For part 1, click here
For part 2, click here
Due to the construction in Wildwood last October, we found ourselves diving down streets that we probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise. We ended up on Spicer Avenue, which held a few more motels of the golden era. Remembering back to the research I had done, I knew the Stardust Motel was there (see the shot above) so I went after it. But on the way there, I saw a neon palm tree that needed to be photographed. I was just the guy to do it.
As I stepped out to get this shot, somebody pulled out of the parking lot behind me. The driver was, at first glance, Jersey through and through, and for those of you who don’t know New Jersey, this could be either a good thing or a bad thing. Either I was going to get the chewing out of a lifetime or I was going to get a too-hard slap on the back and invitation to the nearest beer. I got the obvious question about what I was doing. He didn’t ask me what I thought I was doing, so I took that as a good sign. No pun intended.
Turns out, this was the owner of the Mango Motel. And further, the sign had just been restored, and he was obviously very proud of it. He had spotted me taking shots with my iPhone, so I let him know about my Instagram account.
In my experience, it’s rare that I get a chance to interact with the owner of a business whose sign I’ve singled out, and rarer still that I get any appreciation for it. I’ve been chased off rudely at least twice, and more often than not, when I explain what I’m doing, the owner turns around and goes back in the building shaking his head. But every once in a while you find someone who is proud of their sign, and more than willing to show it off. In light of this, I honestly wish I had taken more shots at the Mango Motel other than the ten or so I did.
But Wildwood is endless supply of neon, and it was getting late in the day. Honestly, I was exhausted before Wildwood was, but I continued to snap away.
The Caribbean, which was one of the better-attended motels in Wildwood that Sunday in October, has one of the best signs going, although it’s a little difficult to get, as it sits atop a lovely 50s style deck. It’s right across the street from the Bel Air, which just had its sign restored as well.
One of my favorites was the LuFran, which was slightly in need of a new coat of paint. My regret is that I got there too late, and the shadows were not in my favor. Still, I managed to get a long shot to zoom in on some great details.
To tell the truth, this is not all. I still have a bunch of shots from other locations that I’ll share later on. Another regret is that my time was limited, and I was not able to stay long enough to get these wonders while they were lit. To be fair, this was more of a fact-finding mission. Rest assured I’m going back there, if all goes well during the Spring, so stay tuned!