WALL STREET has nothing on Long Island: mergers, buyouts, acquisitions - all these buzzwords and more are roiling the business waters of our tight little Island, too.
This became clear to me just a few days ago when Michael informed me that his shop, Michael's Hair Salon, was moving a few blocks south on Long Beach Road in Oceanside. Once more, as with almost everything else these days, it made me think of the simpler days, when I was a child, when nothing ever changed.
In Brooklyn, where I grew up, Rudy's delicatessen on Seventh Avenue had always been there. It was there when I was born and was there when I moved to Long Island.
Jack's fruit stand on Eighth Avenue was also always there; I assumed that it was built, with Jack in it, when Eighth Avenue was built. When I left Brooklyn, the Fox Theater was still there, downtown, along with Loew's 46th Street Theater in Borough Park.
Alas, stability seemed to disappear as soon as we moved to Long Island, and Michael is only the most recent and startling evidence.
Many years ago, Michael used to work at Ernie's; so did Jack. Then, in what on Wall Street is called a spinoff, Jack left Ernie's, taking Michael with him, and set up shop a few blocks north. Then, a few years ago, in a repetition of that maneuever, Michael was spun off Jack, and opened his own shop across the street.
All this was most unsettling. I liked Ernie and Jack, but followed Michael - although to tell the truth, there's not much in the way of styling that can be attempted with my hair, as Michael will be the first to admit.
Michael's latest news was more than just the fact that he was moving south on Long Beach Road: He is moving back to take over Ernie's shop, because Ernie will be retiring soon.
As I say, Michael's is just a prime example; there are many others. I cannot even remember anymore the most recent previous tenant where Consumers Distributing is now on Atlantic Avenue. At one time it was a supermarket (Grand Union? Bohack?) And the Foodtown at the TSS on Long Beach Road also was something else (a Bohack), as was the Foodtown farther north (an A & P, and then a Big Apple, and perhaps something else, too).
Then there was the Rainbow Diner, which disappeared for a while, and now has come back. There was Arby's, which is now a shopping center under construction. There was, until recently, Roy Rogers, which overnight became Pizza City.
There was Joe Terzo's, which became Alias Smith and Jones restaurant. There was the Roadside Rest, which became Nathan's. There was Hunky's falafel place, which became Ocean Plaza Realty.
There was the last big empty lot in Oceanside, in the shadow of the Oceanside dump, which is now being turned into a massive shopping center. There was the Metropolitan Savings Bank, which became Crossland (although without the massive advertising campaign that accompanied Esso/Exxon).
Arthur Treacher's became McMichael's and is now a bank. There was the diner in Island Park that has become a Chinese diner - Wok something; the only one I know of.
The gasoline stations have changed so rapidly that I can't keep up with most of them; many have names I never heard of.
And Manhattan has no monopoly on tearing down perfectly good buildings to make way for bigger perfectly good buildings. We have our own version; McDonald's tore down McDonald's and built a bigger McDonald's.
I will not even spend time on Cooky's on Sunrise Highway, which now houses Chi-Chi and Crazy Eddie. Or the nearby Red Lobster, which was a succession of Italian restaurants. Or the Sunrise Drive-In, which became the 92-Plex. Or whatever. At one time I thought that it was just my age; that the sense of constant and rapid change was relative to my own advancing years. But my children have told me repeatedly that they, too, are acutely aware that change is ever-present and ever more rapid. Even the homes on my own block house have very few of the original owners. Come to think of it, I have always regarded myself as an ''original'' owner, but on reflection it is clear that I and the other ''original'' owners displaced a whole wetlands colony of ducks and other wildlife. Carl Icahn, move over.