austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

And they don't need no friends

Casino Pier, though shortened, has still got a decent number of rides, including a few from before Superstorm Sandy. For example, at what's now the easternmost edge of the pier is the Hot Tamales, a kiddie coaster themed to Public Domain Cartoon Cover Speedy Gonzales, which we had ridden in its old location. The statue of Public Domain Cover Mighty Mouse, which had stood outside the Wild Mouse (moving to the Scandia Family Fun Center in Sacramento, California, to be named ``Crazy Dane Coaster''), was now outside the Hot Tamales, so we had that touch of the way stuff used to be. Quite a few of the statues came through all right, and if they're now in new locations, like the Blues Brothers being over by the Pirate's Hideaway, well, they're there at least, old friends in strange circumstances.

The pier has gotten some new rides in, including a claw-type ride that drew some complaints on its opening as it was named Super Storm. This may sound like it's in dubious taste, but let's please remember, the Jersey Shore folks are the people who made a paying attraction out of the wreckage of the Morro Castle. (Yeah, that was Asbury Park, not Seaside Heights, but it's still the same culture.) It's quite bright and sparkly, though, with a brilliant lights package, and we rode it. This kind of claw ride would normally have you sit facing the interior and spin around on the end of a pendulum that itself rocks back and forth through an arc of about 240 degrees. This one was different: it goes all the way overhead, so that you're spinning while completely upside-down, and keeps on going for greater-than-360 degree rotations while you still spin around the axis. This is stunning and a lot of fun; if you do ride one that goes all the way upside-down, there's a number of great vantage points to consider, including the one where you just stare at the horrified person sitting opposite you while the universe goes tumbling. It's all the better if the person has long hair because the hair is going to do ridiculous things while you watch.

Another new ride they had, and which wasn't working that day, was called Air Race. This looked like a great ride, people seated in kite-like ``airplanes'' that according to Casino Pier's web site will bank, loop, and dive, with ``accelerations of almost 3G while flying right-side up and upside-down'' at heights of ``up to 25 feet''. It looks really great, but the ride was down, and never threatened to get back in operating shape.

But the ride we were really there for was the carousel, of course, which was in good running order and which had the band organ playing. We were surrounded by people having their farewell moments to the carousel also, and a lot of talk about how terrible Casino Pier's owners were about the auction they had scheduled for it. There's many jobs I don't envy; one of them would be having to be the carousel operator there most of this summer, as there'd be nothing anyone wanted to talk about besides how awful this was. Even the people there to admire the carousel and its organ were talking about it only in the service of how lousy it was that it wasn't going to be there anymore.

Still, we spent a lot of time walking around the carousel, photographing every horse as if we could make it stay by weight of adequately documenting its existence, and standing in places like the bench where we formally became engaged, and that sort of thing. I took a fair number of pictures also of the surroundings, guessing that even if the carousel were to be relocated somewhere intact, things like the signs Casino Pier had to talk about their carousel and asking for gentle treatment so as to preserve its legacy wouldn't be relocated with it.

These wouldn't be our final moments with the carousel, but we could feel that time coming.

Trivia: Around 1784, more than half of all imports going to Connecticut or New Jersey entered the United States by way of New York. Source: Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898, Edwin G Burrows, Mike Wallace.

Currently Reading: The Complete Fairy Tales Of The Brothers Grimm, Translator Jack Zipes. ``Back in the days when wishing still helped'': most German fairy-tale opening ever, or what? (There've also been some that start ``back in the days when wishing still worked'', which is a little less dark, but still would fit comfortably in a modern overblown CGI deconstructed-fairy-tale movie.)

PS: Reading the Comics, September 28, 2014: Punning On A Sunday Edition, or, just trying to get ahead of this pile of mathematics comics. Bonus mention: Bob Ross. Fifth thing since the last roundup.

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

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