“The story of Mays on Union Tpke. in Glen Oaks” (I Have Often Walked, by Ron Marzlock, March 8) was a great trip down memory lane.
When I was growing up in the neighborhood during the late 1960s and early 1970s, my parents would take me on the old Q12A (later renamed the Q79) bus to Union Turnpike. After a short walk, we would shop at Mays Department Store. It was our favorite for purchasing clothing, and especially school supplies, every fall.
After shopping, we would stop in at a local restaurant down the block. The name escapes me, but I would never forget the little train which circled the counter delivering your food. Sometimes, I’d get the chance to see a movie at the old Glen Oaks Movie Theater.
It was a time when bus drivers had to make change and drive, at the same time. No one dared bring any food on the bus or leave any litter behind. Air-conditioned buses were just becoming a more common part of the fleet.
Over the past decades, I’ve witnessed many other changes to our neighborhood besides the loss of both Mays and the Glen Oaks Movie Theater. Our old bowling alley on Northern Boulevard, Scobee Diner, the mini-Sears and Roebuck on Great Neck Road, the Little Neck Movie Theater, Bill’s newsstand by the Q12 bus stop, Mangels Delicatessen, the old 5 & 10 Virginia Variety, Patrick’s Pub, Villa Bianca Resturant and Bakery, along with other stores, have come and gone.
Walking down Northern Boulevard in the evenings today, my wife and I see fewer people dining out and shopping, except on Friday and Saturday nights. Years ago, we would never see any vacant storefronts. Today, there are too many, from Jason Avenue in Great Neck to Marathon Parkway in Little Neck.
Many neighbors I looked up to over the decades have moved away or succumbed to old age. I’ll never forget the wisdom that the Uhls, Houstons and others passed on to me. Who knew at 58 years old, having lived in the same neighborhood for 46 years, I would become one of the few remaining resident historians?
Our old bus stop on Little Neck Parkway, adjacent to the Chase Manhattan Bank, is where the ride to Mays would begin. The bus sign still stands. How sad there will probably never be another trip to board.
Let us toast both Mays Department store and the Q79 — and memories of good times gone by.