By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Sep 08, 2008 at 10:55 AM

I know that as Milwaukeeans you had your small amusement parks, all of which have pretty much gone. Now, the little paradise of rides of my childhood has officially closed. And I'm sad.

Once in a while we went to "Nellie Bly," a small amusement park -- named for the famous journalist -- located near the mouth of the Hudson River Narrows, near the Verazzano Bridge, in Brooklyn. But, like many generations of New Yorkers before us, we "vacationed" at Brighton Beach, Coney Island and Astroland amusement park.

After a closing scare last year, Astroland officially closed yesterday. No more Cyclone. No more little fire engines for the kids (I'll spare you the embarassing photos of a young me here), no more bumper cars, no more Astro Tower, no more tea cups.

Last May I was at Astroland and maybe because it's the first time I saw it as a father, tears nearly came to my eyes and I thought about how much I wished my son was with me then to ride on the kiddie rides that I rode with my brother.

The new owners say that the Cyclone, a landmark, will continue to operate in the future and that they will add new rides to Astroland. In the meantime, the old rides are being sold.

Amazingly, Nellie Bly Amusement Park apparently survives and even thrives under new management, but Astroland has not been so lucky. And neither will future generations of Brooklyn boys and girls be lucky enough to experience its charms.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.