Sunday, May 11, 2008

Down the Shore with...Joseph Czachowski

Remember that adage your English teach told you about showing and not telling? I try to apply that to my writing, especially about the Jersey Shore. Joseph Czachowski shows the shore's history -- literally -- in Historic Photos of Jersey Shore, a step back in Jersey Shore time through pictures. So here's his thoughts on the shore, then and now.

1. You're connected to a lot of shore towns. If I had to twist your arm and ask for your favorite, what would it be?
Spring Lake. It has a great boardwalk to walk on passing great houses to look at as well as The Breakers and the retirement "spa". I wish I could spend my golden years there -- lots of sentimental attachments since my wife loved it so much. It has really nice clean beach with jettys that you can't walk on anymore and is a relaxing part of the shore and great for sitting on the boardwalk and people watching.

2. What's your favorite shore thing that's no longer around?
Barney's was an outdoor eatery in Seaside Heights where you could get a fantastic breakfast for a couple of bucks. When you're 17, 18, 19 and only have limited funds after party-ing all night long, it was just a great place to go.

3. A lot of people go to the shore to eat eat eat. Where's a must stop?

I think Doris and Ed's in Atlantic Highlands is tops for seafood. It's pricey and I usually save it for special events, its far and away a great meal and a great time. Not to be chauvinistic but its an impressive place to take a date.

4. Where did the idea for this book come from?
The book idea is explained, but I might add that in doing the Shore and then a Hoboken book, the words flowed a lot easier for the Shore. I might add also that my editor asked why I kept capitalizing the word Shore. Being from the south I had to explain to him that in Jersey, Shore is always capitalized :-)

5. Where did you find the pictures?
The picture acquisition question stands as is. The Trenton Archives is amazing in the amount of pictures they have. Tons of photos were taken by the Depression era Works Progress Administration (WPA) photographers, which is a history lesson in itself.

6. Any interesting research stories you'd like to share?
I can add to the interesting research part in that it is very rewarding to dig into "things" from a couple or more sources and find cross referencing facts or a fact or two from one place that you had already given up hope of finding in a different place. It's sometimes like working on a jigsaw puzzle, always fun, sometimes frustrating.

7. What do you think is one thing the shore lost that could have been saved?
What "hasn't" happened to Asbury is a sin. Whenever I drive through I can't help but shake my head in amazement and ask out loud, "what happened here"? I simply can't understand why it still isn't a vibrant community.

8. And what's the best thing that should have been saved that has been saved?
I just think that grass roots people's activism has made the state sit up and take notice as to what a real natural resource the beaches and water are. Agencies have to keep pushing visitors to respect the Shore. We also need to realize that while you might be able to fight city hall you can't always stop mother nature and that needs to be realized and respected as well. The beaches are cleaner. Also...Lucy the elephant. :-)

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