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Springsteen, Sweat and the Salt Air: Your Memories of the Stone Pony

Category: Art & Culture,Arts

Around the time of my divorce, Clarence Clemons died. The juxtaposition of his death, my divorce, and Father’s Day, remains one of thousands of fond Asbury Park memories. On the Sunday after his death, an impromptu memorial was erected as fans gathered in front of the Stone Pony.

I had recently met Clarence at an after party at a restaurant on Cookman Avenue, as he was in town for a film festival and I had taken a shot of him. This would be my addition to the pile of offerings.

As I was on my drive down to the Pony, I received a call from my children, who were with their dad for Father’s Day: “Daddy says he will drive us down to AP to be with you. He knows you are sad today.”

My children and their father found me near the stage. There we sang, danced and were swept up in the magic of the moment and of the place. I count myself among the lucky patrons who have been graced by the ghosts shut up in the bones of that place.

I saw many shows at the Pony in the ’70s and ’80s. Southside Johnny, George Thorogood, Twisted Sister, but my recollection of them is a bit, let’s say, hazy. After a long hiatus, in the summer of 2016, I returned with my then girlfriend, now wife, Laura, to see the Struts. It was a magical night. I felt all the old ghosts of the Jersey Shore past.

If walls could talk, and objects have a soul, then yeah, the Pony was speaking to me.

We planted ourselves against the front bar with a good view of the stage. I asked Laura if she was O.K. here, cause we weren’t moving until the show was over. No need to worry about getting to the bathroom, because anything we drank we sweated right out. It was stifling hot, loud, crowded and superb.

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