A Guest Post from Arlene Sen. Why I’m Voting Against Trump: It’s Personal Now!

It’s Personal Now

The big-toothed grin of the enormous painted face on Steeplechase, the Coney Island playland, will always be one of my best memories.

Papa Jimmy took me to Steeplechase during the summers.  He put up with the crowds and noise so his little girl could enjoy all  the rides in the cavernous Victorian playland that was built in 1897. Usually Papa sat and read the paper, while I played. Once in awhile I could persuade Papa to take a turn with me on one of the weird twirling rides. Once we rode the iron horses  on the rails that went round and round the enormous beautiful Victorian structure.

There was one section aptly named the Pavilion of Fun.! I have always thought in my memories that the painted motto of this play park was “Steeplechase, the Happy Place.” Come to find out, it was “Steeplechase, the Funny Place.” Guess happiness was  just a description of my joy at being there with my Dad.

Steeplechase was hated by Robert Moses for attracting the hoi-polloi to the cheap thrilling rides.  Moses was once a revered city planner and now he is seen as the destroyer of cities.

In 1965 the daughter of the founder of Steeplechase decided to sell the playland of my childhood. Marie Tilyou sold the park to the developer Fred Trump, the father of Donald Trump. Many other bids came in  that would have kept Steeplechase open, but Trump outbid the others. He demanded the park be demolished before it could obtain the landmark status that would have prevented the destruction of the gorgeous building.

Fred Trump actually held a demolition party and announced he wanted people to vandalize the building, to throw bricks through the beautiful Victorian windows and to damage the Victorian ornament. Sounds familiar.

He was unable to get the area rezoned despite the demolition of my childhood Happy Place. Trump sold the land to NYC in 1969. Taxpayers paying for the land. Sounds familiar.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I’ve always hated feared, mocked Donald Trump for his sexism, bigotry, lies, corruption, massive ego and insane ideas.

But now that I know his father destroyed my childhood playground, it’s personal!


  1. Kent Reedy says

    I liked this little story. It gave me a better understanding of some of what Mary Trump wrote about in her book to have read this first.

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