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Update on Mall openings

Roosevelt Field

Roosevelt Field Credit: Kevin P Coughlin

Simon Malls said today it planned to open the Roosevelt Field Mall and The Mall at the Source at noon and close at the regular hours, which is 9:30 p.m.

Walt Whitman Mall opened at 10 a.m., their regular hour, and will close at 9:30 p.m. 

Representatives of Smith Haven Mall said they opened the mall at its regular time and expected all the stores within the mall to be open by about 2 p.m., closing at 9:30 p.m.

Westfield South Shore Mall opened its doors at 9 a.m. but the department stores opened at noon and most of the other stores are scheduled to open between 11 a.m. and noon, said John Best, general manager. Yesterday, the mall closed at 6 p.m., which was its scheduled closing. "Shopping was a bit slow yesterday because of the anticipated storm, so the day after Christmas [shopping] hasn't happened yet," Best said. "But I think that it will pick up once the roads are cleared."

The Westfield Sunrise Mall in Massapequa opened at noon and is scheduled to close at 9:30 p.m., its normal closing time, but mall officials are recommending that shoppers call individual mall retailers in advance to confirm specific store opening and closing times.

Despite the approaching storm, there was a lot of post-Christmas shopping action at Westfield Sunrise yesterday, said Maria Di Leo, mall marketing director. The mall closed at its normal time of 6 p.m. yesterday.

"We expected to be busy anyway, but the early closes at the other malls helped us," Di Leo said. "I guess people in eastern Nassau are not afraid of snow. We had a good day yesterday."

Shoppers at the Walt Whitman Mall in South Huntington were a rare sight Monday morning, giving those who did make it in the feeling that they had been locked inside after hours.

The aisles were oddly silent, allowing the smallest of noises, such as the automated rotation of a backlit advertising board, to stand out. By 11:30 a.m., anchor stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Bloomingdales were still covered with caging.

The typically gridlocked Apple store had more employees (four) than customers on the floor. Wrapped in a large scarf on a bench in a near-empty wing, Sabuhi Shahid was one of the few other business operators to arrive for 10 a.m. opening.

Her colorful Cuddly Pillow and Pets kiosk grabbed attention among her unmanned, tarp-covered neighbors.

"This is very bad; very slow," Shahid said.

The business was counting on this week, when schools are out, to boost holiday business. It sells large stuffed animals -- parrots, frogs and dogs are just a few -- shaped liked bed pillows.

"People usually want to come to the mall now," she said, optimistic that later this week will make up for yesterday and Monday.

At one point before noon Monday, shoppers in any given wing could be counted on one hand. Peter Schmitt, a tourist from Brussels, Belgium, was one of the only people with his children.

After weather delays, Schmitt, his 19-year-old son Benjamin and 15-year-old son Maximilian did not arrive into JFK until Christmas Day. They toured the city Saturday and Sunday, but after being unsatisfied with their hotel in New Jersey, booked one in Commack last night.

"We thought we'd check out the neighborhood," Schmitt said.

They were at the mall for an iPod Nano, but made a few observations along the way.

"Normally this time after Christmas, it would be way crowded and full," Schmitt said, noting that malls in Belgium and his native Germany do some of their best business this week. "But this is nice for us."

The father and sons also found their dinner options greatly limited Sunday night.

They had looked up an Italian restaurant from the hotel, and called to confirm it was open before heading out. When they arrived it was closed.

"So it was Dunkin' Donuts," Schmitt said.

By noon, the Walt Whitman Mall's forced hibernation was nearing an end. Crowds remained light, but nearly all major stores had opened.

The Starbucks kiosk at the mall center was growing its dependable line, while SUVs could finally be seen from the other side of snow piles in the parking lot.

Doug Spadaro of Manhasset said it took him and his son 45 minutes to arrive via Jericho Turnpike.

"There's something esoteric about driving when nobody's on the road," said Spadaro, 60.

One of the major appeals of shopping Monday was the lack of crowds, he said. In short time, Spadaro had exchanged boots and purchased his son accessories for an iPod Touch.

"My wife said that it would normally be absolutely packed," he said. "I prefer this."

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