Williamsburg speed dating

It might seem like a risky move in the age of helicopter parents and endless litigation.

Or maybe it’s the best rebranding since New Coke went back to Classic.

“There were some really zany things that went on back then,” park president Bill Benneyan says.

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On April Fool’s Day this year, the owners of Mountain Creek ski resort and waterpark in New Jersey pulled what seemed like a great prank: They replaced the resort’s sign with one for the old Action Park, the notorious “extreme” amusement park that operated on the site from 1978 to 1996.

Six visitors died there, and its seemingly anything-goes approach to summer fun earned it the nicknames “Class Action Park” and “Traction Park.” “At Action Park, it felt like you were in some crazy guy’s backyard,” says Dave Schlussman, a 30-year-old from Greenpoint, who in elementary school belly-flopped so hard out of a failed backflip off the park’s Tarzan Swing — just a swing over a freezing cold pool — that his eyeballs felt bruised.

But by 1996, it was facing mounting lawsuits and declining attendance as bad headlines spread. Visitors say they remember the park as a lawless Neverland where staff never yelled at anyone.

“Even as a kid you’re like, ‘They should probably be taking this a little more seriously,’” says Andy Fiori, 35, a stand-up comedian and radio producer in Astoria.

One report claimed that in 1987, five to 10 people per day were being brought into the emergency room from the park.

The New Jersey Herald reported the park actually bought the town of Vernon additional ambulances to keep up with demand.The Tarzan Swing got a safety upgrade, with pads protecting swingers.Eleonora Walczak of Greenpoint, showing off her leg scars from the old park while climbing out of the Cannonball Falls pool on Tuesday, said she was surprised to see the Colorado River ride now required helmets with facemasks.“The rides defied any kind of procedure.” The place was as packed with urban legends as it was with lawsuits: Some — snakes in the rapids ride — were most likely fiction; others — tales of the owner bribing employees with cash to test drive some of the rides for safety or starting his own insurance company — were real.But the sign was no joke: Action Park was actually coming back this summer from the original owners. The original owners, who had sold the park in 1998 — to a group that changed the name to Mountain Creek — bought it back in 2010 and started restoring old rides such as a river rapids, which they say the previous owners had dulled down.“It was the time before insurance companies had their hands in everything, before everything is tested and rubber-coated within an inch of its life,” says Seth Porges, 30, who co-produced the documentary and lives in Williamsburg.

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