Twitter can at times be an unfriendly place, filled with mean words and social media spats. But fondness for a Holbrook mall has carved out a happier little corner of the social media platform.
A parody account of the Sun Vet Mall was created on Twitter last week. Some tweets offer fake promotions (“Reply for a chance to win a $5 gift card!”), while many others are desperate pleas for retailers to move to the Sunrise Highway location.
“Just so you are aware WE DO GIVE TOURS of the Sun Vet Mall. No one has signed up for this month’s tour as of yet,” one tweet reads.
The mall first opened in 1973 and is now home to 26 stores, including Payless, Toys R Us and A.C. Moore, according to the mall’s manager, Norman Schefer.
At its main entrance, several stores are now shuttered and inside, steel gates are pulled down over many of the mall’s former storefronts.
On Wednesday morning, the mall’s courtyard was nearly empty, save a few stray shoppers waiting to get their nails done and two women with sweatshirts tied around their waists walking briskly up the mall’s main corridor.
They were there for a workout, not to shop, they said. Their loop around the mall used to end with a visit to the mall’s coffee shop, but it closed without notice one day, leaving tables, chairs and a few coffee mugs inside, they said.
“If there’s a half-dozen people milling around, that’s a lot,” said a retiree who came to the mall for some exercise. “It needs a shot in the arm.”
The Twitter account, which has a meager 40 followers as of Wednesday, aims to capture the voice of a “millennial doing an internship for a mall in its dying breaths,” its creator said.
Billy, a 26-year-old from Bohemia, who declined to give his last name, claimed the handle @sunvetmall last week after he noticed the mall didn’t have a Twitter account. The project was born out of his deep affection for the mall, which over the years has developed a “bad reputation for sort of being a ghost town,” he said.
“Growing up I’d get Christmas portraits taken at Sears with my cousins,” he said. “I remember riding in the cart at [the now-closed] Pathmark while my mom pushed me.”
His tweets reflect that nostalgia and are “done in good fun.”
“Come out and see why Newsday called us ‘Long Island’s premier must shop mall!’ in 1987,” one tweet reads.
Schefer got a kick out of the tweets.
“Some of them were maybe a little critical, but most of them were pretty funny,” he said.