Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Amusement Park: No One Loves a Broken Rollercoaster

The difference between broke down places in the country and broke down places in the city is that in the country there is no one left to love you. When they leave, they leave for good. In the city, those former fortresses of industry, while slumming it, still have people who paint them and live there and use them. They have pets. What does an old country place have? Raccoons? Coyotes who pick through your bones looking for mice? Barking neighborhood dogs?

It's a lonely life in the country.

Maybe you have a few destructive teenage lovers at first, who burn parts of you down. But eventually there's not much left to break that isn't broken already, and they grow up and move to Akron. You end up settling for the few old guys that still come around out of nostalgia, and eventually one claims possession, covers you with barbed wire, and only takes you out once a month. Once a month you're supposed to forget the other 30 days of solitude and sloth, and be sparkly and interesting. Historic. Playful.

But the remnants of what you once were are weary.

And the elements encroach upon your face, creating skeletal shadows, carving lines into your structure. Time does not forgive you. The lake and fields do not forgive you. The clouds and rain do not forgive you. The trees spread like viruses in your bloodstream.

You become a collection of monsters, one for every decade. Passive sleeping monsters, but dangerous if disturbed. Tentacles of rust. Caves of machinery. All dreaming of the days when children ran around them unaware, and they hear the screams of happiness in their hibernation, and their cogs and buckles salivate at the memory of warm little fingers and dirty little faces.

If I tread carefully though, they sleep too deep to notice. I am a single sardine swimming by the fin of a great white, or a carp cleaning the teeth of a hippo. I am a hitchhiker, negligible tiny little beast. I walk softly through the jaws.

I admire the skull.

I marvel at the hollows in the hip bones.

I walk into the still breathing lungs, that move up and down at seasonal rates, with glacial snores. I walk into the snaking intestines, that twist their way through the woods, camouflaging the most vulnerable parts as nothing but more trees, more wood. The forest rises up to greet it's fallen, carved, varnished, cut, molded, used brethren, now back for a proper funeral.

In another year, if the bulldozers are kept away, it will become a forest dragon, with the eyes of a blackbird, the mouth of a coyote, the legs of a deer, the wings of an owl, the speed of a cotton candy machine.

It will hide away in the wilds, only to be seen on sunny days by children in their backyards, making up worlds.

More photos to be found here.


  1. Wow. If I had driven past that I would have just thought it was sad and wouldn't have seen the inherent beauty in the sadness. So, thank you for posting these amazing, beautiful photos.

  2. I grew up next to the park on the Glens side. Thank you for posting these!

  3. My pleasure!

    It's such a nice little neighborhood over there.

  4. I think you would like this old mini golf place near where we go on vacation in North Carolina. It was built too close to the dunes, some years you see it, some you don't. So if you see it, you have to check it out immediately because the sand might shift for good next time.

  5. Brilliant. Absolutely fucking brilliant.

  6. That was my first abandoned place I explored from way back in my Kent days! It's changed so much!

  7. I didn't know Ohio could be so beautiful. Seriously. I fall in love with you a little more each Monday. Thank you. I'm smiling too big to say anything snarky.

  8. Barney and Chris - Thanks!

    TG - I think it's on its last legs, supposedly they are starting the new development this summer.

    Elly - Ohio is the most beautiful state ever. I think I say that about every state. But Ohio has the best skies bar none. Nobody can touch our clouds.

  9. Amazing. So lonely, and very special. Thank you for sharing.

  10. So are we friends again Sarah? Do you forgive me my cupcake bashing because of my soulful rollercoaster photography skills?

  11. such incredible photos! Ohio is full of beauty, however New Mexico has the best skies, hands down. They shame our clouds. sarah jones here. sarahs everywhere.

  12. are these recent pics? is this stuff still there? awesome images!

  13. Cyndee, yeah, it's all there as of now, but not for long. Glad you liked them.

  14. Interesting. I was just watching some vintage video of a site tour I took through Chippewa Lake about 12 years ago. The ballroom was amazing before it was burned down.

    Behind the stage there was a big wall with autographs of just about everyone who ever played there. Some were lost to time, but several notable names stuck out...Glenn Miller, Michael Stanley, Alice Cooper and Neil Diamond!!! Really, an irreplacable piece of history.

    Now it's pretty much all torn down, alas...


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