Written by Daniel Offner, email@example.com Friday, 27 June 2014 00:00
Growing up on Long Island, Christopher Mercaldo remembers how as a child, he spent countless hours with his family, marveling at the many different rides and attractions that Adventureland amusement park in Farmingdale had to offer.
It's a feeling he's captured in his upcoming book, Images of Modern America: Adventureland which hits bookshelves June 16, providing readers old and young with over 50 years of memories at the theme-park.
“It’s for the people who have made the park. The owners, the builders, the dreamers, and even the guests themselves,” Mercaldo said. “It’s for the longtime visitor, the one-time visitor, and even for those who have never gotten to experience it in person. Just like a great ride, it’s meant to be fun, it’s meant to tell a story, and it’s meant to be enjoyed by all.”
Adventureland first opened in 1962, at the height of a major suburban boom on Long Island. Over the last 52 years, several attractions have come and gone, but the park has continued providing the same family-friendly fun that it has for years.
Like many kids growing up in the area, Mercaldo says he was smitten with the idea of having his own little slice of Disneyland-magic right here in his backyard.
“It is so unique,” said Mercaldo, 24. “It’s a small, family owned theme-park... that has stood the test of time.”
Despite his fear of the large animatic tree, which was a staple at the park throughout his childhood, he always had a thirst for knowledge. Even as a kid he would do his research, always staying up-to-date on who made the latest rides. He said that anytime a new book would come out about a rollercoaster he would buy it.
“My goal is to be the next Walt Disney,” he said. “I hope to have a small park of my own one day.”
As many children do, Mercaldo had always dreamt of one day owning his own amusement park, but unlike the rest of us, he would put his dream to practice. After graduating from Holy Trinity High School in Hicksville, he went on to Villanova’s School of Business and in 2012, Mercaldo went on to work at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va., and Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Blizzard Beach attractions.
It was then, in 2013, when Mercaldo saw his chance to return to his childhood theme park, by accepting a job as the park’s marketing coordinator. Working at the park, he soon stumbled upon something that would inspire him to pen his first book. Finding a “gold mine” of photographs from the park’s innauguration to the late-80s and mid-90s, Mercaldo took the initiative to scan several thousand photos to preserve Adventureland’s legacy.
“There are people who visited the park as children now bringing their own grandchildren to the park,” he stated. “There are people who have grown up on Long Island or have moved to Long Island or who have moved away from Long Island that all know Adventureland and remember it fondly.”
With a stockpile of photos in hand, Mercaldo reached out to Arcadia Publishing to see if they were interested in using his photos to map out the park’s history over the years.
Images of Modern America: Adventureland features photos of several of the park’s big name attractions, such as the Wave Swinger and the Hurricane, as well as some of the long-retired favorites like 1313 Cemetery Way, Surf Dance, Treasure Island Mini-Golf, and many more.
For Mercaldo, who now works with Ride Entertainment Group in Stevensville, Md., his favorite attraction at the park was the old Haunted House at 1313 Cemetery Way.
“I always thought the fascade was cool... it looked like a real haunted house,” Mercaldo said.
An avid amusement park historian, aspiring designer, and thrill-seeker, Mercaldo said he tries to highlight all of the parks attractions over the years. From the Hurricane, which opened in 1991 and is in its 24th season at the park, to the more modern attractions like the Wave Swinger, which he likes for its victorian design and flashing lights, the book encapsulates 52 years worth of history in a neat package.
Images of Modern America: Adventureland is now available at the park’s gift shop, at local Barnes & Nobles booksellers, and online at Amazon.com.
Saturday, 23 August 2014 00:00
The 7th annual Parish of the Holy Family Festival went off without a hitch and lit up the night sky on Fordham Avenue in Hicksville last week. Thousands of community members came and joined in the festivities.
This year’s theme was the 1964-1965 World’s Fair that took place in Queens. Volunteer coordinator and 28-year member of the congregation Mary White said “We are having this festival to raise money and to offset the expenditures of the school and the church. Last year we had a record breaking 10,000 people attend and while all the numbers are not in yet, we are doing very well this time around too. The turnout has been great because the weather has been so cooperative.”
Friday, 22 August 2014 00:00
Matty’s Sports Deli, located at 107 Stewart Avenue, first opened its doors Nov. 12, and slowly but surely, it’s making a name for itself as the place to go to get good eats in Hicksville.
However, according to owner and Bellmore resident Matthew Burak, the main thing working against his slow climb up the hill of success is what any entrepreneur knows is vital to business—location, location, location.
Thursday, 21 August 2014 00:00
Cantiague Park Senior Men’s Golf League had its fourth tournament on Thursday Aug. 7. We had 33 golfers and a record 8 who scored under 40. Low overall score was won by newcomer Ed Hyne with an impressive 33, his second low net in a row. Charlie Acerra scored a solid 35, and won low overall net with a 26; his best score in 4 years.
Competition on the nine-hole course is divided into two divisions. Flight A is for players with a handicap of 13 or lower. Flight B is for players with a handicap of 14 or more. The league is a 100 % handicap league. Any man 55 years or older is eligible for membership. We have many openings for this year, and you can sign up anytime throughout the the season. The league meets every Thursday at 7:30 a.m., but the formal tournament dates are only the first and third Thursday of the month through late October. We will have a final luncheon with prizes on our last meeting.
Thursday, 07 August 2014 00:00
The fields of Kevin Kolm Memorial Park were filled with nearly 200 soccer players on Saturday for the annual ‘Soccer For A Cause’ event. The event was put together by the Mastermind Unit in sponsor of the Michael Magro Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting pediatric patients with cancer and their families.
“The Mastermind Unit is a non-profit organization that was founded by a group of guys who grew up playing soccer together in Hicksville,” said co-founder Bryan Alcantara. “This is our seventh annual ‘Soccer For A Cause’ event at Memorial Park.”