2005 Parker Day Photo Gallery
LONG BRANCH, N.J. -- The first Dorothy Parker Day in Long Branch (not counting the 1992 U.S. Post Office ceremony) was the gala event to celebrate the Friends of Libraries U.S.A. plaque to mark the birthplace of Dorothy Parker. It was added to the organization's roster of Literary Landmarks. On Sunday, Aug. 21, 2005, the bronze plaque was dedicated in West End, the birthplace of the world-renowned poet, writer and critic. It was the first FOLUSA Literary Landmark for an author's birthplace in the State of New Jersey.
The location is 732 Ocean Avenue, Long Branch. [Google Maps link]. The house is long gone and apartments are in its place.
The plaque dedication was the highlight of a day-long schedule of events in the village to mark the debut of Dorothy Parker Day. The Long Branch Free Public Library presented Parker's life and work, a "round table luncheon" helped channel her spirit, and a speakeasy party toasted her wit and charm. In the evening live jazz was performed outdoors at the West End public park.
The literary landmark is co-sponsored by The Dorothy Parker Society (DPS), the Long Branch Historical Association, the Long Branch Council on the Arts, the Long Branch Free Public Library and the West End Merchants.
"Since our organization was founded seven years ago, getting this landmark designated will be our proudest achievement," said Kevin Fitzpatrick, president of the DPS. "Mrs. Parker might be remembered for being a quintessential New Yorker, but her life started on the Jersey Shore, and we're happy to commemorate that."
Beth Woolley of the Long Branch Historical Association said, "We are proud of our part in identifying and providing evidence of the exact location of Dorothy Parker's Birthplace. We feel she is part of a great tradition of literary figures that were born in our historic city. Among them are three-time Poet Laureate of the United States Robert Pinsky and the great American novelist Norman Mailer. We hope to make this day an annual tradition and look forward to working with the other sponsors of this project in the future. We open our city to all Dorothy Parker fans and hope they enjoy their stay in Long Branch, 'America's First Seashore Resort.' "
The activities began in the morning at the Long Branch library. Members of the Friends of Libraries from Long Branch took turns reading favorite Parker selections. Monmouth University Professor Dan Weeks gave a talk, "Dorothy Parker and her Monmouth County Circle," followed by Kevin Fitzpatrick, who spoke of Parker's West End roots.
Lunch at the "Round Table" was held at West End restaurants: The Mix, Manna's Brick Oven Pizza, and Panini Grill. The dedication ceremony followed at the gazebo in West End park. Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider gave a breezy introduction and remarks about Mrs. Parker's New Jersey past. Actors from the New Jersey Rep performed Parker pieces, verse, and poems. The plaque was unveiled by Fitzpatrick and Beth Woolley.
Following the ceremony on an extremely warm Sunday, the crowd moved back to The Mix Lounge, where a martini bar was set up. In the evening, the gazebo was the place for West End Jazz in the Park, with a performance by Swing Sabrosso.
Future Events: Dorothy Parker Day will be an annual in West End; it will be held the first Sunday after Columbus Day in October. Check on the news blog for details.
If you want to attend future Dorothy Parker Day events, just signup for the newsletter.
2005 Parker Day Photo Gallery.