Friday, November 21, 2008

Widening Merrick Road, Seaford, about 1975

Shortly after we arrived in Seaford in 1972, the installation of a sanitary sewer trunk line under Merrick Road seems to have led to a widening of that street through Bellmore, Wantagh, and Seaford. I cannot establish the exact years, but I have two or three slides, and data exist on the Nassau County Records Viewer. At times, the street was an obstacle course of construction. The other day, I tried to contrast the present buildings between South Seaman's Neck Road and Smith Lane with the records. What a surprise to learn that the "old" post office that is now Beach Bum Tanning lost an angle-cut off its facade! The adjacent tailor was also cut back. Most of the other buildings east of that point were built after the widening. In the block from Jackson Avenue to Smith Lane, at least two structures were condemned, demolished, and the lots sold for new construction. The building occupied by Runyon's remains, having been cut back about five feet because of the widening. Similarly, the cinder block paint store, built in 1969 at the corner of Smith Lane, lost about five feet.
So, for those blocks, much of the widening was done on the south side of Merrick Road.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The former location of the Methodist church

At the November 6, 2008, meeting of the Seaford Historical Society, the question arose as to the location of the Methodist church before it was transported in 1923 to Washington and Waverly Avenues. It seems to have been where this building, 3943 Merrick Road, now stands. According to the Nassau County Land Record Viewer, the present structure was built in 1928. The building to the left, 3935, despite its modern look, seems to be a rectangular replacement of several structures that date from 1903. The record viewer shows a bakery in front, with various additions towards the rear. The building to the right dates from 1980.
The photographer is standing where Smith Lane meets Merrick Road. At one time, Smith Lane carried the name Seaford Avenue. Later, it received the name Smith, probably because of the Smith Family home on the southeast corner.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fishing before the causeway was built

At the meeting of the Seaford Historical Society, November 6, 2008, Fred Roth and others discussed fishing in the bay. The topic included references to previous generations and, in particular, the condition of the bay before the Wantagh Causeway to Jones Beach was constructed (1928?). If my notes are correct, there existed an inlet, Zach's Inlet, near present Zach's Bay. It could get fairly shallow, so most of the ocean-going boats used Jones Inlet, which has moved west over the years since the 1920's, due to the shifting sands. Much of the sand on which Ocean Parkway east of the water tower was constructed was taken from the bay, and thus the State Channel (parallel to Ocean Parkway) was dredged for the sand. Some sand for the causeway was taken from a sandpit near the present Washington Avenue Park, Seaford, but the appearance of the water table in that pit limited that supply. The terms "East Bay" and "West Bay" predate the causeway, as the waterways of the bay allowed only one route, The Run, between the two bays. By the way, each island, each channel had some name or other, and these names rather than buoys were used in conversation about where one was going or had been. I think I heard it said that the count of island houses is about 28 now, down from hundreds in the old days. Corrections are welcome to the address on the right.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Grocery chains

At the November 6, 2008, meeting of the Seaford Historical Society, one surprise was to learn the existence of both Bohack's and A & P on Merrick Road near Jackson Avenue. A & P, I'm told, was on the north side of Merrick Road. Bohack's on the south side at the southeast corner of South Seaman's Neck Road. That structure later became the post office (which moved to its present location in 1980), Bette's Florist, and now Beach Bum Tanning. In the discussion, I neglected to ask whether the stores were self-serve. Many stores that pre-dated King Kullen required the customer to talk to the butcher over his counter, pay him separately, deal with the vegetable man likewise, and also bring a list to a counter for canned and dry goods. This Newsday article says that Bohack owned more than 700 stores in 1939.
Several people mentioned the convenient Hill's Supermarket where World Gym is now located. Even though this is in Wantagh, before the construction of NY 135 Hill's was simply across Seaman's Neck Road from Seaford. It seems that the construction of NY 135 made that location (in Wantagh, at the east end of Park Avenue) much less convenient for Seaford shoppers.
I must also mention that a King Kullen supermarket existed in the small shopping center at Kenora Place and Merrick Road, where a liquor store occupies a rear corner, adjacent to Blockbusters.