Author Topic: Kiddie Wonderlands (River Edge)  (Read 11009 times)

Offline Editor

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 4417
  • Karma: 17
    • View Profile
    • Hackensack Now
Kiddie Wonderlands (River Edge)
« on: March 14, 2017, 03:22:58 PM »
This was posted by Semafore in a 2007 topic about W.T. Grant and other stores on Main Street. I thought I'd start a new topic since this neat video recently surfaced on YouTube. Kiddie Wonderlands was located just over the border in River Edge. Garden apartments are located there now, across from Historic New Bridge Landing.

I love those hand-crank trains!
Ah Kiddieland!
Until I read the comments on 5 and 10 cent stores, I hadnt thought about Kiddieland for years. It was located on the southeast side of  the intersection of Main Street and Hackensack Avenue on the border with River Edge (The streets have been rearranged since then and it appears on recent maps to be where the extension or Grand Ave meets Main Street) When I was 13 in the summer of 1953, a year before I could get working papers that allowed me to work legally, my mother learned that the owner of Kiddieland hired young boys to lead ponies around a pony track. Since one of her friends had a son my age working there, she told me to go up there and see if they were hiring rather than to laze around the house all summer (my older brother had been working the past two summers at Maplecrest Beach mudhole). Although the pay wasnt regulated by anything like minimum wage and it was always a mystery what we would get paid (depending on the gate), which was never very much, I remember it as one of the most fun summers I ever had. Not only were we expected to lead little kids around a dusty track on ponies but actually take care of the poniesfeed, water, curry, exercise during the day ;D ;D ;D ;D. We got there early in the morning and stayed until closing, so it filled my summer. Since there were a band of us boys with piles of straw to wrestle in, ponies to ride and little or no supervision, it was a great experience (imagine an employer taking that risk today!). That was the summer when 3D comic books and 3D movies came out, so much of our modest income was spent on those. On rainy days we would go en mass to the movies and no one would sit near us since we smelled of horses.  The other memory seared into my brain was the seriousness the owner showed when he pointed to the image of FDR on a dime and intoned he was one of the greatest man to ever live

« Last Edit: March 14, 2017, 06:43:44 PM by Editor »

Offline semafore

  • HackensackNow Regular
  • **
  • Posts: 24
  • Karma: 0
    • View Profile
Re: Kiddie Wonderlands (River Edge)
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2019, 04:22:43 PM »
In the summer of 1954, the year before I turned 14 (and would be legally allowed to work), I learned that Kiddie Wonderland would "hire" underage boys to work the pony track. My mother insisted I find some work and it was she who learned about the jobs. In addition to walking the ponies around a dirt track when Kiddie Wonderland was open, we were responsible for grooming and feeding the ponies and mucking out the stables. It was hard work, but we had a lot of down time to screw around. On one rainy day, when KW was closed, all us boys went to the movie together and discovered that no-one would sit near us because we smelled like horses! We were NOT paid an hourly wage but paid according to what the owner thought was fair (???), based on how crowded KW was over the week. . It was a fun summer. The owner liked having young boys around (?) and even took a bunch of us to a pony farm when he was purchasing ponies. Since there were usually 5 or 6 of us, with a lot of down time, it was like working on a farm in the middle of Hackensack.