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Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown

New Jersey. Aired 9-10 ET

Aired May 31, 2015 - 21:00   ET


[21:00:17] ANTHONY BOURDAIN, CNN HOST (voice-over): And vacation over, as we headed home to our regular beds, our daily lives of school and homework and ordinary things. Maybe my little brother, maybe I would wake up and look out the window at the night sky and suddenly it would fill with stars and golden mist, and we'd pretend for a second we were somehow deep inside the Milky May, a million winking lights, but we knew where we really were. We were almost home.


BOURDAIN: Oh, enchanted land of my childhood, a cultural Petri dish from which regularly issues forth greatness.

New Jersey, in case you didn't know it, has got beaches, beautiful beaches, and they're not all crawling with raging trolls with reality shows. I grew up summering on those beaches and they're awesome. Jersey's got farmland, beautiful bedroom communities where that woman from "Real Housewives" who looks like Dr. Zayas (ph) does not live, nor anyone like her. Even the refineries, the endless clover leaves of turnpikes and expressways twisting in unknowable patterns over the wetlands are to me somehow beautiful. To know Jersey is to love her.

Ft. Lee, you may have heard of it. Some of Governor Christie's minions allegedly conspired to jam up traffic for a few days. It's a town with a jokey history of corruption. It's also where my beloved Hiram's is, opened since 1932 and pretty much unchanged ever since. My dad started bringing me and my younger brother, Chris, here in the 50s and they still honor tradition.

(on camera): Sometimes I just the need that old-time flavor again. It seems like a chew food. Basically, my dad would take me here. It is a great point of pride and personal satisfaction and I've convinced my daughter that this is the finest hot dogs in the land. She gets very excited to come out here, which makes me very happy.

Thank you. Thank you. This is heat. The toothpicks are just like 1958. Some things just shouldn't change.

My dad used to love pickle lily, a relish. And I loved this stuff. Look at that beauty.

Oh, yeah.

I come here to feed my soul, the cultural wellspring that's New Jersey. It's the antidote to every other place.

The place is perfect. The dogs are amazing.

And there are not a lot of people in this world courageous enough to not change.

(voice-over): Down the shore. Yeah, we actually talk like that. It was what we did, go down the shore. Not just our family, from Bergen County near the bridge, but middle class families and working-class families from Philly and all over who packed up the kids in the station wagon for the seemingly interminable trip to Long Beach Island.

(on camera): Just getting out the driveway was bad.

CHRIS BOURDAIN, BROTHER OF ANTHONY BOURDAIN: It always took three extra hours with a loaded-down car.

[21:05:05] BOURDAIN: There was always drama. Strapping crap to the roof of the car.

(voice-over): But once we were over the bridge, the excitement would ratchet up. Ship Bottom, then Surf City, Harvey Cedars (ph), Loveladies (Ph). Ticking off the town names until finally, finally, Barnegat Light.

(on camera): These are all new. Wait, but that's original.

CHRIS BOURDAIN: Yeah, definitely.

BOURDAIN: I think I know who lived there at one point.

CHRIS BOURDAIN: That's definitely old school.

BOURDAIN: Let's face it. It's been how many years? 40 --

CHRIS BOURDAIN: 400, I think.

BOURDAIN: Jesus, we're old. The lighthouse.

CHRIS BOURDAIN: Definitely remember going to that lighthouse a lot.

BOURDAIN: Oh, the good old days.


I want some fried clam strips.


BOURDAIN: Our options are limited, shall we say, but -- holy crap, this place is filling up.

CHRIS BOURDAIN: I think it's because it's the only place.

BOURDAIN: Still, who lives out here year round?

CHRIS BOURDAIN: We're about to see every single one of them. BOURDAIN: Let's be honest. When we came here in the summer summers,

I was the bad one.

CHRIS BOURDAIN: Yes, yes. Your recollection is correct.

BOURDAIN: I was up to every variety of anti-social behavior down here. I didn't smoke dope for the first time here. I was looking for dope, but as a 12-year-old it was hard to come by.

CHRIS BOURDAIN: I remember you vaguely you walking off with some sort of cute girl.

BOURDAIN: First kiss. That was an important passage.

That's good.


BOURDAIN: I realize now I hitchhiked regularly.


BOURDAIN: Mom, dad, I'm going to go to Ship Bottom tonight with some friends. How are you getting there? Hitchhiking. OK. Have fun.

CHRIS BOURDAIN: All the kids hitchhiked. That's how you got places here.

BOURDAIN: Summertime. You know that sound? Just out of the water, ears pressed up against the beach blanket, the squeak of bare feet on sand nearby, Classics illustrated comics waited for me back at the house. I'd play with my little plastic army men in the dunes. And there's a smell of beach grass in the dunes. You remember it?

CHRIS BOURDAIN: I still crave it. I love it.

BOURDAIN (voice-over): And on special occasions, clams and drawn butter. No matter where I find them now, they always bring me back here.

(on camera): I remember this place with nothing but fondness. I can't remember a single bad memory here.

CHRIS BOURDAIN: It was great.

People you knew from last year were here. A lot of them in the street. The parents didn't need to be with you. Have a camp fire on the beach at night. Firecrackers, all this stuff they wouldn't let you do at home.

BOURDAIN: The beach would look different. For a couple of days, the whole beach would be this weird foamy surf, like frothy bubbling. Now we're talking.

CHRIS BOURDAIN: Or there would be the jelly fish sometimes where there would be -- BOURDAIN: Infestation of jelly fish, right. I try to block that out.

CHRIS BOURDAIN: That wonderful feeling that you were with other 10 year old along the bank, along the beach. It was great.

BOURDAIN: I love clam strips.

CHRIS BOURDAIN: These are great.

BOURDAIN: These are awesome. So far, so great. I'm happy. Battered piece of fish with some good tartar sauce.

What were your favorite activities?

CHRIS BOURDAIN: Building a campfire on the beach.

BOURDAIN: Overturning the lifeguard stand.

CHRIS BOURDAIN: Yes. Firecrackers on the beach.

BOURDAIN: Firecrackers on the beach.

CHRIS BOURDAIN: I have some firecrackers in your car, by the way. Just saying.

BOURDAIN: Set them off in the elevator at the casino.


CHRIS BOURDAIN: Perfect. Perfect.

BOURDAIN: Thank you.

(voice-over): It was paradise. America's first dream vacation. The beach, as far as America was concerned, meaning bathing suits and swimming in the surf was pretty much invented here. Atlantic City, rich or working class, it was here for you. Back then, you dressed up to walk the Boardwalk. It was capitalism at its purist and most assertive. It was a democratic dream designed from the beginning for everybody. Flashy, utilitarian, upright, deeply, unapologetically corrupt.

The Knife and Fork Inn was right there through it all. In many ways, its story a perfect reflection of changing times. Established in 1912, it was a so-called gentleman's dining and drinking club. The second floor had curtained alcoves and a separate lady's lounge, private rooms on the third and fourth floor were set aside for games of chance and perhaps other activities.

Vicki Gold Levi's dad was the chief photographer for Atlantic City from the 1930s to the 1960s. He saw it all and, by extension, so did Vicki.

[21:10:13] (on camera): What was it like here as a kid?

VICKI GOLD LEVI, ATLANTIC CITY HISTORIAN: It was fantastic. Walking down the Boardwalk in the summertime was like walking in a carnival at midway, the cacophony of noises.

BOURDAIN: There was still remnants of the '20s.


BOURDAIN (voice-over): That sensibility, that look, handle bar mustaches, Victorian graphic design and illustration, the weird stuck- in-time feel was still very much in evidence, even in my time here in the early 60s. The Boardwalk was over six miles of amusements, entertainments, parades, and pageants, a never-ending carnival.

GOLD LEVI: Every place you went down the Boardwalk was something else to see and all the stores were mom-and-pop stores, all very unique.

BOURDAIN (on camera): Yes.

GOLD LEVI: And I loved it.

BOURDAIN (voice-over): The world-famous steel pier, amusement arcades, novelties, salt water taffy.

(on camera): I loved the joke shops.

GOLD LEVI: The joke shops.

BOURDAIN: It was a wonderland of juvenile delinquency. Everybody was buying plastic dog crap and --



BOURDAIN: -- vomit and smoke powder. It was just something very sinister and forbidden. And my parents indulged me when I was here.

(voice-over): The menu has changed somewhat since the original. For me, a very tasty pretzel-crusted swordfish over lump crab meat. For Vicki, pan-seared scallops.

(on camera): My memories of Atlantic City are largely built around the time before gambling. Times were not good. I mean, the Marlboro (inaudible), I remember it well, was largely empty, but it was a magnificent structure.

GOLD LEVI: You and I like the nostalgia. The people who like Coney Island like it, but I don't know about the young people.

BOURDAIN: Beautiful buildings are beautiful buildings. A beautiful view is a beautiful view forever.


BOURDAIN: There's no other place with this kind of history and legitimacy. This place has deep romantic allure.

GOLD LEVI: I agree with you. I believe in the transition that's coming. I really, really do, with all my heart.

BOURDAIN: Hundreds of businesses used to be here. It's not a matter of, gee, that would be great if that happened again. It is inevitable that it will happen again. It's worth fixing. Atlantic City can be chic easily because the bones, the skeleton of the city are beautiful.

GOLD LEVI: I'm glad you feel that way.

BOURDAIN: There is even, in young people, particularly now, beautiful old things. A beautiful old restaurant with really great food --

GOLD LEVI: That we're in right now?

BOURDAIN: -- is much more interesting than a glass box with good food.


[21:15:59] BOURDAIN: The names of Atlantic City streets were imprinted on generations of Americans who grew up playing Monopoly. Drive down Ventnor Avenue today and you see history. Te ebb and flow of America's hopes and dreams played out in the buildings and homes you see as you pass by. Magnificent mansions mixed in with inexpensive two-family houses, cheap takeout, the footprints of a lost world. The Riviera of the northeast still there if you look between. With jet travel in Miami and an expanded highway system, things declined, as they do. But a few visionary geniuses presented a solution, a cure that would overnight make everybody well, make Atlantic City shiny and new and prosperous again. Men like Donald Trump.


DONALD TRUMP, CEO, TRUMP GROUP: I think it's going to be really very beneficial to everybody. We look forward to operating the Taj Mahal successfully for many years to come.


BOURDAIN: Vast new Xanadus would be construction. And would-be Kubla Khan's rushed to Atlantic City eager to tap into what was assured to be a never-ending gusher of prosperity, casino gambling.

(on camera): When casino gambling was sold to the state of New Jersey and to Atlantic City as the cure-all, it was going to bring it back to its glory days, did it change anything?

BRIAN DONOHUE, NEW JERSEY REPORTER: When you drove around today, do you think this place is better than it was? Do you think it helped?

BOURDAIN: No, I don't.

(voice-over): New Jersey native, Brian Donohue, is a reporter with 20 years experience focusing on south Jersey.

Dock's Oyster House, an establishment that survived Prohibition, the Great Depression, two world wars, numerous declines, and rebirths. Still here, still great, a symbol of what Atlantic City was, and should be again, could be again.

DONOHUE: Bringing Atlantic City back after its decline is a very complicated and hard process. There was no easy answer. Casino gambling was seen as an easy answer.

BOURDAIN (on camera): Yes. It sure sounded like a good idea.

DONOHUE: They were going to bring 12 casinos here and bring everybody up from the top, down. It hasn't worked. Then you're left with just 12 casinos-

BOURDAIN (voice-over): If you're looking for an example of a lemming- like lurch towards a shinny new cliff face from which to tumble, look no further than this $2.4 billion goat rodeo, the Revel. It opened in 2012 and closed less than two years later. The most expensive casino in New Jersey history.

DONOHUE: It was incredible.

BOURDAIN (on camera): What were they thinking?

DONOHUE: Short-term, money, and at a time when all these other casinos were opening all over the entire east coast.

BOURDAIN: It was nuts. It's economics 101.

(voice-over): Casinos, by design, neglect the city's existing assets, salt air, a walk by the glorious North Atlantic, the greatest of all the earth's bodies of water, the classic attractions, the restaurants.

DONOHUE: This is what it is going to take for Atlantic City to come back. But it's going to be places like this. Celebrate the ghosts.

BOURDAIN: Some nice crab cake, at Dock's, a big freaking lobster stuffed with crab imperial, plum souffle. Those things are bad for business, the business of taking your money.

(on camera): Thank you so much. Lovely. That'll work.

That's good.

I don't want to sound like I'm down on Atlantic City, because I see it as an incredibly almost ludicrously hopeful place. Whatever is left of it should be hung onto because it is going to come around

(on camera): There's nothing funny about losing all your money, yet casinos are steady employers of that most hard-working species entertainer. Comedians Rich Vos and Bonnie McFarlane are two of the hardest-working people around. Married to each other and New Jersey.

[21:20:03] RICH VOS, COMEDIAN: It's so much money to live here. I drove three exits on the Jersey Turnpike, it was $7. If you drive a whole new Jersey Turnpike, when you get to the end, you have to give them your car. (LAUGHTER)

BONNIE MCFARLANE, COMEDIAN: I'm going to tell you something that I don't tell people right away. I'm very passionate about it. No animal byproducts of any kind. I'm vegan. I do cheat a little. I eat veal.


It's so tender. How do they get it like that?

BOURDAIN (on camera): I'm very sentimental about Jersey Italian, particularly spaghetti and meatballs. That's what I was going to go for.

VOS: I've eaten here at least five to ten times and I've never had a bad meal, ever.

BOURDAIN: All right.

VOS: I wouldn't get the meatballs.


BOURDAIN: Proud long-time residents of New Jersey?

MCFARLANE: No. I've lived here for nine years, but only been proud maybe the last two.

It's a real long time this sort of --

BOURDAIN: Picking up the speed?


BOURDAIN: Born and bred?

VOS: Yes, my whole life.

MCFARLANE: He won't leave. I had to make peace with him.

BOURDAIN: When was the first time you played Atlantic City?

VOS: There was a club at the Sands. Many times I would get paid on Thursday and then I would lose it all and then I'd have to work for free. There's no worse feeling.

BOURDAIN: Oh, I know that feeling.

VOS: Have you ever watched a couple in Atlantic City? Hold this money. Don't give it back to me no matter what I tell you. I don't care what I say. An hour later, give me my god damn money.


No, I'm not fooling around. You better give me my money. (LAUGHTER)

You're the reason I'm losing, touching my arm when I'm shooting craps.


BOURDAIN: Is there a specifically Jersey sense of humor that you've noticed?

MCFARLANE: Yes, I love Jersey audiences now so much. I have never one time ever said anything where people in the audience have said, ah. They never get offended.

We all have our words that we don't like, the one's that affect us the most. I have my trigger words. As a white woman, the word I don't like is no.


I don't hear it that often, but when I do, huh-uh.


VOS: Here's the deal with Jersey. People land up north and they drive up the turnpike. They don't turn off and go up and --


BOURDAIN: They see refineries.

VOS: That's New Jersey. How sick is that?

BOURDAIN: I think it's beautiful?

MCFARLANE: More horses per capita than any other state.

BOURDAIN: New Jersey is the embroidery capital of the world.

VOS: Yes.

BOURDAIN: Apparently. I don't know where that's happening.

VOS: I used to work for an embroidery company.


VOS: I swear to god.

I'll call her right now.

BOURDAIN: This is a taste of my youth.

For all of the things about New Jersey, will people ever come across the bridge and the tunnel in the other direction?


VOS: No? OK.

MCFARLANE: I did not have to think about that.

BOURDAIN: Let's go out to a club in Jersey.

VOS: No.


VOS: It's all relative. A 25-year-old guy or girl is going, we're not going to Jersey. A 60-year-old person is going, I'm getting the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) out of this city.

MCFARLANE: There's your answer. Never going to be you.

VOS: Where does hipness stop? At what age?

MCFARLANE: Hipness is overrated.

VOS: Yeah, it is overrated. I love living here. I love it.

Pine Valley, the best golf course in the country. Trump has beautiful courses.

BOURDAIN: Trump, I'm not a fan.

VOS: Who is?

BOURDAIN: Every minute that he walks, it demands a certain complicity to not shout out, look at that ridiculous looking --


BOURDAIN: -- head. It's like if you have a disfigurement. That tacit agreement I'm not going to bring it up. That's too much to ask of me in Trump's case. I want to scream.

VOS: Do you know why he puts his names on the building? So the banks know which ones to take back.


At least he's a humble guy.


VOS: Jesus.


[21:27:40] BOURDAIN: There are few American cities, places where things have gone as disastrously wrong as Camden, New Jersey. It's like the poster child for everything a city can screw up. Once a manufacturing power house, home to the New York Shipbuilding Corporation, The Campbell Soup Company, and RCA Victor Records, a company town. About 80,000 people live here today. That's the same number of people who were employed in its heyday. Nearly 40 percent of the city's high school students don't graduate. The entire police force replaced by the state. More than one-third of city residents live below the poverty line. Voter turnout, not good. If there's any place one can be forgiven for just throwing your hands up in the air and giving up, it's here. But no. Cities with serious problems need extraordinary people. And Tawanda Jones is clearly an extraordinary person.

TAWANDA JONES, NEW JERSEY RESIDENT: When you give, especially to someone who is really in need, you know, I feel -- it makes me feel complete.

BOURDAIN: Her late grandfather, Walter Green Jr, was a former military man, and employee of RCA and a body guard for the great boxer, Jersey Joe Walcott.

JONES: He was just like the protector. If you need anything, you go to Mr. Dynamite. That was his nickname.

BOURDAIN: He was also a man who believed in being part of the community. When Tawanda was 15, she was asked to lead a local drill team. Unfortunately, it soon lost its funding. Walter purchased uniforms and drums to get it its start.


BOURDAIN: Today, CSS, the Camden Sophisticated Sisters Drill Team, which includes the distinguished Brothers in Taps, the almighty percussion sound, have over 320 participants.


[21:30:00] JONES: Good job, babies. Good job. Clap it up for yourself. Clap it up.


We meet at stalwart Tony & Ruth Steaks, still doing what they do.

JONES: It doesn't get any better than this.

BOURDAIN: What was Camden like back in the good ole days?

JONES: Oh, my god. It was so different coming up when I was younger. I didn't have to work about my life being threatened coming outside. The neighborhood, everybody knew everybody. That sense of community was strong back then.

BOURDAIN: You were talking about your childhood as if it was a real long time ago. It's not that long ago.


JONES: All right.


BOURDAIN: What the hell went wrong?

JONES: People can blame it on the politics, but I think that's too easy. Many have failed our children but it's up to the parents to really start getting more involved in the kids' education. You know, know what your child is doing.

BOURDAIN: You're putting it principally on the parents.

JONES: Absolutely.

BOURDAIN: This is tasty.

JONES: This is delicious.

BOURDAIN: So the conventional wisdom seems to be, get out of Camden. Why are you still here?

JONES: Because the need is still in Camden. If every decent person leaves Camden, then we never a chance.


JONES: In order to be a part of the program, they have to maintain a "C" average or better. It's all about the academics. It's all about nurturing these kids. What's right, what's wrong, you know. The drum team does that. They have different things they go by every day.


JONES: They believe this. They say it so much until it is embedded.

BOURDAIN (voice-over): Tawanda has helped CSS support it with financial assistance, some fundraising, temporary help and donations from small businesses. Surprisingly with a group of a national profile no lasting support from official organizations or national institutions, public or private. Yet, she perseveres.

(on camera): A lot of your practices are done outdoors?

JONES: Right.

BOURDAIN: All weather type of a situation.

JONES: Yes. We've been under bridges, everything. Over 28 years, we've been outside. Their safety is the most important to me, but it's been a blessing and a curse. You'll have the corner boys come up and ask you are you having practice outside today. I'll say yeah, and they'll say, today is not a good day. I'm like, OK. All right. Thank you very much.

BOURDAIN: That's nice.

JONES: Right. I appreciate it. Trust me.

BOURDAIN: How do you keep the kids off the corner?

JONES: I'm quite aware that times are hard, but I just try to show them an alternative route. There's so much more out there than this. Some call me major pain, but it's all out of love. They need to discipline in life to go to work, to go to school.


BOURDAIN: They're doing it because it's fun.

JONES: Right.

BOURDAIN: But it's hard. And they're doing it.

JONES: Yeah.


BOURDAIN: You're asking people to do a hard thing and they're doing it.

JONES: Yeah.

BOURDAIN: And I got to ask, I'm going to guess in the years that you've been doing this you've had to have had your heartbroken many times. You've had to see kids that you've really believed in fall by the wayside and I'm guessing a lot. How do you go on?

JONES: We have a lot of sad stories, but our good outweighs the bad. I keep going just for that reason. You know, before I was a little hard on myself and I used to think that I could save all the kids, I know that's not the case. I just do the best that I can do. And I just pray the next kid doesn't fall by the wayside.

BOURDAIN: How do you not become cynical? Do you harden your heart?

JONES: No, actually, I have to replenish myself or I'm not going to be good to them or my own family. These kids are precious cargo to me. Some of them have the responsibility of a 30-something-year-old. They're holding down their homes and they're only kids. No kid should have to go through that.

BOURDAIN: 25 years down the road, what do you think Camden is going to be like?

JONES: I'm praying that it turns into the Camden that I remember, and I know that I'm helping our future leaders to become a part of that change. There's no doubt in my mind that there's going to be a positive Camden. No doubt.

BOURDAIN: You're going to stay?

JONES: I'm not going anywhere. My pop-pop didn't leave. I'm not leaving. (LAUGHTER)

BOURDAIN (voice-over): Yeah, I know. Philadelphia is right over there, right across the Ben Franklin Bridge, the center of the cheesesteak universe, but what if it isn't? They're better than that. They're bigger than that. And the best cheesesteak in the area might well come from New Jersey.

Donkey's, opened by Leon Lucas 71 years ago. A heavyweight contender in the 1929 summer Olympics in boxing, he was known in his time of the cavalry as the Donkey.

ROBERT LUCAS, OWNER, DONKEY'S: They said he got kicked by a mule.

BOURDAIN: His son, Robert, runs the joint now.

This is what they do here. Behold, the Jersey cheesesteak.

LUCAS: Pleasure to meet you.

BOURDAIN (on camera): So this is the best cheesesteak in south Jersey, unless I'm mistaken?

LUCAS: New Jersey.

BOURDAIN: New Jersey, period?

LUCAS: Yeah.

BOURDAIN: Is there a difference between Jersey style and Philadelphia style?

[21:35:11] LUCAS: We do ours on a round poppy seed Kaiser roll.

BOURDAIN: Really. I'll have one of those. That's the way to go. Anything I need to know?

LUCAS: No. A regular, just cheese and onions.

BOURDAIN: Beautiful.

LUCAS: I need one, boys.

BOURDAIN (voice-over): It's round. It's got steak, spices, browned onions, real American cheese, such as it is, and a poppy seed roll.

(on camera): Fantastic. Thank you, sir.

(voice-over): And it is sublime.

(on camera): Relish, what do you think?

LUCAS: Hot pepper, a little bit.

BOURDAIN: A little bit? I drove a long way for this. I was thinking about it the whole way. Man, this should be like national landmark right away. This sandwich

is unbelievably good.

LUCAS: Thanks.

BOURDAIN: Really a thing of beauty.

LUCAS: That's a good thing to here.


LUCAS: We get a lot of people from Philly.

BOURDAIN: No way. Philly?

LUCAS: Sure.

BOURDAIN: Wow. That's treason. Do they change their plates on their car or wear a disguise?


LUCAS: The poppy seeds help.

BOURDAIN: Yeah, I like this role. It's awesome. It's delicious. I think we' got something here today. Jersey cheesesteaks, I'm not saying they're better than Philadelphia -- yeah, I am actually. This is great.

LUCAS: Glad you enjoyed it.


[21:40:18] BOURDAIN (voice-over): The forests and empty spaces of New Jersey are vast and often empty of everything but legend. You live here if you like a quieter life of not being messed with. 1.2 million acres of Atlantic cedar, swampland, forests. It goes on and on, seemingly, at times, forever. It's easy to get lost.


BOURDAIN: When I was a kid, as we passed through the pine barrens on the way to the shore, we'd joke about Pineys, the strange, possible inbred tribes of people who lived out there --


BOURDAIN: -- somewhere between the trees.


BOURDAIN: That's what we believed anyway.

Paul Evans Peterson, jeweler, musician, author, and proud Piney. We meet at the disconcertingly friendly Lucille's in Warren Grove for a delicious breakfast. PAUL EVANS PETERSON, MUSICIAN, AUTHOR & "PINEY": The legend of the

New Jersey devil was Mother Leeds had 12 kids. Found herself pregnant with a 13th and said, may this child be a devil. There's many legends told about it. That legend says that when the Jersey devil was born, it morphed into this creature and flew up the chimney in the night. Other legends say it killed everybody in the room.

It's supposed to have the head of a horse, wings of a bat, hooves. People have seen horns on it. It breathes fire. It has a real long tail with a triangle on it.

BOURDAIN (on camera): It sounds like My Little Pony with a fork tail. It doesn't sound frightening to me.

PETERSON: It's supposed to have big red eyes some people say the head of a goat.

BOURDAIN: A goat is a little bit scarier.


BOURDAIN: What's out there? Who are Pineys? Do they roam the forests at night searching for souls to capture?

PETERSON: No. No. Pineys are people who live in the pine barrens. They was a time long ago that if you would have called somebody like that a piney, they got shot. Now people embrace it. People like to be thought of as living off the land. They have bumper stickers now, Piney Power.

BOURDAIN: How do you make your living?

PETERSON: It is good to farm blueberries and cranberries. A lot of fishing, a lot of clamming. Hopefully, the oystering is coming back in the Delaware Bay. The bay supported a lot of jobs.

BOURDAIN: The pine barrens have settled it for a long time.

PETERSON: A long time. Some of the first people who came here were the glass makers. It's all the incredible sand we have here called sugar sand. It's pure white and it is perfect for making glass, to the point where it didn't have to be washed or processed any other way. There were hundreds of glass workers. They're just ruins now.


BOURDAIN: Thank you. All right. Thank you.

So, it's not like the rest of Jersey here.

PETERSON: No, and I hope it stays like that. It's like a Jersey unto itself. Like here, like you saw. It's a long drive to get anywhere.

BOURDAIN: That's good, by the way. That's really good.



[21:47:57] BOURDAIN (voice-over): You want to talk mythic, epic, storied, that sort of thing? Welcome to Asbury Park, wellspring of American music of a certain kind. Home to, yes, the Boss, and the Jersey national anthem, "Born to Run."


BOURDAIN: Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Little Stephen, but before them there was this man, Southside Johnny, who pretty much created the template for the Jersey sound. And it could have only been this place that changed music and lyrics forever.


(on camera): Asbury Park, it's had a reputation as being a happy hunting ground for musicians because what? A lot of bars?

SOUTHSIDE JOHNNY, SINGER & MUSICIAN: A lot of bars. It just was a tradition of dance pleasure. When is funny because the town was started not to have alcohol and not that kind of music, but after awhile, the pressure was too much for entertainment for people to come here, and it morphed into an R&B and rock and roll history.

BOURDAIN: Most bars don't hire musicians. They don't hire bands. They're too much trouble --


SOUTHSIDE JOHNNY: This is the Jersey shore. The Jersey shore means people want entertainment. It's not just hard-drinking people. People are here on vacation in the summer.

BOURDAIN: Atlantic City didn't have that reputation?

SOUTHSIDE JOHNNY: Well, we're not Atlantic City. We're Asbury Park.




BOURDAIN (voice-over): As I always like to say, good is good forever. Great music, great songs, and a classic Jersey sandwich. And at Frank's, they honor that New Jersey tradition with assertive layers of sliced ham, provolone, tomato, onions, shredded lettuce. You have your roasted peppers in there. And most important, your oil and vinegar that marries it all together into a soggy, glory vehicle of deliciousness.

(on camera): Here we go. Thank you.


BOURDAIN: It's such a beautiful thing that they shred the lettuce and everything. You used to come here as a kid?

[21:50:01] SOUTHSIDE JOHNNY: Yeah. My father would order a pastrami sandwich and I'd eat a third and he's eat the rest of it. Then my brother would eat eggs and bacon. So we had to order what he liked. He was a real trencherman. He could really eat.


BOURDAIN (voice-over): Asbury Park, like its close cousin, Atlantic City, with whom it had so much in common, suffered much the same problems. 14 years ago, last time I came, it was a shell of itself, dying, the beaches empty, a sad and forlorn place. Unlike Atlantic City, Asbury Park fought to fix itself to become again the kind of place that anybody would want to live in. They didn't look for a magic bullet like casino gambling. To a great extent, they succeeded by keeping alive what made Asbury Park special. They hung on to what was important.

Like this place, where any overgrown child still wants to play.

(on camera): Thank god. What? Tilt. Oh. No, way. That's delicate.

Come on, hit, baby. Hit. Oh, man. Oh.

This is important for children.

SOUTHSIDE JOHNNY: I think so. Your first exposure to racy images of women are all set in some sort of 20s fetish alternative universe. And it teaches you shame and humility when you lose.

BOURDAIN: Exactly. The limits of how much you can break the rules before it tilts.

SOUTHSIDE JOHNNY: I think they should have tilt for all sorts of things.

BOURDAIN: I think so, too.

SOUTHSIDE JOHNNY: You step over the line in a bar talking to a young lady, tilt.


SOUTHSIDE JOHNNY: That way you know you got to start again.

Oh, I tilted it already. I barely touched it. What are you talking about?

BOURDAIN: That's what they all say.


SOUTHSIDE JOHNNY: Oh, god. Let me play!



[21:56:17] BOURDAIN: As I like to say, good is good forever. The Atlantic Ocean will always be magnificent. Looking at it, always a humbling, even educational experience. It teaches us that men come and go. But no matter how foolish or outsized their dreams, how badly they screw up, what we do here at the ocean's edge, the sea will outlast us. Will always draw us to her edges. When necessary, it will crush us.

(on camera): We look at the Taj, completely oblivious to everything going on around her.


BOURDAIN: And that has got to be the most butt-ugly building ever.


CHRIS BOURDAIN: I noticed last night that some of the lights on the sign of the building are out.


CHRIS BOURDAIN: It's like truck.

BOURDAIN: Something like that.

CHRIS BOURDAIN: Or tump. Or rump.

BOURDAIN: It is perfect, actually, if you think of Trump as carnival barker. His operation is designed to attract ruse and empty.


BOURDAIN: Sort of a perfect metaphor here.


BOURDAIN (voice-over): I hate sweets. But I'm a sucker for nostalgia. You can't go back. I can't go back. How I wouldn't, even if I could. I sure don't want to ever have to be a teenager again. But those tastes and smells of childhood, they work still.

You're telling me you were not a big saltwater taffy fan.

CHRIS BOURDAIN: I remember it was hard to chew.

BOURDAIN: You had braces, remember? This was probably problematic for it.

CHRIS BOURDAIN: I don't know. I can't remember having braces at that point. BOURDAIN: I don't like candy generally but these have a mystical hold

on me.

Even the color of the wrapper has this weird, you know, like there should be music playing in the background.

Molasses, I remember that. Getting a bunch of those.

I don't know why. Certain flavors really resonate. The peanut, I know exactly what that tastes like. I remember the vanilla. Really powerfully. I'm not even a vanilla guy. I'm more of a chocolate guy.

CHRIS BOURDAIN: I think I remember pink ones. They must have had strawberry.

BOURDAIN: Winter green I remember.

CHRIS BOURDAIN: Licorice sounds good.

BOURDAIN: Peppermints. Keep these in the car.

CHRIS BOURDAIN: Looks like cookies and cream. Does it melt?

BOURDAIN: That's a lot of taffy.


BOURDAIN: This stuff isn't bad for you. Eat as much as you want.

CHRIS BOURDAIN: Is it gluten free?

BOURDAIN: It's all natural.

CHRIS BOURDAIN: That's what I thought.


BOURDAIN (voice-over): Atlantic City will never die. Good is, indeed, good forever. And Atlantic City will be great again, Asbury Park, Camden, all of my home state. I'm convinced when the tide has come and washed all the greed heads away, we'll once again be magic. I hope I'm there to see it.