I recently bought a bathing suit for the first time since I was a kid, and although I ended up horribly sunburnt in patches that make it look as if I'm permanently wearing a white (skin) bathing suit, I loved wearing it and was thrilled (through my terror) to be able to cool off in the ocean. I have my various reasons for completely avoiding swimsuits and water activities for a long stretch of my life, but maybe it's the fact that I give less and less fucks the older I get, but here's my sage advice: no one cares what you look like in a swimsuit.
We scored free street parking, grabbed hot dogs and lemonade, lounged on the beach, cooled off in the inexplicably-freezing Atlantic, strolled along the boardwalk and had a drink at the Wonder Bar. We walked by the (now-closed) Asbury Lanes and I grumbled about the missing neon sign, but fell in love with the handpainted, script lettering.
With its abandoned buildings (some repurposed, some just a shell like the Casino) and old-timey beach vibe, Asbury Park felt a lot like New Jersey's version of Coney Island (in fact they even have very similar "funny face" icons). I can imagine how grand it must have been in its heyday, and I admire its scrappiness and ability to survive economic ups and downs, shifting tastes and devastating hurricanes.