South Ward

by David Rothbart


I grew up on Dewey St in the South Ward during the early and mid 50's. We lived in a three family house that was owned by my grandparents. I went to Bragaw Ave School from kindergarten through the 6th grade before we moved.

I have fond memories of the vibrant activity of the once thriving city of Newark. Everyday our street was filled with activity whether it be the Italian fruit and vegetable vendor with his horse drawn wagon and grease pen behind his ear, day old cigar rolling in his mouth, and calling out his fresh produce as he took the wagon down the street. The junk man frequented our house with his horse drawn wagon and collected scrap metal from our detached garage in the back of the house. That is where my uncle Sol (Singer's Plumbing) kept his plumbing supplies.

The rides that came around in the summer, ferris wheel and whip were lots of fun to ride with friends for 10 cents and of course Mr. Softee ice cream. Family at that time was very important and we always had activity going on at the house year round. My dad owned a hardware store, first on Chancellor Ave (S&R Hardware) and then George's Home and Gift Center on Lyons Ave). I spent lots of time helping my mom and dad in their store. My mom was an artist and had an art supply and framing shop on the second level of the Lyons Ave store.

We moved out of Newark, like many folks did, after the riots. My wife and I recently came back to Jersey and visited the old stomping grounds. I had tears in my eyes when I saw what had become of this once great city. My hope is that maybe someday this city will thrive again.

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