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 on August 29, 1963.

The mall's original forty-five stores and services opened in stages, beginning on August 29. 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 approximately 802,100 leasable square feet.

A 3-level (240,000 square foot) Gimbels-New York 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 marina-motif mall within a mall housed boutiques such as World of Music (music boxes), Timely Treasures (clocks and timepieces), Along the Navajo Trail (Native American handicrafts), For Kitchen's Sake and Moondance Leather.

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 and climate-controlled. This renovation was completed in early 1975. The complex was acquired by Australia's Westfield in November 1986. The transaction included two other malls owned by R.H. Macy & Company.

The next major SOUTH SHORE MALL remodeling got underway in 1996. As part of 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.

Interior common area was also refurbished with new flooring and skylights and a 10-bay Food Court was installed in existing store space. The remodeling was completed with the dedication of a 2-level (120,000 square foot) Lord & Taylor, which was held on November 18, 1998. At this time, the official name of the retail hub was changed to WESTFIELD SHOPPINGTOWN SOUTH SHORE. This was truncated to WESTFIELD SOUTH SHORE in June 2005.

Westfield embarked on an 80 million dollar renovation of their property in 2012. New tiled floors were installed, along with updated lighting. Restrooms were revamped and the Food Court rebuilt to reflect a more upscale "cafe-style dining experience".

The circa-1963 Macy's had been shuttered on March 5, 2012. The building was demolished and replaced by a new (200,000 square foot) store. It held its grand opening August 24, 2013. On the exterior of the mall, entrances were rebuilt. Moreover, a small restaurant Streetscape was installed on the southeast corner. The Cheesecake Factory welcomed its first diners on December 9, 2014. Blaze Fast Fire d'Pizza opened January 15, 2015.

With these modifications, WESTFIELD SOUTH SHORE housed approximately 1,184,300 leasable square feet, with a retail roster of one hundred and fifteen stores and services. Sears pulled the proverbial plug on their WESTFIELD SOUTH SHORE store in May 2015. The building was renovated. It re-opened, as a Dick's Sporting Goods, on April 21, 2017.

Westfield's American and European property portfolio was merged into the holdings of Paris-based Unibail-Rodamco in June 2018. A new company, known as Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield was created. Westfield shopping centers in Australia and New Zealand were not included in the merger.

Sources:

The Long Island Advance
The Islip Bulliten
The New York Times
Suffolk County News
http://www.fultonhistory.com / Old Fulton NY Post Cards By Tom Tryniski
http://www.westfield.com (The Westfield Group)
Suffolk County, New York tax assessor website
www.cinematreasures.org
www.reuters.com