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Nostalgic For Pizza and Brew, too? An Ode to Central Avenue

(I usually try to write “universal” pieces, but this article is specific to the town I grew up in, Edgemont, which is part of Scarsdale, NY.)

Forget looking ahead and making resolutions in 2013. Since this year will mark my 25th reunion from Edgemont High School (insert gasp of horror here), I’m going to enjoy a little looking back. Like a shrunken and wrinkled grandma visiting the old neighborhood where she grew up, please indulge me as I take you on a brief yet colorful tour of Central Avenue, circa 1980.

One of the best things about growing up in Edgemont was my proximity to Central Avenue and all that it offered. On the strip of ½ mile between Old Army and Ardsley Road was everything I needed for sustenance, first as a child and then as a teen. In the space that now houses Staples was Child World, the biggest toy store my five-year-old eyes had ever seen. It was a superstore before there were superstores, and it competed with Toys R Us. (My parents wouldn’t let me go to Toys R Us because it was located in a very dangerous place: Yonkers.)

There were so many dining options for me on Central Avenue. I loved the chicken cutlets and ambrosia salad from the German Deli, and the pizza at Gennaro’s. In the same shopping plaza as Child World was a Chinese restaurant called South Seas that served delicious-slash-gross Pu-Pu platters, the kind with the fire in the center and fried everything all around. It was dark in that restaurant, and so the fire really glowed. I ordered it mostly to play with my food, as spinning the wood dish was easily my favorite part of the meal. When I got older, that restaurant became my favorite for another reason: it served Mai Tais and Scorpion Bowls to minors. The drinks were pictured on a laminated menu, so you could see just how blue the Blue Curacao liquor would be before ordering your preferred concoction. With a straight face, one of us would order for the group. “Can we get that with two paper umbrellas, one silk flower, and three straws, please? Thanks.” Then we’d giggle into our napkins. The tackier the drink, the better it tasted.

Alas, the restaurant closed in the mid-1980’s due to health violations. But the news was no biggie to us. We could always hang at The Mont. Continue reading here.

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