Bertrand Island Amusement Park
Each time I go back to New Jersey, it's hard to see that what once held my greatest childhood memories has now been replaced with townhomes. It brought my father a feeling of great melancholy, as well. Many years ago, while talking about passing by the entrance to the park, my father was quoted as saying, "I walk by it every morning. I walk by the amusement park, and everyday I remember how I would be hearing the kids hollering, the kids screaming, I use to love to listen. The best part of the amusement business was just to hear the people and the kids hollering, screaming, laughing, yelling, having a good time all day long. You forgot the rest of the world was having problems and everything else. I mean it was just one fun day. That's what it was. Fun all the time for a hundred days."
I know those memories always remained in his heart.
In 2008, a monument marking the location of Bertrand Island Park was unveiled. The plaque reads, 'Close your eyes and you may still catch the roar of the roller coaster, music from the carousel, and the sweet smell of popcorn and cotton candy.'
As the owner of Bertrand Island Park for over 30 years, my father holds a unique place in amusement park history. Through his hard work he brought joy to so many people. He gave me and my two sisters a childhood that some kids only dream about. It was not until I was much older that I came to realize how incredibly fortunate I had been, and I know that I have been richly blessed in my life. Having Bertrand Island Amusement Park as my playground growing up was a wonderful experience that I'll cherish forever. I don't know if I told my father often enough how proud I am of his life's work and the happiness he brought to so many. His goal at Bertrand Island Park was to do one thing:
to make people smile.
A goal that he was able to achieve a million times over, for people still smile as they recall their days spent at the park.
MY FATHER DIDN'T TELL ME HOW TO LIVE, HE LIVED, AND LET ME WATCH HIM DO IT..
After spending most of his life in the amusement park business, my father decided to sell Bertrand Island Amusement Park in 1978 to Gabby Warshawsky. Unfortunately, under this new ownership, it seemed as though the care and dedication that went into the park under my fathers watchful eye, rapidly deteriorated. Five years later, on Labor Day of 1983, those visiting the park would ride their favorite rides and play their favorite games for the last time. Goodbye to the Dodgem and The Fun In The Dark. So long Lost River, Scrambler, Carousel, and The Cube. Farewell Hot Dog Stand, Creamy Whip and Cotton Candy Stands. No more thrilling rides on that 'ol wooden Roller Coaster or bangin' around on the Boomerang.
In 1983, Bertrand Island Amusement Park closed its doors for good.
Many feel as though it was the end of an era....
1922 - 1983
A lot of people hold their memories of Bertrand Island Park close to their heart. I've read so many kind words from people who have joined our Facebook group - I Went to Bertrand Island Park - and from those who have taken the time to send me an email. The sentiments are just so endearing. One particular note that stands out for me was from a woman named Kelly. She wrote, "When I die and go to Heaven, I will be five years old again, at Bertrand Island, with my parents." Speaking for so many, I think that says it all.
Thank you Dad, for all the wonderful memories.
From the bottom of my heart, I love you.
All My Love, Dolores - xoxo