The iconic image long associated with Asbury Park, New Jersey finally got out for a bit.

Tillie, that toothy mural with its hair parted painfully down the middle, was painted by Leslie Worth Thomas on the Palace Amusements arcade way back in 1956.

It loomed like some crazed sentinel overlooking Cookman and Kingsley for a half century. In 2004 demolition crews sent the arcade to the history books.

But the symbol of Tillie was so familiar, so associated with Asbury Park, no one wanted to let it go.

So Tillie was saved. But no one quite knew what to do with it.

For 17 years it has sat in a shed. Think about this. Since George W. Bush ran for a second term. It was the year Janet Jackson flashed us all at the Super Bowl. It was the year Ken Jennings won 2.5 million on “Jeopardy!”

It must have been lonely in that shed. Now if you think you’ve seen Tillie at the Wonderbar in town, remember that’s just a replica. It’s not the original.

So after 17 years of sheltering in place, Tillie finally got out in the sun for a bit this week. And well-deserved. Imagine spending 17 years in a wooden box behind a sewage treatment plant. That’s been Tillie’s fate.

But Tuesday morning workers moved Tillie along with two bumper cars murals on Kingsley and Ocean Avenue. A crane unloaded them into a parking lot. NJ.com reports new sheds are being constructed to house the murals in this new location.

Will they ever be hung anywhere? Displayed anywhere? Convention Hall perhaps? No one’s talking. No one seems to know the ultimate fate of the iconic mural that the Dark City just can’t let go.

Not even Madam Marie’s Temple has any answers.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.

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