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A Look Into The Lives of Irving Rosenthal and Gladys Shelley

Irving Rosenthal owned Palisades Amusement Park and his wife, Gladys Shelley, wrote the world famous Palisades jingle. Susan Allan's parents and grandparents were friends with the Rosenthals and she shares her memories with us.

  1. In about 1958, The Rosenthals came to Long Island for the day to visit with my grandparents who lived in Hewlett Bay Park and with my parents who had driven out from Manhattan. Gladys was an extremely unusual woman for the times, though she was perfectly trendy but simply 50 years ahead of her time! Gladys was about 5’7” and very VERY thin, wearing chic NYC clothes that were not the “weekend in the country” wardrobe we expected. Irving was shorter than she and also very chic and with a beautiful wardrobe, always. As I recall Gladys looked ready to go shopping at Saks instead of sitting in front of the fire or taking a walk in the woods. In addition, she always had a pet Chihuahua, as the Rosenthals had no children. With Gladys, the dog was really like a baby and she went as far as having the dog take food from her mouth! So the dog was on the table, in her lap, eating her food and it was VERY Paris Hilton for its’ time! There has never been another Gladys Shelley!
  2. The Rosenthals had the BEST dinner parties! While my parents and others would entertain regularly with caterers and fabulous tables etc, the Rosenthals had their annual parties at Palisade’s! One year, my parents brought home a bride doll that was as tall as I was! One year they brought me a standard poodle stuffed animal that was the same size as the real life one I had as an adult! Naturally I thought my father was a genius to win the best and biggest prize but it was not that at all. Irving was so generous that at the party, each person was allowed to put ALL the dimes on the game at the same time so you HAD TO WIN!!! Irving REALLY loved children and so when his guests went home they each had an amazing gift for their kids!
  3. One year, we went to the Park and The Wild Mouse was Irving’s newest ride. He convinced my mother that she would love this new roller coaster by saying, “Gladys goes on it, it’s great; it isn’t scary!”. My poor mother had quite a wild ride and I imagine that Gladys had a love of adventure so she probably did go on it !!!
  4. One year my parents had a dinner party and of course, the Shelley’s were invited. In the ‘50’s and ‘60’s in NYC, my parents were VERY social and at that time, couples NEVER sat next to one another. The hostess would work for a long time on the seating arrangement and there were name cards in front of each place setting. My mother spotted Irving changing the seating so that Gladys would be sitting next to him. He was that crazy about his wife and rather jealous too, as Gladys was much younger than he was!
  5. My father was the Rosenthal’s physician as well as a great friend so when we arrived at Palisade’s we went straight to Irving’s office and he would give us a full day pass with EVERYTHING included. One year, I remember he had a new flea circus attraction so he showed it to us. Every year he had new attractions and he was as excited about them as any child could have been; he just adored the Park!

The Rosenthals were the friends of my parents, Dr. and Mrs. Saul Schlossman and my grandparents Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Laufer and my grandmother later became (Mr. and) Mrs. Armand Brunswick.

I’m so happy that you are maintaining the mystique of Palisades; I spent many happy days there throughout my childhood!

Warmest regards,
Susan Allan



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