“The east wall of the arcade was lined with Skee-Ball machines. Some arcades had machines that automatically dispensed reward tickets for your score but our machines didn’t do this. My job was to distribute the tickets by hand and, if a pretty girl was playing, I’d give her her some extra tickets. (Not that it made much difference. You had to save up around a googol of tickets just to take home a coffee cup).”
The site of all of Garfield’s memories is no more, having closed in 1986, but it lives on in film.
“Just after (Rockaway’s Playland) closed, Woody Allen used it as a backdrop for a scene in his movie ‘Radio Days,’ which was filmed in the Rockaways,” Garfield explained. “You can see the scaffolding of the doomed roller coaster rising up above the wall on the south side of the park.”
Stacey Tromblee of Delhi also had an amusement park job experience.
“My first job at about 16 years old was at the Buckaroo Round-up in Frontier Town,” Tromblee said. This park opened in 1952, offering patrons a Wild West-style experience, including bank robberies, dunkings and shoot-outs.
“My older sister had a job there and I decided to work there too,” Tromblee explained. “My job was to round up their six horses, (and) groom and saddle them before letting ticket holders take a ride around a ring. My uniform was a Western shirt and jeans along with a cowboy hat and boots. I remember one horse, Luke, that would stop with a rider on his back then suddenly run forward to bite the rear end of the horse that was in front.
“My Buckaroo Round-up job wasn’t as fun as my sister’s job,” Tromblee recalled. “She had a horseback riding routine in the show arena. My job did have some benefits, though, because I was near the time clock where everyone punched in and out, so I got to talk to a lot of the employees. My pay was $3.25 per hour.”