Swept up in an impenetrable wave of Jersey kitsch, Greek’s Playland bears the whimsical, gypsy-esque aesthetic of 100 forgotten tales. The fantastical 65-acre campus is the brainchild of a self-professed “Zen landscaper” and “Sculptor of Celebrity Pools”: Spiro “The Greek” Drake. Touring his Playland is an odyssey into Old World bazaars beautifully tinted by Drake’s colorful intellect and “waste-not” mindset.
From the man who once said, “A sculptor can create almost any design in brick”, it’s crucial to understand that Playland is all about raw materials. Visitors will be tickled to notice that nearly all of Greek’s attractions are composed of recycled flotsam and jetsam (don’t miss the towering stack of bicycles).
The handicapped-friendly playground, folk art and mini-golf course are lovely, but merely the tip of Greek’s iceberg. Of the Playland’s many wonders, the 40-foot amputee clown is far and away the most marvelous. Affectionately dubbed “Cyclown”, the couture junk jester is officially the World’s Tallest Clown.
In addition to a three-ring amusement extravaganza, the site also sports a Stone Museum where jokers of all ages can view a razzle-dazzle variety of minerals and polished stones. If pebbles don’t immediately stand out as a draw, one really ought to direct their attention to the space-age Fluorescent Rock Room. This pitch-black den of iniquitous geology serves as a multi-sensory lesson on exactly why the Garden State’s boulders glow in the dark (radiation). Best of all, this wealth of earthy trivia is open to the public free of charge.
Playland’s next act is so staggering that The Greek had to bring in security; meet “Monroe the Trackhoe-saurus,” a roaring, slobbering Jurassic predator made out of an industrial back hoe. Specifically designed for all those young at heart, this is Greek’s Display World. It’s essentially a meandering, indoor foot path peppered with crescent bridges and lustrous organic compounds. Not unlike Japanese gardens, it’s meticulously crafted to draw trekker’s attention to predetermined focal points along the way (waterfalls, marble slabs, etc…). The mile-long “Great Wall of the Greek” is perhaps the most earnest and endearing of Display World’s many, many features. Indicating a keen entrepreneurial prowess, business-minded hikers can even purchase some of the exhibited rocks in bulk at Greek’s landscape supply depot, conveniently located just next door.
Drake is pleased with his capricious microcosm, but he’s not about ready to call it a day. Plans for future development, assuming his current zoning woes are resolved, call for an animal preserve and a driving range, as well as a “Military Display World”. After all, as stated by The Greek himself, “If you don’t keep doing something new, you’re dead.”
Visit Greek’s Facebook page to find out how you can help save Playland~