austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Where do the stars go

If I had any preconceived notions about Gillian's Wonderland Pier, it was that it was a pier. You know, some elevated structure reaching out into the water, or at least over sand that might be underwater at some point. In this I was mistaken. It maybe is elevated from the sand; given the mist, there wasn't any way to tell. But it was a cement base, and on the shore side of the boardwalk, so if it's anything like a pier it's not really obvious. I don't know.

It's also much more like a large warehouse than I had expected. The main building for the pier is an enormous room, decorated on the outside as a castle, with little octagonal projections and even, in one spot, a dragon peeking in on a princess, getting chin pets. It's a friendly facade. Looks great.

Also great: they have an antique carousel. Philadelphia Toboggan Company carousel #75, built 1926 and moved to the pier, which opened in 1929, I do not know when. It's one of the few carousels to still have a brass ring mechanism. This was our third carousel to have a brass ring mechanism, and only the second one to have it working. (Knoebels has and uses the ring. Conneaut Lake Park has the brass ring machine, but if they ever run it, we've not seen that.) It's a lovely carousel, and when we first got there it looked to be the busiest ride in the park. It was packed, and when we'd go for a ride it would be a nearly full ride. Don't often see the carousels that packed, although come to think of it, when I have it's been at Knoebels. Maybe the brass ring is a really good idea.

If there's a pay-one-price admission we missed it. We did spent a fair bit of time looking over the rides that they had and figuring out what we'd want to do, and how many tickets this would take. The pier has a delightfully complicated structure, too, with a couple of elevated sections that's probably more fun for people like us who haven't got trouble going up stairs. Not sure what they do for people less mobile. Some of them weren't running, such as the Scrambler; we would see that, but not see it in operation. There's also, in another section, an elevated monorail that runs near the ceiling of the castle, and out over most of the pier. We had watched a good number of cars puttering along, shedding sparks at a couple of spots that we're sure are probably just fine. Those things never set antique carousels on fire, right? Ugh.

The pier's got two roller coasters, one of them a Wacky Worm of the kind you see everywhere and that we were still kind of cranky about not getting to ride at Keansburg. The other is the Runaway Train Coaster, a compact steel coaster with a couple steep, diving twists. It's got faintly Mine Train-esque cars, and the front car even has a mock Old West train engine. It runs right next to the giant Ferris wheel which, in hindsight, should indeed have been visible from far away, if not for the mist.

Also prominent and exciting: the Haunted House Dark Ride. We love dark rides, and any chance to go puttering around inside a bunch of little scary-themed haunted attractions is a great one. We had, now, a fair idea of what we'd want to ride, and we went to one of the ticket booths. Which were delightful, by the way, and decorated in back by folk art renditions of Wonder Bear and a female bear riding the park's attractions. We were set.

Trivia: The first appearance of ``chop suey'' in print was in an 1884 column that chef Wong Chin Foo wrote for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, about what Chinese cooking was like. In this appearance it was spelled ``chop soly''. Source: Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine, Sarah Lohman.

Currently Reading: The First Space Race: Eisenhower and the Quest for Aerospace Security, Nicholas Michael Sambaluk.

PS: Hello, Halloweekends Sunday! ... Eventually. You'll see.


View, while driving, slowly, of the carcass of Mean Streak. We got a few glimpses of the ride under reconstruction since you can't drive to and from the Breakers Hotel without seeing the roller coaster's site. And you can see what the weather was like, which is why we picked Sunday to go out to the Merry-Go-Round museum.


In the Merry-Go-Round Museum, in Sandusky: a kiddie carousel mount made to look like Mighty Mouse for the reasons. I can't say that the teeth are helping Mighty look friendly in the way they want.


Elephant stander with a basket for riding at the Merry-Go-Round Museum. It's an amusing and interesting mount and it's nice to see stranger things like this around.

PPS: How September 2017 Treated My Mathematics Blog, a brief report.

Tags: #75, fifth anniversary trip, gillian's wonderland pier, halloweekends, merry-go-round museum, new jersey

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