Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Playland…Carrying the 4th Into the Mouth of the Dragon

You want how much?
Monday is the 4th of July!

And for any red blooded, apple pie eating patriotic American that means fireworks, BBQ's, Beaches and...for folks around here, a trip to Playland, now also known by outsiders as "Rye" Playland. 

I guess to distinguish it from all the other Playlands in the area.

Right now, this minute, this second… if you’d like to go to Playland, just to take stroll, eat a hot dog, drink a tasty beverage or watch your kids or grandkids throw up in a trash can, it will cost you…something…or it might not, depending on where you live….and what day it is. 

Right now, I think, the fees stand at $10 for non-county residents just to gain entrance to the park.
No rides, no games, no food…no “nothing”. And I believe “nothing” might cost you something as well…but only on Fireworks night, which are free…kind of.

A few minutes ago it was only $5, not $10, for the privilege, not to mention the insanity, of breaking your teeth on a candy apple; but as the saying goes he who hesitates is lost, or badly misdirected because he incorrectly programmed his GPS.

For a brief moment in time, it appeared as if you might be able to just walk into the place, for free, which I believe is as it should be…unless you’re from Greenwich or any of those other tony New England towns, in which case, if you should ever deign to be seen at Playland, you probably can afford to pay, not only for admission…but also for a guy from White Plains to program your GPS for you.

The truth is, no matter where we're from, most of us can afford to pay. But why should we? Especially if we're  Westchester County residents and already pay too much in County taxes on top of all the other taxes. And I think I heard they might impose a tax tax on our taxes...but I might have heard wrong.

If you ARE a County resident, the fees would be, depending on who bought the donuts at the last County Legislators meeting, either $5…or free…like I said, depending on the selection of legislative donuts that day.
In a nut shell – in a very small, peanut shell—the presumption is, at least in my interpretation, which is mostly Lithuanian— that this whole Playland fee issue is just another political ping pong ball between partisan Dems and partisan GOP’ers over, essentially, like I said…who gets to bring the donuts.    

Apparently without these entrance fees, County Republicans contend that Playland will have a budget short fall of approximately $377,000.00.  And I guess that’s nothing to sneeze at, unless your allergies are acting up as badly as mine this year.

And that’s on top of the 20 Gazillion dollars Playland apparently loses every year, as well.

But the thing I always wondered is…if Playland loses so much money every year…why is it CLOSED most every Monday, in a short 10-12 week season????

I mean, if you want to make a little more money, doesn’t it make a little bit of sense to be up and running every single summer day you can?  

But no…Monday is ghost day at Rye Playland!

Maybe I’m missing something.

Bottom line is this…if you grew up in Westchester, or the surrounding area, Playland is more than just a money making enterprise to you.

Playland is about memories. Like that special 4th of July sitting in the back of your dad’s old jalopy, windows open, gliding down the hill; wind brushing across your face, carrying the ubiquitous sound of the Kiddyland train whistle and bell into your little, manic, soon to be, sugar infused, kid brain. 

Your heart begins to race, as your excitement begins to build; the smell of popcorn, cotton candy, old man cigars and ponies wrap around your nose. 

A solitary rocket blossoms in the sky, testing the evening breeze, and you beg your mom, who’s counting out the coupons she scissored from the paper, to “Pleeeease, Hurry…we’re missing it!!!!”
You made a bet with your brother or sister, or cousin or best friend, that this was it...the year you would finally inch over the height line and take your first plunge down the Dragon Coaster’s stomach losing, endless drop; even dare to twist & turn, spinning upside down on “Over the Top” which may or may not have been used to train the astronauts.

That’s what Playland is…at least to me…and I’m betting, you. 
And, to your kids, and hopefully to your kid’s kids, as well. 

So what it costs us all a few more dollars on our taxes?  Don’t we pay more for so much less?   

So what if it’s just money down the Amusement drain.  Isn’t it money well spent?

My Garden Hose never makes a dime for me; and it literally "pours" money down the drain.

But I still use it. I still want it.  I still need it….

Still… I know…

The County never wastes money on anything that doesn’t make sense….


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