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Freedomland U.S.A.

November 7 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Located in The Bronx, Freedomland U.S.A. was celebrated as the “Disneyland of the East.”
While it survived only five seasons (1960-1964), to this day the park generates fond memories
among boomers who enjoyed its American history-themed attractions.

Freedomland was conceived and built by C.V. Wood and his Marco Engineering Company.
Known to many as Woody, he was Disneyland’s first employee and he brought Walt Disney’s
imagination to life by leading the team that built that park. He then created Marco Engineering to
build theme parks and other venues across the country. Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington and
the community of Lake Havasu, Arizona, continue to prosper. The northeast Bronx marshland
that featured Freedomland U.S.A. eventually became a housing development and a shopping

Unknown to Woody and the general public that adored Freedomland during the early 1960s,
landowner William Zeckendorf, Sr., local politicians, city planners and construction unions
considered the park a “placeholder” until property variances permitted significant development
on the marshland. The variances provided the green light for the construction of the largest
cooperative housing community in the world. A shopping center was added about a decade later
and an indoor mall was constructed on the remaining undeveloped land during 2012.
“Co-op City was on New York City’s blueprints before the first shovel of dirt was turned to
build the park,” said Virgintino. “Freedomland U.S.A. was doomed to fail before the first guest
entered the park. As everyone was hailing this great achievement in The Bronx on its opening
day, Woody already was concentrating on his Texas park and other projects. Other people,
including William Zeckendorf, Sr., operated Freedomland U.S.A. and they kept it afloat, or ran it
into the ground, depending on one’s perspective. The park survived until the land variances
could be applied to the property. Then, Freedomland U.S.A. was declared a bankrupt and the
land was cleared for development.”

Michael R. Virgintino

Mike Virgintino is a journalist and marketing communications executive for corporations and
nonprofits (including historic sites/organizations) who began his career in the newsrooms of New
York City area radio stations. He also is an historian and a recognized expert about Freedomland
U.S.A., a 1960s American history theme park located in The Bronx. He has authored
Freedomland U.S.A.: The Definitive History and Freedomland U.S.A.: More Definitive History
published by Theme Park Press and available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other online


November 7
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Event Category:


Kingsbridge Historical Society
View Organizer Website


2570 Independence Ave
Bronx, NY 10463
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