There are a few vintage items I have wished and longed for, for quite some time. To my surprise I made 2 of these long awaited fines while antiquing on a trip upstate When I first laid eyes on this rather odd piece of artwork(pictured above) I immediately recognized the females face as the same from the paintings in the amusement park I grew up going to since infancy. The antique owner was impressed that I had even recognized what it was and told me it came from Storytown founders, Charles Wood’s estate! Despite the weird albeit cool subject matter, I had to take it home with me as a sweet reminder of the other paintings that used to be throughout the park and served as inspiration for me for years.
I also picked this top hat off a very tall antique store cabinet, almost out of reach and barely visible. Although I never intend to wear it, as a huge Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers(2 of my cats are even named after them) its a rare piece of history and style that I only want to sit on my shelf! All the other top hats I have found throughout the years were $90+, in rougher shape and didn’t have the great texture this one has with the beaver fur. It just goes to show that if you keep an eye out you never know what you will discover!
I recently located these photos I took at The Magic Forest a few years back and noticed just how eery some of the characters look in Polaroid form!
This weeks adventure includes the return to the magical forest with my niece and nephew, Santa Claus, safari rides, cotton candy, teacup rides that leave me nauseous, Slush Puppies and playing in a little chapel in the woods.
A couple months ago I scored a great Groupon offer for Luna Park at Coney Island because I love a great discount and I wanted to visit with my boyfriend this Summer anyway. Things have been really busy lately and the Groupon was set to expire the day after the Mermaid parade so it seemed like the perfect time to take the trip out to Brooklyn. Unfortunately sleeping-in and traffic on Long Island kept me from seeing the actual parade but I still managed to see a mermaid or two and have a fun packed afternoon and evening of rides and great food.
As a dark ride enthusiast(AKA nerd) I think about dark rides a lot…even in my sleep. Dark rides and the ones I design in my dreams at night are some of the most vivid dreams I have ever had. So its no surprise that when I visited the Buffalo, NY area this summer that I decided to hop on the highway to Pennsylvania to once again ride one of my favorite ones, The Whacky Shack in Erie at Waldameer. I hadn’t been there since 2009 so I was due for a trip to escape reality for a fun filled 2 minute ride. Which really amounted to 2 minutes x10 because I rode it a bunch of times and it was worth every Waldameer point to be reunited with this slice of vintage, Bill Tracy ride heaven.
Earlier this month I had the pleasure of fulfilling a long-term dream/goal of mine of visiting The Magic Forest with my niece. I never went there when I was little because my parents always took my siblings and I to the bigger amusement park down the road, The Great Escape. Soon after my niece was born though I decided once she was of age we were going because I wanted her to have the pictures she should have on kitschy old vintage rides like we all had growing up(which The Great Escape no longer provides due to the Six Flags takeover of the park !#$@). And of course I wanted to see what vintage goodies they had for my own personal enjoyment so it was a win win! CAUTION! Image heavy post!
Oh how I am immensely inspired by Coney Island..
Whenever I ride the Cyclone I imagine all my ancestors riding the same coaster and think about how different the experience must have been for them. My favorite ride at Coney Island would have to be the Wonder Wheel. It’s beautifully romantic and it makes me scream like a little girl for my mama when on the NON-stationary car..its frightening don’t let its bright colors and beauty fool you..you spin around a bit at first, see a dog in the stationary car, check out the scenery and the beach. Then you are stopped in the middle, and then you move quickly as if you are going to blow off the side of the ride..yes its scary. I scream every time.
Freedomland is one of my favorite defunct vintage amusement parks. It celebrated the history of the United States and it was also home to my favorite dark ride growing up, The Tornado. The Tornado was open for many years at Great Escape, NY but then Six Flags decided to throw it out for an awful kiddie coaster. So while I never got to actually go to Freedomland(in this life) I got to see pieces of it growing up at Great Escape and I LOVED all of it.
Freedomland taught children about our country and allowed them to play and have fun in it, something that is missing from amusement parks today. I am always stunned when I am on line for a roller-coaster and a 6 year old is on the line in front of me. “When I was a kid”(which was sooo long ago) I went on children’s rides and was too scared and small to go on the big rides and found excitement in the ones I could ride. In honor of this Memorial Day holiday which is the weekend it probably would have opened for the season, let’s take a look back and imagine spending a summer afternoon at Freedomland..
In honor of the weather getting warmer, I wanted to dedicate a blog to the infamous Action Park that was in Vernon, New Jersey. I’m sure I saw this commercial on Nickelodeon in the 90’s:
We were really looking forward to this bigger and more well-known amusement park. I also kept in mind that Adventureland the movie based on the Long Island amusement park was mostly shot here and looked for places where they shot scenes of the movie. From the hotel we were staying at to West Mifflin, PA took hours driving along farmland, windy highways through mountains that scared me to hilly, city roads. When we finally arrived and parked, it was a hot sunny day and we were ready to have fun.
Garfield’s Nightmare (formerly The Old Mill) – This is the first ride we went on at Kennywood and was about the same quality of Six Flags job over in Jungleland in Great Escape. They took a fantastic looking historic dark-ride, took out all the charm and sets and put up enlarged, neon colored, comic-book pictures of Garfield that I could have printed at Kinko’s and slapped on some wood backing. That’s the ride. Oh and there’s I think one room where they actually constructed a Garfield structure and a lasagna or something…we were sure to look EXTRA bored during the photo-op on the ride in-case anyone scans through the photos for quality control.