At The Altar In Asbury Park

(c)JerseyStyle Photography_Madam Marie_Asbury Park_Springsteen_0372

“Did you hear the cops finally busted Madam Marie for tellin’ fortunes better than they do.” ~ Bruce Springsteen in 4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy)

I imagine everyone has a place or a scene like this: Every time you pass it, you have to shoot it.

I don’t know how many versions I have of Madame Marie’s in Asbury Park. Made famous in a Bruce Springsteen song, it seems like every time I’m in AP, I have to snap off a few frames. Same with the Flatiron Building in lower Manhattan. Every time I pass it, I have to shoot it.

And for Springsteen fans, Madame Marie’s is a cultural touchpoint. If the boardwalk in Asbury Park is the Church of Springsteen, the hulking Casino at the south end, and Madame Marie’s closer to the north end, are the altars.

Bruce tells the story how, back in the late ’60s or early ’70s, he stopped in to Maria Costello’s fortune reading establishment. She told him he would be a big name some days. He usually laughs and says she probably told that to any long-haired guy with a guitar case back then.

But it does speak to perhaps the power of positive reinforcement and thought. How many times have we tried a little harder at something, put in a little more effort, just because someone gave us some encouragement? On the flip, how many times have we thrown in the towel because of a negative remark?

Now, sometimes negativity can spur one on. The chip on the shoulder has provided the engine for a great many good things. But the old adage If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all still goes a long way, especially in this Facebook-slamming, Internet-damning age.

Maria Castello was never actually arrested, as mentioned in the song. She passed away in 2008 but her name lives on in Asbury Park.

Maybe we all need to go to a fortune teller from time to time, to help unlock our mysteries, to provide that spark against our flint.

Can’t hurt, right?

© Mark V. Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography | All Rights Reserved 2014

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