NEW JERSEY (PIX11) — Amusement parks boast something for kids of all ages, from exhilarating roller coasters to costumed characters. Coney Island and Playland in Westchester have offered thrilling attractions for decades.

But before that, there was the granddaddy of amusement parks that have since faded into history. The popular commercial from the 60s proclaimed, “Palisades has the rides, Palisades has the fun, come on over.”

That was the clarion call for millions who made the pilgrimage to Palisades Amusement Park high above the Hudson River, straddling 38 acres of magic along Fort Lee and Cliffside Park. Since the turn of the century, it was transformed from a picnic grove to become a catalyst for one of the greatest outdoor attractions of the century.

Gene Focarelli was 15 when he worked summers at the park. He remembers those days well. 

“There was no other place on earth like Palisades Amusement Park,” he said. “Everybody was there, the friends, the people, everybody was there for one purpose, to have a great time.”

There was the iconic cyclone roller coaster, the Ferris wheel, the musical carousel, the colorful midway, and the shows, but radio personality Bruce Morrow, Cousin Brucie to his fans, who did his broadcasts from the park, said it was more.

“People and Palisades Park, that’s where the magic was. We literally learned to get along with each other,” he reflected.

Vincent Gargiulo, the park historian, produced the book about the park titled, “Palisades Amusement Park–A Century of Fond Memories.”

“It was just a fun, safe environment for folks to bring a family,” Gargiulo said.

Gargiulo oversees an exhibit at the Mahwah Museum, which includes a miniature model of the park.

Years before inflation, it didn’t cost an arm and a leg for a fun day at the park.

“The cost to enter the park was dirt cheap. You could get a hot dog for a quarter or lemonade for a quarter. I think admission was 35 cents,” according to Gargiulo.

Competing with attractions at Coney Island, Palisades added a saltwater pool promoted as the world’s largest outdoor saltwater pool. It attracted even larger crowds. The park gained national prominence in 1962 with the release of the song “Palisades Park” by Freddy Cannon. It was rated number three on the National Billboard Chart.

Palisades Amusement Park was called the beauty pageant capital of the world. There was the Miss American Teenager and the Little Miss America Pageants, both televised on PIX11 and the Clay Cole show for five years. The Rolling Stones had one of their first public appearances on his program.

Cousin Brucie introduced his share of celebrities, including a young Tony Orlando.

“I was 16 years old, my mom, my entire family was out there among thousands of people at the one and only Palisades Park. That’s a memory that will never fade,” he said.

Tony Bennett joined Cousin Brucie, who insisted, against his wishes, that he lip-synch his most popular song

“We start playing his record,” Morrow remembered. “We had old equipment. I left my heart in San Francisco, cisco, cisco, cisco. Tony Bennett freaked out. He never forgave me.”

But the music to the ears of the adventurous was the sound of the terrifying Cyclone roller coaster.

“You hear the click, click click and silence to the top and let loose, and they come screaming all the way down,” Gene Focarellli remembered.

The park became so popular that Fort Lee and Cliffside Park communities could no longer handle the onslaught of traffic, and in 1971, the area was rezoned for high-rise development. The park fell beneath the wrecking ball, and behemoth buildings now fill the void. What was here is remembered in a small patch of land with a memorial plaque dedicated to the “men and women who played at Palisade Amusement Park.”

More than half a century after its demise, Palisades Amusement Park remains an iconic part of American pop culture.

It’s immortalized in film, in music, and a Broadway musical is said to be in the works. Above all, the magic of the park is emblazoned in the minds of the generations of people who responded to the beckoned call: “COME ON OVER!”