There’s a thin strip of land in the Jersey City Heights wedged between the street and the edge of the baseball field near the reservoir. A few times a year, a carnival, of sorts, will encamp in that one-block-long urban landscape, transforming the area into the saddest little carnival in the world — filled with emptiness and longing and no joy to be had anywhere for any ticket price. Even the Fire Ball circle roller coaster has no flame.
I rarely see anyone around on the rides or in the Wacky Shack.
It’s a carnival ghost town.
The Super Slide is faded and rickety.
The Raiders of the Lost Ark experience appears to be more jungle gym than electrified ride.
The ubiquitous Ferris Wheel stands alone, in the middle of the action, cold and confused and not knowing which way to turn.
The Pharaoh’s Fury has no swing left beyond the surface rust and the pebbles in the street.
The Dragon Wagon is a roller coaster that moves in a 10-foot wide circle.
Strangely, above it all — and stuck right in the middle of the carnival block — is this behemoth of ugliness: A Jersey City Police Department Panopticon looking down at you as the unintended Main Attraction recording all the non-believers below its steel-frame and smoked glass bird’s nest.
The saddest little carnival block in the world.