6 April

The Playland Arcade, Hampton Beach, N.H.

by Jon Katz
The Playland Arcade
The Playland Arcade

Is there a child in the world whose soul has not been touched by a Playland Arcade, there are Playland Arcades all over America, or there were when I was a kid. I was thrilled to see one on the Boardwalk in Hampton Beach, I have never failed to check out a Playland Arcade when I see one, and I mean to go back to Hampton Beach with a camera and photograph this one.

These are the places of magic and mystery, the games of chance, ringing bells and taunting teases, everybody wins and nobody wins, rich in sounds and smells. We don’t learn until much later that we never had a chance, that the deck was always stacked against us, but we always felt like a winner in the Playland Arcade, and sometimes we even did win.

I was lethal with the water guns for some reason, I won almost every time. Why do I think the Arcades are a metaphor for life, they surely teach us about the magic and mystery, about patience and victory, gains and loss, determination and pride. They are important, I am thrilled to see one on the Boardwalk at Hampton Beach.

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