Jer­sey Shore

Lonely Planet Magazine (US) - - Contents -

The sea­side re­sorts of South­ern New Jer­sey evoke another age.

I’ve spent the last two years doc­u­ment­ing the mid­cen­tury mod­ern mo­tels of the Wild­woods, a group of shore towns on a 5-mile is­land in south­ern New Jer­sey. Built in the 1950s and ’60s and vir­tu­ally un­changed, they form the largest con­cen­tra­tion of post­war re­sort ar­chi­tec­ture in the U.S. As a na­tive of the Jer­sey Shore, I’ve al­ways been in­ter­ested in the coast’s his­tory and build­ings, and when I hap­pened upon the Wild­woods one win­ter, I felt like I’d trav­eled back in time. The mo­tels rep­re­sent the way Amer­i­can fam­i­lies used to va­ca­tion – with the rise of car cul­ture and a new land­scaped high­way spark­ing a mas­sive mi­gra­tion to the area. More than 300 mo­tels were built, in­flu­enced by Euro­pean modernism and Mi­ami Beach, though in the last 20 years, half have been knocked down. Come sum­mer, they’re still packed with peo­ple, but for nine months of the year they have no choice but to close. This is when I shoot; with all dis­trac­tions stripped away, their char­ac­ter can re­ally shine through. Each mo­tel is dif­fer­ent, dec­o­rated to set it­self apart and at­tract mo­torists, with bright col­ors, neon signs and the iconog­ra­phy of ex­otic, far­away des­ti­na­tions. I love that so many are able to con­tinue on and thrive, as time cap­sules of sum­mers past.”

“The Yan­kee Clip­per Mo­tel is one of this sub­set of mo­tels down there that are iden­ti­fied as his­toric build­ings. It was built in the early 1960s and still holds a lot of its orig­i­nal de­tail.”

Tyler Haughey

Pho­tog­ra­pher Tyler Haughey is a New Jer­sey na­tive liv­ing in Brook­lyn. See more of his work at tyler­haughey.com and on In­sta­gram at @tyler­haughey.

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