Design Observer

About
Books
Job Board
Newsletters
Archive
Contact



Observatory

About
Resources
Submissions
Contact


Featured Writers

Michael Bierut
William Drenttel
John Foster
Jessica Helfand
Alexandra Lange
Mark Lamster
Paul Polak
Rick Poynor
John Thackara
Rob Walker


Departments

Advertisement
Audio
Books
Collections
Dear Bonnie
Dialogues
Essays
Events
Foster Column
From Our Archive
Gallery
Interviews
Miscellaneous
New Ideas
Opinions
Partner News
Photos
Poetry
Primary Sources
Projects
Report
Reviews
Slideshows
The Academy
Today Column
Unusual Suspects
Video


Topics

Advertising
Architecture
Art
Books
Branding
Business
Cities / Places
Community
Craft
Culture
Design History
Design Practice
Development
Disaster Relief
Ecology
Economy
Education
Energy
Environment
Fashion
Film / Video
Food/Agriculture
Geography
Global / Local
Graphic Design
Health / Safety
History
Housing
Ideas
Illustration
India
Industry
Info Design
Infrastructure
Interaction Design
Internet / Blogs
Journalism
Landscape
Literature
Magazines
Media
Museums
Music
Nature
Obituary
Other
Peace
Philanthropy
Photography
Planning
Poetry
Politics / Policy
Popular Culture
Poverty
Preservation
Product Design
Public / Private
Public Art
Religion
Reputations
Science
Shelter
Social Enterprise
Sports
Sustainability
Technology
Theory/Criticism
Transportation
TV / Radio
Typography
Urbanism
Water


Comments Posted 08.20.09 | PERMALINK | PRINT

Mark Lamster

Barrington Fair


dscn5555

There's something romantic, eerie, and pathetic all at once about any work of abandoned architecture. Fairgrounds are especially ghostly and melancholic; in their crumbling, weedy decrepitude there's an almost palpable aura of busier, festive days. Before its demolition in 2000, I liked to sneak around the shuttered Thunderbolt rollercoaster in Coney Island, snapping pictures. You could almost feel the wooden rumble that so distressed a youthful Alvy Singer. The abandoned but still extant Barrington Fairgrounds, hidden in plain sight on the road into Great Barrington, in Western Massachussetts, is another favorite. After a season of heavy rains, it is now overgrown with especially lush vegetation. I shot the pictures here through a swarm of mosquitos on a recent visit. Its future is in limbo, and has been for some time. Across the road is a large, busy shopping center, recently opened. Its customers by and large ignore the mouldering relic, some on purpose, others simply blind to its camouflaged presence. In America, shopping is the new entertainment — I guess that's nothing new. Still, it's strange to see the center's parking lot packed while the fairgrounds, a literal stone's throw away, is devoid of any traffic.

dscn5552
dscn5554

The overgrown entry booths look ready for business that isn't likely to come anytime soon. Everyone's at the Big Y supermarket across the street.

dscn5560
dscn5564 dscn5561

The doublewide staircase leads to the racetrack grandstand. Underneath are concession areas.

dscn5559


The one-room schoolhouse was used as a counting house for the track. These days, there's no one doing any counting.
|
Share This Story

Comments

Design Observer encourages comments to be short and to the point; as a general rule, they should not run longer than the original post. Comments should show a courteous regard for the presence of other voices in the discussion. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments that do not adhere to this standard.
Read Complete Comments Policy >>


Name             

Email address 




Please type the text shown in the graphic.


|
Share This Story



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mark Lamster is the architecture critic of the Dallas Morning News and a professor at the University of Texas at Arlington School of Architecture. A contributing editor to Architectural Review, he is currently at work on his third book, a biography of the late architect Philip Johnson. Follow: @marklamster.
More Bio >>

DESIGN OBSERVER JOBS









RELATED POSTS


Lucia Eames, 1930-2014
An appreciation of Lucia Eames (1930-2014).

The Astrodome and the Challenges of Preservation
The Astrodome and the future of preservation.

Not Afraid of Noise: Mexico City Stories
A photographic tour of Mexico City, house by house, wall by wall.

Genzken and the City
A review of Isa Genzken's current retrospective on view at the MOMA.

Premature Demolition
The Folk Art Museum, David Adjaye's market hall, and the first addition to the Morgan Library. If three makes a trend, then premature demolition qualifies.