Rye Playland Acrade

By Gallatinfly

March 19, 2022

This story got featured & frontpaged on April 01, 2022


60 days ago

My first pinball experience was in August of 1976.  My older siblings would swim in the “Counties” swim meet at Rye Playland.   There were hundreds of people competing and the races went on for days. During the long breaks between family members and friends competing, my older brothers would take me away from the boredom.  One afternoon they provided me with a life changing experience.  They walked me past the pool, through the Art Deco towers, down the stairs and to the boardwalk.  A couple hundred feet down on the left was the arcade. For anyone not familiar with the Playland Boardwalk its where the scene with Zoltar from the movie Big was filmed.  The arcade there had various games from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.  Pins, crane games, shooting games, skee ball, you name it.  The sounds oozing out of the arcade doors on a summer night, coupled with the smell of the beach and the scents of popcorn and cotton candy were truly magical to a nine year old.  

My family competed in the “Counties” swim meet for several more years.  So every August a visit to the arcade was guaranteed.  As I got older, my mom would let me walk to the arcade alone.   But that would not happen without her first spending a couple of minutes digging through the bottom of her purse looking for a few quarters.  To this day, whenever I hear an old EM game, in my mind it instantly transports me back to that location 45+ years ago. 

On a separate note, it was sometime in the 1990's I found a picture of my mom, her sister and her parents (both of whom died long before I was born) at the beach.  It was around 1938 and I recognized the architecture behind them.  I asked my mom where it was taken and she said Rye Playland.  The really amazing part was they were just below the boardwalk, in front of the arcade I would discover almost 40 years later

Fast forward a couple of years and for Christmas when I was 11 my parents had a 1/2 scale pinball set up in our living room.  I had an interest in flying at an early age so it seemed fitting the game was called Flying Aces (I actually followed my passion and found a career in aviation.  My profile picture for anyone with a keen eye is a P-51 Mustang in the colors of top Mustang Ace George Preddy).  I thought the game was for one of my four older brothers, but was head over heels when I found out it was for me.  The game was huge hit with all my friends as well as my mom - she worked the overnight shift as a nurse and would always play a game or two when she got home before going to bed.  Time passed, I graduate high school, went on to college and the game eventually went into storage and was stil there 25 years later.  

Shortly after getting married 7 years ago, my wife saw it and asked that I clean it up so we could play it.  It only took one game and she was hooked.  Not long after that she suggested we buy a real pinball (Black Rose)…so we did.  As soon as we had Black Rose she said “you know what would look good next to that?... Another pinball”.  No doubt I married the right woman.  The best part of it all, we have a hobby which we both love and it’s still a huge hit with our family and friends.  

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Comments

43 days ago

Great article. I used to live in 8 mins drive from Playland from '75 to the '85. We started going there fairly regularly in about '77 when I was 6. I was at the age the videogames were here and growing. Seawolf, Sprint 2, etc, but it was all about the Atari VCS. I remember, I wasn't inspired, nor like many younger kids, any good at, pinball. I did however love the rifle games at Playland which were becoming rarer and rarer. Was such a great little park to live so close to. It was until some 30 years later that I thought 'a' pinball would be a nice addition to my newly built gamesroom. I played my first 90's titles at a pinball shop and was hooked.

39 days ago

You're lucky. My wife HATES pinball.

39 days ago

That’s cool you lived so close. It really was a great park. I loved it at the time but didn’t have the presence of mind to realize what a link it was to the old parks from the golden age of amusements. I always loved the rifle games. Going to the shooting gallery (I think it was called Bonanza) at Playland was a blast, still remember shooting at the piano player. I was sad to see it’s no longer around. I would love to get a rifle game but the basement isn’t that large and pinballs currently occupy the prime real estate, maybe one day there will be one.

38 days ago

My wife grew up in Rye. The beach and boardwalk are so iconic. I wish I could have experienced it in it's heyday. A few years ago I had an artist paint a Playland sign for our game room as a nice way to honor that connection.

38 days ago

The beach and boardwalk are so iconic. The crescent shape of the boardwalk is great, it lets you look back at the old arcade area and towers from the point. Nice touch with the Playland sign.

12 days ago

For those that don't already know, the Playland is undergoing a multi-year construction project that will end up costing about $250,000,000. Instead of opting for a new look, the Westchester County decided to keep the historic look of the park. I was recently given a tour of the construction site and it was amazing. Of course its only the first year of several years of construction so there are only about 6 new buildings ready to go this season: 3 bathroom buildings, the expanded pool building and a couple of games buildings. Some of the art deco towers were also rebuilt along with new huge shiny copper roofs on the buildings that flank the entrance between the pool and the ice casino. Can't wait to go there with my kids, hopefully the new arcade will have a few pinball machines.

11 days ago

So glad they’re not only preserving, but restoring the buildings. It’ll look awesome when it’s done. There are only a handful of places like that in the country Playland opened in 1928, right around the same time pinball started, they just seem to go hand in hand.

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