To me, a classic amusement park has to have a midway full of tacky games where you can win equally tacky prizes; plenty of opportunity to eat things that you really shouldn't; plenty of crowds and sounds to make the place interesting; and, most of all, a wooden rollercoaster. Rockaways' Playland sure had all of these and more.
The rollercoaster was a great way to know you were getting close to he park, as it stood out high above everything else in the area. Once at the park it was always right nearby, shuddering and shaking as carloads of screaming riders had fun tempting fate. It always sounded like it was ready to come apart at any moment, but I guess that was part of the fun. There are some sad pictures out there of the coaster being ripped apart when the park shut, for while some of the rides found new homes, the coaster was simply too big and too expensive to relocate.