The Pike

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I’ve lived in Long Beach for about two years and for some reason never really had the opportunity to make a trip out to The Pike. Yet, many have. This stretch of land was once a popular destination for locals trying to enjoy a wistful day out at the sea. A magnificent amusement park, complete with a rickety roller-coaster, arcades and a bath house, attracted many. Today, the only distant memory of the Cyclone Coaster consists of a suspended concrete bridge with reminiscent features, most likely to commemorate those who passed away whilst aboard this contraption. While the history behind this coaster is a bit unfortunate, articles I have read concerning the overall status of the park seemed to be highly rated. The smell of delicious salt water toffee combined with the salty ocean air and a sunny California day created the perfect family day out.

Yet, today, this stretch of land is dominated by outlet malls and popular shopping destinations. I was able to visit The Pike with my friends during a dull Saturday afternoon consisting of endless “what should we do now’s.” Honestly, I was not very impressed. The history behind this little part of Long Beach doesn’t match the commercialized, outlet mall experience shopping planners have successfully managed to create. My ideal vision for The Pike consists of an eclectic array of shops offering locally sourced goods and delicious treats. Instead, Nike, Forever 21, H&M and other cheaply produced brands create a mainstream vibe that can be found in virtually any center around the country: a bland, uniform collection of chain stores.

One Comment

  1. Katarina Stiller

    I’ve been to the Pike a few times, and it’s always seemed pretty dead. Much more fun to be had at the Aquarium next door. The Pike today really only resembles the historic Pike in name only – it doesn’t have any of the old entertainment sources that used to draw in people. Really it’s just an outlet mall – which definitely bugs some people. Occasionally it serves as a track section for the annual Long Beach Lawnmower Symposium (aka the Grand Prix). I hear there’s talk of bringing back some of the old things that gave the Pike its charm (recreational bathing beach, amusement zone, boardwalk, etc.), but it’s really just talk at this point. I guess it’s a warning of what too much commercialism and not enough substance can give you.

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