The following article appeared in the July 15, 1998 edition of the Asbury Park Press and was written by Nancy Shields. I took the photographs in the Summer of 1989 on a visit to Asbury Park - click on any one to see a larger version.
Asbury Park -- Palace Amusements, a 110-year-old oceanfront landmark shut down a decade ago, is in danger of collapsing and is expected to be demolished shortly, city officials said yesterday.
A portion of the once-popular amusement house's second floor collapsed a week ago, prompting engineers to inspect and declare the structure to be in imminent danger of collapse, William Gray, the city's chief housing inspector, said yesterday.
The building, occupying most of a city block, is familiar for its peeling green facade and painted clown faces. Generations of beachgoing families rode its carousel and Ferris wheel. It was immortalized by Bruce Springsteen in his 1975 song, "Born To Run."
Inspectors found part of the roof over another section of the building had previously collapsed, and there were a number of holes in the roof and two significant stress cracks on the exterior.
One of those cracks is above a doorway on Cookman Avenue that also serves as an emergency exit for the Park Cinema adult movie house, which shares a common wall. The city ordered the theater shut last week until Palace Amusements is razed.
The city, concerned because the second floor collapsed a few days before Sunday's Greekfest, barricaded the four streets surrounding the building.
Last Wednesday, the city notified the owner, Joseph Carabetta, of the problem. Carabetta, a Connecticut builder, set out in the mid-1980's to redevelop the waterfront but never got the project funded and ended up in bankruptcy in 1992.
Carabetta bought the building in 1989 along with other beachfront parcels from Henry and Sebastian Vaccaro, who had operated it from 1986 until 1988.
Carabetta declined to comment yesterday, his lawyer, Judi Weiss, said. City officials said he assured them he would have an engineer look at the building and would have demolition estimates by yesterday.