History

In 1949, when Lewis Newton learned that he was going to be a father – for the fourth time – he knew that he was going to need to make a major career change. And while he didn’t reinvent the wheel, his idea (fostered by advice from his parish priest in Brooklyn) to bring the very first Ferris wheel to make the rounds at Catholic bazaars in Brooklyn and Queens provided the jumping off point for Lewis J. Newton & Sons, the oldest family-owned and operated carnival company in Queens, Nassau and Suffolk. Headquartered in East Northport, it is one of an estimated 500 such traveling carnivals in North America, all family-owned.

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SO NEWTON INVESTED HIS LIFE SAVINGS OF $9,300 AND HIS FUTURE WAS DELIVERED IN MOUNDS OF STEEL AND MOVING PARTS. “I COULDN’T TELL WHAT I WAS LOOKING AT,” NEWTON SAID. “SO I DROVE OVER TO PALISADES AMUSEMENT PARK IN NEW JERSEY AND ASKED THE GUY WHO RAN THE WHEEL THERE IF HE COULD HELP ME… HE SAVED MY LIFE.”

His initial investment of $9300 for the Ferris wheel quickly transformed into a lucrative business, allowing Newton to purchase more rides and to quit his day job installing insulation for Western Electric. He continued his expansion in 1953 by adding four rides from a Levittown kiddie park that was forced to close due to its proximity to a cocktail lounge. During the winter, he stored the amusements in the “boonies,” on 20 acres at Elwood Road and Route 25A in Northport, which he leased for $10 a month.

His expansion didn’t stop there. Newton and his wife had three more children, two of whom – John and Mike, have taken over the modern- day operations since health issues beginning in 1990 forced Lewis into semi-retirement.

“I don’t know how they do so well without me,” Newton said. “I ask them every day what is happening.” Almost half of the company’s contracts, such as a 43-year association with St. Rose of Lima in Massapequa, are with organizations Newton himself signed up.

Between sons John and Mike, Lewis has four grandchildren who will inherit the decision to continue the legacy of Newton Shows.

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Circa 1960

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