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My Turn: A paradise called Elmont

Christmas, 1964: Suzanne Reed, bottom left, with brothers

Christmas, 1964: Suzanne Reed, bottom left, with brothers Larry, top left, Mike, middle, and Joe. Their mother, Marian Coiro, took the photo. Credit: Handout

I grew up in Elmont in the 1960s and 1970s. To me and my brothers, Larry, Joe and Mike, Elmont was a four-season paradise. A few blocks from our home was the "jewel of the neighborhood," Walcliffe Skating Rink and Pond. On weekends, we anxiously waited on line, laced up our roller skates and enjoyed hours of indoor skating fun. I can still hear the organ music playing in my head as we skated around on those wooden floors.

Also within walking distance were the Argo movie theater, the Elmont Bowlaire, Averill Park and Times Square Stores (TSS).

Summer days were spent swimming and playing ball in the street for hours with the rest of the neighborhood kids. On rainy days, there were those infamous marathon Monopoly games in our garage (P.S. no chance of winning if my brother Larry was playing). The word "bored" was not in our vocabulary. What kid could be bored growing up in paradise?

My two sons grew up in the same childhood home as I did, but in a very different world. Walcliffe was demolished long ago and replaced by attached town houses. The Argo theater, with its majestic balcony, is now a 99-cent store, and just down the road on Hempstead Turnpike, the Times Square Store (our source for everything) was replaced by a Home Depot. Duane Reade Pharmacy occupies the same building as the Elmont Bowlaire, but looking up at the rafters, I am still able to visualize the great bowling alley where I spent so much time as a kid. Thankfully, Averill Park remains, still a well-maintained place for kids and adults to enjoy.

Although our Elmont paradise no longer exists, for my brothers and me, the memories of that magical time and place will remain with us forever.

--Suzanne Reed, Elmont

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