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Frequently Asked Questions

Have a question about Palisades? E-mail me
and I will try to get you the answer.



  1. Where can I see a map of the Park?

  2. Which is correct: "Palisades Amusement Park" or "Palisade Amusement Park"? 

  3. What was the name of that little guy whose head would appear on all those matchbooks? 

  4. Where exactly was the Park located and what is on the site today? 

  5. What was the secret to those incredible French Fries? 

  6. How many rides were there at Palisades Park? 

  7. When did Palisades close? 

  8. Why did Palisades close? 

  9. Are there any job opportunities at Palisades?

  10. How large was the swimming pool?

  11. How high was the roller coaster?

  12. What are the lyrics to the Palisades jingle "Come On Over"?

  13. How long was a season for the park? When did it open and close for its seasons?

  14. Is it true that the Park emptied and refilled the swimming pool every night?

Where can I see a map of "Palisades Amusement Park"?

The Park changed every year, bringing in new rides and attractions and getting rid of the old and tired ones. Here is a map of the Park circa 1970. Click here.


Which is correct: "Palisades Amusement Park" or "Palisade Amusement Park"?

Technically, both versions are correct!The name of the park differed slightly from time to time. It was originally known as "The Park on the Palisades" when the trolley company owned it (1898-1908). When it opened under new ownership in 1908, it was officially called "Palisades Amusement Park". Two years later, the Park was purchased by the Schenck Brothers and they renamed the Park "Schenck Brothers Palisade Park". It seems that this was the first time the "s" was dropped from "Palisades". During the Schenck era, it was referred to as both "Palisades" and "Palisade" Amusement Park but mostly "Palisade" (without the "S").

When the Rosenthals bought the Park in 1935, they called it Palisades Amusement Park which remained till the Park closed in 1971. Many old timers still called it "Palisade" Amusement Park even after the Rosenthals took over.


What was the name of that little guy whose head would appear on all those matchbooks?

That little fellow's name was simply "Pal". He was used in the later years on many promotional items including those matchbooks. ("Pal" is the little character used at the top of this page).

Books of matches with Palisades advertising were found frequently in the 1960s and 70s. They usually gave you free admission into the amusement park. But if the cartoon head of "Pal" was found underneath the striker of the matches, you also received a few free rides as well.


Where exactly was the Park located and what is on the site today?

Palisades Amusement Park was located in the towns of Cliffside Park and Fort Lee. It sat right on the property line, which intersected the center of the Park. To the East of the Park were the Palisades cliffs. To the West was Palisades Avenue. To the South was Lafayette Avenue. And to the North was Route 5. Today, high rise condominiums stand on the site. Farthest North on the site is the Buckingham; in the center of the property stand the Winston Towers; and farthest South are the Carlyle Towers.

To see an aerial view of the site today, click here.

Editor's Note: Thanks to LD from Edmonton, Canada for above the map.

Editor's Note: Thank you to Rhoda Mann for correcting my grammer. :-)


What was the secret to those incredible French Fries? 

Vinegar. The thing people remember the most about Palisades french fries was that they were soaked in malt vinegar. This is a rather traditional way of serving french fries in England, or as they are more commonly referred to as "chips". In fact, for many years, Palisades Amusement Park called their potato concessions "Potato Chip stands". In later years, they were called "French Fries".

Based on interviews with people who worked at the French Fry stand (and Bob S. in his test kitchen), this is how those famous fries were prepared:

Start with five large quality potatoes. Peel and krinkle cut into large size pieces (cutting the potato into large pieces, they retain more of their moisture, much like a baked potato.)

Store the uncooked fries in a half gallon pitcher filled with about 5 ounces of malt vinegar and the rest filled with water. Allow them to soak from 30 minutes to 24 hours. This helps remove excess starch from the potatoes. (Palisades did this to store their uncooked fries. The vinegar prevent the cut potatoes from turning brown.)

Using Mazola Corn Oil, bring the oil up to 325 degrees F. Remove potatoes from the water, and pat dry to remove excess water. Fry the potatoes in small batches for three to four minutes until they are soft and limp but not browned. Remove from oil and drain. Continue the process until all your potatoes have been cooked once.

Raise the heat on the oil to 375 degrees F. Just before serving, drop into oil for two or three minutes or until lightly browned. (This gives the fries a crispier outside while leaving the inside moist and tender.) Drain, sprinkle liberally with salt. Serve in a cone-shaped paper cup, topped with Heinz Malt Vinegar (available in most supermarkets).


How many rides were there at Palisades Park?

Palisades usually advertised "over 200 rides and attractions." But keep in mind, an attraction could be considered anything from a ride to a game concession to a water fountain. Realistically, they had about 45-50 rides throughout the park in any one given season. Many of the rides were also changed each year to keep the park new and different.


When did Palisades close?

Palisades closed its gates for the last time on Sunday, September 12, 1971.


Why did Palisades close?

By the mid-1960s, Palisades had become one of the most popular and most visited amusement parks in the country. The crowds that headed to the park each summer was more than the small New Jersey communities could handle. In 1967, the town of Cliffside Park (one of the towns in which Palisades was located) rezoned the land for high rise development. This brought many lucrative offers from land developers for the park's owner, who by this time was in his 70s. He eventually sold the land to the Winston-Centex corporation for over $12 million.


Are there any job opportunities at Palisades?

OK. I'll admit this sounds like a silly question to most people that visit this web site. But you wouldn't believe the amount of emails I get from foreign exchange students who want to work at the Park. So to answer their question, no, there are no job openings at Palisades Amusement Park, which, by the way, closed over thirty-five (35) years ago.


How large was the swimming pool?

Advertisements for Palisades proclaimed it had the "world's largest outdoor salt water pool". Records indicate the pool measured approximately 400x600 feet, although these measurements have yet to be verified.


How high was the roller coaster?

This question gets asked frequently and it's not an easy question to answer in one short paragraph. Check out the Archives section for a more comprehensive look at the various coasters of Palisades.


What are the lyrics to the Palisades jingle "Come On Over"?

The unforgettable Palisades jingle was heard on radio and television throughout the 1960s. The words and music were written by songwriter Gladys Shelley and was sung by Steve Clayton. Click here to listen to it.

Palisades has the rides... Palisades has the fun... Come On Over.
Shows and dancing are free... so's the parking, so gee... Come On Over.
Palisades from coast to coast, where a dime buys the most.
Palisades Amusement Park. Swings all day and after dark.
(bumm, baa, dumm, bumm, bummmm)
Ride the coaster... Get cool... In the waves in the pool.
You'll have fun... so... Come On Over.
(dumm de dum da dum... dum)


How long was a season for the park? When did it open and close for its seasons?

The park opened for its season on the weekend of Palm Saturday (the weekend before Easter). This occasionally led to openings while snow was still on the ground. The season lasted through the weekend after Labor day, when all the kids were back in school.

Editor's Note: Thanks to Dana for asking this great question. Thanks also to Dan Capano for his help with this answer. 
And thanks to Rob Miller... proof-reader extraordinaire.


Is it true that the Park emptied and refilled the swimming pool every night?

The world's largest outdoor saltwater pool was first opened by the Scheck brothers in 1913. At that time, every evening they would begin emptying the pool once the Park closed. By morning, the pool was refilled with water that was pumped up from the Hudson River. This was the standard daily procedure right up until the 1950s, when Palisades switched to a weekly emptying, rather than daily. The pool manager at that time was George Kellinger. His son, James, explains the procedure.

"My father (George Kellinger) was in charge of the pool from the mid 50s until it closed. As a kid I was quite familiar with the way the pool operated. The pool was emptied approximately every eight days on average. They started to empty as the pool was closing, losing about a foot by closing time. As it emptied the lifeguards would use fire hoses to clean the bottom. By about 9 pm, the pool was empty, and the filling began. The pool was connected by 36 inch steel pipe to "the pump house" which was located at the foot of Rt 5 and River Road. A long wooded dock (still existing) carried three 14 inch pipes out into the river. In the pump house, three 600 hp Westinghouse electric motors provided the power to pump the salt water up to the top of the cliff. The water was treated and filtered through eight steel filter tanks and then went over the falls into the pool. The pool would be full by 7 am. The water was then continuously circulated through the filter tanks until it was time to empty again. I can remember walking the pool with my father to the deep end (fourteen feet initially) where I could see a dime at the bottom. "

—Jim Kellinger




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