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http://westchester.news12.com/news/westchester-sets-may-1-deadline-for-sustainable-playland-to-decide-on-future-of-playland-project-1.7762404

 

Westchester has set a deadline for May 1 for nonprofit Sustainable Playland to make a decision on the future of its project with the amusement park.

 

One of the main issues is who will take over as lead agency in the environmental review process. Both Westchester County and Rye are vying for the title, and new concerns from the city have brought the project to a standstill.

 

Sustainable Playland has spent the past three years and at least $600,000 to turn the park into a year-round attraction. The park is set to open on May 10.

 

Westchester County Board Chair Mike Kaplowitz and Sustainable Playground President Kim Morque will appear on this weekend's Newsmakers to discuss the issues surrounding the project.

 

 

Hope Zamperla will take over. They have park experience with Coney Island and Victorian Gardens and 3/5 of their coasters are Zamperla.

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Here's a dumb question -

 

Does anyone think that Sustainable Playland - as a concept - would work for a brand-new mixed-use development somewhere? A green park, entertainment district and sort of small amusement area with a several marquee attractions? I was thinking about this last night and I was wondering what the reaction would be if Sustainable Playland was announced as a brand new park instead of a "revitalization" of a historic one.

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Here's a dumb question -

 

Does anyone think that Sustainable Playland - as a concept - would work for a brand-new mixed-use development somewhere? A green park, entertainment district and sort of small amusement area with a several marquee attractions? I was thinking about this last night and I was wondering what the reaction would be if Sustainable Playland was announced as a brand new park instead of a "revitalization" of a historic one.

 

Fiesta Texas is essentially just that. Lots of the large housing developments (think: Del Webb) contain aquatics centers/water parks as part of the amenity package for buying in.

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What, you wouldn't be excited for a terrible 3-across Eurofighter ripoff from Zamperla?

 

I really don't care who comes in so long as not-crappy rides are built and crappy rides are removed.

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Consider visiting this park while being in New York next year - well if it still be around then.

 

From a tourists view I think Coney Island has by the better location - you just hop into the subway and you are spilled out nearly right into the fun zone. And while I like driving around the US countryside I prefer not to get lost inside the NYC traffic to visit this park. Taking the local commuter rail and then the local bus is something only enthusiasts would do. If a big operator would move in they should do a bus shuttle synchronized with train arrivals and departures.

 

And on first sight aside from the two woodies there is not much to keep me around except maybe the looping hammer. With friends one could do the water rides and ferris wheel - but they should get some modern rides to be competitive. I would say if Zamperla wants to move in this would not be the worse idea.

 

A question: How is thew area around the park? Are there some nice restaurants, etc. for tourists? Or rather an area better not to stay too long?

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While you bring up a good point, I think Playland is there to serve the Westchester county market more than the New York City market. They do advertise in New York City occasionally but their primary audience is from lower Westchester. I don't think Playland is trying to compete with thrill rides like Coney Island us, they're really trying to be a family park.

 

To answer your question about the area the park is in, here's the weird thing...

 

The park is relatively nice, but it doesn't attract the best people which really brings it down. While the park wants to attract people from the upscale areas of Westchester, what usually happens is that they attract school groups / teen groups from lower Westchester (places like Yonkers and Mt. Vernon) that aren't necessarily the nicest (though there are isolated, nice sections of both).

 

That being said, Rye is great besides the park. If you're looking for good restaurants I suggest either Seaside Johnnies which is just a short drive from the park or the Pier Restaurant Tiki Bar on the Playland boardwalk.

 

PS: As far as rides, the Old Mill and Derby Racer are can't-miss attractions. The log flume is probably the best ride in the park, though it's really just an average flume. There's really nothing special here, adults can't ride the wooden kiddie coaster and the mouse has a very low maximum height restriction. Just some things to keep in mind...

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^Thanks for the info...

 

But I guess if any major operator moves in they surely want to have the NYC market as it is quite close by - but maybe thats the reason they did not want Zamperla or Lego to move in, would surely destroy the "Park next door" feel sooner than later.

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From a tourists view I think Coney Island has by the better location - you just hop into the subway and you are spilled out nearly right into the fun zone. And while I like driving around the US countryside I prefer not to get lost inside the NYC traffic to visit this park. Taking the local commuter rail and then the local bus is something only enthusiasts would do. If a big operator would move in they should do a bus shuttle synchronized with train arrivals and departures.

 

Well, no one takes the bus to Rye. That's the thing - its really more a "community" park than it is some sort of widely drawing theme park. I don't think the local establishment really wants a company like LEGOLAND to come in and push it into being a major draw because being such a draw increases traffic, number of tourists, and makes their slice of heaven (Westchester County is a VERY expensive place to live) less appealing.

 

And on first sight aside from the two woodies there is not much to keep me around except maybe the looping hammer. With friends one could do the water rides and ferris wheel - but they should get some modern rides to be competitive. I would say if Zamperla wants to move in this would not be the worse idea.

 

As previously stated: you're only riding one of the wood coasters. The kiddie wood coaster only opens for the occasional coaster event, and unless ACE is doing something there (probably not), you can forget about that happening. The rides of note are:

 

-the dark rides - Old Mill had an extensive refurb and retheme by Sally around 2001 or so. There's also two classic dark rides (Witch's something or other and Zombie Castle, I think?) that are really excellent for what they are.

 

-Derby Racer. By far the fastest ride of this type among the three existing. The only one where attendants jump on and off the platform while it moves, too.

 

-Whip. Very good Whip ride.

 

The wood coaster is not terrible, but it also isn't good either. It has crappy Morgan trains, and practically no airtime. The real stars of the park are the architecture and the location on the beach. RE: Modern rides - they bought a bunch of stuff in the early 2000s. The problem was that management made exceptionally poor purchasing choices; the log flume was an independent concession (in spite of being a permanent ride) and they spent money on a Power Surge and the Wildwind coaster (abject failure) followed by the Volare.

 

A question: How is thew area around the park? Are there some nice restaurants, etc. for tourists? Or rather an area better not to stay too long?

 

The area is very nice and the surrounding neighborhoods are "upscale" by any western standard. I can't specifically give any suggestions for food, but I'm sure Yelp or Urbanspoon would do a very good job.

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its really more a "community" park than it is some sort of widely drawing theme park. I don't think the local establishment really wants a company like LEGOLAND to come in and push it into being a major draw because being such a draw increases traffic, number of tourists, and makes their slice of heaven (Westchester County is a VERY expensive place to live) less appealing.

 

Likely true. But I guess this is the dilemma this park is facing - I think there is some "Grow or Die"-Rule soemwhere in business...

 

Edit: How about turning this into a private park like Stricker's Grove - open to locals for a monthly fee and for Business events...

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Likely true. But I guess this is the dilemma this park is facing - I think there is some "Grow or Die"-Rule soemwhere in business...

 

That's part of the issue. It isn't a "business" so much as it is a public service. A service expected to break even, yeah, but a public service nonetheless.

 

Edit: How about turning this into a private park like Stricker's Grove - open to locals for a monthly fee and for Business events...

 

I just don't think the locals (who are typically NYC commuters with a lot of money) have any interest in that. The average household income in the area is $79,585 - that puts them inside the 50 most prosperous counties in the US out of over 3000. They're also surrounded by other high end municipalities: Putnam County, Rockland County, (New York) and Fairfield County (Connecticut) are all in the top 50 as well.

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I believe that the park is just wrong for the area. Westchester county is too rich for the park. Why would you take your family (which brings in a 6 digit salary) to a crappy, local amusement park when you go to Disney twice a year and do cruises each season? The stereotypical though of the park is that it is dirty, old, and dangerous.

 

It would also help if the park had some sort of marketing. I live an hour northeast of the park and many people (I'd say over 50% of the ones I ask) have never heard of Playland or haven't been their since their childhood.

 

If the park was virtually anywhere else in the country it'd do great.

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I don't agree with this at all.

 

While Westchester County has a higher average income per person than most counties in the U.S., the cost of living is astronomical so the majority of residents are far from rich.

 

In 2010, property taxes in Westchester were the highest in the country, with the average person paying $8,404. That's completely insane. Link. Many people live in Westchester because it's a necessity if you work in the city. Living on Long Island, in New Jersey or in Putnam / Fairfield / Dutchess / Rockland would lead to a horrible commute, taking 2-3 hours on some days EACH WAY. The average household income in Westchester is $80,297 which is actually lower than every other Northeastern county on that list I linked to earlier... but they pay the highest taxes. Before anyone jumps on me for talking about $80,297 like it's not a lot of money... let me explain why it's not when you live in Westchester.

 

According to these numbers, the average Westchester household brings in $80,297 per year before taxes. Once you add in state and federal taxes, almost $10,000 for property taxes, an average monthly housing cost of over $3,000 (including utilities and mortgage payments) Link which adds up to another $36,000 per year, more ridiculous taxes (like the MTA tax), obscene commuting costs where you're faced with the choice of either taking Metro North to NYC for hundreds of dollars per month and paying to park at the train station or paying to park in the city for an average of about $400 per month (and we didn't even get into the fact that Westchester has some of the highest gas prices in America). Oh... and don't forget tolls which range from $5 per day to almost $25 per day depending on what bridge you go over to get to Manhattan (unless you take the third avenue bridge... shhhhh).

 

Once you're done paying for all of that, Westchester residents on average aren't all that rich... and people are absolutely looking for a great bargain like Playland.

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I believe that the park is just wrong for the area. Westchester county is too rich for the park. Why would you take your family (which brings in a 6 digit salary) to a crappy, local amusement park when you go to Disney twice a year and do cruises each season? The stereotypical though of the park is that it is dirty, old, and dangerous.

I think that's why the Sustainable Playland idea - purely as a concept - MIGHT be a good idea. It would give residents of the community more reason to go to the park. You set up a sports field in the green space and, wham! The local little kids' soccer league now has a place to play games every Saturday, bringing more people to the park. Did your team win? Let's celebrate by buying everyone on the team tickets to the Dragon Coaster!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Opening Day Report: (no photos)

 

The crowd at 11 for opening ceremonies was dismal. 200 people, tops. Once the gate opened at 12 more people showed up. The Dragon was running great! Fast and smooth. Both trains were in operation. Station crew was OK. 2 thunderstorms (one at 3 and one at 5) really tested the park crew, but they did great! Once the rain ended everything was back up and running within 15 minutes. Crowds were a little light, but still strong for the crappy weather that was predicted.

 

Something is going on with Ye Old Mill. I checked it out and the tunnel had only a few inches of water. All the fire extinguishers were lined up at the front of the station instead of inside the ride. No idea what's happening, but it doesn't look like its a "quick fix" type of repair.

 

Ready for another great season!

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Glad to hear that the Dragon is running great with two trains. Last time I was there, it had just a one train operation and was painstakingly slow. That's weird on the Old Mill. Hopefully they were just rehabbing a few scenes or effects.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Ive lived in westchester my whole life. Rye is known as perhaps the most wealthy or at least one of the most wealthy community's in the county. Those that live in rye absolutely hate playland and do not have the few historically valuebel rides such as the whip carousel kiddie coaster. They just hate the crowd it attracts. If you've ever been to playland youd know that on most days the crowd is just horrendously rude sometimes which just makes me said. furthermore the whole westchester owning playland thing just nailed the coffin because they abously dont have any idea what there doing I mean honestly the whole situation right now makes me both sad and angry!

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  • 4 weeks later...

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/N/NY_PLAYLAND_NYOL-?SITE=NYMID&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

 

Westchester County is scrapping a broad plan to revitalize its money-losing Playland amusement park.

 

County Executive Rob Astorino announced Wednesday that a 2012 agreement with Sustainable Playland Inc. to reimagine and operate the park in the New York suburbs will be allowed to lapse.

 

Astorino had projected that a revamped park would make money after years of losses. SPI planned to make the Art Deco landmark more of a year-round attraction, adding athletic fields and a field house.

 

However, some politicians and some residents of Rye, where the park is located, bristled at SPI's plan. Some lawsuits were filed and more were threatened.

 

Astorino said he's hiring a consultant to analyze park operations and make recommendations. He has reached a separate agreement with an operator for the park's skating rink.

Edited by jedimaster1227
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I read that article and I think it's important to point out that the following is misleading at best and complete bull**** at worst.

 

Attendance has dropped from 1 million in 2005 to 390,000 last year.

 

Back in 2005, the park operated in a completely different way than it does now. Back then the park had at least 4 entrances and admission was free. Everyone that wanted to ride the rides had a fun card which they could keep as long as they wanted and re-charge at a kiosk. Now the park is gated and admission is required. All rides are free once you get in the park (a standard pay-one-price park).

 

This means a few different things, first of all... the guests they've lost probably didn't spend much money. They didn't ride rides, a lot of these guests were kids that spent little money and caused trouble which is probably the main reason they made the price pay-one-price... to eliminate people using the park as a free babysitter in an attempt to bring a more affluent crowd and eliminate some of the rowdy teens. Sure some other people were turned off by this policy (grandparents for example that wanted to watch their kids on the rides) but how much money were they really spending? This stat is very misleading.

 

Also... and this is even more important. It can't be stressed enough that they have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA how many people visited the park in 2005. They had at least 4 separate gates with no security points or turnstiles... any attendance figure they have is purely an estimate based on an average of what they think each guest spent or how many people are in each car that paid to park in the lot (which probably isn't how this was calculated since a lot of people are dropped off or take public transportation). They're making this number up... it's a load of crap. They have no way of knowing their attendance before 2009.

 

Also, the way they phrased this is very misleading and I think it was done deliberately to sensationalize the story. Saying that "Attendance has dropped from 1 million in 2005 to 390,000 last year." implies that this is a trend... in reality almost all of that loss was from 2008-2009 when they changed over to a pay-one price park and presumably actually started keeping track of attendance. They knew attendance would drop and spending per guest would go up... which is exactly what happened.

 

Playland has a lot of problems but these people are manipulating the numbers to make it look much worse than it really is. The fact that they have an operator for the Ice Casino is encouraging because they thing is responsible for a huge percentage of their losses. I'm glad they saw through Sustainable Playland's plan... hopefully they go with someone like Zamperla who has a history of turning parks around while preserving historical rides and attractions.

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I sort of wonder what would happen if Cedar Fair were to take over Rye Playland and operate it like Gilroy Gardens?

 

All rides get generic names like Flight Deck and Drop Tower.

 

In all seriousness, I was hoping for the Sustainable Playland plans to fall through. In the last bidding process Legoland and CAI Amusements (Zamperla) both pitched plans that focused on the rides and heritage of the park. Personally I think Legoland would be the most respectful to the park's heritage and bring in a more consistent crowd with its unique age appeal. That being said, CAI continues to prove with Coney Island that they know how to invest in a poorly operating space, make it new again and continue to invest beyond the initial start up.

 

I think either would make great operators for the park, so it will be interesting to see if either decides to throw their hat back into the ring for consideration now that the city is taking RFPs again.

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