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Doo Wop Discussion #43 - Aquarius Motel (Read 4893 times)
MMM
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Doo Wop Discussion #43 - Aquarius Motel
Feb 22nd, 2011, 1:53am
 
Aquarius Motel
4712 Ocean Avenue
Wildwood, NJ 08260
(609) 729-0054

 
Official site:
http://www.aquarius-motel.com/
 
http://www.roadsidepeek.com/rpeekeast/wildwoods/wildwoodmotel/wildwood/aquariusw ildwdnj-2.jpg

 
 
Wildwood Doo Wop profile:
http://wildwooddoowop.com/Aquarius+Motor+Inn/
 
 
TripAdvisor reviews
http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g46931-d226454-Reviews-Aquarius_Motor_In n-Wildwood_New_Jersey.html
 
 
From Claudia’s 1975 GWCOC Accommodations Directory:
http://i104.photobucket.com/albums/m193/claudiam1962/Wildwood%20Directory/Motels %20A-B-C/Aquarius.jpg

 
 
Wildwood struggles to keep doo-wop alive (2006 article from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette spotlighting the Aquarius)
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06148/693904-37.stm
 
 
Various images of the Aquarius on Flickr:
http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=Aquarius+Wildwood
 
 
AQUARIUS THE WATER BEARER
http://www.rrtearoom.com/horoscope/mythology.htm
 
Quote:
A large southern constellation, near the celestial equator. Aquarius is the eleventh sign of the zodiac, which is entered by the sun on or about January 21st.

In Greek mythology, Aquarius was 'cup-bearer to the Gods' (Ganymede). Ganymede was the son of Tros, king of Troy (according to Lucian, he was also son of Dardanus). While tending his father's flocks on Mount Ida, Ganymede was spotted by Jupiter. The king of gods became enamored of the boy and flew down to the mountain in the form of a large bird, whisking Ganymede away to the heavens. Ever since, the boy has served as cupbearer to the gods.This constellation is placed in the sky near other watery constellations including a dolphin (Delphinus), the sea monster (Cetus) and a fish (Pisces).

 
 
AGE OF AQUARIUS
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_Aquarius
 
Quote:
Although more rock than New Age in genre, the 1967 musical Hair, with its opening song "Aquarius" and the memorable line "This is the dawning of the Age of Aquarius," brought the Aquarian age concept to the attention of audiences worldwide. However, the song further defines this dawning of the age within the first lines: "When the Moon is in the seventh house, and Jupiter aligns with Mars; then peace will guide the planets, and love will steer the stars." According to Neil Spencer, the words are "astrological gibberish" as Jupiter aligns with Mars several times a year and the Moon is in the 7th House for about two hours every day.[28] These lines are merely poetic license, though many people take them literally. An example is the identification of February 14, 2009 (Valentine's Day) as the "perfect alignment to support our collective manifestation of love and peace and dawning of the Age of Aquarius."

 
 
The 5Th Dimension’s “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In” – Billboard Hot 100 #1 April 6 – May 17, 1969
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nm_pRKSCDxo
 
 
http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3004/2648168410_326a1a11bc.jpg
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...no matter how much you like an old building, someone will eventually come along and knock it down to build a "better" one. But that rarely happens. - Tony Visconti
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Re: Doo Wop Discussion #43 - Aquarius Motel
Reply #1 - Feb 22nd, 2011, 1:56am
 
The Aquarius Motel was built circa 1970.  Greek themed/named/influenced businesses seemed to be growing by then in The Wildwoods.  Why not another?  This time a then new Motel chose a Greek name that goes a little further to fitting “Wildwood By the Sea” by having it water themed.  Aquarius the Water Bearer, as noted above, is a water constellation.  The Aquarius' roadside sign, in its original state, showed this.  Another possible influence on the name was the pop culture prominence of the “Age of Aquarius” in the few years leading up to the Motel’s opening, and the song “Aquarius” making up part of a big hit for The 5th Dimension in 1969.  Considering this, I’d be surprised if the Motel’s name wasn’t at least a little bit influenced by this part of the culture of those times as well.  It was not uncommon for Motels in Wildwood to adopt their names/themes from cultural influence.  However, from the few vintage images of the Motel that I’ve seen, there didn’t seem to be much in the way of an Aquarius related theme carried out at the Motel in its early days beyond the sign.
 
The Aquarius has an excellent location at Taylor and Ocean Avenues, one block north of Rio Grande Avenue (a main entrance/exit point on the island).  It has a lot of exposure and is near the Convention Center.  One of the Motel’s early selling points was its proximity to the new for 1971 (now demolished) “Convention Hall”, which was at Burk & Ocean Aves.  In the above Accommodations Directory listing, that was the first bullet pointed feature.  (Amazingly, this same ad was used almost intact up thru the 1990 GWCOC directory, and the 1992 GWHM guide [I don’t have a GWHM guide from ’93, but by ’94 it was gone]).  With the opening of the current Convention Center in the last decade, the Aquarius has ended up being even closer to it than it was to the old facility.
 
The Aquarius is a four-floor masonry structure.  It is aligned straight from north to south, and all of its 27 units face oceanfront, a not too common layout in The Wildwoods.  8 units stretch across each of the 2nd to 4th levels, with the remaining 3 units at ground level.  The units behind the slightly north of center elevator tower seem to have partially obscured views, but I can’t confirm to what extent they are.  Each unit has solid entrance/exit doors that were painted an aqua/turquoise blue during exterior renovations performed last year (they were previously dark green).  Two chairs are provided outside each unit.  Globe shaped lamps sit slightly below ceiling height to light the exteriors of the units.  A sandy colored tan brick face is used as a small divider between units, and extensively elsewhere around the property – covering the elevator tower, large dividers in the deck railings, etc.  Plain, but attractive metal railings with fairly narrow straight vertical bars shield the balconies and deck.  These are also used around the centrally located pool area on the ground level.  The deck is at the southeastern corner of the property on the second level - it is accessible by the balcony there, and also an east-west staircase located towards the southern end of the pool area.  Diagonal staircases near the deck also connect the floors 2-3, and 3-4.  They sit by the second room (from the south) on both the 2nd and 3rd floors.  The office is south of the elevator tower on the ground floor, overlooking the pool area.  Parking spaces are provided along the southern (Taylor Ave.) and eastern (Ocean Ave.) property edges – the Ocean Ave. spaces are totally open air, and the Taylor Ave. ones are covered at the top by the sundeck and (as you move further west) by the Motel itself as the southernmost section of the Motel is suspended.  
 
Special mention needs to be given to the Aquarius’ roadside sign.  It is a very tall, vertically oriented sign.  It has a U-shaped center with different colored relatively small stars along the U, and short extensions to the east that connect individual aqua and white backlit panels to it – one for each letter of the name AQUARIUS.  Up until a few years ago, supports to the west between the I&U and 1/2 of the S held a neon water bearer, in red, white, blue, and yellow/gold.  It was a very cool feature that I hope is saved and maybe put back in use one day.  I actually find the sign – not even counting the removed neon section – to have more of Mid Century look/style than the actual Motel itself.  The Motel almost seems like the beginnings of the transition between the styles often used on small to medium sized Mid Century Motels, and the comparatively plainer hotels/motels to follow.  As detailed above, many of the classic architectural features are still here in basic form, but the look is relatively conservative.  Still, a neat looking, clean design that fits well with the earlier Motels in The Wildwoods, unlike most all of the "multi-family" of the development on the island in the 2000’s.
 
http://www.roadsidepeek.com/rpeekeast/wildwoods/wildwoodmotel/neonmotel/wildwood /aquariuswildnj.jpg
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« Last Edit: Feb 22nd, 2011, 11:53am by MMM »  

Martin Melucci


...no matter how much you like an old building, someone will eventually come along and knock it down to build a "better" one. But that rarely happens. - Tony Visconti
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Re: Doo Wop Discussion #43 - Aquarius Motel
Reply #2 - Feb 22nd, 2011, 1:57am
 
TripAdvisor reviews are somewhat mixed, but are more good than not, and show a relatively positive trend.  Some reviews there note that more renovations beyond the exterior work/freshening done in 2010 are either being done, or supposedly will come soon, which if well executed is good to hear.  I believe the Motel is still owned by the original family from when it was built – The Dinellas – so it’s nice to see comments like that, which show a continued commitment to the Motel to me.  Maybe if the investments keep coming, the neon water bearer will return to that great sign.
 
I welcome your thoughts on The Aquarius.
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Martin Melucci


...no matter how much you like an old building, someone will eventually come along and knock it down to build a "better" one. But that rarely happens. - Tony Visconti
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Re: Doo Wop Discussion #43 - Aquarius Motel
Reply #3 - Feb 22nd, 2011, 9:52am
 
classic hotel that makes me smile as we pass it every summer.. Too busy of a location for us.. Looks always packed in the summer
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Re: Doo Wop Discussion #43 - Aquarius Motel
Reply #4 - Feb 22nd, 2011, 1:13pm
 
I remember this place having a talking soda machine. It would say hello  and tell you if you needed to put in more money. That was like space age technology back then! Grin
 
Other than that, I like the place and location. Kinda looks like it could use some TLC. I could be wrong.
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Re: Doo Wop Discussion #43 - Aquarius Motel
Reply #5 - Feb 22nd, 2011, 2:19pm
 
This is always one of the motels I remember walking past as a kid.  Kind of a landmark in that stretch of Boardwalk between the Ocean Tower Shops & bocce courts and the first signs of life close to Adventure Pier (back before the WW sign and the new convention center...).  It was one of the signs, the individual lit letters, that I always remembered as far as where we were on the way to the Boardwalk.
 
Sadly, one of the things, these days, that I do use to judge the care put into a motel is their website.  I'm not asking for anything elaborate and flashy like some sites, but come on... it IS the 21st century, and a lot of research is done online these days... so to have your website simply be one page with no rates, pictures of rooms, and barely a list of amenities (no links to any other pages!) is a bit bush leagues for my taste.  I'm sure the motel is run well and all, but sadly, I can't tell from their website.
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Re: Doo Wop Discussion #43 - Aquarius Motel
Reply #6 - Feb 22nd, 2011, 8:08pm
 
Bryan's right. You're not going to pull in people curious about your room rates. They're already on another site.
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Re: Doo Wop Discussion #43 - Aquarius Motel
Reply #7 - Feb 23rd, 2011, 1:44pm
 
Agree - a proper, well designed site that shows off your business will always be a help.  It is a turnoff to not know what you are getting into, especially when the competition does this well.  At worse, it gives some the feeling like things are being hidden.  At the opposite end of this spectrum, a place like The Matador goes above and beyond for their site/online activity, even utilizing video tours of the rooms.  With the lack of updates in directories/guides going far back through the years, I get the impression promotion hasn't typically been a priority at the Aquarius.  Perhaps they rely so heavily on repeat clientile, that they don't feel the need to step this aspect of their business up.  However, if that's true and any of their regulars stay or die off, they may have to play catch up quickly.  Hopefully if upgrades, etc. are happening there as was mentioned in some reviews, site design/promotional improvements will also be included.
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...no matter how much you like an old building, someone will eventually come along and knock it down to build a "better" one. But that rarely happens. - Tony Visconti
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Re: Doo Wop Discussion #43 - Aquarius Motel
Reply #8 - Feb 23rd, 2011, 4:25pm
 
A website has basically become a necessity for businesses these days. Hotels in particular need to have good websites. Let's face it, vacations aren't normally cheap, and the Wildwood's are no exception. For what some hotels charge there you could be going to a tropical island. To not have a website is absolutely insane, even if your rates are the cheapest on the island. People want to see pictures, they want details on amenities, policies, locations, rooms, and so on. A website is like a giant billboard the whole world can see. Having a professional company design one for you is a great investment and one that shouldn't be overlooked.
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