Remember When: Peter Pan Playland Brought Joy To Little ‘Uns

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Repinned via Joanne Mustacchio
Source: Joanne Mustacchio via Pinterest

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.

Photo courtsy of John Landers
Photo courtesy of John Landers
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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.

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20 COMMENTS

  1. Just looked on Google Earth. 2609 Emmons Ave. is the block after Applebee’s if traveling from Bedford Ave. to Nostrand Ave.

  2. For the longest time, I thought I was the only person who remembered Peter Pan Playland. My most vivid memory was a small scale train ride that went around the grounds.

  3. Ya know if this stuff were around today I do think the kids would head over instead of sitting on the interwebs all day.

  4. They sold the most delicious “frozen custard” (that’s what it was called” ) served in big cones. Those of us who lived on Emmons Avenue in the Greenlawn Colony would walk there frequently just for them. As I recall, there was a kiddie train that circled the rest of the park. Even the “older kids” would hop on for a ride. What a great place to grow up!!! Jane Wolz Judd

  5. Tom You are both correct and incorrect. You are correct about the train ride that circled the park and had a sliding main entrance gate preventing people from crossing the tracks to enter the Playland when the train ride was passing in the front of the park. An employee would slide the gate back and let the people in once the train passed. You are incorrect in thinking you were the only one who remembered Peter Pan Playland. I remember it quite well which is why when I was packing up some books and found this ticket for the Little Dipper I had to send it to this site and hoped they posted it to see if anyone else remembered it as I did. Now if only I can find someone who remembers the miniture golf course and archery range on the corner of Avenue S and Flatbush Ave across from the old Buddies Fairyland. After the miniture golf and archery range folded it became a Strauss Store and is now a Rite Aide Pharmacy. Gosh I am so darn old.

  6. […] Earlier in the month we wrote a story on nearly forgotten Peter Pan Playland (2609 Emmons Avenue). We had scant knowledge on the kiddie park, other than some zoning history and a vague mention of Johnny Jellybean. We also had little photographic evidence of its operation. Thanks to Boombots, we have some gorgeous full color photography of the park that date to the late 1950s. Here is the message from Boombots as well as the rest of his stunning photos from a bygone era in Sheepshead Bay’s history: […]

  7. Grew up right across the street, went there often. Also had a mini golf on the opposite corner, and a “Boys Club” behind that! They even had a Carvel type Ice cream shop next door. When I got too old for the place I would take my younger cousin and get her on some rides. Good times!

  8. I remember the Boys Club. Downstairs I recall they had comics and knock hockey. I worked at Peter Pan during the summer of 1970 and also at Pappas near Sheepshead Bay Road. When i worked at Peter Pan, Marino Amico operated the train. I believe his brother Joseph married the daughter or granddaughter of the owner. I operated the merry go round and the cars that went around the track.

  9. I can’t believe these photos.I spent many wonderful times with my parents and family at this park.I am now 56 years old and these pictures of the park are just as I remembered it.There was also a boat ride that went in around in a circle and cars(looked like bumper cars)that went around a track.You thought you were steering them but they just went by themselves.Yes the ice cream or custard was great.They even had soft pistachio.My older sister worked at the mini golf course and gave me this card many years ago to keep for her.I grew up in the projects on Batchelder and W and had a wonderful childhood thanks to my loving parents.I am still trying to find pictures of stores that lined Nostrand Avenue between Z and U during the sixties and seventies.

  10. I remember The train ride at Peter Pan. I also remember the mini-golf course across from Buddie’s. I remember that it became a trampoline “park” also.

  11. When I was attending Lafayette High School (class of 1957), I spent summers working the counter at Buddy’s restaurant, which was attached to the little amusement park and arcade.

    I will never forget those days, and the people I worked with and for.
    The restaurant was owned by Buddy Krieger and Sandy Sandler. Grumpy old Irv was the manager, and Paulie Kushnick was assistant manager (Paulie really ran the plcae). Bernie Pheiffer, the head cook, would yell, “Check the ice” to alert us that a pretty girl came in. Gwen was his assistant and made the best turnovers ever. (Gwen, I apologize for my evil thoughts. I was just a kid with a fresh set of raging hormones. Thank you for not slapping me up side the head.) One of my co-workers was Charlie Bellous, who was a pilot in WW2, and flew the famous and dangerous “Hump” in SE Asia.

    Working there, I learned a lot – about myself and things in general. I remember it with great fondness.

  12. They Had The Train that went around the park. Little Dipper Roller Coaster………Boat ride attached to other Boats…….

  13. Peter Pan was really great. My family would go on Sunday afternoons. Yes, the custard was great! I loved the train that went completely around the park, the small boats & merry-go-round. My brother’s favorite were the Ferris Wheel, The Little Dipper roller coaster, the train & the cotton candy. Sadly, Peter Pan moved from Emmons Ave. to Knapp St. to what is now the old Burger King on Ave. Y, closing shortly after that move. I also remember The Boys Club on E. 28 St. between Emmons & Shore Pkwy. My Aunt lived on that block.

  14. I recently purchased the train that ran at Peter Pan Playland (whats left of it) I am looking for any pictures,video or info on it. It will be restored.

  15. I have home movies my Dad took of me on some of the rides. I so enjoyed going there as a child. Afterwards,my Dad would buy me a soft ice cream cone. I also remember the miniature golf course across the street.

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