Kitsch and oddities

Tillie is the nickname of a mural of a grinning figure that was painted on the side of the Palace Amusements building in Asbury Park, New Jersey, U.S.A. Tillie is an amusement park "fun face," painted over the winter of 1955-1956. The mural has been featured in movies, TV shows such as The Sopranos, Weird NJ magazine, and a famous photo of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band early in their career.

Much like other boardwalk areas in the U.S.A. such as Coney Island, New York, Asbury Park has fallen on hard times. Palace Amusements, built in 1888, closed their doors in 1988 and the historic building fell into disrepair. When the Palace site was targeted for demolition and redevelopment, Asbury Park residents, Tillie fans and Springsteen fans formed a grassroots effort to save Tillie, lobbying the state to block the demolition or at least remove the mural beforehand. The group was partially successful, for they succeeded doing the latter. From June 8 to June 11, 2004, Save Tillie volunteers removed the mural from the Palace building. The building was demolished in July, 2004. Tillie and other murals from the Palace building will be incorporated into the replacement building, which Asbury Partners will build. (Note that there was more than one Tillie painting on the Palace Amusements building.)

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