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Top Ten of 2011: Ups and Downs at Rye Playland

RYE, N.Y. - As we turn the page on 2011, the Daily Rye is looking back, in no particular order, at the top ten stories of the past year. Be on the lookout as we recap and update the top stories in Rye in 2011 in the coming days.

Children's Museum at Rye Playland

The Westchester County Board of Legislators unanimously approved a 10-year lease for the Westchester Children's Museum at Rye Playland's North Bathhouse. The museum secured a physical space 10 years after it was conceived, but it may take another two years or so to officially open.

Muslim Arrests at Rye Playland

A dispute over Playland’s policy of prohibiting headgear on several rides led to the arrest of 15 Muslim-Americans and left two park rangers injured in August. The incident started as a private argument between customers who had been denied access to certain rides for wearing hijabs, traditional headscarves for Muslim women.

It was a bit of a roller coaster year for Westchester's premier amusement park. In early August they were able to secure a 10-year agreement with the Westchester Children's Museum to add to the attractions already on site. Two weeks later, police arrested 15 Muslim-Americans for protesting the park's rule of no headgear on rides.

Since the Museum went to vote in August, it was unanimously approved, then vetoed by County Executive Richard Astorino, only to be overidden by the County's Board of Legislators. The museum hosted an event in early December to both commend all those responsible for getting it approved, and celebrate their accomplishment.

Although the Muslim-American altercation and subsequent protest received a large amount of national scrutiny and attention, it wasn't enough to warrant a change in Playland's 'head gear' policy. Deputy Commissioner for Westchester Parks Peter Tartaglia confirmed that the Park's policy is not discriminatory and is necessary due to safety precautions.

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