Wednesday, November 11, 2009
When I was a kid, this part of Long Beach was "The Pike" -- a seaside entertainment zone, sort of a poor-man's Coney Island. Originally it was built to extract money from sailors and others working in the Port of Long Beach.
It was the sort of place Walt Disney must have been thinking about when he said he wanted Disneyland to be the opposite of the amusement parks that existed when the Magic Kingdom opened its gate in the 50s.
Grandmother Green used to take me there all the time. I was too chicken to ride the roller coaster but I always enjoyed the dark rides like the Haunted House. (In the 70s they discovered one of the "bodies" that popped out as you rode through the Haunted House really was a dead mummified body. True story.)
I'm sure if I could travel back in time I'd be shocked by The Pike. No doubt it was filled with tattoo parlors, bars and sketchy characters aplenty. All I remember is that I loved it there and I resent the redevelopment that has taken its place today.