Into The Junk Shop, Flyboy!


I’m telling this story backwards…have I gone MAD?!

As you’ve gathered, the things I do are not very traditional. It’s not like I venture off to golf getaways, weekend wine tastings, or to the batting cages and for beers with the guys (as I pretend to sucker punch you in the stomach like guys do). None of that would ever happen in my life. Even though I’m an actual adult, I do things that bear the ever so slight possibility of being misconstrued as juvenile, but what the hell do I care? One of my recent posts documented my trip to an NXT wrestling event in Asbury Park. If you’ve read that, you know what a blast it was, but I haven’t yet told you about what happened before we got there! Put it this way, it wasn’t your average Friday afternoon.

To me, Friday is the best day of the week, hands down. I’d been looking forward to the NXT show for a couple of months, but I knew I couldn’t just go to the NXT show and then head home, that would be a ludicrous waste of a perfectly great Asbury excursion. I’d been meaning to bring Dinosaur Dracula to Paranormal Books for a while now, so that gave me the perfect reason to get down there early and make the most of Friday.

I was riding high. I got out of work and felt like the rest of the day and night would last 27 hours. I guess that happens when you arrive 3 hours early for a wrestling event on an empty boardwalk on a below freezing February afternoon. Upon our arrival, the itinerary was a blank slate and it was up to me to rectify that. I’m always up for the challenge of conjuring up some stupid stuff for us to do.


First stop was Paranormal Books. This spooky place (a filming location in our first Halloween Special!), is exactly what the name brings to mind. Think Ray’s Occult from Ghostbusters 2, but with a devilish New Jersey vibe. I paranormal parked, I mean parallel parked, something I absolutely hate doing, and then eagerly hopped out of the car, only to see the CLOSED sign on the door seconds later. Talk about strange, we had passed the storefront literally 5 minutes before that and the store was open and the lights were on. I was disappointed because I wanted Matt to see all the cool stuff they have in there. Well, there was literally hours to kill so I decided we’d head across the street to a few of the vintage junk shops. What’s a day venturing outdoors without coming home with some old piece of crap that you don’t need?


Into the Junk Shop, flyboy. Yes, I realize that thrift store is the preferred moniker, but I’m just telling it like it is, Mean Gene. Either way, any shop that has a skeleton sign warning me to enter at my own risk is tops in my book. The Groovy Graveyard is an awesome little place that has all kinds of vintage toys, posters, books, and random knick-knacks. I love stopping in here whenever I’m in Asbury. They have a ton of good stuff that I probably could’ve spent a hundred dollars on, but I literally only spent $3!


I bought an old Pebbles vinyl single of “Girlfriend” and a pack of unopened Dallas TV show trading cards. A whacked out selection, I know. Everyone has their things, I have a soft spot for vinyl and Dallas.


Next, I figured we’d check again over at Paranormal Books. It seemed like it was now open, but by time we reached the door, it was closed again. What kind of voodoo shit was going on here? It was twisting my brain Twilight Zone style. Make it stop! The best thing for us to do to ease this vexing situation was to go into another junk shop, err, junk EMPORIUM. Then, all of a sudden, our bodies involuntarily floated across the street like we were cartoon characters smelling delicious food cooking, only for us, it was dust and old plastic.

What felt like several hours later…


If you’re ever looking to waste time in Asbury, holy shit, the Antique Emporium of Asbury Park is the place you want to go. Their prices are f*cking ridiculously batshit insane, sort of like the owner was under the impression he was selling ancient pure gold doubloons rather than Playboys from the mid-2000s and used postcards from Las Vegas.


Aside from the fact that there’s a ton of shit we once owned, or a family member used to have hung prominently in their guest bedroom, there’s an endearing quality to places like this. The real unique part is that it’s all organized as if you were on the set of Finders Keepers. Each little nook has its own vibe. Some of the corners look like living rooms, one looked like your grandparents kitchen, while others were designed to like a young girls bedroom from 1973. We may as well have been riding the Carousel of Progress through all the decades and styles of room decor. And talk about tchotchkes! It’s the tchotchke capital of Asbury. I can’t say it’s on the same level as Somerville Antiques, but damn did they have a lot of weird, wild stuff. We didn’t buy anything because, as I mentioned, the prices were heinous, which seems to be the case with antique shops, especially ones that refer to themselves as “emporiums.” Still, it was fun to get lost in there and inspect every last detail, including when Matt discovered a beat to hell Brutus Beefcake LJN figure! And you know how much we love our bionic brother Beefcake.

Turns out, sifting through old dusty collectibles made us hungry. It was time to get some food before the show. We wound up at Pop’s Garage, this cool Mexican joint on the boardwalk. We ate and drank Tequila (obviously) to properly fuel us up for another 4 hours of fun.

As you can see, whenever there’s even a remote chance to cram in a bunch of offbeat stuff into an excursion, I pounce on it. I suggest trying it sometime! The more obscure, the better.

*By the way, if you haven’t listened to the latest Purple Stuff Podcast, it’s all about our Ghostbusters memories! Check it out on iTunes, Podbean, and Stitcher!