Column: Playland, we had an agreement

Richard-MeccaThose of us who live in the vicinity of Playland have always had an unspoken agreement with our neighbor. We will put up with the noise, traffic and litter of the summer season and, in return, we enjoy the remaining seasons with the sleeping park. We know, come late spring, the weekend noise will begin.

Some years, Playland would open on the Sundays between Easter and Mayfair, the one-day fundraiser for the now defunct United Hospital in Port Chester where many of us with local roots were born.

If you say you were born in Rye, you must be at least 80 years old and born at home with Momma Cerace as the midwife. Legend has it Momma never lost a patient.

Mayfair was the unofficial weekend opening until Memorial Day weekend, when Playland opened weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. for school trips. By the end of the school year, Playland was in full operating mode.

Visiting guests often ask if living close to Playland is noisy. Yes it is, but the sounds are of happiness. When the wind is blowing off the Long Island Sound, you can hear the whistle of the Kiddyland train or the clack-clack, clack-clack …ahhhhhhh…from the Dragon Coaster.

These are familiar sounds one could live with, knowing in the autumn the Dragon would be quiet and the weary train would rest.

Twice a week, the neighborhood is treated to a fireworks display. Every Wednesday and Friday, we would rush to get the babies to sleep before the barrage, and we would sit on the front steps to watch the sparkles that rose above the trees.

Unlike the unfortunate souls living near a thruway or train tracks, our neighborhood noise ended after Labor Day. We could depend on the return of our quiet, scenic neighbor; walking the boardwalk or visiting the Edith Read Sanctuary with a beautiful Art Deco backdrop.

Over the years, our neighbor had modified our agreement.

On an October weekend, we would wake to the noise of tires screeching and wonder, “What the heck is that?” only to wander down to see a mini car race with S-curves, tires and hay bales set up, which looked like the precursor to Nascar.

Our neighbor never notified us, but we shrugged our shoulders and thought “It’s just one day.”

The leaves are turning and we had our park back.

Yes, there was Westchester Recycling Day, and occasional circus, police and bus operator training days, but we were still willing to accommodate our neighbor Playland.

Now our neighbor is demanding more of us. We are told—not asked—to accept a permanent change; one which keeps Playland active throughout the entire year.

We all understand our neighbor has been in financial trouble for quite a while and that we are all, as taxpayers, “chipping in” to keep it afloat. But proposing facilities offering athletic space for extended hours of the day without consulting the people who would be impacted was not very neighborly.

You think we don’t notice: however, the Ice Casino is often booked past midnight as well as very early in the
morning.

The houses in the neighborhood surrounding Playland have changed from unheated summer bungalows and cottages to year round dwellings. Residents have accepted Playland with its flaws and benefits and accommodated the inconveniences that happen on the Fourth of July, the occasional concert, filming and walkathons.

While Playland has forgotten it had an agreement with its neighbors, the City Council and our land use boards have not.

 

The Council Corner is a new 

bi-weekly column which will 

alternate amongst the seven 

members of the Rye City Council. The next installment is scheduled to run on July 25.