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Rockaways' Playland

Rockaway Beach, Queens, NY

Date Opened: 1901
Date Closed: 1986 (?)
Location: 185 Beach 97th Street
Remains: None


The past

Originally known as Thompson's Amusement Park, Rockaways' Playland was owned by LeMarcus Thompson, until his death. Thompson was the inventor of the modern roller coaster which debuted in nearby Coney Island.


Several Roller Coasters have operated at Rockaways' Playland over the years. The only one I have information about is the "Atom Smasher" also known as the "Coaster" and "Cinerama Coaster". This was the same ride used in the film "This is Cinerama" in the 1950s. Designed by Vernon Keenan and National Amusement Devices (NAD) in 1938, the coaster was about 3000 feet long and 70 feet high.

The people who made this page possible

I wish to thank Cheryl Mertz-Barger who provided all the photos for this page and the ticket The pictures are from 1985.

rockawayticket.jpg (16440 bytes)
Picture Gallery
ra3.jpg (36752 bytes)The Atom Smasher roller coaster dominated the left side of the park. This view shows the famous Playland letters on the turnaround of the structure.
ra2.jpg (39045 bytes)Entrance to the Atom Smasher. The turnaround is the oposite end of the one shown above.
ra1.jpg (28935 bytes)The Fun House at Rockaways Playland. The lift hill of the Atom Smasher is seen in the background
ra4.jpg (34521 bytes)The turns were anything but flat.
ra5.jpg (20831 bytes)Sign at the top of the lift hill on the Atom Smasher.
ra6.jpg (28246 bytes)Atom Smasher train with the photographer of these pictures sitting in the front car. Note the second train in the rear.
ra5-3.jpg (34091 bytes)Another view of the famous Playland sign and the Atom Smasher turnaround. Note the green trin on the top level.

1998 Joel W Styer. All rights reserved. Updated October 18, 1998
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