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Nina In New York: Playland Lives!

Rockland County Executive Robert Astorino signs a letter of intent for 10-year-deal to reinvent Rye Playland on Oct. 11, 2012. (credit: Paul Murnane/WCBS 880)

Rockland County Executive Robert Astorino signs a letter of intent for 10-year-deal to reinvent Rye Playland on Oct. 11, 2012. (credit: Paul Murnane/WCBS 880)

A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York.
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By Nina Pajak

There’s good news and bad news.

The bad news first, though it should come as no surprise. Rye Playland—as we know it—will be no longer. The beloved park has been hemorrhaging money for too long, and the county and its taxpayers can no longer support it financially without some serious damage control. Gone are many of the rides, though since my last piece on the subject this summer, I’ve been told that gone are many of the rides I remembered from my childhood anyway. The historic ones will remain, of course. Let’s not be too hasty. I mean, you don’t just go and destroy a Dragon Coaster because you’ve hit hard times. The carousel and Kiddyland rides will also be left intact, but I’m not sure what this means for the Pirate Ship. I really don’t.

Rye Playland is seen from Chopper 880 (credit: Tom Kaminski / WCBS 880)

Rye Playland is seen from Chopper 880 (credit: Tom Kaminski / WCBS 880)

Here’s the good news: We’re getting a brand new Rye Playland! Sort of. Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino has signed on with Sustainable Playland, a company which promises to overhaul the park with promises of more green space and a more developed waterfront. Here’s the list of ideas, via Patch. Let’s go through this point-by-point (it’s okay, there are only four).

More From Nina: Save Rye Playland!

1. Aqua Zone, with a mini water park and beach attractions. I have mixed feelings about this. The feelings are: excitement, trepidation, and fear of cooties (that’s a feeling, trust me). On the one hand, water parks can be totally awesome. What’s better than a water slide on a hot summer day? On the other hand, water parks can also be totally filthy and revolting, given the deadly combination of lots of children and pools of water. You can’t half-ass a water park when it comes to sanitation standards. Let’s hope they’re not launching this with an eye towards running things on the cheap. While I love Rye Playland for everything that it is and isn’t, I don’t think anyone has ever accused it of being the cleanest amusement park they’ve ever been to. This ain’t Disneyworld.

2. Outdoor ball fields and a field house with indoor facilities. Excellent idea. Can be used by schools and intramural leagues and summer camps alike. I’m not sure what this means for the shooting gallery or the fun and games area, but you can’t stand in the way of progress.

3. A renovation of the Playland ice rink and a new, outdoor winter ice rink. Ice skating never goes out of style. And outdoor ice skating sounds so wholesome and old-fashioned, mostly because I think there did used to be an outdoor ice rink at Rye Playland, when my father was a kid. I don’t think it, I know it, because every single time he took us or dropped us off at Rye Playland throughout my life, he’d tell me that he broke his arm at the outdoor ice rink at Rye Playland. Again, and again, and again. I look forward to hearing the story yet again when the ribbon is cut on this new rink.

4. A Great Lawn, with sweeping views of the Long Island Sound that can be used for a variety of events, such as graduations, concerts and corporate-sponsored events. This is terrific, as long as the concerts are of at least a slightly higher caliber than the ones typically on the events schedule. I mean, Diggy Simmons and the OMG Girlz sound great and all, but I think we can do even better, and appeal to people old enough to afford their own concessions. Let’s think big!

While I mourn what will be lost, I’m relieved to know that Playland will not be disappearing from the map anytime soon. As long as my children and grandchildren can find a reason to throw up in a garbage can there at least once or twice in the course of their young lives, I’ll feel satisfied. Let’s just hope they don’t do it in the wave pool.

What do you think of the potential plans for Playland? Will you miss the old park?