August 6, 2012

Part 1 - Levittown's Mays shopping center was a focal point for our community way back when

Click on photos to enlarge


Early Levittown did not have a real downtown. It was pure suburban sprawl and as great as Levitt and Sons' planning had been, one item that was omitted was a shopping area such as were found at the time in previously developed communities such as Hempstead and even nearby Hicksville.

We pioneers made the shopping center anchored by the Mays department store our downtown. Some of us lived nearby and had an easy walk, while others were not so fortunate. For many, distance was compensated for by heading to "the stores" after school at Division Avenue junior and senior high schools. The shopping center was 10 minutes at most from school. The kids who attended Levittown Memorial High School were less fortunate.

The variety of stores was impressive, at least to us, and I rarely heard complaints. The merchants in the 1950s, for example, were fairly tolerant when it come to allowing us to hang around. There wasn't much of a police or security presence. Ours was not a particularly threatening crowd.

Among the things remembered by some of my Facebook friends about our shopping center was buying scout uniforms at Lobel's and later JC Penney, the lunch counter at Woolworth's, shoes at Thom McAn, Whalen's drug store, first jobs, buying 45 records and a bakery that in some memories has never been topped . . . Peter Pan.

I have asked frequent blog contributor Toni Crescenzo Gelfer, class of 1968, to provide her memories.


The shopping center on Hempstead Turnpike that included Mays has left many indelible marks in my memory. These thoughts can be pulled from every stage of my life, from being a very young child until when I first became a mother. My earliest recollections are the sweetest.

My mother never learned to drive and was an avid walker till her mid 80's. Although she and I did take the bus to the stores in Hicksville and Hempstead, the strolls through Levittown to arrive at that strip of stores on Hempstead Turnpike was an adventure for a four year old.

With my older siblings in school, I had my mom all to myself. At the stores we'd peruse an amazing array of items, resting here and there, if I tired. There was always a stop to eat and regroup with bags in hand. Going home I'd usually end up with a small toy from Woolworth's and a large lollipop. Sometimes it would start to rain or mom would get an extraordinary sale on bananas and we'd have to take a taxi cab.

These were the best of times, the cavernous back seat, parcels crinkling and little me perched on a small round disc like seat which magically appeared out of the floor. And always there was mom talking and smiling all the way home. This was heaven.


ninest123 said...

chanel handbags, louis vuitton outlet, ray ban sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, louis vuitton, longchamp outlet, christian louboutin outlet, louis vuitton, louboutin, ugg boots, air max, jordan shoes, oakley sunglasses, replica watches, ray ban sunglasses, kate spade outlet, louboutin pas cher, tory burch outlet, ralph lauren pas cher, louboutin shoes, nike air max, sac longchamp, oakley sunglasses, nike free, tiffany jewelry, tiffany and co, nike roshe run, longchamp, ugg boots, cheap oakley sunglasses, replica watches, longchamp pas cher, ray ban sunglasses, oakley sunglasses, louboutin outlet, nike free, prada handbags, longchamp outlet, nike outlet, burberry, uggs on sale, air jordan pas cher, polo ralph lauren outlet, gucci outlet, prada outlet, louis vuitton outlet, louis vuitton, polo ralph lauren outlet, nike air max, michael kors

ninest123 said...

ugg boots, ralph lauren uk, michael kors, hermes, lacoste pas cher, abercrombie and fitch, mulberry, nike air max, replica handbags, michael kors, sac guess, nike roshe, new balance pas cher, coach outlet, ugg boots, hollister, air force, coach outlet, kate spade handbags, coach purses, vanessa bruno, burberry outlet online, true religion jeans, hollister pas cher, michael kors outlet, north face, nike air max, tn pas cher, michael kors outlet, nike air max, michael kors, michael kors outlet, true religion jeans, michael kors outlet, true religion outlet, nike blazer, michael kors outlet, converse pas cher, lululemon, vans pas cher, oakley pas cher, burberry, hogan, true religion jeans, ray ban uk, north face, timberland, ray ban pas cher, nike free run uk, michael kors

ninest123 said...

vans shoes, wedding dresses, nfl jerseys, ray ban, mcm handbags, herve leger, mac cosmetics, longchamp, ferragamo shoes, instyler, mont blanc, lancel, ghd, jimmy choo shoes, beats by dre, valentino shoes, nike trainers, north face outlet, converse outlet, nike huarache, hollister, chi flat iron, celine handbags, hollister, p90x workout, nike roshe, timberland boots, soccer shoes, bottega veneta, ralph lauren, soccer jerseys, insanity workout, iphone cases, oakley, hollister, asics running shoes, reebok shoes, north face outlet, babyliss, nike air max, vans, louboutin, birkin bag, baseball bats, gucci, giuseppe zanotti, new balance, lululemon, nike air max, abercrombie and fitch

ninest123 said...

links of london, moncler, canada goose, pandora jewelry, hollister, thomas sabo, juicy couture outlet, supra shoes, montre pas cher, canada goose outlet, moncler, canada goose outlet, swarovski crystal, moncler, canada goose, moncler, ugg boots uk, bottes ugg, toms shoes, pandora charms, ugg pas cher, ugg,uggs,uggs canada, louis vuitton, karen millen, canada goose, marc jacobs, replica watches, sac louis vuitton pas cher, louis vuitton, coach outlet, juicy couture outlet, moncler outlet, doudoune canada goose, pandora jewelry, moncler, canada goose uk, wedding dresses, canada goose, swarovski, moncler, ugg,ugg australia,ugg italia, louis vuitton, louis vuitton, moncler, pandora charms