Cape May Changes Street Level View

Cape May Changes

Regular visitors to Cape May are in for some surprises when they walk around in the heart of Cape May. Notably, the Cape May changes in building appearances and new businesses. For the authoritative list on what’s new around Cape May, West Cape May and beyond check out Cape May Dot Com.

This blog post is directed at answering the most frequently asked questions by guest arriving to check in. “What is going on or in across the street?” Questions like that generated hundreds of Facebook comments in a local group page last week. It got to the point the administrator of the page had to shut down commenting on the question.

Cucina Rosa, the famed Italian restaurant across the street from the Victorian Motel, retired and sold the building a couple of years ago. The Platzer family who bought the building, leased it to That’s Amore, another Italian restaurant, who operated it for almost two years.

New Year’s Eve was the last dinner service for That’s Amore. The building owner had different plans.

Galvanic, on the 500 block of the Washington Street Mall is an upscale (higher priced) men’s clothing store. They had Cape May changes of their own in mind.

Planning to energize the 300 block of the mall with an entirely new (and shocking to some) look and line of men’s and women’s clothing. Wrapping the building in a red brick veneer and installing sublime plate-glass windows created a stark contrast. “How did the Historical Preservation Commission approve that?” guests ask. They did. These are the guidelines.

At the other end of the 300 block of the mall, more stark Cape May changes are taking place. Queen May Jewelry, which operates businesses at two other locations in town, purchased the retiring Lynn Arden location. Re-dressing the building in high-gloss black paint by Bill Hogan painters.

“We are borrowing from a downtown London look,” Amanda, one of the owners told me. Her comment immediately reminded me of my last visit to London and eating in a downtown restaurant, painted in high-gloss black. It all made sense.

Amanda and her husband Daniel run classy operations. This flagship location will carry quality jewelry, estate jewelry and even some vintage silver-service ware on the second floor. With the new Brian DeMusz sign outside like the photo header, Queen May will be a gem.

History Of Cape May Changes

A few years back I was interviewed by New Jersey Monthly Magazine about the trend toward upscale merchants and lodging. Beginning with the Ocean Club Hotel upgrade and the addition of galleries, like D’May on the mall this trend was firmly established. We still have $10.00 t-shirt shops and ice cream parlors.

What is in store for the future? There is a little white clapboard sided house on the corner of Carpenter Lane and Decatur Street. New owners have taken it over and  plan to restore it to its original Victorian architecture.

Preliminary plans call for a couple of rental suites and retail spaces. The property has parking spaces included for the suites.
There is a prevailing theory which says people coming to Cape May will go home with a $30,000.00 Rolex watch, if there is someone to sell them a $30,000 watch. Time will tell.

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  1. June 20, 2018 / 3:56 pm

    Great post John and thank you so much for including us! $30,000 Rolex? We got you covered!!!

    • June 21, 2018 / 10:42 am

      I’ll need a few more blog advertising clients but will definitely keep you in mind.

  2. June 21, 2018 / 7:15 am

    I enjoy your honest and informative comments. Keep on writing!!!! ~Mike Madigan in Newfoundland (who winters in Cape May)

    • June 21, 2018 / 10:38 am

      Thanks Mike. Keep playing the music too.

  3. Doreen Schwingler
    June 21, 2018 / 9:15 am

    We are spending the first weekend of October and I am wondering if any special events will be going on Thanks !

    • June 21, 2018 / 10:41 am

      Doreen, last weekend in September is Octoberfest on Jackson street. Then Victorian Weekend follows.

  4. Maria Samuelsson
    June 21, 2018 / 9:35 am

    Re-gentrification of gentrification. As America’s oldest family beach resort, Cape May has a unique history and doesn’t need to ape Southampton. How can middle-class families with children afford Cape May? I think everyone knows the answer.

    • June 21, 2018 / 10:40 am

      Maria, thanks for commenting. I think there will always be affordable places to stay.

  5. June 21, 2018 / 10:32 am

    With that too modern Galvanic renovation passing the Cape May Historic Guidelines, one has to question the Guidelines! Seems like they need a major review and re-write if this sort of thing is going to represent the “New Cape May” as things get renovated. Where’s the cohesiveness with the other shops of Washington Square… the colorful charming wooden shops we’ve come to love. Cape May isn’t (or wasn’t!) about going to shops you can find in your own neighborhood, or everything NEW – it’s about preservation of history and a quaint environment that allows us to go back to a simpler time. But big business seems to be sneaking its way in, wanting to get a piece of the pie that so many flock to year after year, all year round! I hear the 60’s-70’s song in my head “…. they paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” I fear Cape May is going in this direction to accommodate more tourists. But doing so can change exactly why the tourists are visiting. I hope it won’t come to that. Greed is never good, Change isn’t always better….. 🙁

    • Alice Horst
      September 9, 2018 / 11:56 pm

      I so agree with Jackie Kane, I have spent summers in Cape May for 50 years, I always know my favorite places to visit and that some shops will be came replaced by others and expect some changes, BUT my total shock and horrow was when I saw that my bedroom at The Victorian Motel looked at the end of the once clapboard Italian Restaurant turned into something else,I was stunned with the ugly brick facade with windows showing hanging shirts, shorts The inside of this shop was even less inviting when entering into a large wearhouse type place which resembles a Walmart or Costco. How did this dreadful, non-conforming design pass the architecture committee of Cape May,?if there is one? I am horrified at what might be allowed to be built next. This new building has nothing to do with trying to maintain the integrity of beautiful, leisurely, Old-time Cape May . These are the reasons that families return year after year,: Old-Time-Cape May, Beautiful, Beachy. Leisurely ,and CONSTANT for future generations,.
      Keep the CITY in the CITY and leave Cape May ALONE;
      .The purpose is obvious – GREED!
      I am so saddened by the shops that no longer look like or sell what Old Cape May gives us. A slow pace, easy going, UNSPOILDED Places that have made us all so happy for so many years.

  6. Ann Turnbull
    September 8, 2018 / 6:24 pm

    We have been coming to Cape May for 50 years and are shocked at the view at the end of the mall. The brick facade and huge windows with shirts hanging on coat hangers are hideous. We stay at the Victorian and our view is now beyond ugly. What were they thinking? People do not come to Cape May to buy upscale clothes, those can be purchased anywhere. They come to Cape May because it is unique. You can by a Rolex watch online. I hate to think what first time visitors will think. Hopefully no one will buy this stuff and the store can be replaced by yellow clapboard next year.