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Robots, Delfa Rolls And Turkish Taffy

It’s a family affair for the Winters of Port Washington when they make pilgrimages to Bobb Howard’s General Store in New Hyde Park. “There’s something in that store for everyone,” says Tracy Winters, who has been a customer of this retro candy and toy store for eight years. Tracy goes for the Astro Pops, husband Michael gets Marshmallow Twists and Tracy’s mother, Phyllis Heller of Bellmore, can’t resist the Goldenberg Peanut Chews. Jake, Tracy’s older son, isn’t a candy lover so he gravitates to the old-time toys and nostalgia posters.

 

Jamie Waller of Queens says it made him feel like a kid again when he saw the wall of candy with treats from the 1990s and 1950s sitting next to each other. “Anything you can possibly want is there,” he says. For Jamie, a big treat is Circus Peanuts, peanut-shaped marshmallows. “My dad used to love them when he was a kid,” he says.

 

The store, which was a convenience shop attached to the family-owned gasoline station, was turned by Eileen and Ronnie Wysel into a candy store in 1993. The couple tries to keep the store stocked with every type of candy manufactured in the United States. In the unlikely event that they don’t have a customer’s request, “We’ll launch a nation wide search to find it,” says Eileen. For years, they had to respond to requests for certain candies, such as Delfa Rolls (a thin red licorice also known as Danish Ribbons) with “Sorry, they’re no longer being manufactured.” But Delfa Rolls came back a few years ago, as well as Bonomo Turkish Taffy, and they have them in good supply at the store.

 

The small shop, packed with candies from all decades and old-time toys, attracts customers from Nassau, Suffolk and Queens. One wall holds 180 jars of retro and current candies. The rest—over 400 different kinds—are found on the crowded counter and throughout the store.

 

Numerous old-time toys are packed in—original metal Slinkys, Duncan yo-yos, classic lunch boxes, retired Bobbleheads, and Leave It To Beaver and I Love Lucy trading cards, to name just a few. A personal favorite of the Wysels (also popular with baby boomers) are

robots that are part of an adult collector’s series inspired by the tin toys and movies of the past. It is a wind-up with an on/off switch, and as it walks, sparks fly inside the face mask. “It is a true memory of what toys used to be,” says Eileen.

 

“They put their hearts and souls into that place,” says Myra Cohen Picard, of Huntington Village. Myra reconnected with Eileen a few years ago at Myra’s 44th reunion at Westbury High School. Both had attended, although Eileen was two years behind. Now Myra brings her car to be serviced at the shop next door and visits whenever she can. “It’s hard to get my grandchildren out of there,” she says and for her, it brings back her childhood.

 

So what’s the candy or toy from your childhood? Bobb Howard’s will probably have it. And while you’re looking through the store, they’ll show you howto make fresh popcorn in their 1940s popcorn machine; they’ll even give you the dime. 

News

The Village of New Hyde Park finished its Operation Main Street project just in time, because the town’s eligibility for federal funds is shrinking, officials announced last week.

“The qualifications revolve around money,” trustee Donald Barbieri said. “Like how much income is being earned by people in the area. I guess as seniors move on, you can’t buy an [expensive home] and it changed the demographic, shrinking our eligible area.”

The Village of New Hyde Park will soon hear Manhattan businessman Sam Chan’s proposal to open a 84-seat hibachi-style restaurant at 1215 Jericho Tpke. in New Hyde Park, the former spot of the maligned Empire Billiards Hall. The hearing is set for Tuesday, Sept. 16 at 7:30 p.m.

“The board will be hearing the case for restaurant usage,” Mayor Robert Lofaro said. “This will also have to go before the zoning board. They will likely hear the case.”


Sports

New York Mets pitcher Zack Wheeler and catcher Travis d’Arnaud brightened the day for some patients at Cohen Children’s Medical Center last week in New Hyde Park, posing for pictures and handing out gifts and autographs. The players hung out with the kids in the afternoon, playing video games and answering questions.

They also found the time to make the rounds, stopping by bedsides to spread some cheer. Mr. Met also joined the tour and was a big hit with the children, who peppered him with questions about everything from his four-fingered hand to the whereabouts of the missing Mrs. Met.

The Sewanhaka Indians football team has a season of change in store.

The Indians have moved up from Conference III to Conference II, due to an increase in enrollment, and are set to face teams that they have never seen before, according to head coach George Kasimatis.

“It is hard to gauge where we will be in this conference,” he said. “There is a lot of uncertainty as where we fit in.”


Calendar

Library Board Meeting

Thursday, Aug. 28

Welcome Reception

Wednesday, Sept. 3

Herricks School Meeting

Thursday, Sept. 4



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com