My family retained their "tavern"
on Ferry Street near Market after having moved "uptown"
in 1924 to what eventually became the Weequahic Section. My paternal
grandparents, Sam & Ida Geller owned the wood frame multi-storied
and mixed use building for over 50 years that housed Sam's Tavern
and a number of apartments; in fact, from time-to-time as a child
I would visit them and my Dad (who supplemented our family income
as a photographer while working long hours for his folks at the
bar) and I can still recall the sights and smells so characteristic
of that old building. The pool table comes to mind. The dim daylight
filtering through the windows and settling on the worn but polished
wood bar. The spittoons and barstools. The cigar, beer, mixed drink
& cigarette odor had a particular pungency that I still associate
with "tavern", "bar".
Experiences do shape our lives. My dad Maurice Geller now 83 and
his younger brother Dave now 70 have never been known to taste any
form of alcohol. The building as well as our two family home on
Clinton Place were eventually sold along with the business, approximately
10 years after my grandfather's death and our decision to join the
exodus to the suburbs in the mid '60's.
My dad's maternal grandparents settled in Newark on Somme Street,
after moving their family down from Gloversville NY probably near
the beginning of the 20th century.