Adventureland here I come!

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photo 9 jonah and morgan car

Jonah Aloni and Morgan Sohmer in a kid-sized replica of an antique Ford car.

While taking my grandchildren to Adventureland on Route 110 in Farmingdale, I had a déjà vu feeling. It was bringing back memories of when I lived just a mile away in Melville. Josh and Samantha, my youngest children, grew up from sixth grade to high school in that neighborhood and I was surprised to see all the farms turned into developments for homes and corporate headquarters. Happily, the mini-Disney World in our backyard was better than ever.

One day when I had taken Josh and his friends to Adventureland to spend the afternoon, they clearly didn’t want me to hang out with them. So I decided to meet the owner of this family-run business. I knew we had a great audience for them in our Queens newspapers and they would benefit by advertising in our newspapers.

Looking respectable, I guess, made them buzz me in to see Tony Gentile, who owned the fun place. After I explained my Queens Courier market, we began talking about family matters and soon became fast friends. I think he liked me because I looked like his wonderful petite wife, Vivian. Over the years we became socially friendly and he became a trusted business advisor to me. I also loved his vision of buying homes for his children to assure they lived right near him.

When Josh was in his high school summer years, he and his friend Ian Linde were the ice cream vendors at the back of the enormous park. In fact, Josh did such a good job being their top ice cream salesman that Tony wrote a letter of reference for him when Josh applied to college.

Push the clock forward — Tony’s hard-working sons now run the business, following in the footsteps of their late beloved dad. The park is as clean and beautiful as when Josh worked there decades ago. The only thing that has changed is that they have added more parking and more rides, and they have remodeled the large cafeteria-style restaurant where birthday parties have special space and the guest seating is clean and comfortable. The place is immaculately clean, too.

Of course they have many great rides that were perfect for my 5-year-olds. Fortunately, there is a measuring stick at every ride to make sure the rides are age- and size-appropriate. Personally, I’m a “chicken” and can’t handle the “big kid” rides like the Cyclone, so I’m glad they were too little to ride them! I had a good excuse as they begged me to take them on what I would classify as “scary” rides.

The friendly staff and tightly managed rides made me relax and enjoy my grandchildren’s joy. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon. Try it. You, too, will love it.

Route 110, Farmingdale NY 11375
A few miles from the Southern State Parkway
and the Long Island Expressway
Open seven days a week – call for hours

Jonah Aloni on the helicopter ride at Adventureland.

Jonah Aloni enjoys an ice cream at the newly renovated cafeteria at Adventureland.

Astoria Flea ribbon cutting

Sunday morning I was up early to join my Josh at the ribbon cutting for his newest flea market at the Kaufman Astoria Studios backlot across the street from the Frank Sinatra School and up the block from the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria. I was amazed at the thousands of people who came to share the fun of the market. I’m addicted and hopefully you will be, too, after you visit either the LIC Flea on Saturday or the Astoria location on Sunday. Our goal is to see the “trickle down” effect of bringing people to those neighborhoods and spreading the word about their uniqueness. Enjoy them, too!

One of my favorite vendors of vintage clothing with her family.