Famous ‘Tillie’ painting from shuttered NJ amusement park named-checked in Bruce Springsteen hit among 33 historic pieces left to rot in parking lot: report

Baby, we had been born to rot.

An iconic “Tillie” face and different remnants of a shuttered Jersey Shore amusement park made well-known by Bruce Springsteen are rotting away in an empty lot — regardless of a builders promise to protect the relics.

The 33 pieces — which embrace the painting of the spherical, grinning “Tillie” that also adorns hats, t-shirts and bumper stickers — are all that’s left of the legendary Palace Amusements, a large indoor recreation spot in Asbury Park that Springsteen name-checked in his 1975 hit, “Born to Run.”


Palace Amusements exterior
Remnants of the now-demolished Palace Amusements in Absury Park are rotting away in a parking lot — together with the well-known Tillie painting. Noah Ok. Murray / The Star Ledger

But simply because the hemi-powered drones ultimately vanished from the Shore city’s streets, so too did the ocean foam-colored Palace Amusements, which closed in 1988 and was demolished in 2004 to make approach for a billion-dollar redevelopment undertaking.

The developer — Asbury Partners LLC — was supposed to protect Tillie and his gargantuan grin, in addition to different objects from the 116-year-old constructing’s storied previous, according to the New York Times.

Unfortunately, that by no means occurred.

Instead, the pieces now sit behind fences close to the dumpsters exterior town Convention Hall, about 5 blocks north of their once-jovial house, according to the Asbury Park Press.

Last week, they landed on Preservation New Jersey’s annual checklist of the “10 Most Endangered Places” in the Garden State, which tries to spotlight “irreplaceable historic, architectural, cultural, and archeological resources in New Jersey that are in imminent danger of being lost,” in accordance to a press release from the state-supported group.

An extended-running, native grassroots marketing campaign referred to as “Save Tillie” issued a scathing assertion to the Press that stated the builders didn’t maintain up their finish of the deal.


The exterior of the Palace.
The palace — lengthy an emblem of Asbury Park’s historical past as a seaside attraction — grew to become well-known after Springsteen name-checked it in “Born to Run.” Noah Ok. Murray / The Star Ledger

“Twenty years ago, 33 irreplaceable artifacts were saved when developers demolished Palace Amusements, a century-old arcade listed on the National Register of Historic Places,” Save Tillie stated in the Saturday assertion.  

“The plan for their future was imperfect. But the promise was explicit. In exchange for lucrative waterfront rights granted by the State of New Jersey, developers promised preservation and reuse. Twenty years on, the artifacts have never been brought back.

A mural of Bruce Springsteen and his pink Cadillac on display on a building on the boardwalk July 19, 2003 in Asbury Park, New Jersey.
The building was torn down in 2004 to make way for new development. Getty Images
AN exterior shot of the palace.
The palace was built in 1888, and was expanded several times. JEFF ZELEVANSKY

“The developers have never announced a preservation and reuse plan. Three times, the artifacts have been inspected by a prominent conservationist, who most recently found evidence of serious deterioration.”

The Post reached out to Save Tillie and Madison Marquette, the Asbury Park boardwalk’s retail developer and proprietor of the objects, however didn’t instantly obtain a response.

Tillie is probably going essentially the most well-known relic of the ocean-side amusement park, which additionally featured carousels, enjoyable homes and different rides.


Springsteen in concert.
Springsteen and the E Street Band additionally took a promo picture exterior the well-known signal in 1973. Youtube


Tiles from the old plaza hotel can be sen in the vacant lot in front of Palace Amusements in Asbury Park.
The constructing fell into disrepair after it closed in 1988. Thomas P. Costello / USA TODAY NETWORK

Painted on the Palace in the Nineteen Fifties, Tillie grew to become an instantly-recognizable image of Absury Park, which suffered from a protracted spell of city decay earlier than its sudden resurgence over the past twenty years.

Springsteen followers additionally seemingly bear in mind the face because the backdrop of a 1973 promotional shot that featured the Boss – alongside the E Street Band – posing earlier than the long-lasting signal in a moody black-and-white picture.

Workers eliminated Tillie earlier than bulldozing the palace 20 years in the past, the Press stated. The grinning head was supposed to be despatched to a lodge close to the Asbury Park Casino and Carousel House.

But these plans had been scrapped, the outlet stated. And now the long run is unclear.

“Where it’s going to go now, nobody knows,” Mayor John Moor stated in 2021, in accordance to the Press.

The Save Tillie marketing campaign demanded motion in its May 4 assertion.

“It is imperative now that state officials undertake a long, hard, unbiased review of the deal, made in 2004, that has allowed the artifacts to be pushed to the brink of irretrievability.”

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