This New York Times op-ed really hit me hard.
Carmen Petaccio knows Seaside Heights, New Jersey. His grandfather was the long-time owner of one of my favorite Seaside boardwalk arcades–Sonny & Rickey’s. I played a lot of skee ball in that arcade in the 1970s and 1980s and took home a lot of spider rings.
We try to visit Sonny and Rickey’s every Fall. The old school skee-ball lanes are gone. Today my kids drop dollar bills into crane-type machines in the hopes of lifting out a stuffed animal.
I am assuming that the Petaccio family is part of the large Italian-American population that live on the south end of the Barnegat Peninsula. Even as Carmen pursues a M.A. in fine arts at Columbia University, he still spends summers working the redemption counter at Sonny & Rickey’s. Now, as the boardwalk reopens in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, he wonders if the Seaside of his childhood (and my childhood) will ever be the same.
Here is a taste of his piece. Anyone who loves Seaside or the Jersey shore should read it.