin. In 1988, Palace Amusements closed, and over the next decade, the building began to decay. In 2004, the building was set to be demolished, but a group (aptly named “Save Tilly”) was able to save the Tilly mural, as well as a few others from the building to be put back up on a new building at a later date.
This mural is still in a storage facility in Asbury Park, and hasn’t seen the light of day since 2004. Ever since I was little, I’ve loved the image of Tilly (he’s branded on many items at the Jersey Shore- magnets, postcards, t-shirts, etc), but have never (and may never) see him in person. He was even featured in a Springsteen publicity photo in the 70’s
Which brings me to todays picture (phew–you never thought you’d see a picture with all my ramblings, did you?)
A bar in Asbury Park, the Wonder Bar, has painted a replica of Tilly on their building- so I just squinted and pretended it was the real Tilly and snapped away.