Around 15 years ago maybe, a friend and I drove there for the day. It was pretty desolate even then, except for a few notable landmarks like the Stone Pony (the club where Springsteen got his start and still makes appearances on occasion). Bruce's songs have done a very good job of bringing up sentimental images of the area as it once was and as he imagines it could be again (check out "4th of July, Asbury Park" on his first album).
I knew there was rioting in Newark in the late 60s, from which the city never recovered (big chunks of land are still piles of rubble) but I don't think I knew there had been rioting in Asbury Park.
Thanks for the link!
Once one of the premier beachfront resorts in America, the past forty years have seen Asbury Park battered by natural disasters, torn apart by race riots, and sold out by dirty politicians, rendering this once splendid seaside playground into a visual ghostown. Despite its steady decline, seeing Asbury Park is still an experience rich in urban history and theme park sentimentality.
Visitors on this 'Urban Exploration' can browse the photo gallery, which contains images of The Boardwalk, The Palace Amusements, The Casino, and other remnants of the city's vital history. Each section displays the landmarks of Asbury Park both as they were in their glory days, and as they are now in their unfortunate state of disrepair.