Way back in the late 50's Long Island's south shore area wasn't much more than sand, farms and the beginning of reasonable housing for the other three counties of Long Island, Nassau, Queens and Brooklyn. The south shore is FLAT, and SANDY and generally, pretty dull (or at least it was back then).
We lived in Massapequa Park, also on the south shore, just shy of the Nassau Suffolk border. Our neighborhood was beginning to develop also but there was more of a sense of town involvement in that we had well paved streets, sidewalks, and curbs. My grandparents lived in a small town called Bayshore and my aunt and uncle lived one town over in Deer Park. I remember referring to my mother's parents and my 'country' grandparents and my dad's mother as my 'city' grandmother (she did live in the Bronx until she retired and moved to Freeport, another more developed town in Nassau Cty.).
ANYWAY, there weren't many restaurants out by my grandparents and we didn't eat out a lot anyway but right along Sunrise Highway in Bayshore was the Peter Pan Diner. My first experience with diner food. Now, if you're not from Long Island you may not know that diner's rule! almost every town has one, they serve everything under the sun, most have a pretty savy and fast wait staff and they are open from 5:00 or 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. the following morning - a very long day. Many of my first memories are of driving past the Peter Pan and eating there on a few occasions. I didn't appreciate diners then, but boy, do I now! Nothing beats walking into one of these eateries and being seated almost immediately, being surrounded by mirrors, granite and tile, and lots, and lots, of chrome! The dessert cases are legendary! Huge cakes, pies, cannolis, pastries, and tons of other desserts can be seen spinning around to be seen from all directions to temp your sweet tooth. Sandwiches, burgers, blue pate specials, full turkey dinners, Greek food, hearty breakfasts, you name it, they make it -- all day long!
On our trip to Long Island in July we took Brion, Maggie and the 'kids' (Mehgan, Alexa and Joe in the photo) to the Peter Pan for brunch. It turns out they were celebrating their 50th anniversary! How cool! Here is my breakfast, fresh fruit and blueberry blintzes, along with my obligatory bagel - It doesn't get any better than this!
Oh, do I miss the food on Long Island! May the Peter Pan be around for another 50 years!