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Rye Playland Discussion Thread

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  • 2 months later...

Is Donald Trump interested in Playland Park?


Is Donald Trump keen on making Rye Playland his next undertaking? According to LoHud, execs from his company dropped by this week to get briefed on Westchester County's bid to reinvent the 100-acre amusement park/landmark.


Trump isn't commenting, and Westchester County officials say his company was there alongside many others (including Live Nation); as of now, no official proposals have been made.


The 82-year-old park has been on a downward spiral for decades, and they're seeking "visionary" proposals to get it back on top of its game. New ideas are expected to be presented when proposals are due in February. Will The Donald try to change the name to Trump Playland?

Edited by larrygator
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  • 2 months later...

A public hearing was held Monday night regarding the future of Playland


The latest news on Rye Playland


About 100 people attended a public forum Monday night to share disparate views about what Playland should become—from maintaining it as an amusement park to making it a sustainable space that allows for educational and recreational uses.


The forum took place as part of a regular meeting for Rye’s Playland Strategic Planning Committee, a city committee that is hoping to have input in Westchester County’s future plans for the government-owned park.


Sustainable Playland, a newly-formed non-profit organization spearheaded by Rye residents Dhruv Narain, his wife Sandhya Subbarao, and Peter Rukeyser, presented its concept plan for the future of Playland at Monday’s meeting.


Subbarao said the group’s goal is a community-based response to the county’s request for proposals (RFP). The county issued the RFP last year to solicit opinions about what to do with the park, which reportedly loses $5 to 6 million annually.


Subbarao said the group would like to see a plan for Playland that includes recreational and educational uses and arts and cultural facilities. The group also may advocate maintaining some iconic elements of the amusement park, such as the Dragon Coaster and ferris wheel.


“It’s time for us to take a stewardship role in managing our public resources,” she said.


The group’s plan emphasized sustainability, more green and open space, and increased public access to the Long Island Sound shoreline. It hopes Playland will exemplify a public-private partnership in the same vein as Central Park in New York City.


Douglas McKean, another member of the group and a well-known architect who was involved in restoration of Grand Central, said Sustainable Playland’s plan also makes room for the Westchester Children’s Museum, which could open in late 2011 if county legislators approve its lease at Playland’s historic bathhouses.


McKean, a third generation Rye resident who grew up blocks from the park, said “there’s been a lot of kicking the can down the road” in regards to Playland. McKean did his 1979 master’s thesis on the reinvention of Playland, creating a plan that retained the park’s historic buildings while also being mindful of environmental and wildlife issues. He said the county hasn’t created a model to utilize the park to its fullest potential.


While Sustainable Playland had support from many who attended Monday’s meeting, several other people argued that the group shouldn’t just promote “sustainability for sustainability’s sake.” Others also argued the group should avoid the appearance of being elitist, because what happens at Playland will affect residents throughout the county, not just in Rye. Some also said that economics should play a role in future plans because Playland is the largest source of jobs for the county’s youth.


“We need to focus on the best use of this land for the county. I don’t think the amusement aspect satisfies that requirement,” said Rye resident Joanne Fairchild.


Carolyn Cunningham, a former City Council member, said that Playland should be preserved as a public park.


“This is the most important piece of open space along the Long Island Sound. Playland is absolutely one of the most important features of Rye,” Cunningham said, “Public parkland is the highest and best use” for the park, she added.


Many said they did not want to see a 30-story office tower or other commercial development such as a casino or condo complex at the park. However, some said economic factors such as job creation should be a key consideration. The park employs 1,200 people throughout the year, according to Charles Dorn, chair of the Playland Strategic Planning Committee.


“Playland means a lot to kids who find summer employment there and that goes back into the local economy,” said Rye resident Brooke Packard.


Heather Patterson, an artist who held the first annual Boardwalk Arts and Music Festival at Playland, argued that the park should be preserved in its current form. She said the county has done little to properly market the park and ensure that it makes money.


She said Playland needs to model itself after Disneyland, and she encouraged people to think of ways to generate revenue without changing Playland.


“This park is such a nostalgic thing for so many people—not just Rye people, but all over the county and the world,” she said.


Rye resident Anne McCarthy said that people have falsely bought into the county’s notion that public parks should make money. She said many Rye residents are calling for the preservation of the park and renovation of the pools, so that the community can better utilize Playland.


“We’ve all bought the theory that Playland is a financial burden. It’s not,” she said. “There are people in Rye who want to see the park preserved for county use.”


Some people at Monday’s meeting agreed with McCarthy, disputing the idea that the park even loses the $5-6 million annually the county claims it does. County Legislator Judy Myers said Playland and the County Center are the only two county entities that have to account for debt in their operating budgets, so that debt accounts for part of annual losses. Playland currently has more than $3.5 million in debt reflected on its balance sheets.


However, at $27 million, Playland currently has a huge economic impact on the county, drawing visitors that spend money at businesses in and around Rye. Myers said Playland makes more revenue than any park in Westchester County, but it also costs more money to run the park than it generates in revenue.


She said the majority of the 17-member Westchester County Board of Legislators would like to keep the park as a public resource for all county residents, and that it would be very difficult for a huge commercial development to be built at Playland because it would require county and state approval. Myers said public input from Rye residents will weigh heavily in discussions about the future of the park.


“What Rye wants is going to drive a great deal of decision-making,” she said.


The county’s RFP process ends on March 10. It has not given a timeline for when it will choose a particular proposal, but Dorn, the committee chair, suggested the process could take at least six months.


Sustainable Playland said it plans to submit a proposal to the county, and if it is accepted the group plans to work with both public and private entities to implement and fund the project.


McKean said the group’s plans for Playland are not “Rye-centric” and that economic sustainability and maintaining jobs are important to the organization. Sustainable Playland said it will cost $150,000 to respond to the county’s RFP because it has to hire consultants to put together a credible proposal. It is tentatively planning to hold a fundraiser on March 4 and will hold a walkthrough of the park on Jan. 22 to show residents what it envisions for Playland.


“Our plan is to reinvent the park in a fiscally responsible way,” Dreyseker said.


At the Feb. 9 City Council meeting, the Playland Strategic Planning Committee will present a broad overview of what the community would like to see happen at Playland.


At its March 2 meeting, the City Council will pass a resolution that includes both public and city input about future plans for the park. The city will then submit a list of recommendations to the county based on the resolution.

Edited by larrygator
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  • 2 months later...

Zamperla's Central Amusement Industries one of eleven bidders to operate and re-invent Rye Playland.




Central Amusements International is one of 11 companies that have submitted proposals to "reinvent" the historic Rye Playland Amusement Park in Westchester County, N.Y.


CAI is the park operations affiliate of Zamperla Inc., one of the world's largest designers and manufacturers of amusement park rides. The company's Zamperla USA division is based on Fanny Road.


Last year, CAI spent nearly $30 million to lease and operate Luna Park in New York's Coney Island, revitalizing the historic amusement area there with several new rides and attractions from Zamperla.


The 289-acre park in Rye, N.Y., which opened in 1928 and is designated as a National Historic Landmark, is owned by Westchester County and is the only government-run amusement park in the United States. It began accepting proposals last year from companies to help make the park profitable. The concepts included adding new attractions, improving rides, adding indoor and outdoor ballfields and building an education-science center on the grounds.


"The level of interest in Playland and its future is impressive," Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino said in a statement announcing the proposals. "We now look to our citizens committee for its input."


Though the county would not release specific ideas or financial information because of legal and proprietary reasons, some responses address the entire property while others focus exclusively on the amusement park, boardwalk or the ice casino, county officials said.


A newly created citizens committee will assess each proposal based on five criteria including its economic viability, impact on environment, entertainment value and experience of the developer. The 19-member group is expected to meet in April. The park is scheduled to open for the season in May.


The submitted proposals included one from the State Fair Group of Belleville.


Astorino has long said taxpayers cannot continue to subsidize the park, which he has said continues to lose millions of dollars annually. The hope is that one of these ideas, or a combination, will attract more people and help offset some of the $4 million the park has been losing in recent years, Astorino has said.


Though the county does not have to accept any proposal, the county executive hopes to move on any concepts by November and start negotiations with one of the groups. It would then take several years to implement.


The park has 50 rides, including the famous Dragon Coaster, Derby Racer and Log Flume.


Zamperla USA officials did not return a call seeking comments for this story.

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^Wha...no dueling Volares??


Seriously, I like the sounds of this versus turning it into a public park. We have a NY public park on Chautauqua Lake here (Celeron Park - near where I live) that used to be one of the old trolley amusement parks. They had a couple hotels, dance halls, restaurants, etc...as well as a roller coaster, ferris wheel, water swing and several amusements/shows until it closed in the 50's or 60's.


While the park now has a ball field where local kids play, there are rarely people there and it's a tad run down - definitely not a money-maker or something that would draw anyone from outside the area. There are not a lot of events other than a rib fest we went to last year, which really wasn't very good. This is Lucille Ball's hometown and I believe she used to frequent the park when she was young


It's sad to think that Rye Playland could end up like Celeron Park. I was able to dig up a cool video from You Tube showing the old park in it's heyday, although it doesn't show the roller coaster. The current park is shown first and then photos and post-cards from the old park. Of note, the lighthouse is still there, but the video is from 1991 - I think it now needs some work. They definitely make it look a lot nicer in the video than it really is.


Sure wish I could have seen this park in it's heyday! Let's hope when I'm 60, I'm not watching a video like this saying "I remember when I visited Rye Playland and got my ass beat by a Volare roller coaster....yep, believe it, you whippersnappers!"


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My thought on Rye's Playland...


If Green Bay can do it, and other cities can do it, why can't they do it there?


Hell, Green Bay is BUILDING a coaster to bring people to the city's parks.


In all reality- I have to question how the park is such a liability unless they're not doing something right- such as pricing, etc. A coaster is a great gem to have, and yes, over the past few years the park has become a bit dated- but some TLC and some faith in the park might be a good thing...


So long as they don't add a Pony Distress or a Volare.



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I wish I had linked the article I read about a month ago. It went into detail how Rye Playland could easily make money if run properly and reasonable relief on their debt load. Similar to how Six Flags new management is expected to be prosperous this year without the burden of huge debt after bankruptcy protection.

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Glad the park is apparently safe for this season. I think I'll try to make a visit.


Me to. This is one park I have been dying to check out. I hear they have some great dark rides.


And the best Whip and Derby Racer I've been on, plus a credit that eats you! It's really a park where you can have a lot of fun doing things you can't do elsewhere, as long as you don't believe every park in the world needs to be "Disney quality."


Here's to it being saved, but if not I may attempt to make another visit this year.

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Playland is actually my home park. The Dragon Coaster was my first big roller coaster and the kiddy coaster was my first roller coaster period. I'm sure just about everyone who grew up in the Putnam / Dutchess / Westchester areas can say the same. I do think that pricing is an issue... they charge $30.00 for one day and their ride collection isn't that great. The Wild Mouse is forgettable, the Dragon coaster is ruined by it's trains, the Flying coaster is obviously terrible and that's it for the coasters. I like the park but they price themselves like a great thrill park yet offer mediocre thrill rides.


It's a nice family park, and they should price themselves as such. This is not the park that we grew up with where the whole family could go and spend the day... maybe ride a few rides and not spend too much money. They've priced families out and it's sad because almost every Westchester family has great memories of Playland.


I don't pretend to know how to run an amusement park, and even if they do lower prices and switch back to a ticket / fun card system it may not be enough to make the park profitable but if they made it accessible to families again then I don't think many people would care about having to subsidize it. It's a historical treasure and it's a huge part of the culture of Westchester county. I haven't heard anyone complain about subsidizing it (We've been doing that for YEARS) but I would hear a TON of people complain if they ever closed it.


Playland is a public park. Every other public park costs us money and nobody cares if they pull their own weight. Why does Playland have to? It only cost each Westchester Household $12.00 last year and I'm yet to hear anyone complain about it.

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  • 5 months later...
Muslims, police scuffle at Rye Playland over amusement park’s head scarf ban; 15 arrests made


Rye Playland was shut down Tuesday after cops scuffled with Muslims upset that women wearing head scarves were barred from the rides, witnesses said.


Fifteen people, including three women, were charged with disorderly conduct and assault in the chaos, authorities said.


The Westchester County park was packed with Muslims celebrating Eid-ul-Fitr - the holiday marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.


One woman, Entisai Ali, began arguing with cops over the amusement park's head scarf, or hijab, rule, said Dena Meawad, 18, of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.


The ban, which is not Muslim specific, was imposed about 3 years ago mostly to prevent hats from falling onto the tracks of roller coasters and other rides, park officials said.


"The cops started getting loud with her and she started getting loud, too. They pushed her on the ground and arrested her," Meawad said.


Her cousin, Kareem Meawad, 17, went to try to protect the woman and was beaten by cops and also arrested, she added. Her brother, Issam Meawad, 20, was pushed to the ground and taken into custody when he tried to help his cousin, she said.


"She just wanted to get on a ride. That was it," Dena Meawad said of the initial confrontation. "It's clear, this all happened because we're Muslim."


John Hodges, chief inspector of Westchester County Public Safety, insisted that police did not use excessive force.


He said up to 100 cops from surrounding departments converged on the park.


Two park rangers were injured in the melee, prompting felony assault charges against two people arrested, officials said.


The ugly incident happened just after 1 p.m. The event was organized by the Muslim American Society of New York, and attracted 3,000 Muslims from Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Westchester County.


Ali's sister, Ayman Alrabah, 24, of Brooklyn said her husband, brother and father were all tackled by cops and put into handcuffs when they tried to help her sister.


Alrabah said she was unaware of the head-scarf rule until she and her sister tried to get on the park's Dragon Coasters.


"We requested a refund and all of a sudden an argument became a riot," Alrabah said. "Cops came. They were hitting my brother, my dad. My husband was on the floor and they were handcuffing him.


She said her 4-year-old son was "traumatized" by seeing his father arrested.


"They treated us like animals, like we were nothing," Alrabah said. "They came with their dogs and sticks. We came to have fun."


'It's clear, this all happened because we're Muslim,' says Dena Meawad. (Norman Y. Lono for NY Daily News)


The park was closed for about two hours because of the fracas. It reopened at about 6 p.m.


Peter Tartaglia, deputy commissioner of Westchester County Parks, said the Muslim American Society of New York was warned in advance of the rule barring head scarves on rides for safety reasons.


"Part of our rules and regulations, which we painstakingly told them over and over again, is that certain rides you cannot wear any sort of headgear," Tartaglia said. "It's a safety issue for us on rides, it could become a projectile."


Many Muslims were given refunds as they left the park disappointed.


"In this heightened state of Islamaphobia, a woman wearing a hajib is an easy target these days," said Zead Ramadan, president of the Council on American-Islamic Relations - New York. "Unfortunately, this turned ugly due to a lot of miscommunication."




Thanks for the title change, Larry!

Edited by VinTheAttendant
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Whether this is the result of Islamophobia or higher safety standards in the wake of RoS, it doesnt matter either way. You do what the park says or you don't ride. No need to start mobbing with police and behaving like children. Lol I remember throwing tantrums when my parents wouldn't let me go on a ride when I was a kid.

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^ We don't allow them to wear their headgear in our jail.


But yeah, reading between the lines, they were told way ahead of time they couldn't do it, they tried it, they got caught, they started crap, it's almost like it was planned. I would hope that it wasn't, but I just get that feeling.


If this was in America, it would be all over CNN and other news talk shows not to mention a lawsuit would already have been filed.


I will edit this because I had my playlands all jacked up do to huffing Co2: I'm surprised its not all over CNN and that lawsuits haven't been filed yet.

Edited by chadster
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