Strip Mall Shrubs and Carnies

Dreamland Amusements’ carnie camp rests in the sun beyond a row of flowering shrubs.  

Sun-bleached, plastic toys and a broken tricycle sit next to a woman in a chair smoking outside a Duchman.  A little girl crawls out from underneath. I asked if she travels with the carnival. The woman says she doesn’t know, “Babysittin’ for someone.” When asked if I could photograph the two of them, she says her skin has broken-out, “Hives, or somethin’.” Everyone is suspicious.

D’Andre is the ambassador of Pines Apartments, one of the most crime ridden locales in Camden County. A fifteen-year-old girl’s body was found stuffed in a dumpster in the spring of 2007.

“Appropriate for only the most healthy and physically able riders.”

In 2009, Dreamland Amusements employed Mexican workers through the H2B work visa program.

Robert DeStefano, the owner and founder of Dreamland, was later sued by New York state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for failing to pay the workers a reasonable wage.

An except from the New York Daily News:

A former carny said he was promised $350 a week plus a $25 bonus and meals.

Instead, “We were paid $300 a week and we had to buy our own meals and stay in trailers with roaches and bedbugs,” Jose de Lira, 42, said in an interview. “They were really dirty.”

Read more here.

An employee shares the history of a ride he “fixed-up,” with “brand new” parts to the local Board of Health.

Something wicked this way comes…

Recently my students were introduced to some glitchy, pseudo dubstep I call “Vader Hop.” They love it.  Starships, is their favorite track.

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