Once a vacationer’s haven, the island-hamlet of Wildwood, N.J., is rapidly facing destruction. The squat, mid-century hotels and motels that have long lined the shore and the island’s main drag are being torn down or re-purposed as apartments in increasing numbers. To memorialize the structures in their near-original form, photographer Mark Havens, a longtime Wildwood visitor, turned to his camera. The result is Out of Season: The Vanishing Architecture of the Wildwoods (Booth-Clibborn, $55). The photo book features more than 100 images of the island’s lodgings, which boast colorful doors and other details, often raised on stilts and typically oriented around a swimming pool. The images are arranged in chronological order as they appear along the island’s main thoroughfare, allowing readers to simulate the experience of traveling through the town on an off-season day. The images were captured at the end of the summer season, when car and pedestrian traffic is minimal but the pools are full of water, the sun is high in the sky, artificial palm trees add tropical flair, and the neon signs shine after dark. It’s not hard to imagine the parking lots filled once again.
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