There are two roller coasters at Keansburg Amusement Park, these days. One is the Looping Star, a small adult coaster with a tight little loop, about 32 feet in diameter. The ride is strikingly reminiscent of the tiny looping roller coaster that used to be at Funtown Pier, back before Sandy destroyed that. Looping Star is part of Keansburg's recovery from Sandy; the ride was installed in 2015. It's smaller than Funtown's Looping Coaster was, though, and that has implications. A larger loop is, generally, an easier one, less rough. Looping Coaster was itself a rough ride, not one to do too often in one day. Looping Star, here, was a good bit rougher. After our first time through bunny_hugger resolved that she wasn't going to do that again. And we wouldn't; a few hours after our first ride I did suggest we might take it again, and she didn't feel up to it. Fair enough.
The other roller coaster there is a kiddie coaster, the Sea Serpent. It's your usual sort of tiny Dragon Wagon-class ride; indeed, it was almost like the Dragon coaster we'd ridden earlier in the day at Bowcraft. But the ride operator wouldn't let us on, claiming that it was for kids only. This was, literally, a lie: coming off the roller coaster ahead of us was a man about my age. The difference was that he had a kid with him. If they wanted the rule to be that only parents (or, at least, guardians of kids) rode, fine, but as it was they told us a blatant lie and that violates bunny_hugger's idea of what rules should be. Probably the intent of the rule is to keep teenagers or young adults from ironically riding the coaster and harassing actual kids, and we can respect that rule. After all, the ride operator has no idea what kind of people we are. And that there were no kids when we went up to the entrance didn't mean they wouldn't come. But that's still not what they pretended the rule was.
A curiosity as we got onto the bumper cars, a rather good bumper-car ride: the operator drew an 'X' on our unlimited-rides wristbands. He did it again when an hour or so later we went back for another ride. At the end of the night we got one last ride, this one with a bunch of young adults so the floor was packed and a lot of fun. And this time I asked: what's with the X's, huh? So apparently, while the ride-all-day wristbands generally mean that, they do reserve the right to limit the bumper cars to three rides on the day. The bumper cars draw a lot of people in and apparently if they didn't limit the crowds this way it'd produce excessively long waits for this. On the one hand I understand the limit and it's not ridiculous. On the other, I wasn't aware of there being a limit when we bought the wristbands. We rode the bumper cars as much as we'd wanted, but knowing there was a secret limit felt like a breech of trust. (Granted we got to suspecting things when the first X was drawn, but still.)
One of the thrills of the night was the drop tower. It's not a large one, as these go, about the size of a drop tower that carnivals could support. But it wasn't so tall as to make bunny_hugger nervous. And it was tall enough to bring us above the level of the dunes, so that we could see the lights of New York City across the bay, and spot the location that just might be Coney Island. We'd had days of going to multiple amusement parks before, and of seeing multiple amusement parks. But apart from the days when we would at Casino Pier see FunTown Pier, or vice-versa, we hadn't had the experience of looking at one amusement park from another before.
But for all the rides we enjoyed --- and we had several go-rounds on the Moby Dick, a long string of seats that swing side to side that are everywhere in New Jersey and strikingly rare elsewhere --- what I think of first when reflecting on that night is when we left the park and walked onto the beach instead. We walked along the sand, looking at the city across the bay and the hints of the amusement park we could see over the dunes. bunny_hugger found some nice proper sea glass, as well as the shells of crabs gone to their reward, on the beach. And we watched the sun setting into the water, a great and beautiful scene that unsettled bunny_hugger when I reminded her that this was not the Lake Michigan shore. We were on the Atlantic.
Settle down, Encyclopedia Brown. Keansburg is one of the few spots in New Jersey from which you can see sunset on the water. Sunrise too. There's this part of the Jersey coastline that runs nearly east-west, and Keansburg can take advantage of that. It was a beautiful day, with a wonderful person, and we were there at the time and in the place for something exceptional to happen, that we got to see. You understand why it is the first and most important memory of the night.
Trivia: The palace where Beethoven's Third Symphony was first rehearsed still stands; it is the Österreichisches Theatermuseum in Vienna. Source: Beethoven: The Universal Composer, Edmund Morris.
Currently Reading: Images of America: Waldameer Park, Jim Futrell. And now you know what we were doing this past weekend!
PS: Getting back to Earlham, the Saturday of the reunion weekend:
The going-home again report. As part of the campus tour bunny_hugger and I were able to go into the dorms. As best we can work out, this was one of the rooms she'd had when she was a student at Earlham. We think. The Pokeball with the name on it is new since then.
Once, bunny_hugger had a work-study job sitting at the desk and monitoring students coming and going. Now, there's apparently no monitoring that, and no desk. The ancient phone is still there, though.