austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

But Terry and Julie cross over the river where they feel safe and sound

The one thing we could not avoid overhearing in Seaside Heights as we walked up to Casino Pier was people annoyed by the Casino Pier owners' decision to sell the carousel (remember, the visit was before the tentative deal to swap land and the carousel and keep the antique in town). Normally a decision like this you expect to hear at least some people saying, ``well, you know, they must have reasons that make sense to them'', since there are always contrarian people and there are always people ready to assume that whatever a business does must be for the best; they weren't in evidence on the boardwalk, though. Admittedly this was a setting that would self-select for people who disapproved of the sale, or weren't willing to get into arguments with everybody at the Shore that day about it.

Anyway. We did get up to Casino Pier, what's left of it and what's been rebuilt. It turned out there was a wristband deal for unlimited rides up to 6 pm, but we'd gotten up so late and spent enough time eating and at the Freehold Raceway Mall that it wouldn't make any sense for us to buy them; we were already too near 6 pm --- and this when we had to get to bed, ideally, before 9 pm for bunny_hugger's flight home, at the hotel nearly an hour away. We bought a book of tickets and hoped for the best.

A fair number of the pier's rides did survive, though many were relocated and I imagine all of them were taken apart and inspected and whatnot after Sandy. This was really our first visit since the pier had gotten back to something like normal operations, which made it strange as an expected farewell visit. But of the rides that were present and key to our first, perfect, day there, other than the carousel, there was only one still there and operating, the Pirate's Hideaway. This is a small roller coaster, set in a small building decorated with pirate castle decor at least on the outside, and it's even got a ride photograph. We got one that first day.

The ride is still there and most of the facade still is too, although there isn't a roof anymore. I don't know whether it was destroyed in the storm or just never replaced after the ride was, I assume, taken apart for inspection and repair. I don't know if it's ever going to be replaced either. It seems like a small thing but the ride feels lessened by being in so much direct sunlight, and not going back into the dark hidden interior. There wasn't much in that interior, admittedly, but the spirit of going into the shadowy interior was important. We didn't buy the ride photograph; it wasn't a very good one anyway. On the other hand, I also didn't cut my foot on the ride this time.

One of the attractions, not a ride proper, is a rooftop miniature golf, that's held on a chain of building tops. We'd been there before, including, if I have this right, the last visit bunny_hugger and I made to Casino Pier together before the storm. Between that and its own strange charms we couldn't resist taking another go around on it. The miniature golf course doesn't seem to have been substantially changed by the storm and the renovations which is fairly amazing considering it was right there on the rooftops, and that a lot of what gives it that strange, borderline-creepy weirdness that makes a great attraction is that it's decorated with animal statues. Some of them are fairly straightforward to understand, like the elephant figure that's just this side of being a Dumbo ripoff, or the rabbit that's clearly imitating the Preston Blair imitation of the Hare from Tortoise and the Hare, by way of someone who did a repainting job not realizing this wasn't a ripoff of Bugs Bunny. Some are smaller animals that might equally well be bears, chipmunks, squirrels, or skunks, painted to match whatever caught the fancy of the miniature golf painter that day. It's not hard to understand how a two-foot bear-skunk-chipmunk-thing might escape the ravages of a major disastrous storm, but how did the giraffe standing on the edge of a building high above the ground get through intact?

We're slow players, naturally, because first we take the golfing seriously and so we want to think out our shots and get them as right as possible, and because the setting is wonderful, strange figures looking over the golf course on top of a Subway or a ring toss house, looking out over the sea. So we had the chance to let groups of people pass ahead of us, and caused us to realize some people weren't playing all the holes. Apparently the bridges to other rooftops aren't clear enough, and folks were missing out on some of the holes. This bothered our sense of order and of just value; after all, they paid for eighteen holes of miniature golf and shouldn't be missing out on three or four of them.

From the rooftops we could see some of the still-disassembled components of rides. We also could see where the old letters announcing the Casino building had been replaced with new ones. Also, some of the redemption games had not just Tom and Jerry dolls but also Woody Woodpecker ones; when did he become a popular character again?

We got some frozen custard, as a snack.

Trivia: Benjamin Franklin, as subcontractor to Samuel Keimer's Philadelphia print shop, manufactured New Jersey's 1727 issue of paper money. To make high-quality bills Franklin completed the first copper-plate press in North America. Source: The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin, H W Brands.

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

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

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