|Actually a college photo, but close|
Before there was a McDonalds, Burger King or Checkers, there
was a Ricky’s, the original hamburger takeout.
In my senior year in high school, since we operated on a
split session due to a horrific fire that destroyed the old Bellport High
School, at noon Benny the ‘Buffer’ Gallinaro, Ernie ‘Butch’ Mancuso and myself
would hop into Benny’s car and drive over to Patchogue and eat lunch at Ricky’s
Hamburger place. Situated on Sunrise Highway not too far from Seton Hall High
School, we feasted for very little even for those days 51 years ago. There was
the ‘Buffer’ and there was ‘Butch’ and there was me, “I’m hungry”.
A cheeseburger costs 20¢ and a hamburger 15¢, with fries and
a soda or milkshake it came to under $2.00! That was a great deal!
From there we would go over to Seton Hall and try to find
Benny’s cousin, a young lady whose name escapes me now, but who was cute as a
button and looking to fix me up with her friend, who I never met but went to
Seton Hall along with her.
Benny came from Brooklyn and was hanging with the wrong
crowd. He was a good kid, and very generous, but had the mentality of a street
fighter. His dad decided to take him away from the influence of the streets of
Brooklyn and try his luck on the lawns of Bellport, East Patchogue and
Hagerman, or wherever he might land. Fortunately for Benny he had an aunt who
owned a factory in Bellport in a strip mall across from the Bellport Train
Station where they manufactured clothing for children, and so Benny played out
his senior year in Bellport.
|What happened to Ricky's|
But Ricky’s was the go to place for kids in those days, you
drive up to the building that had no parking lot but you parked up against the
building in the sandy grass, walked up to a window, ordered and usually took
the food to your car to eat. This was when I was still 120 pounds soaking wet,
and hadn’t discovered culinary delights of Manhattan Island working in the
But Ricky’s one day disappeared, going the way of so many
businesses when the chain stores and eateries came along, replacing the small
businesses with a wider array of choices and who operated from Breakfast to
late supper time.
But I miss not only those days, but also the little mom and
pop stores and eateries, that sense of personalization with the establishment
was replaced by the cold impersonal relationship of convenience and
commercialism that reigns today.
If there are hopeless fools,
then there should also be fools, which give hope.
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Labels: Commentary, personal