The Market Street Area

by John P. Rotondo


I grew up on what used to be Bank Street which was later changed to West Market Street. My late Dad, Charles J. Rotondo, conducted a Funeral Home just above High Street and a few doors above, was our neighborhood movie, the Court Theater.

The area had a little bit of everything; Doctors, Dentists, Deli, Theaters, Optometrists, a Coal Company, Real Estate, Barbers and you name it. The store front grocers were the A & P and National, not to mention the bakeries. The neighborhood was safe at all hours and we could walk down Market Street to Broad and Market, buy a Daily News and an Orange drink at Nedick's and walk back up the hill past the Proctors movie, the Capitol, and Branford. Below, the Four Corners was the Paramount theater and the and the now defunct Newark Evening News.

I attended St. Benedict's Prep over on High Street past the Essex County Hall of Records and just above the majestic Court House with it's famous statue of Abraham Lincoln by Gutzon Borglum. Market Street also had the famous Bamberger's Department store with the large clock on the corner of Market and Halsey Street and the magnificent large store windows that, in Christmas time, displayed the most glorious scenes of Christmas. There were many furniture stores shoe stores and hat stores and sport store and record stores (where we hung out to play all the new 78 rpm records before buying them) before going one block over to Branford Place to have our Banana Splits at Joe's.

These great times were just prior to and during World War II and the streets were alive and busy and safe.


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