Greetings from Asbury Park, NJ

This early cut is my favorite Springsteen album. Springsteen is probably the only national music act I really like because his local roots are clear and continue to offer him musical inspiration.

At the planning history conference this past week/end, there was a screening of a documentary of the same name, focusing on eminent domain in Asbury Park. Think Kelo and you’ve more or less got the New Jersey story; even now there is a pause in both developments because of economic downturn. The 90 minute documentary focuses on the filmmaker’s great aunt, a Greek immigrant whose house is slated for acquisition and demolition. The documentary illustrates the elderly woman, who came to the U.S. as an adult refugee, attempting to navigate the many political, legal, and economic forces allied against her in an attempt to save her house. After Kelo, this looks like a losing battle. The film was emotionally powerful, but could do more to contextualize the process and impact of redevelopment. It featured the song “Tunnel of Love” by Springsteen, but no track from his debut album of the same name. When I asked the filmmaker, she said she couldn’t get rights, but if she got national distribution (it’s a fine cut almost ready to go now) he would write a song for it. A Springsteen song on eminent domain? If I was lukewarm on the film, I’m definitely rooting for it now.