Thursday, September 03, 2015

Vintage Postcards from Palisades Park!

Today I have another post featuring the vintage postcards from GDB reader & contributor Ken Martinez! See his other posts from this series HERE and HERE. This time we will be looking at a series of cards from Palisades Park in New Jersey - you might know it from the famous (and cheesy)  1962 song by Freddy Cannon. 

As usual, Ken has done all of the grunt work and provided commentary for each card. Here's Ken:

Palisades Amusement Park - Cliffside Park, New Jersey

In today's post are five postcards from the legendary Palisades Amusement Park which was located across the Hudson River from New York City atop the New Jersey Palisades in Cliffside Park, New Jersey. The famous amusement park operated from 1898 to 1971. Like another legendary amusement park, Chicago's Riverview Park, Palisades Amusement Park passed into history by the time the 1970's theme park era strongly made its imprint on the amusement industry.

In this first image is the "Sky Ride", "Cyclone" roller coaster, and waterways of the "Atomic Boat Ride". Way in back is the "Giant Wheel". The direction of this view is towards the Hudson River. I really like the architectural styling and color of this park as presented in this postcard series.

Here's a midway shot with a coaster train rounding the curve of the Cyclone wooden roller coaster which was designed by Herbert Paul Schmeck, who also designed other notable coasters such as Thunderhawk in Dorney Park, the Comet in Hersheypark, and the Wildcat in Lake Compounce. Note the colorful pedestal with the elephant on top.

Here's another colorful shot of the midway with another animal on a pedestal, this time a monkey. The Arabian Nights dark ride is in the distance. Looking at these images and clothing styles, I'm not sure if these postcards are from the 1950's or 1960's. (Note from Major Pepperidge - I am quite sure that these are from the 1960's).

In the center of the park was the dark ride "Arabian Nights - Tunnel of Love". From the sounds of it, it was your typical spook house track ride. During the latter part of the 1960's the ride was remodeled into "Casper's Ghostland" featuring the characters from Famous Studios and Harvey Comics.

I love this wonderful stylized and colorful stand. There appears to be people enjoying drink and refreshment nearby, so it makes me wonder if the colorful kiosk was a refreshment stand. In the background are a Ferris Wheel and Wild Mouse.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this postcard visit to a long gone but not forgotten amusement park from another era. There are ten more postcards from this series which I hope to share with you in the near future.

Information source material:
Palisades Amusement Park History -
Roller Coaster Database -

As always, many thanks to Ken for sharing his vintage postcards and for taking the time to write his excellent descriptions. I want to go to the 1960's Palisades Park seen in these images!


Nanook said...


Thanks for sharing these wonderful (definitely 1960s') images from a park I never had a chance to visit. I see the second image shows a sign for their famous "Saratoga French Fries" - the secret of which involved storing the pre-cooked, peeled and cut fries in a solution of malt vinegar and water. Then cooked twice.

Also - I think you meant "Lake Compounce" for the park featuring the Wildcat Roller Coaster which was designed by Herbert Schmeck.

Thanks, Ken, for sharing these great images.

RIP - Dean Jones.

Graffer said...

Interesting titbit (as Walt used to say): Palisades Park, sung by Freddy 'Boom Boom' Cannon, was written by future Gong Show host Chuck Barris.

TokyoMagic! said...

I want to go on everything! "Atomic Boat Ride"....I love that name. I even like it better than "Phantom Boats." I wish I could have seen this park. Thanks for sharing with us, Ken!

Alonzo P Hawk said...

Thanks Ken these are some swell shots.

Is it just me or does the wood along the sides of the track make that coaster look a little rickety? Where is the life insurance kiosk.

I met Freddy "boom boom" once at the Our Lady of Grace (Encino CA)carnival. He was running a coin toss booth. And yes he did sing at the sing along booth. Nice Guy.

@ Nanook-Herbie is sad today. RIP-Dean Jones

Nancy said...

Absolutely beautiful!! These remind me so much of school picnics back in the 60s and 70s at our parks here in Pittsburgh. Both also had/have an art deco influence, one of my favorite features in these views.

Thanks for sharing them! :-)

K. Martinez said...

Nanook, Thanks for catching the typo. I did indeed mean Lake Compounce. I never noticed the “Saratoga French Fries” sign before. Now you’ve added another dimension to that postcard for me. Thanks for pointing it out and the facts behind it.

Graffer, I was aware of that interesting tidbit and was also a big fan of the Gong Show and Chuck Barris.

TokyoMagic!, I love the name “Atomic Boat Ride” too. Palisades Park, like Chicago’s Riverview Park disappeared before I could get a chance to see it. Born just a little too late for the opportunity.

Alonzo P Hawk, That’s what I love about the old woodies. They have that rickety look and feel to them that amp up the excitement. Glad you enjoyed.

Nancy, Again, keep an eye out here on GDB. A Pittsburgh classic is coming. One of the things I love about this era of amusement parks is the fanciful architecture and deco influence. Glad you enjoyed.

K. Martinez said...

On another note, Besides Walt Disney himself, Dean Jones was the face of Disney entertainment I grew up on. I remember as a kid seeing That Darn Cat!, The Ugly Dachshund and The Love Bug on their first theatrical release among others. It was in the 1960's that my first impression and exposure to the Disney media happened. He was definitely a big part of that. RIP Dean Jones.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, Ken correctly wrote “Lake Compounce”, and that is what I typed, but auto-correct changed the word to “Compound” and I didn’t notice! I swear, 9 times out of 10 I find auto correct to be more of a hindrance than a help.

Graffer, Chuck Barris is a national treasure! From now on, please call me Major “Boom Boom” Pepperidge.

TokyoMagic!, I hope that the reactors in those atomic boats were properly shielded. People who rode the boats a lot had an eerie green glow.

Alonzo, the last time I rode a wooden coaster (the now-upgraded “Colossus” at Magic Mountain) I was observing all kinds of loose nails, cracks, peeled paint, and other maintenance problems!

Nancy, are you talking about Kennywood Park? If so, stay tuned!

K. Martinez, if you saw my comment to Nanook, the misspelling of “Compounce” is my fault - or the computer’s fault. Yes, let’s blame the computer! I’m going to go in and fix it right now. “Saratoga French Fries” is a first for me, I wonder what they taste like?

K. Martinez, I liked Dean Jones, though the movie I remember the most is “Million Dollar Duck” (with Sandy Duncan!), it’s not Disney’s finest hour. I’ve still never seen “That Darn Cat” or “The Ugly Dachsund”. But I did see “Monkeys, Go Home”, and “Blackbeard’s Ghost”, and saw him at the Los Angeles Music Center with Florence Henderson in “Bells Are Ringing”, which I had totally forgotten about until right now!

Nanook said...


My, my, we certainly are granting a number of "National Treasure" accolades these days. First Tiny Tim and now Chuck Barris. Pretty soon I expect to read that Zasu Pitts has made the grade-!

And how did I already know it was spell check that threw a monkey wrench into 'Compounce - Compound'-??

Also - evidently when those Saratoga French Fries were "twice fried", it was done in Mazola Corn Oil. So there.

Anonymous said...

Neat pics. Sad about Dean Jones, but he lived a long life. I loved all those movies, but probably Herbie most.

I remember a park like this in LA, either Long Beach or another one near, but it's so long ago.

Visited Santa Cruz just once, but the memory is a good one.

Thanks Ken and Major.


K. Martinez said...

Major, I don't know. I kind of like the name Lake Compound.

JG, glad to hear your memory of Santa Cruz was a good one. It's my hometown.

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, the “national treasure” thing is sort of an inside joke between me and my niece; when Ryan Seacrest’s name came up, she called him a national treasure (jokingly), and later, she said the same thing about Justin Bieber. So now I find myself saying it about people!

JG, it is always a bummer when somebody who was important in our past passes away. I never really got to spend any time at a significant beachside park, but I wish I had had that experience.

K. Martinez, I guess you can call that park whatever you like! It’s a free country.

Anonymous said...

The old park in Long Beach was NuPike...better known as "The Pike". I remember back in late '68 a buddy and I rode the "Cyclone Racer" one night no more than a few months before its demise. And rickety it looked and was by then. The operator appeared to be as old as the ride itself. It's a great memory including the late ride home in the fog along an empty PCH in my friends '66 MG Midget. Pretty wild times for those of us just out of high school back then. The "OC" is not the same.


Melissa said...

OMG, Ken,these are absolutely awesome. The vibrant color palette is consistent across all the park shots, and all the angles seem calculated to show the maximum amount of motion. That first card has so many focal lines going in so many different directions you'd think it would be distracting, but instead it's exciting and makes you feel you're on a carnival ride just looking at it.