When you grow up in and around northern New Jersey, as I did, there are a handful of cultural elements forever branded into your persona. For example, if you’re from the area you probably perceive a frankfurter to be more delicious than disgusting. After all, the grilled franks of Manhattan and deep-fried dogs of New Jersey really are better. But you’ve been to Franktuary. You know this fact well.

Something you most likely don’t know of is a now defunct theme park branded as Action Park. Like the simple enjoyment of a quality tubesteak, memories of Action Park is a bond we young adults from the New York area share. If you have no idea what I’m talking about do yourself a favor and check out this informative Wikipedia entry.

Just today I was sitting around a campfire in northwest Jersey and the subject of Action Park came up. I had never before met about two-thirds of the group of 12 or so with whom I was spending the day. All of these people grew up in either Queens, Brooklyn, the Garden State, or Connecticut. Everyone had an Action Park story.

In a rare demonstration of vigilance my good buddy was rescued by an Action Park lifeguard at the age of four. Of course, had he not been allowed to use the ride for which he was clearly under the height minimum in the first place a rescue would never have needed to commence. More spectacularly, today I learned of a girl whose braces somehow got caught on a ride causing her to lose all of her teeth.

I myself only had the chance to visit Action Park once in my life. To this day I can’t decide whether that was fortunate or unfortunate. And you, dear Pittsburgher, thought Kennywood was one of a kind. Ahh, memories!