today was my mom’s birthday, and we all went to rye playland to celebrate. it’s an old amusement park in westchester county, NY. kind of falling apart at the seams but still charming as hell. i didn’t take any pictures but i spent all day with my mom & my sibz, strolling around this strange park we haven’t seen in over 20 years. the rickety roller-coasters, the murals and displays that stubbornly and obviously haven’t changed since the 60’s or 70’s or 80’s. peeling paint and clacking carousels. it’s still beautiful,
beautiful and sad like the rest of NY is, i mean the trueNY, not what you see on movies or on TV. it’s beautiful and diverse and joyous and celebratory but with a real layer of sadness on the bottom. or maybe floating to the top.
i wish i had taken a picture of the carousel horses so i could show you. the gorgeous whittling, the roses and some odd items hanging from the saddle, like pistols & dead pigeons. but still, totally gorgeous. a work of art. S once told me that amusement parks were invented by factory owners so the workers, doing 14-hour 7 day workweeks, would have something to live for. whether that’s true or not is unclear, but it’s interesting to think about.
i had a really sweet moment just as we left. a sad-looking girl of about 11 or so was sitting on a display rollercoaster car, looking pensive. she had long, tangled brown hair and really intense blue eyes. we saw each other, we made eye contact, and we both smiled at each other so big, and so genuinely. i’d been frowned at all day for being a freaky pierced hairy-legged genderqueer person, by everyone else in the park, but her smile was all i needed.
i remember being young, & seeing weird adults out & about–not too many, because i lived in a small town, and i remember the very strong hope it gave me. the feeling of being less alone, so strong. it’s nice being on the other side of that bench…