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There Was Once An Amusement Park Here: The Long Gone Amusement Parks of New York City

billymach4

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Earlier this year four kiddie rides were added next to the Carousel in Flushing Meadows Park, creating the new amusement park called Fantasy Forest. The press touted this as the first amusement park in Queens in nearly 30 years. That was not exactly true. There was another Playland in Queens that would remain open until the late 90s. Has it really been that long since Rockaway Playland closed? Queens was once the home of many many amusement parks. But then they all disappeared. Two generations grew up without them, having to settle for video games. And not just in Queens. The Bronx has not seen amusements in ages. Staten Island lost it's last amusement park in 2004, now a decade ago. The urban amusement park has become an endangered species. But not because Americans lost their taste for amusements. In fact, even as the urban amusement park went into decline, great big multimillion dollar theme parks built by the likes of Disney and Six Flags turned record profits. People are willing to travel cross state, even cross country, and pay a $30 or higher admittance fee, just to be in an overcrowded theme park with hour long lines on most of the attractions. The urban amusement parks offered something, maybe less thrilling in concept, but far less expensive, far less crowded, just as fun and just a few minutes drive away.

http://hubpages.com/sports/therewasonceanamusementparkhere


With the rise in popularity of the automobile came a new breed of amusement park. The roadside attraction. While the first amusement parks were built as destinations, the roadside attraction was designed to be a stop during the journey. For example, the amusement parks of Coney Island were built to take advantage of the crowds visiting the beach. In contrast, a roadside amusement park was designed to be spotted by the children of motorists while they were on their way somewhere else. In New York the trend began with amusement entrepreneur William Nunley who in 1939 co-owned the carousel that operated in the Golden City amusement park. When Robert Moses began eminent domain proceedings against the park, Nunley had the carousel and it's building moved to the town of Baldwin in Long Island. Nunely wanted to take advantage of the Sunrise Highway, a busy road used by thousands of motorists. His carousel was built adjoining a restaurant, with the idea that families looking for a place to eat would chose the one with an attached ride for the kids. The building expanded to include an arcade, and more amusements were added to an adjoining lot which was dubbed Happyland.

http://hubpages.com/sports/There-Wa...I-New-York-Citys-Lost-50s-Era-Amusement-Parks
 
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billymach4

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New York City's One And Only Disneyland Sized Theme Park

One question that has been frequently asked was "Why has Disney never built one of their Disneyland parks in New York City?". To date, Disney has theme parks in California, Florida, Tokyo, Paris, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. So why not one in New York? Perhaps an even bigger question, why aren't there any theme parks in or around New York City? Perhaps the answer is that a theme park has been built in New York City, and it was a spectacular failure. Any company, be they Disney or Six Flags or anyone else, would think twice about investing in New York City after the financial disaster that was Freedomland U.S.A.


http://hubpages.com/sports/There-Wa...itys-One-And-Only-Disneyland-Sized-Theme-Park


In the 1950s Moses came up with another scheme to finance his park. The city would finance the development of the Northern fairgrounds in conjunction with the building of a major city owned sports stadium in Willet's Point. But the stadium would not be built unless one of New York City's three major league baseball teams agreed to lease it. The Yankee's were satisfied with their stadium in the Bronx, but both the Giants and Dodgers were looking to move to larger stadiums. Both refused to move their teams to Flushing, preferring to stay in their home boroughs near their fans. For the rest of the decade Moses used his power to prevent the owners of both teams from building new stadiums in an attempt to force them to accept the Flushing offer. This ended up backfiring when both teams ended up leaving New York for California. When the Mets agreed to move their team to Flushing a few years later the city had downgraded development plans for just the stadium and a large surrounding parking lot.
 
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billymach4

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NYC history above

For anyone familiar with the development of NY in the mid 20th century there is always one villainous character that plays into every real life story.

Robert Moses. He was never an elected official, yet he wielded so much power and direction over the politicians. One of his major blunders was the loss of 2 major league baseball teams in the 50's.
 

jackio

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Wow, great article! Thank you. Out here on Long Island we still have Adventureland, one of those roadside amusement parks the article talks about. It has been operating as long as I can remember.
 

northovr

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Coney Island is in NY, NY now run by Zamperla an Italian ride manufacture. They just added a good size steel rollercoaster Thunderbolt. Plus within a hour drive is Six Flags Great Adventure and Dorney Park.

kind regards,
DAniel
 
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