Reliving My Youth

by Angelo (Dee Dee) Scanelli


Every so often I go to Newark Memories to I guess, relive my youth. And it always seems to inspire some old story or some wonderful memory, so here I go again.

My dad owned a barber shop on 15th and Littleton Avenues right next door to the Yankee Meat Market, it was called Jimmy’s. I never considered myself a master barber but I had the opportunity to work there for about five years. The shop was not only a place to get a haircut, but it also served as a place to meet friends, hear the local gossip and just hang out.

When I started there I was about 17 years old and it provided not just a way to make a living but it also offered education in itself. The stories I heard were almost as informative as those I learned in school.

The people living in the neighborhood were mostly Italians, with a sprinkling of Irish, Jewish and a few blacks. I guess there was a store for everything you wanted with no supermarket.

The Yankee Meat Market (next door to our shop) sold nothing but the best meats, on the other side of my dad’s shop was a store for fruit and vegetables. On the same side of the street was DeCortie’s Bakery that sold Italian bread. Just across from the shop was Mr. Roberts a tailor that made men’s suits. I don’t know for sure but I was told that Tony Bennett had suits that were made by Mr. Roberts.

There was an Italian Grocery store named Monstasno’s. And every intersection had a grocery store. It’s funny the Yankee Meat Market was on the corner of Littleton and 15th Avenues, the next street over, 6th Street and 15th Avenue there was Denese’s Meat Market, and on 7th Street and 19th Avenue there was another meat market. I can’t remember the name. Now I often wonder how they all survived.

Every other corner had an Italian bread store and we even had our own chicken market, Sadano’s, between 6th & 7th Street on 15th Avenue. On 9th Street and 15th Avenue there was an Italian pastry shop, them days you could buy a spaudel for.50. I had my wedding cake made there, it was a replica of St. Peter’s Cathedral. I wonder what that would cost to make today.

There seemed to be Italian hot dog stores everywhere and nothing tasted better. The large one cost .25 and you could get a small one for .15. I went to West Side High School and my Mom would give me .50 a day for lunch and that bought me a hot dog, soda and three games on the pin ball machine at Blackie’s on 17th Street and 14th Avenue.

Mindy’s Pizza was right next to Frisco’s Meat Market on 16th Avenue between 10th and 11th Streets. You could get a whole pizza for .75 and it was great.

I do remember an A & P on South Orange Avenue between 6th and Littleton Avenue, but I don’t recall lever shopping there. But there was a wonderful ice cream store right next to it, where I did spend a lot of time. Lugie’s sweet shop was right across the street.


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