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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Jet Star Roller Coaster Ruins

Hurricane Sandy did a fair amount of damage to the U.S. east coast last month. Some friends of mine lost power for almost two weeks, and there were certainly dramatic pictures of flooding, notably in the subway and Ground Zero. So of the pictures were so bizarre that Atlantic Monthly ran a piece trying to sort the fakes from the real ones. Of course, faking ruins is an old tradition, both in real life with architectural follies, and in photoshop. We've also talked about ruins from current events, and how they are premature ruins. When things are so fresh, you don't know how they'll look in a week, or a month, or a year, especially if the demolition crews haven't yet arrived.

My favorite ruins picture from Sandy is the Jet Star Roller Coaster in Asbury Park, NJ, which was totaled and left standing completely in the sea. Apparently it's not just that the roller coast was surrounded by water, but rather it was physically moved by the water, thrown into the sea. We've seen ruined Roller Coasters before, and it's always dramatic. It probably has to do with the juxtaposition of pure fun - riding a roller coaster in an amusement park - with total destruction.

This roller coaster is like a 3-Dimensional Spiral Jetty. Wouldn't it be great if people could go out swimming around it, watch it become encrusted with barnacles and whatnot, especially if it was in view of other, working roller coasters? There was some talk (by the mayor, Bill Akers) of leaving it as a tourist attraction, but that has sadly been shot down. Come on people, dream a little! This could be such a cool water park! Yes, there are safety issues, but the people of Asbury Park are missing out on a golden opportunity. 

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