SOUTH SHORE MALL
Sunrise Highway and North Bedford Avenue
Suffolk County (Town of Islip), New York

The fifth shopping mall on Long Island would be the last of its newly-built, open air shopping centers. It was developed on an 85 acre tract, located 46.6 miles east of Times Square, in Suffolk County's Town of Islip.

SOUTH SHORE MALL was built by the New York City-based R.H. Macy & Company and the Seattle-based Winmar Realty Company. Macy's anchored the original 600,000 square foot shopping venue with a 3-level (318,800 square foot) store. This location, the seventh in the chain, held its grand opening August 29, 1963.

The mall's original forty-five stores and services opened in stages, beginning on August 29, 1963. On October 3, a "3-Day Welcome Celebration" commenced. This included the "1964 Auto Show On The Mall" and "Hootenanny '63". Nine folk singing acts were presented in this hour & a half program.

All the while, free admission tickets to the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair were given out. The dedication festivities ended with a Fireworks Spectacular, held in the north parking area, on the evening of October 5.

Charter tenants at SOUTH SHORE MALL included Bond Clothes, Pergament Paint & Wallpaper, Walgreen Drug, Hartfield's ladies' wear, Lorry's Town & Countyman men's wear, Luane's Card & Party Center, a Hills Super Saving Center grocery and F.W. Woolworth 5 & 10.

Work commenced on a 3-level (202,100 square foot) J.C. Penney in April 1966. The store made its debut on April 6, 1967. Its grand opening was followed by the August 2, 1967 dedication of the freestanding Loew's South Shore Mall Theatre. The shopping complex now spanned 802,100 leasable square feet.

A 3-level (240,000 square foot) Gimbels was proposed as an addition to SOUTH SHORE MALL in September 1971, but the store was never built. However, Captree Corners was installed in existing space in the late 1970s. This mall within a mall occupied the northwest corner of the complex.

Competitors of SOUTH SHORE MALL included WALT WHITMAN CENTER (1962) {9.9 miles northwest, in Suffolk County}, SMITH HAVEN MALL (1969) {10.3 miles northeast, also in Suffolk County} and SUNRISE MALL (1973) {10.4 miles southwest, in Nassau County}.

To compete effectively with these -and other- shopping centers, SOUTH SHORE MALL was fully-enclosed. This renovation was completed in early 1975. The next major remodeling began in 1996, 10 years after the mall had been acquired by Sydney, Australia's Westfield Holdings (today's Westfield Group).

During this 45 million dollar project, the northern end of the center was gutted. 40,000 square feet of inline store space was added, along with a newly-built, 3-level (216,300 square foot) Sears. This store opened on September 17, 1997.

A 2-level (120,000 square foot) Lord & Taylor was dedicated November 18, 1998. Around this time, the official name of the retail hub was changed to WESTFIELD SHOPPINGTOWN SOUTH SHORE, which was truncated to WESTFIELD SOUTH SHORE in June 2005.

The Westfield Group embarked on an 80 million dollar renovation of their SOUTH SHORE property in the spring of 2012. New tiled floors were installed, along with updated lighting. Restrooms were revamped and the Food Court remade into a more upscale "cafe style dining experience".

The circa-1963 Macy's was demolished in July 2012 and replaced by a 200,000 square foot store. It held its grand opening August 24, 2013. WESTFIELD SOUTH SHORE now housed approximately 1,184,300 leasable square feet, with a retail roster of one hundred and fifteen stores and services.

Sources:

The Long Island Advance
The Islip Bulliten
Suffolk County News
http://www.westfield.com (The Westfield Group)
Suffolk County, New York tax assessor website
www.cinematreasures.org