March 8, 2011

Remembering the best places to hang out in the Levittown area during the 1950s and 1960s, including village greens, swimming pools and Jahn's

Michelle Fromm '63 and big brother Cliff '60 have fond memories of the Levittown swimming pools. This photo is from 1965.

The similarity of the lists printed here is amazing, after all these years. Village greens, swimming pools, the roller rink, Meadowbrook Theater, Whalen's drug store and Jahn's were homes away from home for Division Avenue High School students.

To many of us, Jahn's had the best ice cream in the universe and the free swimming pools that dotted our community were splendid places to met our friends. Do you remember the pool tag you attached to your wrist to gain entry? And only Susan Weldon listed the library.

Levittown kids weren't rich, but we felt like we were. There was so much to do and we felt safe, day or night.

Blogger Frank asked some of his fellow students to provide lists of their "best places to hang out. Here goes:

Cliff Fromm, 1960
1. North Village Green Bowling Alley
2. East Village Green
3. Azalea Road pool
4. Meadowbrook Theater
5. Whelan's Drug Store

Michelle Fromm-Lewis, 1963
1. Woodcock Lane (On our street we were "one for all" regardless of age, sex, ethnicity, religion; there was always something going on.)
2. Azalea Road pool
3. Levittown Community Church - Friday night dances during the summer for all neighborhood kids
4. Meadowbrook Theater or the roller rink
5. Levittown Center (Mays Shopping Center)

Warren Zaretsky, 1960
1. Vice Principal Eugene Aiello's office
2. Wherever Anna Joy Herman was
3. Chris Wilkens' house
4. Anna-Marie DeNardi's kitchen
5. Officer DeMayo's squad car

Susan Weldon, 1960
1. Azalea Road pool
2. West Village Green
3. Chris Wilkens' house
4. Library
5. Bowlder Lounge

Howard Whidden, 1962
1. North Village Green pool
2. North Village Green bowling alley
3. Jahn's
4. Roller rink
5. Meadowbrook movie theatre

Roberta Landry Bremmer, 1961
1. North Village Green pool
2. Skating rink
3. Alice Nutini's house. She is also class of 1961.
4. Dunkin Donuts (across from St. Bernard's Church) on Sunday mornings
5. Loring Road friends' (Dotty & Joan Scagliola and Kathy & Marianne Ryan) back yards

Pat Stanley Share, 1960
1. Bluegrass Lane and Azalea Road pools
2. Football games
3. Whelan's drug store, our meeting place
4. Mays Dept. Store, first job
5. Jahn's

Wally Linder, 1961
1. Azalea Road pool
2. John Fitzsimmons' house
3. North Village Green
4. Outside Sid's Deli
5. Cafeteria on Hempstead Turnpike, after basketball games Friday nights

David Amster, 1963 and
Marilyn Amster, 1962
1. Jahn’s
2. The roller rink
3. Any Village Green
4. Any of the nine FREE Pools
5. Meadowbrook Theater

Karen Biro Hewson, 1960
1. Meadowbrook Theater
2. Wilfred's Coffee Shop
3. Caruso's
4. Bowlder Lounge/bowling alley
5. Mays shopping center

John Kinstrey, 1961
1. Baseball or football at Redwing Lane playground with Tommy Toscano, Richie Cianci, the Mitchko brothers, Mike Fitzgibbon, Russ Seymour, Barbu Alim, Dicky Yaw, Leo Grant, Henry Glazer, the Gateley brothers, David Reavis, Russ Cistaire, Butch Rand, David Rosenberg, and Mark Scope (he was wrongfully blamed for burning down the wooden handball court, we think.)
2. Azalea Road pool with same dudes.
3. In the winter time, sledding in the sump behind the Azalea Road pool (Toscano never went; wasn’t into the breaking and entering thing)
4. West Village Green playing stickball waiting for the truck to arrive with our bundles of Newsday.
5. After October 1958, 8 Meadow Lane.
Note: I never had the opportunity to get to Whelan’s on Hempstead Turnpike. By the time detention was over, everyone was usually gone.

Frank Barning, 1960
1. DAHS gym, playing basketball
2. North Village Green, playing baseball with the infamous Natives and harassing girls
3. Azalea Road pool
4. Dances in the old gym at Division, music on 45-RMP records
5. Mal Karman's house; Mrs. Karman was a generous and welcoming lady

Jon Buller, 1963
1. My room
2. Long walks
3. Azalea Road pool
4. Caroline’s Restaurant (North Village Green)
5. Sid’s Deli (Hempstead Turnpike)

Ann Crescenzo Fassino, 1961
1. North Village Green - Artie would make us chocolate egg creams and toasted corn muffins after school
2. Azalea Road pool
3. Roller skating rink
4. Whelan's drug store
5. Our home at 203 Kingfisher Road

Arnie Galeota, 1961
1. North Village Green bowling alley
2. Whalen's drug store on corner of Hempstead Turnpike and Division Avenue
3. Caruso's
4. Diplomat Cafeteria on Hempstead Turnpike near St. Bernard's church
5. Jahn's

Pete Weiss, 1963
1. America on Wheels skating rink
2. Jahn's
3. The Meadowbrook Theater, the site of a couple of personal "firsts," which for now will remain undescribed
4. The "sump" next to Wisdom Lane Jr. High, which almost always had a section of chain link conveniently cut for easy (but forbidden) access.
5. Nunley's Happyland/Jolly Roger at Hicksville Road and Hempstead Tpke. (this seems a little weird in retrospect, but my friends and I used to ride our bikes from our neighborhood - Hunt Lane and Gardiners Avenue - down to the Jolly Roger and get plates of sauerkraut - it was free - for a quick lunch, because whatever change we had we spent on the arcade games. Many of these had to do with weapons - machine guns, rifles, bombers, submarines, etc. - which seemed perfectly normal at the time. There was even one called "Slap the Jap," and another that was a submarine that torpedoed ships with Japanese flags on them. These were leftovers from WW II days, but also didn't seem out of place in the mid to late 1950s, especially for guys who watched war movies.)

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Laurence Bory, class of 1960

There is a strong geographic bias here with DAHS students who lived further North. For those of us who lived closer to Hempstead Tpke and near Jerusalem Ave, hangout places included:
1. Levittown Theatre, 2. Summit Lane school ball fields, b'ball court and roof (in the winter time we did drift diving off the roof), 3. Mays Shopping Center 4. Azalea Road Pool and Jones Beach in summer 5. Candy store across Hempstead Turnpike

Anonymous said...

Howard Whidden, class of 1962

Like Pat Stanley, my first job was also at Mays, where minimum wage was 95 cents and 45's were only 69 cents. How many ever tried the 'kitchen sink' at Jahns? For the little ones sledding along side the Newbridge Rd. bridge by the Wantagh Parkway was the best! It was also just about the only 'hill' nearby. Did anyone else attend mass in the Meadowbrook Theatre before they built Holy Family?

Anonymous said...

JACK JACOBSEN 1962

Cool places to hang:

North Green in 2 phases:

- when I lived on Crabtree Lane we played baseball with Taylor, Lawson, Duffy, Nerzig, Stahlberg, Spadafore, etc. There was one guy that stood out for only a year or two, his name was Al Nickels. Tall blond-headed with glasses who batted left-handed. He ripped a line drive into my gut while I was playing 1st base. Everyone thought it was a great catch, little did they know I couldn't breath, talk but did taste my lunch

- the second phase for the Green was when we were in High School. We played stickball, touch football, gin rummy. Most memorable time was watching Johnny Connelly take the swing for a 360 degree ride!!

- Azeala Pool

- Sid's

- Whelan's

- the High School, in my senior year Mr Aiello gave me a pass to the library to be used whenever I felt I was going to be disruptive. Needless to say Messrs Fishcher and Mathews became my pals!!

Anonymous said...

Susan Weldon, 1960...

frank noted that i was the only one who listed the library as one of my favorite levittown places. pat moore and i went to the library once a week and each took out the maximum amount of books that were allowed. one summer we decided to read every book in the library and started with the As (i don't know how far we got). if a book looked good, we'd fight over who got to read it first and occasionally it was settled by leg wrestling which i always won as my legs were much longer than hers. she never gave up though - stubborn, feisty irish/jewish girl.

P Phyllis Carollo Benaburger said...

Ok, you Division Avenuers! I'm from SOUTH Levittown...graduated 1959 from LMHS. I lived off Gardiners Ave. You mentioned Nunley's...I met my furture husband there. He had a p/t job there on weekends. He's a grad of Wantagh HS.
Best places?...Meadowbrook Theater, Third Bridge, May's shopping center, Whelan's, Wilfred's, Al & Mollie's Coffee shop on Gardiner's Ave. by Torino's Italian Deli., Slate Lane Pool, Center Lane green, South Village Green, Ginger's house...so many more places. Moved to Levittown in 1952. Threw away my dolls when I discovered boys in 6th grade at Gardiner's Ave school!

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