From the NYT:
On a hot August afternoon in the late 1990s, I waited at Donnelly’s Deli in Avalon, N.J., for our family’s sandwich order. This was a rare treat. We were a bologna-and-cheese-on-white-bread kind of family, loading up the car with beach chairs and boogie boards and a basket of towels for the drive to the Avalon beach from our trailer at a campground a few miles away.
But on that day, near the end of the summer, when my mother was tired of fixing our family of six a summer’s worth of beach sandwiches, we went to this one-story, brick-front deli that smelled like chips, sweat, pickles and meat, to let someone else do it for us.
In 2005, Donnelly’s closed, and the building was torn down — along with the rest of the block. In its place now is a three-story retail and residential building whose first floor features a Lululemon and a Lilly Pulitzer, both open for the summer only.
Like many beach communities, Avalon was transformed as real estate prices shot through the stratosphere. When I was a teenager in the 1990s, my parents thought the $110,000 price tag on a home there was just too much, which is why we spent our summer in a trailer.
Last year, the average home sale price in Avalon was $1.27 million. That’s down from a prerecession high of $1.75 million, in 2006, but still a lot of money. Beach cottages have been razed for mansions. Luxury cars and golf carts roll through the streets. Even the Princeton, a hole-in-the-wall bar where you went to meet someone whose name you couldn’t hear over the music, now has a raw bar.
This has, at least financially, been a good thing for Avalon.
For long-timers who lived there or had small second homes they rented out most of the summer to pay the mortgage, this change secured their retirement. But it also emptied the town. Avalon’s year-round population dropped 37.8 percent from 2000 to 2010, according to the Census Bureau.