Long Island malls, then and now
Malls across America have taken some body blows in the last decade as Amazon and online shopping have surged. Those malls include eight on Long Island – Roosevelt Field, Walt Whitman Shops, Smith Haven Mall, Broadway Commons, Green Acres Mall, Westfield South Shore, Sunrise Mall and Samanea New York (formerly called The Mall at the Source). The addition of the COVID crisis has put some on the ropes, but they continue to adapt and change. Here's a walk through Long Island's malls, from the 1950s to today.
Roosevelt Field, Garden City, opened 1956
Opening day in Roosevelt Field in Garden City, Aug. 29, 1956.
At 2.4 million square feet, Roosevelt Field is the largest enclosed mall on Long Island and the second-largest in New York State; pictured in 2021.
The mall initially covered 1,050,000 square feet; pictured in 1967.
The 1970 Christmas shopping season at Roosevelt Field meant a long walk for some shoppers.
The empty plane hangars of the historic Roosevelt Field, which closed to air traffic in 1951 to make way for its namesake mall.
Sunrise Mall, Massapequa, opened 1973
Sunrise Mall opened in Massapequa with Gertz and Korvettes among its anchors. The mall spent many years under the name of Westfield Sunrise, but has returned to its original name; above in 2009.
Chris Parker of Massapequa plays Operation Wolf in the arcade at Sunrise Mall in 1989.
Customers shop for TVs at the Friendly Frost Store at Sunrise Mall in 1977.
Sunrise Mall was sold at the end of 2020, and the new owner plans to redevelop the property but has not disclosed specifics. Above, the mall in 2009.
Fans clamour as the British pop band One Direction arrives for a CD signing at Westfield Sunrise mall in 2012.
Green Acres Mall, Valley Stream, opened 1956
In September 2021, Shoppers World opened at Green Acres in the space previously occupied by Century 21.
Green Acres Shopping Center, as it was once called, in 1980; the Valley Stream mall has historically drawn shoppers from Queens as well as from Long Island.
Customers ride the new escalators at Green Acres in 1983.
Walt Whitman Shops, Huntington Station, opened 1962
A statue of Huntington Station's most famous resident, the poet Walt Whitman, stands outside Walt Whitman Shops (formerly Walt Whitman Mall).
New retailers at Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station include Läderach chocolates, Warby Parker eyewear and Madison Reed Hair Color Barre.
In 1978, dozens of teens were recruited to shovel snow from the sagging roof of Walt Whitman Mall. (Shoppers were evacuated.)
Broadway Commons, Hicksville, opened 1956
Broadway Commons has something no other Long Island mall has: an Ikea store, which opened at the Hicksville mall in 1991.
The Hicksville mall in 2017.
In 1971, pizza cost 25 cents a slice at "Pizza D'Amore" at Broadway Commons, then called the Mid-Island Shopping Plaza. (The Hicksville mall started as an open-air shopping center.)
Samanea (formerly The Mall at the Source), Westbury, opened 1996
Lesso Mall Development Long Island Inc. bought The Mall at the Source for $92 million in May 2017 and renamed it Samanea New York.
In 2009, a mall anchor, Fortunoff, closed after the retailer's bankruptcy, and later another anchor, Circuit City, moved out.
The Westbury mall in 2005. Current tenants are Dave & Buster's; The Cheesecake Factory; Fortunoff Backyard Store; Leon Banilivi Rugs; Bloomingdale's Furniture Outlet; and Kawai Piano Outlet.
Alan Fortunoff displays a diorama of the proposed project in 1990.
Smith Haven Mall, Lake Grove, opened 1969
Smith Haven Mall has recently lost two anchors, Sears in 2020 and a JCPenney in 2019.
Smith Haven Mall's initial anchor stores were A&S, pictured in 1971, and Macy's.
The food court at Smith Haven Mall, with a sculpture by Alexander Calder at its center, 1989.
Holiday shoppers at Smith Haven Mall in November 2005.
Westfield South Shore, Bay Shore, opened 1963
A shopper leaves Westfield South Shore mall in Bay Shore in 2014. The mall underwent an $80 million revitalization in 2013.
Sheron Parnell of North Babylon carries her packages through Westfield South Shore on Dec. 26, 2015.
A tired shopper at Westfield South Shore takes a rest on Black Friday 2017.
Research by Laura Mann and Caroline Curtin