The Jersey Shore roller coaster swept to sea during the ravages of Hurricane Sandy earlier this month emerged as one of the most iconic images of destruction wrought on the Garden State not only as the storm raged, but after.
And the Jersey Shore roller coaster resting in the surf was again lamented in the aftermath, when the sad image of the former vacation spot lost forever to the weather disaster was remarked upon by New Jersey Gov. and Hurricane Sandy hero Chris Christie — who sent several emotional tweets regarding the seaside monolith’s demise in the days following the storm.
Clearly moved by the sight of the Jersey Shore roller coaster while surveying the damage, Christie told followers that “Jersey Shore of my youth is gone,” and resolved to rebuild the shore — but admitted “it may not be the same, but we will rebuild.” Christie appended the hashtag #Sandy to some of the tweets.
As we reported earlier, the Jersey Shore roller coaster in Seaside Heights may itself become a tourist attraction, Mayor of Seaside Heights Bill Akers told NBC. The structure is being assessed for soundness and safety and may remain standing when the oceanside destination’s boardwalk reopens in May for the season.
But if the plans to keep the Jersey Shore roller coaster intact as a wreck sound odd and macabre, the trend seems part of a larger fascination that exists in pop culture with ruined amusement parks. Something about the contrast of happy, sunny day memories on a ride contrasted with current ruin and decay compels us as humans — a trait evidenced by many internet chronicles depicting dead amusement parks in their current ruined state.
For instance, after Katrina hit, images of a destroyed city eventually gave way to one enduring photoset that calls to mind the Jersey Shore roller coaster. Once a thriving mecca of fun, Six Flags New Orleans lay in tatters, a total loss after Katrina’s devastating floods. And so it remains, sullied and depressing, a reminder that a once vibrant and cheerful city was brought to its knees by a catastrophic, single storm.