austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Come let's have daydreams together

When the park closed we took some time to walk around because we're like that and I wouldn't listen to bunny_hugger's worries about being locked into the park. We'd been, at the Dragon Coaster, right near the main performance venue where the sign had taunted us all day with a show titled ``Rockin' on Route 66''. It featured a map of the United States, and little inset ``Greetings from'' postcards, for New York City, Detroit, Nashville, and California. While that's a fair set of places that offer you chances to rock, or at least produce music, I couldn't help noticing that only one of them is anywhere near Route 66. A couple times over the day we'd seen people gathered around the venue, although I don't think we ever saw anything happening.

Dragon Coaster was probably the last of the rides to process its queue, so we were able to see the rides with their lights still on and ride operators securing them for the night, but without anyone on them. Some of the lights were magnificent, such as those illuminating the main tower that's the northern end of the park, near where we parked. Some are simple but still effective, like the colored lights illuminating the water fountain. And then there's things like the long main garden in the middle of the midway, ``WELCOME'' spelled out in the hedges, with lights along either side of the midway to give the scene a frame, even as the last rides turned off.

As we wandered back to the north gate --- my camera indicates we only spent a quarter-hour doing this loop of the park --- we got called at by one of the park people. The gate we had entered was locked up and we'd have to go out another one. The main gate was also locked, but the western gate, a little past the Old Mill, was open and we went out that way. Given the way the parking lot was laid out we probably didn't even have to walk any longer than we otherwise might have; we just walked a different path. Still, we probably were among the last half-dozen people still in the park. I thought that was kind of great, really. (Sadly, we didn't have the chance to grab a pristine park map; they were apparently put away well before the park closed.)

We got to our car just after the last lights on Dragon Coaster were turned off.

Driving back we saw the only billboard for Rye Playland, and one of several billboards for Lake Compounce (which we hope to get to as part of New England Parks Tour; it's now a sister park to Kennywood, and apparently the only amusement park besides Holiday World to have free soft drinks). We were also pretty well starved and stopped at the Alexander Hamilton rest plaza on the New Jersey Turnpike to get anything at all to eat. Pickings were fairly slim; if we'd remembered that the Vince Lombardi rest area was about twenty feet farther on we would surely have waited for that. While poking around the flyers I ran across one for Keansburg Amusement Park, which I had always known existed somewhere in the state but didn't have any particular idea where; their regional map made clear it was kind of silly I didn't run across it by mistake all the time.

Trivia: In the early 1870s a six-week round trip tour for two people from London via Belgium, the Rhine valley, Switzerland, and France, would cost about £ 85, or about a fifth of the income of a man earning a respectable servant-keeping income of £8 per week. Source: The Age Of Capital, 1848 - 1875, Eric Hobsbawm.

Currently Reading: The Complete Fairy Tales Of The Brothers Grimm, Translator Jack Zipes.

Tags: amusement parks, casino pier farewell tour, rye playland

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