Dunes Ablaze

Waves breaking beyond the rubble.
Photos and Words by Timothy Lang…

The Dunes Boardwalk Cafe and the rest of the complex was home to many beachgoers in the summer months at Asbury Park. It was a place you went to get a Playa Bowl or a Bubbakoos Burrito after surfing all day. It was a place for regular beachgoers who wanted to purchase apparel while on vacation. But, on the morning of March 13th, a fire broke out and set the 100+ year-old building in flames. This drew hundreds of people to watch the spectacle and depressed those who spent countless summers coming in and out of the stores and cafe. The building burned for the next 8 hours.

I had been going to the stores and cafe/restaurants since I was a little kid so it was hard to watch it all unfold like it did. The place became a landmark for people around the Jersey Shore and it is now gone. The next day (March 14th), smoke/ fog covered parts of North Jersey and could be smelled in surrounding shore towns like Long Branch, more than 6 miles away. Two days after the burn, (4/15/19) I checked the surf. Morning’s conditions were nowhere near what was expected from the prior day’s forecast.

But, by mid-afternoon, the swell picked up and the wind started howling offshore. I was able to snag a few shots as conditions cleared up for a little bit. I knew I wanted to get this shot and luck played into having waves just days after the mysterious fire occurred. Shoutout to the people who gave me access to getting these shots from this vantage point, it will definitely go down as some of my favorites yet. I wish the best to the Gannon family, owners of the Dunes establishment and hope that the events that follow work out in their favor. RIP Dunes.

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