The New Yorkers Are Coming. Can Springsteen’s Jersey Shore Survive?

When Sam Hernandez met his spouse in 2010, he had by no means been to the seashore in New Jersey.

Born and raised in Bushwick, Brooklyn, he’d at all times related the Jersey Shore with the tan-and-party way of life of the MTV actuality present. But his soon-to-be-wife, a New Jersey native, insisted he go to.

Once he was there, he was pleasantly shocked.

“I felt at home in Asbury Park because it had a feeling of Brooklyn about it,” he stated. “It had some grit, it had some artiness to it, it had some edge. But it also had something beautiful about it.”

Now Mr. Hernandez, a 41-year-old marketing consultant and entrepreneur, repeatedly takes his household to go to Pier Village, an oceanside complicated in Long Branch, 15 minutes north of Asbury Park, staying both on the Bungalow Hotel there, or the newly opened Wave Resort.

Robert Miller, 42, a Manhattan resident who runs a journey company, not too long ago purchased a condominium on the new Asbury Ocean Club, a luxury hotel and residential building in Asbury Park.

For many like Mr. Miller, it’s the convivial, laid back atmosphere that makes the New Jersey beach experience preferable to that of, say, the East End.

“I feel like in the Hamptons, you’re either at a pool party or you’re sort of secluded, but on the Jersey Shore, you have the boardwalks,” Mr. Miller said. “So everybody comes to the boardwalk at night to go to the restaurants and shops and hear music; everyone’s convening together.”

Slowly, however, these beach towns are upping the ante on luxury developments. And although the new hotels and businesses take inspiration from the boardwalk, where everyone is welcome, they are setting a more exclusive tone.

In 2016, when the developer iStar and the hotel operator Salt Hotels opened the Asbury Hotel and Asbury Lanes, a bowling alley and music venue, they made sure to keep the cultural energy of Asbury Park at the forefront, said Gail Schoenberg, a publicist who spends time on the Shore. (Ms. Schoenberg works with other restaurants in the area but does not represent the hotels or Asbury Lanes.)

But the Asbury Ocean Club, their new property, displays a level of high design that does not have much to do with the working-class town that Bruce Springsteen made famous.

The complex houses a boutique hotel on the fourth floor and 13 floors of condos, including the one Mr. Miller bought. Interiors have an airy, modern look.

The only nod to the city’s grittier identity is in the lobby bathrooms, where there are images of tattoos on the stall doors. That, and the ability to see and hear the outdoor shows at the Stone Pony Summer Stage a block away from the pool deck.

“We’re bringing luxury that you usually find in Manhattan and Miami, that has not been seen before in a city like Asbury Park,” says Brian Cheripka, master developer of the Asbury Park waterfront for iStar.

There has been an effort to support the existing community. In 2016, David Bowd, chief executive of Salt Hotels, opened a hospitality school, called Salt School.

Today, according to Salt Hotels, more than 90 percent of the 500-plus graduates are employed at the group’s three Asbury Park properties and most of the graduates come from Asbury Park or surrounding towns.

In Long Branch, construction has been going on for decades in an effort to revive the city. Today, most of it is being overseen by Kushner Companies, which was founded by Charles Kushner, the father of Jared Kushner, senior adviser to President Trump and his son-in-law.

In 2014, a partnership of Kushner Companies and Extell Development Company bought Pier Village. At the time, Pier Village already offered luxury apartments, retail shops, restaurants, and the Bungalow.

This summer, Kushner built the oceanfront Wave Resort, along with its five boardwalk restaurants. Kushner has also started work on a third hotel and another 70,000 square feet of retail with Extell that Kushner will own. Extell is developing additional luxury condos above the new retail component and commissioned a carousel on the restored boardwalk this July.

“Since Asbury Park is now more mainstream, the makers seem to be displaced and replaced by consumers. It is certainly bittersweet; it seems to be the oldest story in the world.”

In Long Branch, many longtime residents are happy to keep the Shore to themselves. Recently at Le Club, the members-only establishment, a woman shushed a man for talking too loudly.

A member replied: “If you want quiet, go to the Hamptons!”

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