Monday, September 25, 2006

Mid-Island Plaza (now Broadway Mall)

Hicksville, New York - 1957

Mid-Island Plaza (later renamed Broadway Mall) on Long Island, in New York, started out as an open-air shopping center, as you can see by these early photos (which aren't the best quality, but were at least available), and then was finally enclosed in 1968, and renamed Broadway Mall, at some point ('68?).

This place certainly has a long and rich history, which even includes a visit from Richard Nixon, during the Presidential Campaign of 1960 (here's the speech he gave there that day). Here's a bit of early history from their current, Broadway Mall site:
"Mid-Island initially consisted of 10 buildings, including two supermarkets, and 8,000 parking spaces. It was dominated by Gertz department store, now Stern's, housed in a five-story, 300,000 square-foot building. An underground tunnel allowed trucks to make deliveries directly to mall shops. During atomic bomb drills in the 1950s and 1960s, the tunnel also was used for civilian defense."
There's a lot more info at their website, as well as the resource links below.

Mall history: 1956 - present
Current website: here (now Broadway Mall)
Current aerial view
Resource articles: 1, 2,
Previous entries: none

(Images courtesy The Library of Congress)



33 Comments:

Blogger BIGMallrat said...

Wow, did that fiberglass overhang look cheap. They did the right thing to enclose the mall.
This mall now has everything I need to survive. IKEA, Target, Macy's, and H&M. We don't have Steve & Barry's, but I bet I'd like it, too.
I've never seen an IKEA in a mall before, but I'd bet it'd be a better anchor than anything conventional. I also find it odd that H&M is often found near IKEAs. Swedes like to hang out together?
Scott

Mon Sep 25, 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Ha! Re: that fiberglass overhang... THAT was what I thought looked so great about these photos! :D

To me it's a really cool effect the way the light plays through them leaving patterns on the walkway beneath! That's just fun engineering and design in my book.

Mon Sep 25, 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger Cora said...

I like the fiberglass overhang, too. And this must be the only mall I've ever heard of that has its own fall-out shelter.

IKEA as a mall anchor is new to me as well. Though in my neighbourhood, a new IKEA store was built next to an existing discount store (Novo) connected by a mini-mall (approx. 10 to 15 shops, all small) and a food court in the former discount store cafeteria.

The result was good for IKEA and bad for everyone else. IKEA tends to draw customers from up to 150 kilometers away. These customers come specifically to visit IKEA, they don't care about the discount store and the mini-mall with its handful of small shops. They don't patronize the food court either, because IKEA has got a restaurant of its own.

Local customers like myself, on the other hand, are pissed off by the huge amount of traffic IKEA generates and the attendant problems of finding parking, as the formerly huge discount store lot was reduced by more than half due to having an IKEA planted on it. As a result, the discount store is suffering, the small shops in the mini-mall are constantly changing tennants and several are empty altogether.

Maybe the idea would have worked, if IKEA had been partnered with another store of supraregional interest. But as it stands, the Swedish giant is sucking the life out of everything in its immediate vicinity.

Mon Sep 25, 06:37:00 PM  
Blogger Steven Swain said...

The light coming through the fiberglass walkways is really cool. Cheap or not, it's slick.

Mon Sep 25, 08:15:00 PM  
Anonymous didi said...

A man that built houses in Europe with my grandfather has a fiberglass overhang in his front door and this past summer he was telling my father that it was very hard to replace it since they are no longer made. He's had his for a few decades or so and it was very very durable and has lasted. So, cheap, I think not.

Mon Sep 25, 08:15:00 PM  
Blogger hushpuppy said...

I thought I had posted this earlier today, so if it appears twice, I apologize.

This mall was built with one anchor (Gertz) built in the center with the mall 'legs' radiating out from there. Gertz wasn't particularly large (307,000 sf v 320,000 sf for Macy's Roosevelt Field) but it had 5 floors plus a basement (as opposed to 2 floors plus a basement for Macy's). The resulting 'tall store' created a wind tunnel effect on the mall below. The tacky fiberglass panels were an attempt to solve the wind problem.

Whenever I go to Ikea, I always stop by Gertz/Stern's/Macy's to get my dose of nostalgia. Unlike Roosevelt Field, this is not one of Macy's high-profile stores and it still feels very Ozzie & Harriet to me.

Tue Sep 26, 03:43:00 AM  
Blogger BIGMallrat said...

I had one of those fiberglass overhangs, circa 1955, in my backyard (pictures, anyone?). I've never worked so hard to remove something that looked so awful in my life. Retro is supposed to be the BEST of the period.
Looking cheap and being cheap are far different things. :)
Scott

Tue Sep 26, 05:02:00 PM  
Blogger Big Ern said...

This mall was almost left for dead in the 80's. And the old Korvette's (where Ikea stands) was left crumbling into the 90's. You could peek through the rubble from the parking list and see the escalators

Fri Aug 31, 02:47:00 PM  
Anonymous diane said...

this brought back many memories for me -my mom and i loved the mall -the pretzel man outside of gertz was a treat 3big hot pretzels for 25cents- the square delicious pizza slices at the far end -the square tree a fun artsy store-the buses gathering by the opposite end-oh life was easy and childhood special -growing up on LI

Sun Aug 17, 12:03:00 AM  
Anonymous DIANE said...

WHY DOESN"T ANYONE MAKE THOSE DELICIOUS CUSTARD DESSERTS ANY MORE? WE USE TO STAND UP BY THE COUNTER EATING THEM OUT OF GLASS PARFAIT GLASS NEAR A BACK EXIT IN GERTZ\_WHEN IT WAS CROWDED WE WOULD BE EATING THEM PRACTICALLY IN THE MENS DEPT _SOMETIMES WE WOULD HAVE TO WAIT FOR CLEAN AVAILABLE GLASSES _I ALSO LOVED THE ORIENTAL SHOP NEAR THE PIZZA PLACE _I BOUGHT MANY THINGS AND EARRINGS IN THERE WHILE MY MOTHER WOULD WALK OUTSIDE THE MALL DOORS TO TWO OPPOSITE FOOD STORES _they both seemed to do well pre plastic bags OF COURSE!

Sun Aug 17, 12:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mall was not renamed Broadway Mall in 1968, it was the Mid-Island Plaza till about 1992 than it was renamed. If my memory serves me well.

Tue Aug 26, 02:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember "Fly by Night Audio". It was housed in an old WW2 aircraft (b29 perhaps?) that was situated in the parking lot near Gertz. Can't remember the years it was there.
Might have been during the late 70's ? I never went in it, but you could always see the plane from the main drag that passed by Mid-Island plaza.

Thu Sep 25, 01:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember the mall well as my friend's father owned it. His last name was Frank, and as my buddy told it, his father got it from his father. We would play in the game room, go in the basement below what was once the food court (now taken up by Target) and talk to the girls in management office. It was mid-island plaza until sold in the 80's. Newsday called it the largest real estate sale price for retail space ever, LOL. They also said it was terribly mismanaged. Gertz became Sterns and then Macy's. Korvettes was nice because they had video games in their lounge, and would play movies at night. Dad and I would relax and wait for mom to finish! Well, now i live a block from the mall. Who'd have guessed!

Does anyone remember the steel arches behind the mall where the buses would turn around?

Sun Oct 26, 11:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In 1973, The Bay City Rollers Made an appearnce, the new "Beatles".

The Mall was actually enclosed in 1968 or so and I remember playing in the Hicksville Junior High Band commemorating the occasion.

Piaaz D'Amore, Longs, and the Restaurant in Newberrys all served solid, good food in the Center of our Universe back then.

ABC Records and Electronic City displayed and sold the Hits of the 60's and 70's.

Tue Nov 25, 09:20:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember the airplane that was in the parking lot at the Mid Island Shopping Plaza in the 70's? It was near Nathans.

Wed Jan 21, 08:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Korvette's always had special appearances by celebrities of the day. Around 1974 my mother, brother, & I stood on a long line that wound all around the store for what seemed like hours to see Leonard Nimoy. He shook hands with my mother and brother and patted me on the head and that was it. I still remember it was 2 seconds like he was pushing me along and then he moved on.
Around 1976 John Travolta "Vinnie Barbarino" from "Welcome Back Kotter" was appearing there and my sister and & I waited for hours and hours until they announced that he left because of some reason (overcrowding???). That stunk too, needless to say I never went to another personal appearance there.

Wed Jan 28, 10:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My dad put a fiberglass overhang over our patio so we could eat outside even in the rain. Some of my fondest memories growing up are how the rain sounded hitting the fiberglass, which was right outside my bedroom window. I would love to have a peice of that square sicilian pizza!!

Mon Mar 09, 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger JJ said...

Spent my childhood at this mall--Everyone had Pizza D'amore--the best! And that custard sold at the back door of Gertz was do delicious--you could get chocolate or strawberry syrup it was fluffy like a cloud--I wish they sold both the pizza and custard somewhere...and Longs had amazing Chinese food. These were very simple, innocent times. We didn't need a lot to have fun. At Mid Island Plaza, there were also special productions--once they had a big pool constructed with seals jumping in the water--and they had raffles--I won an "Elsie the Cow" doll--lol And once I also won a pearl necklace. There were two supermarkets at the end of the mall near the Bakery (JD Bakery)-- I think it was Foodfair and maybe Shoprite. My friends and I would walk to the mall from home and sometimes to the carnival that came to town in the late spring across the street before it was Sears. Around the corner from the mall was an old time Ice cream Shop on Broadway--where we would go for sundaes after a concert or school play--it's still there!

Mon Jul 13, 03:18:00 PM  
OpenID BigRray said...

MidIsland Plaza was a big hangout back in the 70's and yes I remember those custards I use to hang out by that back door waiting for empty glasses too. The pizza was square pieces not Sicillian just made on loong baking pans and cut into squares. I rember when "Fly By NIght Audio went in. I thnk it was a DC9 but it was in the early 70's. Anyone remember those Labor day Fireman Tournaments held in the back parking lot. We use to go every Saturday, food shopping in Shoprite. Me and my dad use to go window shopping and walk through mall just checking out whats in the stores. Get a slice of pizza and never tell Mom . those days were the 60's. A simpler life back then.. I guess it was for me, I was just a kid.

Wed Dec 23, 11:54:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fly By Night Audio appeared in the southeast parking lot of Mid Island Plaza late one night in 1975. I believe around the September/October time frame.

It could have been 1974. But I do remember it was gone before I graduated high school in 1976. I don't think it lasted a year.

If my memory is correct,the aircraft shell was either a Douglas DC-3, or DC-7.



A rather unique, but very shortlived marketing concept. I am sure floor space was very limited.

Fri Apr 16, 12:38:00 AM  
Blogger Barry said...

My Dad used to own King's coffee shop there in the 60's. I use to work for him, mainly in the attached snackbar facing Gertz.

Who ever wrote that Nixon visited there on a campaign stop must be republican, because Kennedy did too. I remember my Dad taking me to see his speech (very small crowd) and at the end lifting me up to shake his hand.

Sun Apr 18, 08:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Alice said...

Iwas named Mid Island Plaza until the late eighties or early nineties. I love Pizza D/Amore and Longs Chinese restaurant. I also remember Newberrys and the little store called "the Square Tree" I worked at the fast food restaurant Wuvs from 81-82. I was located next to the movie theatre which showed THe ROcky Horror Picture SHow at midnight for a long time.

Sat Jun 19, 08:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I worked at Gertz as Christmas help in 1976 when I was 18 years old. Job was called a "night carrier". Gertz sold large furniture and rugs, and someone needed to carry it to the customer's car. Worked with 4 other guys and we would hang out in the freight elevator b.s.'ing till we were needed. One of us would always take a break and go to the Chinese restaurant and order a bunch of egg rolls. I think there was a liquor store in the mall, cause a few times one of the guys would bring back a pint of Jack Daniels. I remember as a kid there was an S. Klein’s at one end of the mall; it closed down and became Korvette’s. Two supermarkets, Pathmark and Food Fair. And a barber shop my father would drag me to. Long hair was popular back then (early 70’s) and boy I hated getting a haircut. But as the fashion changed, that barber shop became the best place to get a haircut. Even after I left Long Island in the 80’s, when I’d come back to visit family I’d make a trip to the barber shop to get my haircut. I think it was owned by two guys, an Italian and German, named Silvio and Horst. A real old-fashioned men’s barber shop. Straight razor sharpened on a leather strap; hot shaving cream, hot towel, Don’t find places like that anymore.

Sun Dec 12, 03:03:00 AM  
Blogger ED said...

I remember an arch with a large star on it. Below the star was a radio station. Also we would ride our bicycles in the tunnel and get yelled
at. My dad worked at the Twin theaters, and on saterdays we help clean them and find money that fell out of peoples pockets. On the 5th floor at Gertz was a pet shop.
I remember the old farm. Bor that was a long time ago.

Thu Mar 10, 01:44:00 PM  
Anonymous MallCat said...

Hoo, boy, I remember that big ol' star, the two supermarkets, My PI, Sunflower (a head shop before the term came into being), Kresge's (a great 5&10 for 12 yr old girls looking for cheap cosmetics), Courtesy Drugs (with their screeching, ultrasonic alarm system that would drive me and my brother nuts), Klein's --> Korvette's, Twin North & South (my friend and I waited on line from dawn to see the first show of Return of the Jedi), Wrangler Ranch, Frankel's, Rosalie's Rack (a clothing store, not what a "rack" means nowadays), Electronic City, SquareTree, Bond's, a ladies' formal clothing store where all the gowns looked godawful, the Firemen's drills in the parking lot, U.S. General, The Magic Shop, a Judo school, and yes, Fly-by-Night Audio. I went inside with my brother. It was like a long, crowded closet...and IIRC, the prices weren't so hot.

Does anyone remember the little amusement park that was in the middle of the parking lot in front of the Twin theaters? It had a carousel, a little car or train ride, possibly a tiny ferris wheel. It's where Ikea is now. Anybody?

Also, does anyone remember the time they had fireworks at 4th of July? I was a mere tyke, and my memories are dim, but I recall that we were parked at the empty lot across Broadway. That empty lot is now Sears (to this day, the only way I can make my way around that store is to remember how it was originally laid out in 1966).

That map of LI that was in the stairwell at Sears is still there, along with the weird lights that make everyone look like they're wearing orange make-up. Too bad the snackbar's gone. Many good memories of orange drinks in the summer, and hot chocolate in the winter, and salted cashews from the candy counter there (yeah, Sears had a candy counter in those days).

If you want some more cool photos of the old mall, go to Flickr and look up gregchris66 or "Lost Long Island"

Tue Mar 15, 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger peter said...

My dad owned Pizza D'amore. Emanuel 'Manny' Puleio was my father.There were two partners who both had twin sons.I still meet people to this day that remember the square sliced pizza with the piece of cheese in the middle.That was my dad's reciepe.It brings back memories of different era in time.The good old days.

Thu Aug 18, 11:12:00 AM  
OpenID a7c3e342-30e2-11e1-87c2-000bcdcb5194 said...

Some corrections/clarifications on above comments:

The "Fly By Night Audio" business (in a free-standing shell of a plane) was situated on the mall's N/E outer perimeter between Nathan's and the Car Wash (which is now a Boston Market). I only remember it there for a year or two, maybe around '75.

Leonard Nimoy (Spock) didn't appear at Korvettes...he appeared at S.Kleins (the store which Korvettes later replaced)...I was a newspaper photographer back then & I had covered Nimoy's appearance there.

Yes, the mall was renamed "Broadway Mall" somewhere around the early '90s, but there was another renaming..."The Mall At Broadway"...which was VERY short-lived, inbetween.

IKEA is NOT situated where Korvettes was. IKEA was in front (east) of the Korvettes building, partly where the North & South Twin Cinemas were. The Korvettes building eventually was turned into the multiplex movie theaters.

I do remember the annual 4th of July fireworks shows, held on the front N/E lawn adjacent to Rt.107/Broadway, before Sears was built. I have old 8mm movies my dad shot there. Not much in the way of public safety back then...the crowds only had to stay back about 25' or so.

The tiny little amusement park with the big merry-go-round was in the corner right outside of Newberrys, adjacent to the exterior building which eventually became Agway. Back then, that pre-Agway building had slot-car racing in the lower basement level.

The huge metal arch, which suspended the large lit multi-color plexi star was situated in mid-mall, back when the mall wasn't enclosed. It stood as an iconic visual symbol of Mid-Island Plaza 'til the mall was enclosed. When the arch was dismantled, it was stored outside in a fenced-in area on the mall's south perimeter, until when I once drove by...and it was gone. The lit star was so tall & bright, it could be seen at night from the LIE.

Tue Dec 27, 06:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Bob said...

Some corrections/clarifications on above comments:

The "Fly By Night Audio" business (in a free-standing shell of a plane) was situated on the mall's N/E outer perimeter between Nathan's and the Car Wash (which is now a Boston Market). I only remember it there for a year or two, maybe around '75.

Leonard Nimoy (Spock) didn't appear at Korvettes...he appeared at S.Kleins (the store which Korvettes later replaced)...I was a newspaper photographer back then & I had covered Nimoy's appearance there.

Yes, the mall was renamed "Broadway Mall" somewhere around the early '90s, but there was another renaming..."The Mall At Broadway"...which was VERY short-lived, inbetween.

IKEA is NOT situated where Korvettes was. IKEA was in front (east) of the Korvettes building, partly where the North & South Twin Cinemas were. The Korvettes building eventually was turned into the multiplex movie theaters.

I do remember the annual 4th of July fireworks shows, held on the front N/E lawn adjacent to Rt.107/Broadway, before Sears was built. I have old 8mm movies my dad shot there. Not much in the way of public safety back then...the crowds only had to stay back about 25' or so.

The tiny little amusement park with the big merry-go-round was in the corner right outside of Newberrys, adjacent to the exterior building which eventually became Agway. Back then, that pre-Agway building had slot-car racing in the lower basement level.

The huge metal arch, which suspended the large lit multi-color plexi star was situated in mid-mall, back when the mall wasn't enclosed. It stood as an iconic visual symbol of Mid-Island Plaza 'til the mall was enclosed. When the arch was dismantled, it was stored outside in a fenced-in area on the mall's south perimeter, until when I once drove by...and it was gone. The lit star was so tall & bright, it could be seen at night from the LIE.

Tue Dec 27, 06:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is a picture of "Fly By Nite Audio" taken in October of 1975:
http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd16/abnovinski/Misc/FlyByNightAudio.jpg

[IMG]http://i226.photobucket.com/albums/dd16/abnovinski/Misc/FlyByNightAudio.jpg[/IMG]

Mon Jan 02, 10:21:00 PM  
Blogger Tom Montalbano said...

These are all such great memories for me. I, too, grew up in this mall and saw the Bay City Rollers and John Travolta and craved the square slices from Pizza D'Amore my father would bring home every Friday night. Thank you all for sharing your stories. Please keep them coming!

Wed Jan 11, 08:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm pretty certain that "Fly By Night Audio" was in a four-engined DC-6 shell. It was situated approximately near where IKEA is today. It was an interesting marketing idea but a lousy store. And true to their name, they flew away by night.

Wed Mar 14, 01:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about Electronic City and the Slot car racing place in the basement. Those were great times

Sat Jan 05, 09:39:00 PM  
Anonymous H.Scott said...

If you hung out at the mall as a kid you would certainly remember the female security guard. We were more afraid of her than the men. Pizza D'Amore and Longs I miss my youth!!!!

Sat Mar 23, 11:32:00 AM  

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