Dreams and nightmares

(Not much about language.)

Yesterday’s Zippy:


Amusement parks are framed as places where dreams can be fulfilled (I can fly! I can go to the moon!), but with their crowds, their noise, their bright lights, their looming structures (into the gaping mouth of the grinning monster!), their frenetic activity, they’re also nightmarish, and (as Zippy notes) they’re places where fun is totally commercialized, soullessly industrialized as a commodity.

On top of all this, amusement parks are always in flux, always being rebuilt (merged with other sites of fun or split from them), always providing new (NEW!) attractions, sometimes being destroyed and revived in a fresh form.

The park Zippy is staring at above is some kind of amalgam of different incarnations of Luna Park at Coney Island NY and Luna Park in Sydney NSW.

Briefly on the Coney Island park, from Wikipedia:

Luna Park was an amusement park in Coney Island, Brooklyn, in New York City that opened in 1903. Built partly on the grounds of Sea Lion Park (1895), it was one of the three original iconic large parks built on Coney Island, the other two being Steeplechase Park (1897) and Dreamland (1904). Luna Park was located on the north side of Surf Avenue on a site between 8th street, 12th street and Neptune Avenue. The park was mostly destroyed by a fire in 1944.

… Calling itself as “The heart of Coney Island,” Luna Park turned on its lights and opened its gates to a crowd of 60,000 spectators precisely at 8:05pm on May 16, 1903, coinciding with the timing of sunset on that Saturday night. Admission to the park was ten cents with rides costing extra, up to 25 cents for the most elaborate rides. The park was accessible from the terminals of the West End and Sea Beach railroad lines.

(For a detailed history of the park, see Jeffrey Stanton’s 5/1/98 essay on his site.)

The original entrance:


A later version:


The Dragon’s Gorge in the park:


Then the Australian park. From Wikipedia:

Luna Park Sydney (originally Luna Park Milsons Point, also known as Sydney’s Luna Park) is an amusement park located in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Luna Park is located at Milsons Point, on the northern shore of Sydney Harbour.

The park was constructed at the foot of the Sydney Harbour Bridge during 1935 [and was revised and reconstructed several times over the years]


Luna Park Sydney entrance, illuminated at night

Eek. As Zippy would ask: Are we having fun yet?

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