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Asbury Park Hopes to Cash In on Its Glory Days

April 30, 2002|From Associated Press

ASBURY PARK, N.J. — The Boss played here. Jon Bon Jovi too. Count Basie was born nearby. And Southside Johnny hails from nearby Ocean Grove.

Year after year, their old haunts--dilapidated houses, gritty nightclubs and boarded-up amusement rides--draw fans from all over the world who are looking for the real-life people and places immortalized in song.

Now, a group of music buffs and Bruce Springsteen fans wants to establish a "music heritage trail" program that would help shore communities cash in on the lure of the Stone Pony, Madam Marie's fortunetelling booth and other quasi-historic sites.

The group recently held an inaugural meeting in hopes of attracting would-be partners. They believe Asbury Park and Monmouth County could follow the lead of Liverpool, England, which has forged a multimillion-dollar trade catering to Beatles fans.

Simon Osbourne, who manages four Beatles-related historic sites for the National Trust in Liverpool, said more than 600,000 fans flock to the riverside city annually to pay homage to the roots of John, Paul, George and Ringo.

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