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Meet Ruby. 

She is the last original merry-go-round on the North Shore. She is creaky and rusty and she spins like a dream. Effortless. All you gotta do is hang on. 

Doesn’t really matter, though. Ruby’s days are numbered. Don’t know exactly when it will happen, but am told it is soon as she has been deemed dangerous. A circular piece of metal that sits (no lie) all of six inches off the ground? 

Yep, dangerous. 


“Goodbye Ruby Tuesday” (Merry-Go-Round) Playground Series (#18), Nikon D300, 32mm, F/5.6, 1/400s, +0.3EV, ISO 200, ‘Old West’ Toning Action

Knowing this fact going in made my job of photographing her all that more difficult. I took over 200 shots over a two-day period and I’m still not sure I did her justice. Completely breaks my heart. 😦 

In one of the earlier Playground Series entries, one reader took the time to post a lengthy comment that I feel compelled to quote a section of as he paints the oh-so familiar childhood scene better than I ever could dream of doing: 

“That rusty, squeaky carousel of old?  You betcha.  (You can still find these around here and there.)  A gang of us would climb aboard and several would hang out to spin us silly with three Gs of force (sometimes 4 Gs), trying to get us to either puke or fall off.  Laughter abounded when Jimmy Johnson went flying off one day screaming, unable to hold on … ending up about 15 feet from where he originally landed.  His momentum carried him that extra distance, but not before his open mouth filled with a goodly amount of “cushioning sand” surrounding the carousel as he eventually skidded to a halt, mostly on his head.  He coughed and cried and spit sand for 10 minutes while we rushed him over to the drinking fountain to bathe him off.  Afterward, he was good to go for more, back up on the carousel to “try and stay on this time”.  What a rush and a laugh that was.  Good times.” ~ Ruprecht 

Sigh, good times indeed. 🙂


  1. Did you try it out and get all dizzy? 😉
    It looks just like the one on the playground in our neighborhood! At least I think it does… it’s been a while since I was there or drove past it because it’s not much of a playground and my kids prefer a “bigger and better” one.

    Did you ever find out what’s going to happen with the merry-go-round and if the city is willing to let you have it?

    • Oh, you betcha!! It was so much fun! I must have looked like a complete idiot but I grinned the rest of the day for sure. 🙂 From the pic I saw, this one is pretty much identical to the one around you except, yours has white painted bars while these bars are definitely cream.

      I did speak with the parks dept director about it and he did ask me if I wanted it! A part of me wants to say ‘yes’ but the more logical part knows we really don’t have a place to put it. BUT, in any event , I may get more info on it (like, how is the thing even installed?) etc. It would be such a shame for it to just go away. Someone HAS to have an ‘old playground equipment’ museum!

      • If they’re willing to let you have it, TAKE IT!!! If you change your mind later on, you can always get rid of it then. It’s better than the city getting rid of it and you regretting that you didn’t snatch it up, kwim?

      • Sigh. I know, I know. It really just isn’t that simple. I’ve done things like that in the past and then we are literally stuck with some huge, awkward thing that no one will take. So, this requires more thought, indeed!

  2. It looks like fun or at least a reminder of fun days spinning on the merry-go-round when it wasn’t dangerous.

    • It is a BLAST, Lynn – even at my age! In my book, not dangerous at all. Just deemed so (no doubt) by some namby-pamby parents! 😉

  3. Sounds so simple “just need to hang on”. Well, try imagine mini version of myself at 7 years old being TOSSED out of that thing full speed. JESUS CHRIST. LOL

    • Ha! That’s called ‘character building!’ 🙂

      Seriously, though, boys were the ones that tried to do this to each other. We girls were much more dignified and simply enjoyed a euphoric spin. YOU would love it!! 🙂

  4. if you wanted a sad, “goodbye” shot, then it is perfect!

    you consistently do a wonderful job of seeing the whole shot – not just the m-go-round, but how the handle casts its shadow on the ground and how the shadows of the branches play with each other in the background on the sawdust. (is that sawdust? it used to be sawdust when I was a kid.)

    i think it’s amazing that you’re so passionate about this that you’ve spoken to a city official about keeping it. just amazing!

    • Wow, thank you Stephen! I feel a whole lot better about the shot now! 🙂 It was SUCH a difficult shot to take – not the best location as there were many distracting things all around it that, to me, just kept ruining the feeling. At times, I just sat dumbfounded, racking my brain to think of what angle I could take it. It is also in an area with so many trees that the shadows, at times, were ridiculous and also, distracted from the shot. Quite the challenge indeed (hence, the over 200 attempts).

      It is actually mulch, not sawdust, but close enough. 😉

      Yeah, just one of the things that keeps me up at night. Just wait, you’re still young, but when you are a full-blown attorney, you’ll understand. 🙂

  5. Oh, yeah…fun times. Hard to walk straight after a few hundred turns on one of these. Did you get any speed shots? Might want to recruit some kids to fill in the story.

    • Ha! Indeed, Scott!

      I did try action shots but they didn’t ‘fit’ in with the look of the rest of the series. Also, with all the other issues I was experiencing with the location, I didn’t really need to add another challenge!

      Folks aren’t real keen (now there’s a word you don’t hear often) with soem stranger photographing their kids. However, I am hoping to get a side shot (at some point) of the local playground with the older Monkey Bars with a very slow shutter speed to see if I can capture the feeling of ‘play’ without having a clear shot of any one child. We’ll see. 🙂

  6. Two classmates from South America and myself headed to the carousel for a photo-op during our 40th high school re-union. Many thanks Tracy for your wonderful tribute to the Magic, Spinning Circle of Fun and Friendship.

    • Aw, thank you, Sonnie! I hope you guys had a fun time and got the photo you wanted.

      My, what a great name for it! 🙂

  7. I like the post processing. I liked these things…they were a lot of fun.

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