Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Sunrise Highway or Merrick Road?

Re-post Alert! I originally wrote and posted this blog back on 12/16/08, but only about ten people read it back then -- I only had two followers. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it :-)

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 to Long Island what Morey's Piers (on a smaller scale) is to New Jersey --minus the ocean view and hotel stay.

Nunley's is gone now. They tore it down and a Pep Boys is in its place. I know the merry-go-round has been relocated to an area mall and kids today are able to still enjoy it, but it's just not the same. So many wonderful memories--from the black and white photo booth my friends and I would stalk waiting what seemed like forever for our photos to first dates in the early '90s. Sometimes it feels like everything good is gone.

15 comments:

TS Hendrik said...

Good pos- er, re-post. I know well the feeling of watching cherished places torn down.

Samantha said...

2 years ago they tore down an amusement park at the beach, that had been there for decades. My Mom and Dad had both enjoyed The Pavilion in their childhood, and teenage years. I am grateful that I too was able to make some memories there, but it's sad that I won't be able to take Bree there. The Pavilion was a big part of our family vacations, and to think that I can't re-create those memories with my own daughter is depressing.

The lot that The Pavilion sat on is now vacant, with grass growing where roller coasters and other rides used to sit. Everything that was good...is gone.

Ian said...

Ugh, I hate when they tear stuff down around me. Makes me sad.

great post, even better picture!

Copyboy said...

That reminds me of a smaller version of LI's Adventureland. I wonder if that park is still there.

Ally said...

@TS Thanks :)
@Samantha Was that Pavilion in GA by chance? Tybee?
@Ian thanks! I was a cute kid :)
@Copyboy Dude, that place is STILL there! We got married near Farmingdale and Adventureland was a landmark on the directions for the brunch at the Black Forest Brew Haus. Too funny!

Darrin.. said...

So sad. I have so many places I wish were still around. It's almost like a little part of me died when some of my spots that I've created so many memories in closed down. But hey.. at least we have memories right?

Betty (picture circa 1951) said...

I thought to myself...I've never heard of Morey's Pier and I grew up in NJ. Where is it? Then I saw Wildwood. I went to Wildwood. Ahhh...they're celebrating their 40th anniversary. That explains it. It opened after I was married and gone from NJ.

They tear down everything nowadays. It's really sad. I wonder where parents take their kids today. I guess places like Chucky Cheese. Everytime I pass Chucky Cheese I think, "Thank goodness my kids are grown and I don't have to go there anymore." :)

Erika said...

So sad it's torn down. I have a serious soft spot for old locations.

And that picture is truly classic. All it needs is a snarky phrase and you have a great greeting card.

Mee2 said...

Nice. We didn't have anything like that where I grew up. They have torn down a LOT in the little town I grew up in. Seems as if they are infamous for it.

It does seem like all the good things are gone sometimes, doesn't it?

Pat Tillett said...

You sure got me looking back. In Long Beach (CA) we had a large amusement park, that was later torn down. Great memories!
Thanks for sending me there.
Another good post!

Kato said...

I agree with you my dear!! REading this made me take a trip donw memory ane for myself as well. In Toronto there is a huge park that used to be called Canada's Wonderland, a place that reminds me of my childhood nad like you said, first dates. Now it is crazy expensive, crazy huge, and the rides arent the best little wodden coasters anymore.

Sigh. Things either disappear or they ruin them by making them TOO huge.

xoxo

ASBLACKASOBAMA said...

It so sad that it's been torn down....

I moved away from the town where I grew up about 15 years ago, and every time I go back, it looks like they've added more strip malls and covered more land.... Pretty soon, there will be a Pep Boys on every corner.... I hope Manny, Moe and Jack are happy....

Hilary Cathcart said...

The ferris wheel from Nunleys is in by the Jordan Lobster Company in Oceanside. Thanks for the memories. I loved the arcade and especially the old lady fortune teller...

PacificPete2013 said...

The Nunley's Carousel is actually part of the Long Island Children's Museum Complex in Garden City now. It actually has been restored quite well -- combining the classical elements of the original horses (and lion) with a sharp new paint job, tasteful lighting and new painting around the column, depicting landmarks from all across Long Island. Thank goodness the horses weren't auctioned off individually as originally planned!

PacificPete2013 said...

Nunley's Carousel is now part of the Long Island Children's Museum complex in Garden City. It's been restored quite well. There are elements of the original carousel -- the same horses (and lion) -- with a sharp new paint job, tasteful lighting and new paintings around the column depicting landmarks across Long Island. Thank goodness the horses weren't auctioned off separately as originally planned!

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