I have been a resident of New Hyde Park for over 20 years. I grew up in Ridgewood, a community on the border of Brooklyn and Queens. I always enjoyed walking to my local shopping avenue, first as a little child with my mom and then as a teenager with friends. We would stop and enjoy a quick lunch, mostly a slice of pizza, and then shop in and out of the local stores.
So when I moved out here I was glad to see that I was walking distance from the . I began walking up there with my children in the stroller and as they grew, they would walk next to me as we journeyed out on mild days.
I have seen many changes to the shopping plaza over the years. Most of the changes are for the better but I do miss a few of the old stores.
One of our favorite stops was called Candy World. It was a small store with glass counters in the front that held delicious chocolate treats. Across from the counter were bags of licorice and gummy candies. But our favorite treat was in the back of the store. There you would find a small ice cream counter with soft serve and Hershey’s hard ice cream. My daughter enjoyed the chocolate cone and my son’s favorite was the pistachio with real pistachio nuts! Sometimes grandma would join us on these shopping trips and would love to treat her grandchildren to the ice cream while enjoying one herself. In the summer, chairs were placed outside the store for tired shoppers to rest and have a cold treat.
Another food favorite that is no longer there was an outside snack stand that sold hot dogs, pretzels and drinks. This was right before at the open break between the stores. It was great for a small snack while walking along the strip.
The department store that I miss is the JCPenney that occupied space in the middle of the plaza. It was a wonderful convenience to be able to return a catalog purchase or just to pick up anything from clothing to house wares. It was small as far as a department store went, but it was quicker than going out to the mall.
Although I have happy memories of past businesses up at the center, I feel that the changes have been largely for the better. The new stores that have opened are a wonderful addition and have made Lake Success also a favorite for shoppers from Queens and other parts of the Island. I do a great deal of my Christmas shopping there and from the looks of the very crowded parking lot at that time of year, I guess others are doing the same thing. Stores such as , , and are just some of the places where you can find great gifts for family members as well as for yourself. The opening of was also a great choice. Now we have an entire store of better quality shoes for the whole family. Ant then there is my personal favorite store, . Here you can find anything you need for the home, a shower gift for the bride to be, and every July and August, back to college dorm shopping.
Besides the stores, there are diversified food choices up there also. You can grab a slice of pizza or Mexican food or a bagel. For a dinner, I enjoy . They have delicious entrees and their half portion pastas are great if you are watching your weight or want to try a new pasta dish with your dinner. I also like . My favorite is their matzo ball soup and pastrami sandwich. But they have many other delectable choices on the menu. If you prefer to cook at home, then Iavarone’s food store is a great place. There is a butcher and a fish counter that carries everything to prepare home cooked meals. They also have a deli counter where you can purchase cooked entrees’ and side dishes for a quick dinner at home without the clean-up.
The many changes to this shopping center over the years have made it a valuable part of the community and a much needed one. We can all enjoy the convenience of its many businesses.