Perhaps the quaint little village of Amityville seems especially sweet this time of year as a counterpoint to the horror story for which it’s best known. Think of The Music Man, and you’ll summon in your mind’s eye the white gazebo that serves as the community’s focal point.
The gold-leaf lettering “McLellan’s” on a familiar scarlet-colored storefront makes you think of the magical McCrory’s emporiums of our childhood. Even locally, no one calls this store anything but “the dime store” or “the five and dime.” Worn wooden floors and dump tables seem familiar, but the assortment of merchandise is a mix of 99-cent store and traditional dime store. And the current name is Price Tag U.S.A.
Classic contact paper in wood grain, scattered tiny rosebuds and brick patterns are a dollar a yard. Calendars for the year 2000—thanks for asking, but I am already well sick of the entire “new millennium”—are adorned with cute kitties or cars and go for a buck. Baskets of shells, perfect for gluing on a picture frame, are also $1. My scores are a gold-painted crucifix ($1) and a wooden beaded curtain to hang from my bedroom door frame ($13.99). Think boho love pad!
Fischer’s Candy Shoppe carries on the theme of a place frozen in time. It’s an austere, old-fashioned confectionary with a spotless kitchen in the rear, where all of the store’s chocolates are created. Most creams and nut clusters are $11-$11.50 a pound. Chocolate alphabet letters ($1.45), beetle bugs ($1.50) and pumpkins ($1.75) are just a few of the specialty items.
Amy’s has beautiful white baby clothes, gossamer veils for a first communion and unique gift items such as a Battenberg embroidered tissue box cover. Litho tin-key-wound butterfly toys ($14.95), vanilla bundt cake candles ($10.95) and interesting greeting cards are also part of the mix. Sophisticated items with sports-related themes may be perfect for the gentleman in your life.
Amityville General Store has been in the same location for 27 years. When I dropped in, Petey and Cleo, the grandson and pet of the owner, Rosalie, were playing among a wide selection of quilting fabrics, patterns and notions. Need a pattern for that Edwardian wedding gown ($19.95)? You’ll find it here in the rack of “folkwear” patterns. Vintage jet-black net, perfect for a silk chemise, is $15 a yard. Williamsburg paints in Colonial colors are priced between $2.65 and $40. There are quilting and rug hooking classes for those interested in learning a pastime perfect for cold winter evenings.
What’s so horrific about that?
McLellan’s/Price Tag U.S.A. 188 Broadway, Amityville, 516-598-0126. Fischer’s Candy Shoppe 176 Park Ave, Amityville, 516-598-3689. Amy’s 186 Park Ave, Amityville, 516-598-3091. Amityville General Store 172 Park Ave, Amityville, 516-264-3205.