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Playland Amusement Park opens Saturday; ticket prices rise

The Journal News

Original Article »

May 11, 2011

While the historic Playland Amusement Park is nearing a crossroads, visitors will see only minor changes when it opens Saturday for its 83rd season, ushering in the unofficial start of summer in the Lower Hudson Valley.

The park, owned and operated by Westchester County, will return to a noon opening time, after trying a 1 p.m. opening last year.

"After reviewing it, (we decided) you need that extra hour to get the day started," said Peter Tartaglia, director of marketing for Westchester County.

He said the park will open at 11 a.m. on select days to accommodate day camp visits.

Some of the admission prices will also be increased, Tartaglia said. For example, a season pass that allows access to all rides will be $80 for Westchester residents and $95 for those outside the county. Last year, Westchester residents paid $65 and others paid $80.

There also will be a different outdoor seating arrangement for the Pier Restaurant & Tiki Bar — a source of neighbors' noise complaints last summer. Last year, a construction project on Playland's popular seawalk pier forced visitors to walk between Tiki Bar tables, but now that the Seawalk project is completed pedestrians have a clear path past the establishment.

This could be the last summer for the park under the current business model.

County Executive Rob Astorino has sought business proposals to cut down on the park's losses, which are estimated to be in the millions. Eleven plans were submitted; a committee appointed by Astorino will review the plans through the summer and make recommendations to the county.

Though some of the plans are drastic — such as constructing an air dome or multilevel field house — others seem to be drawing wide support, including building the Westchester Children's Museum at the North Bathhouse and switching to year-round operations at the currently seasonal property.

For residents who've just endured the frigid winter, this summer's Playland opening can't come soon enough.

Marie Moriarity of West Haverstraw got a head start on the season Tuesday when she came to the picturesque park with her son Michael, 9, to enjoy the lovely spring day.

"I just wanted to come out and take some pictures and get a feel for the nice weather," she said.

Moriarity said she usually comes to Playland two or three times a year with her family — not enough to buy a season pass, but enough to keep her family's tradition alive.

"I've been coming here since I was a kid," said Moriarity, who is also the mom of 18- and 21-year-olds.

Sometimes, she takes the family down to Six Flags in New Jersey, but she said the trek to Rye is easier — and much more affordable.

"It's nice when you can go somewhere not far from here, reasonably priced and you can go and spend the day," she said. "That's one of the things I like about this place."


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