austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

To know how much you had before you had to fall

And now I get ripped out of my happy little memoir by the terrible news out of Seaside Park. A lot of news reporting about this has scared me and my wife by talking about Seaside Heights, which is an understandable confusion because the two municipalities run together. Seaside Park's the more southern portion and it had the FunTown Pier, and the (fiberglass) carousel that we first rode on that perfect day together, the one we got to when we weren't able to find the Floyd Moreland Carousel at the base of Casino Pier.

The fire's just horrible, absolutely terrible. It's destroyed what was left of the FunTown Pier --- which wasn't much, after Sandy, but was the nucleus of something --- and a lot of the shops in the area. This seems to include the carousel and what remained of that arcade which had had all the pinballs and vintage video games and that had partly survived Sandy. It also looks like it's destroyed the Berkeley Sweet Shop, where we had always got salt water taffy, and where bunny_hugger had got introduced to the way it's made at the shore. I just realized we'll have to tell her parents, now, that we don't know if that shop's going to ever reopen, since they so liked the taffy we brought from there. From the photos I think it probably also damaged or destroyed the jewelry store where we picked up the planks of Sandy-replaced boardwalk carved into Christmas ornaments, too.

Piers and boardwalks burn, which is the sad but unavoidable truth about seaside attractions --- articles about this fire invariably include photos of past great fires that destroyed wide swaths --- and they get rebuilt, just as they get destroyed in storms and rebuild. It's part of what makes the going to one a strange feat of time-binding; they can't stay fixed however much we want to keep touching that special time we had there. But, oh, this past year, why does it have to change our place so much?

Trivia: Cleveland's 1899 National League baseball team had a record of 20-134, and a season home attendance of 6,088. Source: Crazy '08: How a Cast of Cranks, Rogues, Boneheads and Magnates Created The Greatest Year In Baseball History, Cait Murphy. (The team is often referred to as the Spiders, but team names really weren't a thing in this era.)

Currently Reading: Paris Reborn: Napoleon III, Baron Haussmann, and the Quest to Build a Modern City, Stephane Kirkland.


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