January 1, 2012

Mays Department Store on Hempstead Turnpike was an important element of our teenage years

We shopped at Mays, a few of us worked there and it even served as a popular hangout. It was a short walk from Division Avenue High School, a focal-point during our teenage years. Oh yes, some of us even shop lifted at Mays, or so I have been told.

Marilyn Monsrud Frese, class of 1963, had these memories:

Ah, I remember this well. Square dancing behind Mays Department Store on Saturday nights. That's me in the front (see top photo), doing such a lovely curtsey. I see Bonnie Green in the dark v-neck sweater on the left, then Corrine Norgren next to her, then Darryl Dittko in dark Bermuda shorts and white top to the right of Corrine. This photo was from the local newspaper and is shown in the Levittown Museum collection.

Your blogger found this anonymous post from 2006 online:

"I grew up in Levittown and for years Mays was the main store for back-to-school clothes and buying records. It was the anchor for the once thriving Levittown Shopping Center. When TV commercials started airing around the mid 1970s, the joke was "What Mays looks like that?" The Levittown store was always a mess and very dreary. The chain shut down in 1989. The Levittown store has been a Tri-County Flea market for years. When you walk into the building, the MAYS name is still on the floor and door handles."


Anonymous said...

Bob Arthur, class of 1964. . .

The really scary thing is that I can still remember the name of the caller for those Square Dances behind Mays - Don Durlacher. Believe it or not those square dances were a big part of Levittown's social fabric back then. I remember some idiot throwing a smoke bomb under Don Durlacher's car one night, which put a quick end to dancing that night. Thanks for the memories.

Wally Lindwer said...

Wally Linder

My next door neighbor was the Personnel Manager of Mays, and she got me and several other's (class of 61) a job during the summers.

The owner was Joe Weinstien, who had several stores. He was a tyrant and actually had living quarters, behind the scenes on the second floor.

Anonymous said...

i always enjoy the Levittown blog very much esp with the Mays photo, my mom worked there when they first opened i think she made a dollar an hour that tells u how far the dollar went in those days. Once again thanks for your hard work, its heart warming to see such history that we went thru. One thing i can say time flew so fast that it boggles ones mind. esp mine.
Brian Fisher, class of '61

Anonymous said...

From Ken Taylor . . .

Regarding the square dancing at Mays department store:

The band was "Dan Dorlacker and his Texas 2 step Band"

The band also played weekly at each Village green through the summer months, and usually set up on the pool pump house roofs.

One time, the pump house at he North Village Green was under repair, so Nick Mormando, the owner of the bowling alley allowed them to set up on the patio between the pool and bowling alley.

"Kelly the cop" was always assigned to the events at Mays and the Village greens, because he interacted well with the kids (Oh my God, that was us).

One night at the North Green, we talked Kelly into square dancing a bit, in uniform, and when he finished, we all clapped our appreciation and fun at the moment, including his patrol Sergeant who was standing there watching the whole time. He seemed embarrassed but the Sergeant shook his hand and they both had a good laugh.

This was one of those "Happy Days" memories of great summers spent growing up in Levittown.

Today, the kids sit in their rooms playing their "X-boxes".

We were the lucky ones.