Asbury Park was founded in 1871 by New York businessman James A. Bradley. It was named for Francis Asbury, the first Methodist bishop in Amercia. Located about 55 miles (89 km) south of New York, it had become a progressive and leading Jersey Shore resort by the early 20th Century.
The city experienced a steep decline later in the century due to aging buildings, loss of popularity, as well as racial tensions. Rock star Bruce Stringsteen's first album, "Greetings From Asbury Park," brought renewed interest to the city though little substantial change.
Redevelopment in recent years has been spurred by projects around Wesley Lake and Ocean Avenue, as well as by a vibrant gay community. Sweeping plans are currently underway to reassert the city's great potential as a resort destination.