Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sunrise or Merrick?

Andrew and I were planning our November 8, 2008 wedding on the south shore of Long Island and spending the majority of 2008 tending to wedding errands on Long Island. People from LI are very familiar with two major highways - Sunrise Highway and Merrick Road. Each can take you pretty much from Queens to Montauk.

A few weekends ago, we were heading to Drew's favorite seafood shack in Rockville Centre, on Sunrise Highway. He asked, "Are we on Merrick or Sunrise?" Easy to get confused as they are both very busy roads that run parallel along the same towns. I told him to look for the elevated Long Island Rail Road train tracks and was reminded of my youth.

When you're little, you don't know roads or towns. You simply sit in the back seat and relax while Mommy or Daddy drive you to your destination. You gaze at the store fronts and they become your landmarks. When I was a kid, my parents would take my little brother and me to Nunley's.

Nunley's was a small amusement park that was stuck in like 1959, and I always knew we were headed there when I saw the LIRR tracks along Sunrise Highway. My mom said they could never tell me when they planned on going because if something came up and we didn't get to go, I'd throw a fit. To avoid the crying tantrums complete with, "you prommmmmmised" being echoed over and over again, we'd just end up there on a random, clear, summer evening.

Nunley's was a glorious step back in time. There was a black and white photo booth and lots of very old arcade games composed of wood and metal. There was the famous fortune teller head eerily sitting in a glass box pumping out a typed fortune and lucky numbers for a dime. The large, indoor carousel had gold rings that weren't easy to reach. If we were lucky Dad would stick out his arm and grab one, because our kiddie arms were much too short.

I can still remember the warm summer breeze hitting my face while soaring down the tiny, rusty red roller coaster tracks. My little brother was small enough to ride the kiddie boats that teetered along a small pool of blue green water. We'd play mini golf and end the night with greasy fries and hot dogs. Nunley's was Long Island's Morey's Piers, minus the ocean view.


Sabrina Steyling said...

This post brought me back to the days of my '80s childhood at the Jersey shore, when my parents would vacation there for a week at a rental house. One night during that week my parents would take me to Perkin's Pancake House in Point Pleasant and then across the street to the amusements where I'd get a balloon from a clown and ride the train and all sorts of other wonderful kid-things. Those were the days all right! :)

BubblegumBengal said...

Hello! Stumbled across your blog (I think I googled "roundball", as I remember my mom playing that w/ me as a child, lol.) Anyway love the blog...been here over an hour now! I'm a fellow LI'er and I used to LOVE going to Nunleys, my dad used to grab the gold rings too...I think you'd score a free ride, right? I used to enjoy playing w/ that marionette clown behind glass that was called Bimbo, later changed to Peppy, for like 10 cents while my dad played w/ the coin-op crane that would pick up dry beans, as well as ride those self propelled little carts on the track...such fun! I'm pretty sure the seafood joint you mentioned is Bigelow's...bf and I go there at least once every month or two. :)


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