Any grownups in the area remember running around Peter Pan Playland as kids? It was a kiddie park located at 2609 Emmons Avenue where the unforgettable antics of Johnny Jellybean were frequently on display. Johnny, as shown above, was performed by Bill Britten, who went on to be the world’s most famous clown when he became television’s Bozo the Clown.
Reader John Landers sent us this photo of a genuine Peter Pan Playland ticket that granted access to the Little Dipper.
There’s not much info available online about the mini amusement park. We did find this legal brief from when Peter Pan’s owners sought to establish some parking on the site, which reveals that the owner acquired a block-sized vacant lot in 1948, and “installed children’s amusement devices and refreshment facilities” in June of 1954. The lot had split zoning, with the Emmons Avenue portion zoned for retail and the remainder for residential. In 1960, the owner wanted to create a parking lot for visitors, a request that was denied by the Board of Standards and Appeals (today, the concept of the BSA denying anything seems quite quaint). Our guess is without parking or permission to add amusements to the residential section, Peter Pan struggled. A commenter on the Coney Island message board notes that the location moved from Emmons Avenue to Knapp Street at some point before vanishing completely.
How was this place? The next best thing to Never Never Land? Inform us younger folk who never knew of its splendor, and share photos if you’ve got them.