And then in the middle of my trip report news broke out that alters some of the meaning of the trip. An important part of this trip was our visiting Seaside Heights and Casino Pier because the rat bastards owning the pier had decided to sell off the Floyd Moreland Carousel, the climax of our perfect day together and the spot where we got officially engaged and a spot we'd revisited every summer and winter since we first met.
The town council for Seaside Heights yesterday approved a plan by which the city would take ownership of the carousel alongside a property swap: Casino Pier is getting a hundred-foot wide slice of the beach property (note that the highlighted parcels are much more than a hundred feet wide, so don't be fooled into thinking it's all that beachfront going their way), currently owned by Seaside Heights, on the north side of the remaining pier in exchange for the carousel and several parcels on the northern end of the boardwalk that Casino Pier's rat bastard owners currently have. The parcels, as best I can make out, are currently a parking lot, and in total is a bit larger than the building the carousel has been in; it's hard not to suppose that's going to be the carousel's new location.
This is providing that everything goes through, of course. Any transaction can be doomed, and it seems to me one that involves swapping of properties, some of them municipality-owned, is particularly fraught with peril. But it does suggest that the auction for this month is called off, at least, and trusting that only the normal problems in this sort of thing arise, then the carousel that's so important symbolically to us may be all right, if relocated just a bit.
Still, this doesn't change the feelings surrounding our expectation that this would be our last visit to Casino Pier. Even if the carousel lives, the selling of it smashes our relationship with the place as severely as Superstorm Sandy did the physical pier. It's hard enough losing the things that were so important --- if things progress as we figure, the pier is going to be wider yet shorter, not even reaching over the sea, when looking into the sea was so delightful --- but for the pier's rat bastard owners to give up on a carousel whose survival against the storm, and the fire a year later, was the symbol of the community's survival is horrible. I suppose we'll be back; we're sentimental and loyal and have gone through worse betrayals but the warm happy glow given by just the name of the place is wrecked and I don't know how it could be restored.
Trivia: The flak tower near Berlin's Zoo was designed as a shelter for 18,000 people. By the last winter of the Second World War it housed up to 30,000. Source: 1945: The War That Never Ended, Gregor Dallas.
Currently Reading: The Battle of the Frogs and Fairford's Flies: Miracles and the Pulp Press During the English Revolution, Jerome Friedman.