Nothing lasts forever except roaches and Twinkies. Sheepshead Bay, all cursed corners aside, has seen more than its fair share of businesses come and go. Some of them have been less than stellar, like the weird haircutting/mixtape/tattoo parlor that briefly operated on Nostrand Avenue. But beyond the hit-and-runs we’ve encountered, we’ve lost a lot of neighborhood staples, and others that could have easily grown into that status. Here are five that I really miss.
Long before Morris Discount closed up shop on Sheepshead Bay Road, and dozens of 99 Cent stores infected Nostrand Avenue like the plague, there was McCrory’s. Today, Party City boasts deals on balloons and a bargain costume basement; but when I first moved to Sheepshead Bay, it was a good old five-and-dime. Part department store, part junk shop, McCrory’s was one of the last vestiges of old variety stores, and seemingly around the same time we lost the penny candy displays in Pathmark, too. Coincidence?
4. Pizzeria Del Corso
It may have been a relatively new addition, but Del Corso’s pizza had truly great pizza. Their white slice was unrivaled if you ask me. The pizza, though amazing, was by no means the best option. They had homemade gnocchi and amazing eggplant appetizers. The quality of the cheese they used raised the bar on Italian food in Sheepshead Bay. We may have our fair share of places to choose from, but we lost a great option when Del Corso closed.
3. Beefsteak Charlie’s
Beefsteaks were 19th Century dinners where men would gorge on various cuts of meat, usually in support of a politician or whatnot. The Beefsteak Charlie’s chain was a place where, for a paltry sum, people could eat a bunch of ribs and endless sangria. That was until it was converted into the medical facility it houses now, trading in the all-you-can-eat fare for a prescription of much-needed Lipitor. It seems Sheepshead Bay was once a great venue for discount feasts, having also hosted The Sizzler and then For Goodness Steak, where Applebee’s now stands. Cheap meat, salad and corny decor for everyone!
2. Fun Time USA
Whether you were playing Gauntlet Legends or skee ball on the second floor, Laser Tag on the 3rd, or careening into each other in the bumper cars on the first floor, Fun Time USA always delivered. Sometimes it was packed with kids. Sometimes the floor underneath the batting cages were breaking because so many people came to get Sable’s autograph (personally, I preferred Kane’s). But Fun Time USA was probably the greatest thing to come and leave Sheepshead Bay, for regardless of how old you were, you could enjoy it. I mourn the loss of Laser Tag the most, but I spent more time, and still have a ridiculous amount of tickets to redeem. But all we can do now is store our memories alongside our ugly winter sweaters in the storage units that replaced it.
1. Pip’s Comedy Club
The comedic stomping grounds of Andrew Dice Clay, Richard Belzer and even a young Lisa Lampanelli, this once iconic goldmine of talent is now another sushi bar. For a long time it was one of the only entertainment draws of the neighborhood. With its close, all we have left are “nightclubs” and the movie theater. It’s a shame that there’s not enough interest to keep the chuckles alive, but in its heyday Pips attracted greats like Rodney Dangerfield and Jerry Seinfeld. Today, Mambo Sushi attracts a slightly different crowd, but all seem to agree that, although it’s not much to chuckle at, there’s still plenty of rollin’ (half price?)! (Photo by Bobby Bank)
What about you? What former Sheepshead Bay businesses do you miss?