A few weekends ago I visited Asbury Park, NJ with some friends who have a house there. I had always heard of the city from its days as a resort town but wasn't prepared for what I found.

While founded in 1871, the beach town had its heyday in the 1920s when many of the most beautiful buildings in the city were constructed.One of these was the Convention center/ Paramount theater complex which has been the keystone of the rehabilitation in the city.The complex, designed by Warren & Wetmore in a nautically inspired Beaux-arts style, officially opened in 1930 and contained a performance venue, a section of enclosed boardwalk, and large convention center facing the ocean.After having been abandoned for years after riots in 1970 caused the town to decline, the complex was restored and reopened in 2007.The brick building has beautiful glazed terra cotta ornamentation that is as stunning today as in 1930. The themes are suitably nautical and musical.How many colors can you count here?! The copper lanterns, windows and elements have all been preserved and restored.I just can't get enough of this stuff.Below you can see the theater to the left (facing the town square), the enclosed arcade at the boardwalk and the convention center flanked by outdoor terrace restaurants over the beach to the right.This is no small project.I love the large metal ship over the sign.The arcade inside is full of shops and restaurants and was busy with a tatoo convention the day I visited (I did not exactly fit in with this crowd as you can imagine........)Many of the interior details have been preserved although there is still a ways to go.In the following days I'll be bringing you some photos and history of some other fascinating buildings from Asbury Park. Stay tuned!