J.W. Mays, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAYS) is a real estate firm based in Brooklyn, New York, United States. From 1927 until 1988 the company ran a chain of discount department stores in the area surrounding New York City referred to as simply Mays, with stores located in three of New York City’s five boroughs and Long Island. At its height as a retailer, the firm had 5000 employees working in 9 stores during the early 1970s. – Wikipedia
Until the end of the 1950s, Mays was about the best you could do if you lived in Levittown…” – Steve Bergsman – Growing Up Levittown: In a Time of Conformity, Controversy and Cultural Crisis
I was one of the kids who would always walk to the shopping center. I would go into Mays department store to steal whatever I could sell to somebody. Sometimes, it was albums, other times jewelry and watches. But my favorite and most lucrative time of year was winter, when I would steal winter coats. That was the best because it was good money. I had customers lined up around the block – students, janitors and teachers alike.” – Justin Doyle – I Am Nobody, I Am Somebody
We never had the pleasure to live in Levittown. Since my father worked for PanAm, we always lived near JFK Airport, which we properly triangulated from 1960 to 1969. Born in Far Rockaway, we lived briefly in Belle Harbor and then was whisked off to Laurelton, not far from the Green Acres mall, where my mother often dragged me kicking and screaming. I hated department stores. The smells of over-perfumed frantic female shoppers and the cacophony of sounds- the constant ringing of bells over the PA to signal managers, the grinding and droning ambiance of the escalators and the sound of my mother’s voice constantly calling my name if I wasn’t in clear view – which I never was since I was a hyperactive child, perpetually acting out and hiding from her under circular racks of cashmere sweaters and mohair skirts. I remember shopping with my mother at Mays in Jamaica as a kid. I wasn’t particularly impressed by it.
After years of being forced-bussed to P.S. 37 Elementary School in Springfield Gardens in the early to late 60s and after many an altercation with the local students who weren’t particularly interested in my integration of their school, we moved to Howard Beach, not long after the RFK and MLK assassinations. By then, I was more culturally Black and had some trouble in the beginning becoming “reintegrated.” This made for a rich upbringing which I never would have traded for the ability to have been able to walk to my zoned school just a block away. However, I would love to buy back all of the time I was shuttled in and out of department stores by my mom. No wonder so many suburban white kids shoplifted (without the fear of being killed by police for it).
Elsewhere on FAB:
- Chandler – Ebel Music Co – Livingston Street – May 6, 2014
Of course, after I discover something and photograph it, it disappears. The Dekalb Market is closing after just over a year – three and a half years prior to the promise made by Urban Space, a NYC developer that organizes specialty markets. All of the vendors with whom I spoke were not happy about the situation since they had all made large out-of-pocket investments to equip their storage container kiosks.
Merchants upset by planned move for DeKalb Market – NY Daily News – June 28, 2012
For the best cup of coffee, some great wines and really fun food, check out this great temporary market while it lasts – before someone drops a high-rise on it. Really neat jewelry and clothes too!
- Inhabitat -Brooklyn’s New DeKalb Market is Made from 22 Salvaged Shipping Containers – Exclusive Photos! by Leonel Ponce, 07/25/11