Madam Marie’s Final Fortune

The actual Madam Marie\'s fortune telling booth
The actual Madam Marie's fortune telling booth

I took the picture above on a trip a number of years ago to attend my grandmother’s funeral. She lived in Freehold, New Jersey, hometown of that Bruce Springsteen guy, and due to a couple of music-crazy cousins who grew up there, too, I have been very familiar with the Jersey Shore environs that Bruce sang about so vividly, especially in his earliest work. This particular day it was an out-of-season November afternoon, so the boardwalk was deserted and Madam Marie’s was shuttered for the winter, I assume. Nonetheless, I was excited about seeing it, as I hadn’t been in Asbury Park in years; this was the first trip I could actually set foot in the Stone Pony legally, as a matter of fact. One of those cousins who had initially turned me on to Springsteen back in the Born To Run days accompanied me to the legendary Asbury Park club the night before this picture was taken–somewhere I have more pictures, of the walls of the Pony, me outside the doors, etc., and we saw a performance by a local Bruce-inspired outfit, Highway 9 (Though I was impressed more that night by the young lady opening the show solo acoustic, Nicole Atkins–who has since gone on to much bigger and better things.).

Somehow it seems fitting that Madam Marie, who was 83, passed away on a 4th of July weekend. It was Springsteen’s song, “4th of July, Asbury Park (Sandy),” which introduced her to the outside world, after all.

“And the cops finally busted Madam Marie
For tellin’ fortunes better than they do”

Read Bruce’s thoughts on his old friend at


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