Though many CRM-ers were unaware of the dangers faced by the Beach Boardwalk in the past few days (Chip and Kris, who combined know EVERYTHING about EVERYTHING, apparently have no interest in local news. Who knew?), the iconic theme park was, until just hours ago, at the mercy of the normally placid San Lorenzo River. Recent rains, after a very dry winter, caused the river to swell and unexpectedly veer from its normal path around Main Beach, where it then flows to the ocean. Instead, the river took a sharp right, flowing directly parallel to the Boardwalk and threatening to seep UNDER it. For the 105-year-old amusement park, the consequences could have been serious. However, quick work by the Seaside Company and the California Coastal Commission has rendered the river flowing near its normal path.
I grew up in Santa Cruz, and Tuesday nights at the Boardwalk (50 cent nights, woot woot!) were always a summer highlight when I was young. I don’t go to the Boardwalk much anymore, unless I’m with a friend’s kids or have a hankering to drink a Heineken tall boy while playing Ski-Ball. Still, I love seeing its rounded silhouette at the end of Ocean Street.
I view the Boardwalk as a uniquely Santa Cruz treasure, without which the Santa Cruz skyline would be imminently less interesting. Unlike so many large amusement parks, there is no entry fee. Anyone is free to walk around the park, taking in the sights and smells and sounds, and at no charge. While there have been some changes at the Boardwalk since my childhood (no more Cave Train or Video Storm, boo hiss), it has nevertheless retained its old-fashioned charm. Yay for the Boardwalk…here’s to another 100 years.