Abandoned amusement

I just saw these pictures of an abandoned Gullivers’ Travels theme park in Japan.

What is it about abandoned amusement parks that is so fucking creepy and depressing?  Is it the juxtaposition of happiness and despair?  Of smiling mannequins and brightly painted animals, and their chipped and rotting facades?

I’ve been to one abandoned amusement park.  I was about nine and my brother six, and we were dragged along on a day trip with my parents, their friends, and their friends’ kids.  Our parents’ friends’ kids fell into two buckets – those we liked (like the mah-jongg gang, you know who you are!) and those we didn’t.  That day we were with the latter.

I don’t know whose bright idea it was to spend a Saturday driving out to a fairy tale themed park. It took forever to get there, and when we finally did, we found that not only was it closed, it was CLOSED DOWN FOREVER. Even at nine, I thought, Okay, this is pointless, let’s go home.  But someone, probably the same someone whose idea the whole trip was in the first place, thought it’d be great if we jumped the chain and took pictures in the broken-down displays.  Unfortunately I don’t remember anything except the giant shoe from the rhyme the old lady and the shoe (had so many kids, she didn’t know what to do), mostly because we have a picture of it.

Back then, I found the abandoned park depressing, and even more so now.

It also reminds me of one of the times my friend YP and I went out to Coney Island.  It had just opened for the season, it was fairly early in the morning, and it was freezing.  Hence, almost no one was there and some attractions, like Shoot the Freak, hadn’t been set up yet.

broke down carnival

Aside from Coney Island, I haven’t been to a theme park in ages. I wonder if now I’d find a lively one just as depressing as an abandoned one, like Vegas or a cruise ship. Artificial happiness.

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