Down Neck Part 3

by Doris Campbell Hector

Doris Campbell Hector passed away on June 2, 2002 at the age of 81


The location of Ferry Street is from the New Jersey Railroad Avenue to the junction of Merchant Street. This section was strictly a commercial area, similar to today's "strip mall" without adequate parking, serving the needs of the people living in the Ironbound section. There were few, if any , private residences. However, people did reside in flats/apartments which were located above the various stores.

On Ferry Street, close to Penn Station, there was a bank at the junction of Market and Ferry Streets; Our Lady of Mt. Carmel RC Church; the Rubber Set Company, which offered local employment. Moving eastward, there was a firehouse, Shore Piano Co., where my parents bought a player piano; Orego Florist, Dugan Bakery Outlet, Goldfinger's Children and Infant store, where my First Communion dress and veil were purchased. There was the Ironbound Theater, where from 1930 on, only foreign films were shown. Also, the W. J. Jelly Furniture Store, Morrison Photo Studio, where. on special occasions, our family had photos taken. There was the Rivoli Theater, where, on many a Saturday afternoon, I watched serial after serial.

The aforementioned business facilities are the only names I can recall at this time; however, there were various specialty shops, I.e., dresses and coats, bridal, millinery, shoes, a couple of taverns, two more banks and, of course, ice cream parlors to satisfy the sweet tooth.

The makeup of Wilson Avenue differed slightly. The area known as "Dutch Neck" started at Wilson Avenue and Merchant Street on the east, past Route #1. St. Stephen Lutheran Church is at the juncture of East Ferry Street and Wilson Avenue. Across the street on Wilson Avenue was Barrett's, a very popular tavern and beer garden. Later, the name was changed to the Five Corner Tavern. There was the Wilson Avenue Grammar School, Hensler Brewery, an A&P Market, Kryle Hardware, Koppel's Ice Cream Parlor, Schrott's Bakery, Wolf Memorial Presbyterian Church, Scholtz' Drugstore. Past Route #1 was Ruppert Stadium, owned by the owner of the New York Yankees, Jacob Ruppert. The baseball team was the Newark Bears, which at that time was a New York Yankees minor league team. This was the team that won the Little World Minor League Series in 1932. There were many occasions over the years that I, personally, saw among others Joe DiMaggio, Phil Rizzuto and Yogi Berra play baseball there.

In the "Dutch Neck" area, there was Pfeifer's Butcher Shop, located on Napoleon Street and New York Avenue. It was the shop's policy (if you were a pre-teen) to give you a slice of baloney to eat on the way home. Then there was Becker's Bakery on Lang Street. Mrs. Becker always added an extra crumb bun on top so I could pick off all the cinnamon crumbs on my way home. I never minded going to these two stores.

There were other business facilities in this area, but I have a lack of first-hand knowledge of them. I know that Celanese Corporation was somewhere around Darcy Street and Ballantine Brewery was on Freeman Street. A leather factory was on Oliver Street. Perhaps someone else can fill in the gaps.

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