03/22/2013 04:25 pm ET Updated Mar 22, 2013

Freedomland Forever!

On the swampland where the towers of Co-op City now stand, a writer pieces together the corrupt and convoluted backstory of the Bronx’s once and only amusement park.

My maternal grandfather, Gerard Correale, passed away when I was just two years old. He was an enterprising Sicilian immigrant who lived on Waldo Avenue in the Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx and took many odd jobs in New York City, including a longtime sales position at Nabisco when the factory was located in what is now the chic Chelsea Market food hall. My grandfather relished telling us about all his different jobs but reserved the greatest enthusiasm for his stint as a Wild West cowboy in the Bronx in 1960.

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