by Nick J. Galiano


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 them.

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.

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