The New (not Nu) Pike

Getting back to the Queen Mary, which Mike still talks about fondly, so don't let the negative reviews throughout the internet influence you too much...

After our tours, we retired to our stateroom (you know I just wanted to type that) to consider our supper options:

  1. Eat at the Cafe onboard
  2. Suck in our thighs, spin up some magical silk evening wear, and eat somewhere else onboard
  3. Take the Passport bus across to the Pike

We'd left a little earlier than planned that morning, so I was all, "I wanted to ride a water taxi! And now we'll be too late to ride a water taxi! The whole point of this trip was to ride a water taxi and now I can't! Because we left late! Because you think taking a shower is important!" Maybe I overdramatize a little. Maybe.

However, when we got there, we discovered that the Aquabus was out of service for painting. So, no harm, and Passport C it was.

The bus stops right outside of the QM. (See my "How to Park" photo. The red Passport bus is parked  just above the pink switchback.) While the website makes a big deal about the fare being 90 cents and drivers don't make change, we were told it was free when we got on. Same deal coming back.

Since we were the only ones on the bus, the driver took us directly to the Pike - nice. It's a short drive, maybe four or five minutes with stoplights.

I can't remember what came first, my interest in QM or in The Pike. First, I was watching a MST3K of The Incredibly Strange Creatures Who Stopped Living and Became Mixed-up Zombies, which has surprisingly good music. It was filmed at The Pike. (See about 1:17 here, then again at 8:39. Or, wait, just go here. And the song I like is all the way at 8:10 here. Continued here.) Then I discovered Synthetrix. Then I discovered Tail o' the Rat. Then I learned about Elmer McCurdy. Then I discovered Anaheim Vacationland and bought the (e-)book. Then I went back to Synthetrix and admired his "Photos of the Forgotten." Then I bought some postcards on eBay.

Then the eBay seller deleted the photos before I could steal them to post here since I'm too lazy to photograph the cards myself. Sorry!

The gist of the Pike/Nu-Pike was that it was the West Coast's own Coney Island, then it went shabby, then it was mostly demolished for the new shopping area there today, also called The Pike. All that remains is a gazebo-top as shown in the first Synthetrix link. (We saw it on the drive out the next day, tucked between downtown buildings, but didn't stop for a photo. The Pike is dead.)

You can see The Pike from the Queen Mary; it's just across the harbour. But, in the Pike's heyday, you couldn't see the Queen Mary. One, it wasn't there yet. Two, nothing was out there yet - no port, nothing. It was just a clear Pacific view. So, maybe you can blame the QM for helping to muck up the water flow/beaches and spur the demise of the amusement park.

I was hoping to get some of that "squint hard and walk in two worlds" experience at the Pike that we can still sort of find in Las Vegas, but no. The Pike is nice, but it's like any other trendy shopping plaza with a Bubba Gump, Boston's Pizza, and Borders bookstore. Generic. Even the sidewalk by the ocean is no better than the sidewalk two miles down the road. (I didn't get a close look, but the beach seems to be completely gone in favour of a marina?)

Its stylized rollercoaster-themed walkway is really just an insult:

Cyclone Memories

The Ferris wheel is operational, but... Meh:

Cinemark, Borders, Ferris Wheel - The Pike

So, a little disappointing, but we were too happy otherwise to care. Just don't visit Long Beach thinking you can glimpse this particular bit of history, that's all.

We were also very hungry. Here's Mike waiting for the chips and salsa (that never came):

Mike at Chili's - Long Beach (The Pike)

It's just as well. This was our second "screaming kiddos" experience at Chili's in a row, so as much as Mike loves it, I was glad to leave and don't plan to go back anytime soon. Poor Mike - they just built a Chili's at the end of our street, too. *Pat, pat.*

Hey, here's my excuse to throw in a video still from our last Chili's trip:

Like my burqa? I was going to do this big post about how it's really unacceptable to let kids stand on the tables and chairs and scream for the whole meal (as opposed to those 10 seconds before you take them outside and sort it out), banging chip baskets and throwing stuff. But, since some of those nicest people I know (who are parents) disagree with me ("Kids will be kids!" "Parents deserve to eat out, too!" "You can't ask a customer to leave!"), and since this blog seems to have "KICK ME" taped somewhere where I can't reach, I coloured over myself so drive-by commenters wouldn't be tempted to insult me instead of addressing the child's behaviour shown in the background. (And because we had to be discreet while filming, this is just a fraction of the scene, and during a lull.)

Of course, now instead of people leaving comments calling me the N-word (is it racist if I wonder whether they really do think I'm black?), maybe I'll get some Middle Eastern slurs. I guess it's kind of nice to mix it up a bit?

Anyway, the view of the Queen Mary from the Pike is attractive, especially with its strings of lights (click and view large), shown here behind Duke's Riverboat Steakhouse:

Duke's Riverboat Steakhouse

Then it was back to the ship on the Passport and into bed with our books. (Okay, it was 8:30. I'm that old and that tired.) We had three small pillows on the bed, so I called Housekeeping for another one. They repeated back all of the information, then never showed up. Then the ceiling started going drip-drip-drip. Mike put a towel under it, and we debated whether we really had a refurbished deluxe stateroom ("but it has a fridge!") or a first class stateroom ("but look at the original wood paneling!"). When we checked out, the clerk said that they were "blending" the two now, so she couldn't really say what we had. (The website still differentiates, so beware.) Still, it was too fun to complain. Ah, a king bed!

03 April 2008 |

Previously: For the Bored Noses
Next: Hearts West


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Carnival Elation (2009)
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Carnival Spirit (2010)
Carnival Spirit (2011)
Carnival Splendor (2011)
Norwegian Pearl to Alaska (2012)