Amusements and Thrills

PODCAST REWIND: Return to Freedomland U.S.A.!

What is Freedomland U.S.A.? An unusual theme park in the Bronx, only in existence for less than five years, Freedomland has become the object of fascination for New York nostalgia lovers everywhere. Created by an outcast of Walt Disney’s inner circle, Freedomland practically defines 60s kitsch, with dozens of rides and amusements related to saccharine views of American history. Along the way, we’ll take a visit to the Blast-Off Bunker, Casa Loca, and, yes, Borden’s Barn Boudoir!

NOW WITH BONUS CONTENT:  Listen all the way to the end of this show for a special ORIGINAL tour of Freedomland U.S.A.

This was originally released on February 26, 2009. It’s so old that I make a Jonas Brothers joke!

A special illustrated version of the podcast on Freedomland U.S.A. (Episode #77) is now available on our NYC History Archive feed, via  iTunes or other podcast distribution services.  Chapter headings with images have been embedded in this show, so if your listening device is compatible with AAC/M4A files, just hit play and a variety of pictures should pop up.  The audio is superior than the original as well. (This will work as a normal audio file even if the images don’t appear.)

For this and our older episodes (Episodes #5-#75), subscribe to The Bowery Boys: NYC History Archive feed, on iTunes, directly from our host page, or directly via our RSS feed.


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We are now producing a new Bowery Boys podcast every two weeks.  We’re also looking to improve the show in other ways and expand in other ways as well — through publishing, social media, live events and other forms of media.  But we can only do this with your help!

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A map of Freedomland U.S.A., its United States-shaped space divided up into sections like Little Old New York and the Great Plains.


Sections of the theme park included

Little Old New York

Courtesy Freedomland USA/narratively
Courtesy Freedomland USA/narratively


Old Chicago

Courtesy Arcadia Publishing
Courtesy Arcadia Publishing


The Great Plains

Courtesy the blog Gorillas Don't Blog
Courtesy the blog Gorillas Don’t Blog

San Francisco


The Old Southwest

Courtesy Gorillas Don't Blog
Courtesy Gorillas Don’t Blog

New Orleans

Courtesy Gorillas Don't Blog
Courtesy Gorillas Don’t Blog

And Satellite City, a futuristic place situated in the South:

Courtesy Bill Cotter
Courtesy Bill Cotter

You could visit Elsie the Cow at Borden Barn Boudior.

Courtesy Mike Virgintino/Examiner
Courtesy Mike Virgintino/Examiner

The park, constructed in the Baychester area of the Bronx, was not quite completed when it opened its doors in the summer of 1960.

Courtesy Freedomland USA/Narratively
Courtesy Freedomland USA/Narratively


“The thrill as big as America itself!”


5 replies on “PODCAST REWIND: Return to Freedomland U.S.A.!”

I was there! Though I don’t recall all that much (I was five years old), a number of things left an impression. That Old Chicago Fire, for instance.

Ah yes.
I remember it well.
We drove all the way from Tottenville, Staten Island (where my folks hung out for 200 years or so) to the exotic outpost of Queens.
A friend grew up in the apartments built after all the freedom disappeared.

I could hear the train whistle from my house in Pelham Bay, saw the Three Stooges and officer Joe Bolton there along with Paul Anka who sang the song ” Mommy and daddy take my hand take me out to Freedomland 2.95 is all you pay at Freedomland today!

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