Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Save Rye Playland!

Back in 2011, while sweeping through the East Coast for my book, "The Cotton Candy Road Trip", I fell in love with Rye.  I hadn't known much about it prior to my visit, except that:

1.  It's government-owned.
2.  It had a "Mad Men" connection: Don Draper's ex, Betty, and her new husband, move the family to Rye.  They tell their daughter that she'll be near Rye Playland.

But when I toured the park, took in the incredibly rare rides, kicked back at the tiki bar, and tackled their classic spook houses with my eyes open (a first for me!), I became a Rye Playland fan for life.

So it greatly pains me to report that the park is in peril.  And, from what I'm reading and learning, it's all about money and land and politics. Nasty politics.  Add to that the fact that Hurricane Sandy ripped up its boardwalk (and the aforementioned tiki bar), and you've got a gorgeous vintage park whose future is a huge question mark.

I follow the news about this drama on the Facebook page, Save Rye Playland.  Plans are to open the park as usual in the Spring.  But, if you're a fan of Rye Playland, or are a champion of vintage parks and nostalgia in any sense, it's worth your while to visit the Facebook page and learn more, perhaps sign a petition to help keep the park a treasure (, or if you live in the region, get involved in-person:

Save Rye Playland Facebook Page:

Rye Playland Facebook Page:

The day I became a Rye Playland fan for life.

  (You can read more about my adventure and eurekas in my book, of course:

Friday, February 15, 2013

Keansburg Amusement Park springs back by Spring!!!/video/clearchannel/Sandy-Revisited/190135491

If you want to be inspired, take a look at this video about how the Jersey shore is bouncing back from Hurricane Sandy.  It's a slow task, to be sure, but folks like the owner of Keansburg is determined to have the century-old park back up and running in a matter of months!

I visited Keansburg in 2011 and was delighted to thrill to what's considered to be the country's oldest spook house - I even got a look "backstage" to see how the ride's mechanisms work.  Although watching this video, and seeing the ride in a state of disrepair saddened me, the hopefulness and pluck of Mr. Gelhaus makes me certain that the spooks will live to see another day - so to speak.