All throughout my senior year in high school friends, family, teachers and co-workers would always ask: "Are you gonna miss it?" When they said "it" they were referring to Massapequa and high school itself. Though college life is awesome because you have a lot more freedom high school itself is very important step in everyone's life. Boys become men and girls become women. Getting a job, applying for college, taking the SAT and learning how to drive are perhaps the most pivotal moments of a high school student's 4 years which pave the way for college. With that being said, for me high school was a blast. Though it had its ups and downs (and 11th grade was definitely a low point) I could write a whole book about my memories from high school. Whether it be going on a plane for the first time, going to Disney for the first (and second) time, or walking through the doors for the first and final times the memories were endless. The community itself also provided many memories not only during my high school career but also during my elementary and middle school years. The 16 points below will definitely bring back memories if you went to Massapequa High School and grew up in Massapequa.
1. You are currently or have previously worked at IGA on Park Blvd.
IGA, though mainly serving Suffolk County with more locations, has a small location on Park Blvd. in Massapequa. This location serves all of Massapequa and is perhaps one of the biggest employers of Massapequa students. Though it is small and the parking is terrible what makes it special is that it is a small local business, and many people love supporting local businesses. Pretty much all of the cashiers are currently or at one point went to Massapequa High School which is also what makes it unique. Though it is a chain that serves the rest of the nation and over 30 countries, people like it because of its personal atmosphere, something you don't get at any of the other big grocery chains. Every time I've been in there every employee looks familiar and I say to myself "O yeah, they went to school with me." Though I never worked there (I work at Stop and Shop in Farmingdale) I know it is a nice place to work if you like dealing with local customers. If you're looking for a job in the Massapequa area get ready to wear the red vest.
2. You hang out at Burns park
If you wanted to play a game of basketball, go watch a little league game, or play a game of baseball, basketball or soccer with your friends most of the time you were going to Burns Park. If you weren't going there to hang out you had practices for lax or baseball or had games on the fields. Whatever the purpose was Burns Park was always the hangout spot. In the early April when Little League was starting up I remember many games where I thought to myself "I hope I don't freeze" since the wind chill coming off the water made the temperatures feel negative. There were also many times where I can remember herds of geese wandering onto the field and just going about their business not noticing that a baseball game was going on and there was a chance they'd get hit with the ball.
3. There are 2 different Little Leagues and yes, there is a rivalry
On one side there is Coast and on the other side there is M.I.L.L. Though the rivalry dies off the older you get I can remember it being pretty fierce at a few points. On one side were the kids from East Lake, Lockhart, and McKenna. I was a part of this side. Our turf was Carman's Road Field, Ames, and when we were younger, Brady Park and Lou Anthony Field. On the other side were the kids from Fairfield, Birch Lane, and Unqua. Rather than a bunch of separate fields on their side was Burns Park. Though M.I.L.L. often used Burns park when we entered the Juniors division and for every game when we were seniors it was still property of Coast. There were even signs all over the place that said "Property of M.C.L.L." When I was younger I remember arguments breaking out over who had the better fields and whose league was more talented.
4. You hate Farmingdale, even if you never played a sport
I didn't even know there was a rivalry with Farmingdale until Homecoming 2013. It was my sophomore year and I had to go to the game for Marching Band. I had heard in the days before that it was a big deal but thought to myself "How bad can it get, it's high school." I couldn't have been more wrong. This rivalry is almost as bad if not worse than the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry or the Dodgers-Giants rivalry. The story of that day was unforgettable in my eyes. After getting my uniform on and Trumpet ready we were told that rather than taking our normal route out to the football field we would be walking through the school. I thought maybe there would be too much foot traffic that's why. As we were walking out the gymnasium doors out to the fields a group of cops met the band at the gate. Some remained in front of us, others were behind us.
We basically got a police escort, yes the marching band got a police escort. If you're from Massapequa you know that there is a big open grass area before the football field. the field was separated into 2 lanes, one for the Farmingdale team and their fans and one for Massapequa and their fans. The Farmingdale people were walking where the band normally walked out which is why we had to take a different route. After we played the Star Spangled Banner and got into the stands I felt like we were at an NFL game without the jumbotron. There were fans literally all over the place. Massapequa lost the game but the vivid memory of mine came after the game. My Mom had texted me saying "Get a ride home with Mark and stay safe." Mark is one of my friends who I still remain close with that always carpooled with me in high school.
After reading this text I went into band room, changed into normal clothes, and put my trumpet away. My friend's Mom had parked about a block down from the school due to the traffic. When we walked out the front door the sight was unforgettable. There was a giant mob of Massapequa fans, mostly students, band members, cheerleaders, and parents yelling and shouting obscenities and throwing things at the Farmingdale cars and team bus as it left the parking lot. Also there were many cops and yellow jackets (Massapequa teachers who volunteer as security guards) trying to keep order. Tensions were very high following a Massapequa loss on our own turf. A few fights broke out on the side and spilled into Merrick Road. Due to the increasing safety concerns over the rivalry a new policy was put into place.
Every year up to 2014 the Dalers came to Massapequa once and the Chiefs went to Farmingdale once both in the same season. For the first time in 2014 this was not the case. A rotation system was put into play in which they would come to us one year and we would go to them the next year. With that also came the rule that only Massapequa fans could attend if the game was in Massapequa and only Farmingdale fans could attend if the game was in Farmingdale.
5. You have to constantly explain the uniqueness of the school system
The typical school system is Elementary is K-5, Middle School is 6-8, and High School is 9-12. Due to Massapequa's size there are 6 K-6 elementary schools, 1 7-8 Middle School, a school only for 9th grade, and MHS for 10th-12th graders. I found myself constantly having to explain this fact whenever I left Massapequa. In the 2017-2018 school year 6th graders will be moving into Berner which gives it a traditional middle school.
6. When people said "Wanna go to town?" you know they're referring to Park Blvd.
Like Burns Park, Park Blvd. was another major hangout spot. Usually it was to get pizza or Ralph's Italian Ices. I remember going there a few times with my friends after playing at Brady Park. As I got older a lot of my friends got jobs right on Park Blvd.
7. When you were younger (or maybe you still do) you always went Ice Skating on Friday nights at Marjorie Post
Marjorie Post still is a huge hockey spot but on Friday nights it was always ice skating. In 6th grade it was pretty much every Friday night in the winter. We would all meet up at the park and skate around for a few hours then get something to eat. This was also where a lot of us met our soon to be middle school friends for the first time since Marjorie Post was on the south side of Sunrise Highway.
8. You're used to every sports team performing well, if they don't it's a surprise
Massapequa has a tradition of every sports team performing very well. The football team, which was the life blood of the school for the first few months each year, was always in the Nassau County Conference I Big 4, both volleyball teams were always doing very well, and the soccer teams were in the championships almost every year. In the winter track and wrestling, though individual sports, were making headlines. In the spring Baseball and lacrosse always seemed to be doing amazingly well. The fan presence at all the games was very large.
9. You've eaten at AllAmerican at least once
There's McDonalds and Burger King but in Massapequa there's All American. Opening in 1963 All American has remained to be at the heart of Massapequa's culture. Most people like it because of the old fashioned style. Other like it for the freshness of the food. A huge factor is its independence. There is not another All American in the country which leads people from all over to come by for a burger.
10. One community, Two Towns
The Massapequa School District unites these 2 separate communities. Massapequa is the larger of the 2 with the zip code of 11758. Then there is Massapequa Park or "The Park" as it is referred to by its residents. The main difference is really that Massapequa Park is an incorporated village while Massapequa is not.
11. You might live closer to Farmingdale High School than Massapequa High School
Though it isn't by much I actually live closer to Farmingdale High School than Massapequa. This pretty much explains why I know a lot of people from Farmingdale and work there as well.
12. Your senior year in High School was pretty unforgettable
Walking in those doors for the first day of my senior year was actually quite exciting. I remember thinking to myself "Only 180 more days." As we got closer to that final day I remember saying to a lot of people that I actually would miss it. I wouldn't miss the lack of freedom and extreme security but I would miss the friends. My Mom liked to call my senior year "the year of the field trip." This was because I went to Hofstra to see former White House Press Secretary Jay Carney with my AP Government class, Congressman Peter King came to speak to that same class, I went to Disney World with the Band, and Nashville with the DECA club. I felt accomplished walking out of those doors for the final time.
13. Pizza and Bagels are the most commonly consumed foods in your house
Pizza was dinner every Friday and Bagels were pretty much every Sunday.
14. If you have to talk about Massapequa to people from out of state you bring up Jerry Seinfeld and Alec Baldwin.
We've all heard "What's in Massapequa?" from those out of state. Rather than bringing up the sports teams that they wouldn't know anything about the easiest thing is to talk about Jerry Seinfeld from the comedy sitcom and Alec Baldwin from all those movies and commercials.
15. Open campus for every grade in high school, with or without a car
Probably the greatest thing about Massapequa High School was not having to be put in a cafeteria eating terrible school food. Though Massapequa had a cafeteria no one ate in it. Pretty much everyone went out. On the Merrick Road side there was Town Bagel, Fredo's Pizza, a few Chinese food places, Zona, and Don Juan. If you cross over Merrick Road into the South Gate Shopping Center there was Crostini's Pizza, Bagel Café, and Zim Zari. The great thing was that you could bring your own food into most of these places. I always went out but I brought lunch most of the time until my senior year when I got a job and was able to pay for my own food. When you get a car it gets better as the options are expanded to Taco Joe's, All American, Gino's Pizza, DQ, and Wendy's.
16. You still talk about Hurricane Sandy as if it was yesterday
4 years later some people are still rebuilding from the storm of the century. For people who live closer to the water the storm destroyed a lot of what they had but as a good community will do we helped each other out and rebuilt. The storm only made us stronger.