Wildwood New Jersey

On The Town

July 2012

Wildwood TD Bank doo wop sign
A neo-doo wop sign welcomes visitors to Wildwood.
This sign is atop the TD Bank on Rio Grande Avenue,
the main road onto the Wildwoods barrier Island.

Doo Wop in the Wildwoods

The Wildwoods came of age as a vacation destination in the mid-last-century. As a result many of the motels in the Wildwoods were built with themes that were popular in that era and would have attracted young families. It was the age of the automobile, the sputnik and the space race, of Hawaiian / Polynesian fascination, and many other post World War themes. The motels of that era reflected those aspirational times and themes in their architecture and decorative theming.

The Wildwoods of today have embraced those themed architectural styles and have labeled them collectively 'doo wop' architecture. Throughout the town are many examples of that style. Many buildings being designed and built today in the Wildwoods also reflect doo wop style. This is refered to as neo-doo wop.

Wildwood TD Bank doo wop sign
An impressionistic neon milk shake?

Wildwood ACME Supermarket
The neo-doo wop ACME Supermarket sign.

Wildwood WAWA
The Wildwood WAWA reflects a doo wop space-age look.

Wildwood Subway restaurant
The Subway Sandwich shop in Wildwood displays doo wop styling.

Wildwood Starlux motel
An example of a new motel with neo-doo wop styling.
The old Wingate motel that once stood on this site was completely rebuilt in 2000 as the neo-doo wop Starlux hotel.
The doo wop theming is completed with classic plastic palm trees.

Wildwood Crest Motels Bal Harbout and Saratoga Inn
Here is a portrait in contrast.
In the foreground, the Saratoga Inn sports a colonial look and theme
While the Bal Harbour's massive towers, behind, display a late 60's futuristic look.

American Safari Motel Wildwood Crest
The American Safari has a whimsical adventure theme.
Again, notice the plastic palm trees and neon signage.

Wildwood fruit guy
One of many Fresh Fruit guys who visit every street in the Wildwoods
multiple times per day and offer fresh fruit for you to enjoy beachside or poolside.

The Regis Wildwood Crest
Not all hotels in Wildwoods are doo wop.
The Regis is outside of the doo wop district and doesn't really have a theme.

Wildwood Crest condo
The condo building craze of the mid-2000s created much controversy in the Wildwoods.
Many doo wop motels were lost to the wrecking ball to make way for condos.
Pictured here is a block of condos where once stood four classic doo wop motels:
Di Lido's Motel, Casa Bahama Motel, Kona Kai Motel, and Hi Lili Motel.

The newer condos of the Wildwoods offer brand new accommodations with plenty of amenities. However, we've noticed the pools are tiny and awkwardly located, as if an afterthought.
Furthermore, these monstrosities are about as interesting architecturally as shoe boxes.
At night they are mostly dark and cheerless. They do not share the Wildwood motel lighting schemes which are demonstrated below.

Site of the Captains Table Wildwood Crest
Here, some new condo construction going on at the former site of the Captain's Table restaurant.
The Captain's Table was a Wildwood Crest staple back in the day and had a wonderful seaside nautical theme.

Wildwood Trolley
In keeping the retro feeling, the town even has an old fashioned trolley that delivers guests to the boardwalk and back every evening.

Waikiki Wildwood Crest
The Waikiki motel sports a Hawaiian theme
complete with a thatched roof entrance
and lava stone lined accents.

The Olympic in Wildwood Crest
As the sun sets, neon begins to dominate the Wildwood night.
The Olympic resort displays its giant neon sign.

Night motel
At night, the doo wop motels of the Wildwoods come alive with neon signs
and ornate lighting schemes.
The Oceanic motel has always fascinated me because it has a bar on the first floor.

motel night
More lights and bright colors illuminate the night from the Aquarius Motor Inn.

motel night
The Granada's bright sign and lighted exterior.

motel night
The Alakai's pineapple colored lighting scheme.

The Madrid Motel Wildwood Crest
The Madrid Motel as seen from the beach.
In Florida, a lighting scheme like this would cause environmentalists to go into spasms over concerns for poor sea turtle babies becoming confused.

Wildwood Crest neon lit street
The streets of Wildwood Crest are awash with neon as far you the eye can see.

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