I was born on Bergen Street between 14th
&15th Avenues. Back in 1932 I went to Newton school then West
Side High School. In my young days I remember that on Saturdays
we would go the Congress movies for, I think it was, 15 cents. We
would get a comic book and a soda. In the summer in the late 40`s
and 50`s we would go down to Long Branch.
I played in the Westside softball league for a number of years
in the 50`s and I do remember playing Keegan's Bar. I also played
semi pro football in the 40's for the Iron Bound Dukes and was paid
$15.00 a game. We watched the Newark Bears with Berra and Keller
at Ruppert Field on Wilson Avenue. Cubby, Joe Rat and the apeman
were guys that I hung out with on 6th Street and South Orange Avenue.
I remember the St. Patrick's Day parties at McGovern's. They had
so many people there that the parking lot next door could not hold
Some of you may think that I had a lot of jobs and I did. But
this one was the best. Who remembers when the projects were being
built on 7th Avenue? That was the best job I ever had when I was
young. I was a water boy. I don't know how many of you remember
what a waterboy did, but on a good week I would take home around
$100.00 or more with tips. Boy, I though I was rich.
When I was older, in 1949, I worked at the Charms Factory on Bloomfield
Avenue as a boxer and then in the loading department.
I also drove a Taxi for 12 years. It was a Brown & White.
I drove it for awhile at the Newark Airport. They were the good
days. I remember the boxing matches. We would go to Laurel Garden
and on South Orange Avenue across from Vailsburg Park.
I remember the Ritz Theatre well. When we went there it was 25
cents. That was on Sunday, but Saturday we would go to the Congress
Theatre on South Orange Avenue. Now for the Laurel Garden, Went
on Monday night. I think that was great but in the summer the Garden
would close and we go to Meadowbrook Bowl on South Orange Avenue
across from Vailsburg Park. We would also go to the National Turner
on Bruce Street. To see the big bands we would go to the Adams Theatre
on Branford Place.
Contrary to popular belief, the Silhouette Lounge wasn't a trouble
spot. We were there every weekend in 50's. The only time we missed
was if we at the Wideway or the Terrace Hall downtown. As for Frank
Valli and the Four Seasons, they were the 4 Love before the Four
Seasons. They were also something else before that. The other guys
names were Tom Hank and Nicky Church.
My wife has reminded me that on 9th Street and 14th Avenue, across
from Jimmy Buff's, there was a restaurant called the Reservoir.
Back in the 50's you could go there and eat dinner for 4 or 5 dollars
for two. That was with the beer and tip. You could also eat pie
for 75 cents, by the way, today they call it pizza. I remember Sam
& Mary's. We would get off the 3 Bergen, have double, then walk
home to Bergen & 15th Avenue.