Thursday, December 31, 2015

Cool Things No Longer In North Portland: The Janzen Beach Carousel

Six years ago I wrote about a trip to North Portland's mall and the classic carousel therein.

The carousel was an oddity, a remnant of the pre-WW2 era when the island in the Columbia was an old-school amusement park instead of a Seventies style shopping mall;
"The carousel remains, last of the amusement rides, remnant of the old mall, a whirling delight of grandiloquent carved horses and antique showmanship of an earlier time."
Well, not any more.

The last bits of the Seventies mall were demolished a couple of years back. The new owners have converted the site into a 21st Century big-box retail outlet for a couple of the remaining tenants such as Burlington. But the carousel disappeared during the renovation and for a while even the location where the pieces were stored could not be found.

A bit of classic Portland panic ensued until eventually a City councilman got involved and chivvied the hiding place out of the out-of-state owner.

(The little article about this adventure at the Restore Oregon website is kind of adorable, complete with a treasure map to the storage building and Nick "Indiana" Fish in adventurer garb...)

But, as the linked article notes, the carousel is still in pieces and the owners show little or no urgency in building a new home for it. Were my kiddos still carousel fans I would be more harassed about that, but as it is it's simply a rather sad little note, the passing of another piece of rather pleasant Portland history.

The Hooters across the freeway, on the other hand, is still going strong serving up dry oversalted chicken wings and domestic corn beer to gullible rubes overly impressed by tits.
De gustibus, I suppose...


Ael said...

Some of my wife's best restaurant experiences were at Hooters.

A few years ago, she was chaperone to a kids marching band (ages 5-15). The band was touring the western coastal states and their favorite place to stop was always the local Hooters. They got great service and decent prices (nobody bought the booze, obviously) The staff of young ladies were exceptionally friendly and very tolerant of the kids.

They got past the stereotype when their bus broke down and the only restaurant at the location was a Hooters, so they fed the kids while the bus was being fixed. They were so well treated that the kids always insisted on visiting a Hooters when given a choice.

Leon said...

De mamilla I suppose.

Been to a Hooters once. Can't remember anything other than the wait staff was prettier than average. Food couldn't have been that bad or it would've stuck out more. Heck, I think the local pubs have followed a trend where the waitresses wear shorter kilts and show as much cleavage. Hooters as the industry trend-setter...

FDChief said...

Yeah, Leon, Hooters supposedly sued some local joint that hired a bunch of pretty girls and put them in tight T-shirts as infringing on their trademark. C'mon, guys...

I've only been to a Hooters twice, Ael, some years ago and both times when traveling with others who wanted to go rather than on my own. I thought that the waitresses were pretty, friendly, quick, and efficient. I thought that the food was overpriced for what you got, too salty or heavily spiced (to encourage you to drink more, I suspect) and the beer list pathetic coming as I do from Portland. Overall no worse than, say, a TGI Fridays or an Applebee's (and with much more scenic waitstaff...) but, frankly, if I want to eat and drink and watch something I'll hit Kell's for a Jubelale and soda bread and watch Leicester City play ManC...

I can see how a Hooters might be a decent alternative somewhere where there's no local brewing industry and the bar food is pretty awful. But here? Nah.

Ael said...

Well, Hooters is a chain restaurant, so one would expect them to have an institutional menu. I've only been there a couple times myself and my opinion is much the same as yours (although, I tend to regard food as fuel, rather than something to be savored, so I rarely grade food in tighter gradients than "acceptable" or "inedible".

Or maybe, it is just commercial food. My mom (who is a great gardener) tells a story about taking me to a restaurant when I was little. I told her (in a loud 3 year old voice that carried) that the peas and carrots tasted funny. She had to explain that "restaurant" peas and carrots were different from "home" peas and carrots. My reaction is not part of the story, so I must have been mollified by the explanation.

I only told the Hooters story because it was a nice way to illustrate the power (and fragility) of stereotypes. In fact, I only got the story from my wife after she noticed my raised eyebrows seeing my 7 year old daughter in a Hooter's T shirt (who had insisted on getting one as her souvenir of that year's band tour.)

FDChief said...

:...the Hooters story...was a nice way to illustrate the power (and fragility) of stereotypes..."

True. The interesting thing about the Hoot, to me, anyway, is that that stereotype is deliberate, and pimped by the corporation. Thinking about it, how likely is it that a young woman, any young woman, sits down and thinks "Gee...what would I like to do. Wait, I know! I want a job where I will enjoy the relatively low pay and stressful working conditions of commercial food service but with the added benefit of having to look like a sexually-available or, at least, sexually-advertising trollop!"

And how many young women, once employed there, are likely to act in such a way as to perpetrate that stereotype? They have to work quickly and efficiently, in a noisy and busy environment. Obviously they have to be "nice" to the boys but realistically they can't let them play grab-ass; they've got another load of salty wings to drop on Table 4 and a round of Bud Lights to draw.

So who is perpetrating that stereotype? "Cui bono?"; obviously, the chain management, who can entice the bros to come in based on the notion that they MIGHT be able to play grab-ass...

I've always wondered how well that works in the long run.