Roosevelt Field Mall was close, but by no means a walk.  We had to take the bus, and when you’re a tweenager on Long Island, you don’t know from buses, never mind finding a bus schedule.  My friends and I were accustomed to phone calls, drop-offs, and pick-ups by the mothers who juggled hair salon appointments with tennis court times.  We knew collect calls from, “Pick Us Up Now.”  Half-days of school were our half-days of freedom.  When our parents weren’t available as transportation, we took the bus to the mall so we could see movies and meet boys with long hair (ew) to make out with in the back of them.  Wet & Wild blue eyeliner, #44 lip gloss, bangs.  Walmart had a photograph booth with a seat that twisted for portraits.  We’d layer in, pushing to see, trying to quell our insecurities with laughter.  Dangly earrings and leather aviator jackets, splatter painted jeans, airbrushed t-shirts with rhinestone edges, Champion sweatshirts cut with scissors; we were mini-adults, dressed in college gear, before we even knew what to do with a tampon.  We linked arms after Sbarros pizza, speaking of science homework, ions, and band, yet we still felt like grownups in E.G. Smith bunchy socks and Keds.  Near the arcade, we scribbled our numbers on scraps of paper and gave them to boys with earrings and ripped jeans, older boys named Seth with mild acne and winged hair.  The freedom tasted like the garden’s first sugar-snap pea, innocent and sweet.



  1. A mall with valet parking…whats the deal w/ Roosevelt Field anyway??

  2. I think it was Woolworth's that had the photo booth, but anyway…God, I have half a dozen of those photos stashed away in a box in my parents' garage with with random friends from long ago that I no longer speak to because we have grown apart, lost touch, whatever. Roosevelt Field and Laces were the places to go on the weekend.

  3. Yes, you're right Christy. And Ellio's Pizza at Laces, with those feather hair clips and Member's Only Jackets. Laces was so the place.

  4. Wow. So you have another Webpage too. So now I know where you are writing from at that at some point you were married. That's a start.

    I grew up in a small town. We didn't have any of those things nearby on half-days. However, on occassion we would make the 30 mile hike to get to the mall. The last I knew, they were knocking down the neighborhood church to expand this shopping mecca.

  5. oh wow..laces. I definately had more than a few birthday parties there. I was always scared when they did "couples only"

  6. It is weird when you can picture the memories when reading this. I'm not sure if this was just a Long Island thing. Although, I have never taken a bus on Long Island to get anywhere. I'm not sure if I ever would either. As a "tweenager", it was always the drop-off and pick-up at Roosevelt Field Mall, Nassau Coliseum, etc. These days, it seems like they got so much more places to go than we did.

  7. I'm from California and I can picture my own version of these places. Seriously, I loved reading this – it really took me back – even if it is on a different coast.

  8. I went to a Catholic prep school where the girls wore plaid skirts and starch white blouses with peter pan collars, so the only way to express yourself was through your socks. When I read "E.G. Smith bunchy socks," oh lord the flood of memories.

  9. In 1989, I wore black, high waisted, Z. Cavaricci's with 100 belt loops, pinched, tucked and rolled into a taper above my black Reebok hightops with the velcro strap stuck off to the side. I wore a white cotton turtle neck under a red champion sweatshirt, with a gold herringbone necklace on the outside, from which dangled my gold playboy dogtag with the knocked-out diagonal "CHRIS" through the center. My mullet and fake gold loop earing rounded out the uniform.

    I worked at the local UA multiplex as an usher, which had many perks. First of all, I got into the movies for free. Second of all, during the week, the theaters that were set up for weekend dual theatre overflow were vacant, even though first-run movies showed in them. Dates for me at 15 years old consisted of taking girls into those empty theaters, with an entire "sleeve" of free popcorn (no shit, a sleeve is like 3 feet long by a 1 1/2 foot diameter plastic bag filled with day-old popcorn) and a couple of sodas, and watching 15 minutes of Lethal Weapon 2 before "going" with them. ("Going with" is Staten Island speak for making out…) Oh, and the girls were "mint"! (Staten Island for hot or good looking.)

    I met my first girlfriend at that theater, and also had many of my first sexual encounters there, including all forms of breast fondling and manual stimulation. I often wonder what happend to Connie. She was cute. You can see a picture of us together at the Sophmore "Formal" here:

    Oh good times, good times. I miss those Reeboks, seriously. They were mint.

  10. Based on another piece of yours, and with Chris' comments on Cavaricci, I actually went to my mother's house where my teenage room remains untouced, and there, in the back of the closet, remain my black Cavaricci pants with the huge round grommet buckle on the side, a hollywood waist, and a total of sixteen pleats terminating in pegged ankles. I'm saving them for a future "Back to the '90's" costume party should anyone throw one in a decade or so. Hopefully they'll fit.

  11. Aaaaah, that takes me back. Aren't half-days delicious! I still get a thrill.

    One thing that is exciting about having kids someday is getting to see it all play out again. Remind me of that thought some day in the future when I have five screeching tweens in my minivan.

  12. Wow – I grew up in Baltimore/Washington area suburbs and the experience sounds about the same. Bangs and long haired boys. woot!

  13. I should have read other people's comments before I posted because I forgot about the Cavaricci summer – I hosted a party with a $5 admission so I could buy a pair of Cavariccis that my mother refused to buy on the basis that they were perfectly atrocious and pricey. Ha! I must have had 15 different Esprit t-shirts that year. Rolled the sleeves.

  14. I think everybody has those sort of memories – geography be damned. I always remember going with my cousins to see Batman in 1989, and watching my cousin do the Joker dance afterward – that, and playing star wars with him in the back garden. His best man had everybody say "the force is with you" at his wedding last year. I don't think anybody ever really grows up….

  15. Wow, I had a scary lost memory flashback of taking the bus from Mid-Island Plaza (Broadway Mall, last I heard) to Roosevelt Field, just so we could get to a Benetton!

    My folks did the drop off when I took my Stanley Kaplan SAT prep course there.

    I so don't miss it.

  16. From one Long Island Kid to another… Thanks for the great trip down memory lane.

  17. Man oh man, Roosevelt Field was the place! Eating at Sabarros, playing tackle football in Herman's, hanging-out at the arcade, tagging clueless adults with security sensors at Record Town, and asking adults to buy us movie tickets to R rated movies. Man that was the life! Now at 32, engaged to be married and a big wheel in the world I often find myself complaing about current movie ticket prices by recalling the old $4.50 price at Rosevelt Field. I still remember the time my buddy Paul and Danny Bassen got pinched for shoplifting at the Pier 1. Remember when Pier 1 was nothing more than novelties, 80's rock gear, and hip posters? It still kills me when I go into Pier 1s in it's current incarnation. And Laces……don't get me started on that one………..

  18. Yes, and sadly I was at home hanging out with Sarah and Vernell…eating old fashioned grilled cheese sandwiches…and having dance offs with flickering lights.

    And since you weren't around, Sarah and I would look for that damn puffy diary of yours! Ooooh, and I couldn't wait to see if you had any hickies! We would rummage through your closet looking for secrets of some kind… but all that we would find were those magazine cutouts on the wall behind all of the hanging clothes. You were so cool. And if you came home, we would freak out and run into my room and lock the door…praying you didn't beat us up.

    Laces, ah, the laces years. Skating lessons, birthday parties, and the brown skates with orange laces that we rented after growing out of our white skates with pom poms. The roach clips with feathers and the light sticks (hello!)from the mullet heads working behind the counter. The baby rink where I would breakdance…doing the worm and trading moves with the boys. And do not forget the cool unicorn stickers from those machines where you put the coins in the slots and push the tray in…and how it sucked when you didn't get anything!!! Or if you already had that sticker! Oh man! One more thing to put in your fanny pack. How about the dj booth?! The guy would go up that ladder…into that little space ship looking room. And the movie screen that would have karioke type videos. Of course, no one can forget the guido, Patrick Swayzee spandex pants wearing rink guys with their smooth moves, black skates, and their whistles. If one of those guys came over to you then everyone knew that you completely sucked.

    All in all, the snow cones were the best. And hanging out in that back corner room on the far side of the rink…or the middle where you would roll back and forth while hanging onto the silver poles…waiting until all of the old people passed so that you could get to your Mother who was waiting at the entrance of the rink…waiving and calling your name out loud as if you didn't hear them or see them. Uch. But more likely than not, Mom was there already skating with Linda Ferrara. I thought Linda was so cool…wearing sequin tube tops without a bra…with her hair put up on one side with a banana clip! Yikes. AND THE JORDACHE METALLIC HOBO!!! OR THE GEAR BAGS!!!!!!!!!!

    I am such a dork. I have to go to bed. I swear I will shut up now. Maybe I will come into the city later…I miss my sister. And Linus of course. Call me and wake me up.

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