Photographic Indexes, c.1912-1932
Series 264
Less than 1 cubic ft. Arranged by topic.

Original and photocopies of indexes for photographic collections maintained by the Westchester County Park Commission and the Bronx River Parkway Commission, as well as photocopies of the paper sleeves that used to house some of the negatives in both these photographic collections. The information in these indexes, and on the negative sleeves, was used in the creation of a photograph database maintained by the Archives which includes information on the Park Commission (PPC) and the Bronx River Parkway (PBP) photographic series in its holdings. As the information contained in the photographic indexes in this series is available to the public through the Archives’ photograph database, access to the materials in this series is restricted.

Related records: Park Commission Photographic Collection; Bronx River Parkway Photographic Collection

Playland Administrative Files, 1937-1956
Series 135
1.7 cubic ft. Arranged alphabetically. View box and folder list.

Correspondence and memos relating to the daily operation of Playland. Includes files on accidents, insurance, and sanitation inspections.

Related records: Series 371, Playland Administrative Records; Series 136, Playland Concession Records, 1931-1956; Series 191, Playland Commission Minutes, 1940-1975; Playland Photograph Collection, 1927-1941.

Playland Administrative Records, 1979-1988 (bulk 1982-1988)
Series 371
2.33 cubic ft. Arranged alphabetically. View box and folder list.

Since its creation in 1928, Playland has been a valuable recreational resource to millions of residents in Westchester County and the tri-state New York area. In 1980, Playland underwent an operational change when the County decided to abolish the Playland Commission, which had managed the park since the early 1940s, in favor of private management by the Marriott Corporation.

This collection documents the administrative activities of Playland while it was operated by Marriott (1980-1982) as well as the years following when management of the park returned to the County. These records pertaining to the daily operation of the park, and cover such topics as budgets, concession fees, operation schedules, personnel, maintenance, and accidents and complaints. The majority of the collection includes correspondences from Commissioners Joseph Caverly and Jim Arles to various individuals in the Parks Department or Playland attendees.

Related records: Series 135, Playland Administrative Files, 1937-1956; Series 191, Playland Commission Minutes, 1940-1975

Playland Commission Minutes, 1940-1975
Series 191
10 v. Arranged chronologically.

Minutes of monthly meetings which record appointments to office, personnel and salaries, budgets, concession fee schedules, repairs, and construction plans. There is some evidence of the interaction with surrounding communities. The 1968 minutes include correspondence with the Board of Supervisors about who should exercise authority over Playland.

Related records: Series 135, Playland Administrative Files, 1937-1955; Series 136, Playland Concession Records, 1931-1952.

Playland Concession Records, 1931-1956
Series 136
3.3 cubic ft. Arranged alphabetically. View box and folder list.

Plans, drawings, correspondence, memos, inventories, photographs, brochures, booklets and catalogs relating to the concessions at Playland. Includes materials on rides, games, buildings and restaurants.

Related records: Series 135, Playland Administrative Files, 1937-1956; Series 191, Playland Commission Minutes, 1940-1975; Playland Photograph Collection, 1927-1941.

Playland Investigation Proceedings, 1933
Series 379
Less than 1 cubic ft. Arranged chronologically. View box and folder list.

The Playland Investigation Proceedings were originally found among the papers of Peter Q. Eschweiler (Westchester County Planning Commissioner from 1969-1991). They are the hearing transcripts created during the 1932-1933 Westchester County Board of Supervisors’ investigation into the management and bookkeeping practices at Playland, Rye, NY. Interviews of 133 current and former Playland employees were conducted from January to April 1933 in an effort to uncover any questionable practices or policies being maintained at the facility. The proceedings feature testimony from Jay Downer (Chief Engineer of the Westchester County Park Commission), Arthur W. Lawrence (President of the Westchester County Park Commission) and William E. Mallette (General Manager of Playland).

Additional background: The Special Committee was formed by the Westchester County Board of Supervisors in October 1932 to investigate Playland in an effort to ascertain the accuracy of revenue reports Playland provided and to address allegations of management misconduct made by John Macri, former Food Manager at Playland. Macri claimed that he had been forced out of his position in 1932 by Frank W. Darling, Director of Playland. Further study of revenues was needed to confirm that Playland was not a financial drain on Westchester County. Playland officials testified that Macri lost his concessions contract based on poor performance and no evidence was discovered to support his claims of nepotism.  Over the course of the investigation, it was found that William Mallette was embezzling money from the park, resulting in his resignation as General Manager in April 1933. The Committee found no evidence of mismanagement linked to Frank Darling. However, he resigned as Director of Playland in September 1933 at the suggestion of bi-partisan caucuses following the investigation. The Board of Supervisors Special Committee included Herbert C. Gerlach (Chairman), William Sherry, William C. Duell, Theodore Hill, Jr., and Harry Potter.

Related records: Series 136, Playland Concession Records, 1931-1956

Playland Phonograph Collection, 1911-1970, bulk late 1920s-1950s
Series 139
Approximately 650 phonographs. Unarranged. View phonograph album list.

Phonographs – both 10 and 12 inch – played from the Playland Music Tower and possibly the Playland Ice Casino. The collection includes classical music as well as popular tunes, including some Hawaiian-themed music. The collection is divided into five parts – a set of numbered records; numbered and unnumbered album collections; loose phonographs, and phonographs that were housed in their original album jackets. The album jackets have Braille identification tags because the disc jockey who worked at the Playland Music Tower was blind. There are two different indexes on note cards for the phonograph albums, but neither one appears to be complete or clear as to its exact use. Therefore, a new index has been completed by Archives’ volunteers and is available online. It also includes more detailed information about the arrangement of this collection.  

Please note: The Archives does not have playback equipment necessary to listen to the phonographs that make up this collection.

Playland Postcard Collection, Dates unknown
Series 358
23 items. Unarranged. Available online.

Souvenir postcards from Playland. Some of the postcards show images or illustrations of Playland itself, including the music tower, picnic grove, kiddyland, beach and pool; while others are generic postcards with humorous cartoons or cute animals. There is one souvenir folder that contains a set of 18 individual illustrations of Playland.  

Playland Record of Gate Readings, 1936
Series 193
1 v. Arranged alphabetically by ride or concession.

Daily readings of ridership for each amusement ride at Playland. Includes number of visitors to concession stands and daily weather information.

Related records: Series 136, Playland Concession Records, 1931-1952.

Recreation Commission Annual Reports, 1925-1961(gaps)
Series 97
1 cubic ft. Arranged chronologically. View box and folder list.

Reports of the Commission which oversaw and encouraged activities in the County's parks between 1923 and 1962.

Related records: Series 92, Recreation Commission Minutes, 1959-1960; Series 96, Park Commission Annual Reports, 1924-1953 (gaps); Series 126, Parks Department, Programs and Services Division Reports, 1951-1978; Series 200, Westchester County Government Publications, 1915-present; John Gass Photograph Collection, c.1933-1957.

Recreation Commission Minutes, 1959-1960
Series 92
Less than 1 cubic ft. Arranged alphabetically.

Official minutes of the Commission which was founded in 1923 to sponsor activities in, and encourage the use of, County parks. It merged with the Westchester County Park Commission in 1962 to become the Parks, Recreation and Conservation Board.

Continued by: Series 93

Related records: Series 91, Park Commission Minutes, 1922-1962; Series 97, Recreation Commission Annual Reports, 1925-1961 (gaps).

Westchester Cross County Parkway Authority Calendars and Minutes, 1944-1948
Series 320
1 v. Arranged chronologically.

Calendars of meetings and meeting minutes of the Westchester Cross County Parkway Authority. Topics covered include finances, personnel matters, tolls, and grade crossings. Also discussed is the subject of guards during the Second World War.