Most cities of any size had the "Downtown"
or business section and in each business section was a minimum of
one department store. Newark always seemed to have at least three
department stores but only one was truly a department store, Bamberger's.
Bamberger's, or Bams as it was commonly known, was a true department
store. It had eight selling floors, elevators that were run by elevator
operators wearing white gloves and of course floor walkers.
In addition to the usual departments found in so called department
stores, today there were departments devoted to books, toys, sporting
goods, furniture, electronics, notions, stationary, food, yard goods
and oh so many more. One could easily spend several hours just going
through the store.
If you happened to be in Bams at meal time you went to the floor
with the food department. There were usually several demonstrations
going on showing how certain foods were to be prepared. Following
the demonstration, the food that had been prepared was distributed
among the spectators.
The favorite department of my gang was the toy department. We
were fascinated by the chemistry sets, erector sets, microscope
sets, telescopes and the always popular electric trains. There was
usually a demonstrator in the toy department showing all the wondrous
things that could be done with a particular toy.
When a toy demonstration ended it was down to the food department
for some more freebies.
Outside of Bams was a large clock from which the time could be
seen from any of four sides. This was known as "the Bams clock"
or sometimes just "the clock".
A popular meeting place was "under the clock." There
was a saying in Newark If you stand "under the clock"
long enough eventually you'll see everyone you ever knew.
In the late 30's or early 40's Bams became a part of the Macy's
Kresge's department store was the closest thing to another department
store Newark had. It was no Bams nor was any store before, during