- Cape May NJ Travel Guide and Vacation Planner Blog

Tag: arcade

The Perfect Cape May Photo

Point and shoot. It should be just that easy to take a photo.  But when my mom tries to recreate her favorite shot of my brother, Michael, and I on the boardwalk, it is never a simple task.

The original shot of my brother and I was one of those candid shots that were taken in a quick moment. We did not even realize it was happening. I’m bending over to hold his hand and leading him off to show him something.  It was taken around 2000 when I was six and Michael, one and a half.

The original photo.

The original photo.

The reason my mom loves this shot the most, is because it has all of our favorite boardwalk spots – the arcade, Morrow’s Nut House, Convention Hall and the Oasis (since gone) – and the newer pictures have Henry’s on the Beach (since gone) in the background.  She took it on our point and shoot, automatic Nikon camera.

Every year since she took that photo, my mom tries to recreate that shot. In fifteen years since the original photo, she has only been successful twice.  Now in the days of iPhones, she can take the shot as many times as she wants, until she is satisfied. Of course, both Michael and I have to be in the mood to cooperate – a difficult task.

Once we were old enough to cooperate, it meant we were old enough to be uncooperative.  Especially in our teenager stage, where any request from our parents was met with an astounding “no way.”

2003 was the first year my mom tried to take the photo again.  I was ten and Michael was five, so we were a little more agreeable. We must have been goofing off before she took the picture, because we both have silly expressions on our faces. She took the photo during the day, not totally recreating the original nighttime shot, and there is more of the boardwalk visible than in the original picture.

2003 retake.

2003 retake.

The most recent time she almost successfully recreated the shot was in 2009, I was sixteen and Michael eleven. The shot was taken around the same time at night as the original shot, but it is not in the same spot. The retake is posed, which just does not have the same je ne sais quoi as the original shot.

2009 retake.

2009 retake.

Fast forward to present day, 2015. I am twenty-one and Michael is sixteen, and all attempts to recreate the shot are even more difficult than before. No one wants to cooperate with my mom. So I took Michael to the boardwalk for a funnel cake, and very kindly asked if we could take a selfie of mom’s favorite shot, to update it – and to my surprise, he agreed! Mom did not even need to be involved in this retake (thanks to the popular iPhone selfie) – kind of an ode to how much things have changed in fifteen years.

2015, a selfie.

2015, a selfie.

I think the great thing about the original photo, is every time my family looks at it, we smile. It was one of those photographs that you cannot help but love. It not only captured the moment at the time, but kept that memory alive fifteen years later.

It does not take much to get a photo that will continue to be talked about many years later. It was a simple shot that is not perfect and is slightly blurry. In the days of iPhones and digital cameras, we strive to take the perfect shot, over and over again. But there is something charismatic about a photo that only got one chance to come out right.

It might not be the best photo, but it is perfect to my family because the memory lives on a decade and a half later.

Connect with Rachel on Twitter @capemayrachel.

Forever Young at the Arcade

Rarely does it ever happen that there’s a place where people of all ages are able to have an equally enjoyable time. If you take a five year old out to bar, which I highly recommend avoiding, he or she is more than likely to be crying the whole time. Likewise, if adults sit in Chuck-e-cheese’s for three hours, they’re probably also crying (and looking for a bar). And that’s where the beauty of the arcade comes it. Kids, adults, and teenagers alike enjoy the arcade.

Growing up in Cape May, I couldn’t tell you the hundreds of dollars in quarters that my family has spent there over the years. “Just one more dollar!” I would always ask, which led to another, and another, and before you know it, it was ten dollars instead of “just one more”. I guess you could say that I had a specialty when it came to working my parents for spare change. It’s a good trait to have; I still use it from time to time.


As a child, I was absolutely obsessed with the arcade, wanting to go at least once a week. My favorite game consisted of a spinning wheel where you had to slide the quarters in a small slot at just the right moment in order to get any tickets and, by the time I was ten, I had it down to a science. But as I reached my early tweens, I was embarrassed to go to the arcade for fear of being seen in public with my parents. At the time, that was lame. So I would casually stroll away from them and start playing a game on the other side of the arcade, because for whatever reason I thought playing a game all alone made me look so much cooler?

Currently long over my worries of being seen at the arcade, I dash there whenever I get the chance so that I can take pictures in the photo booth with my friends. My walls are lined with countless shots of two, three, and even five of us crammed in to the little booth as the automatic voice says, “Smile for the camera!” The best part about the arcade is the youth that it revives. Surrounded by young kids, I’m reminded of my earlier, carefree years. The joyful smiles on their faces inspire me to appreciate the simple things, like winning five tickets from ski ball or even getting a bouncy ball as a prize. The flashing lights, ringing laughter, and continuous smiles fill my childhood memories of the arcade, and I’m sure there are many more memories yet to be made. Regardless of how old we are, the arcade brings out the inner kid in all of us.