Starting with Coney Island, seaside (and lakeside) amusement areas evolved into cherished and celebrated pieces of Americana. But the advent of gated theme parks and other factors conspired against the venerable coasters, carousels, dark rides, and other concessions that once dotted the nation's boardwalks and piers. Many of them faded to mere shadows of their once glorious heydays, and most of them closed altogether.
The trend may be changing, however -- even if it is a blip of an improvement. This summer, Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier will bring rides back to the Texas coastal community. Among the attractions will be Iron Shark, a Euro-Fighter coaster that will rise 100 feet above the pier. In 2007, the Kemah Boardwalk, just up the coast from Galveston, also added new rides. And Coney Island itself, after years of neglect and false starts, is in the midst of a revival -- albeit, not anything that will restore it to its glory, but certainly a step in the right direction.
Let's raise a toast of a birch beer and a hot dog to these hopeful signs. Here's to more good news about seaside parks.