by Marvin Gershenfeld

Although I'm just a couple of years younger than Nat Bodian, I too, have many memories of having grown up in Newark. It was a fine city in the 20's, 30's, and 40's, and even as a kid, I traveled to many places on the various trolleys and buses.

Of course, there was Rupert Stadium on Wilson Avenue with those great baseball Bears of the 1937 and 1938.

And all the many theaters in the neighborhoods and downtown. I have fond memories of having seen Yehudi Menhuin perform as a kid prodigy at the Broad Theater, and a performance of Aida at the Mosque Theater with a host of spear carriers and a large white horse on stage during the performance. One performance at the Mosque was the show put on by Ed Wynn where he outdid himself at one point when he and a female performer started laughing at one of his jokes and the two of them could not stop laughing for a good ten minutes.

The Thanksgiving day parades put on by Bamberger's were great, and very much like today's Macy parades. Smaller, of course. Then there was upstairs in Bamberger's Dept. store where we could fly our balsa wood airplanes that we built for ourselves or bought there. The old Post Office on Broad Street, that great stone building. And the original Prudential building.

The other department stores; Hahnes, Kleins, and Kresge's with its animated Santa Clause in its window at the corner of Raymond Blvd and Halsey St.

The train to N.Y., the Tubes. I loved to walk to Weequahic Park to watch the sulky races on Saturday. My favorite horse was Shirley Temple. There was ice skating on the lake during the winter at Weequahic Park. And the open-sided trolleys in the summer, the best ride in town. There was miniature golf (as a kid I called it galf) course on Clinton Avenue not far from High Street I don't remember what par was. My father once took me to the fire house on Mulberry Street at Lafayette St. and the guys showed me how they slid down the fireman's pole for a fast getaway to a fire.

Let's not forget Petty's pharmacy on Broad Street, open 24 hours. The Newsreel Theater on Broad Street, not far from Broad. One of the great yearly events was the parade of all the wagons and horses, and elephants, and what-not of the Ringling Bros. circus on its way up Avon Avenue on its way to the circus grounds in Irvington. As kids, we camped out all day and evening, sitting on the curb and enjoying the spectacle.

We were patriotic on Armistice Day watching the soldiers march on Broad Street. I rode the first buses that used overhead electric wires - from Newark to Elizabeth. As a kid, and with all the other kids in the neighborhood, we couldn't get enough of the street-cleaning trucks that splashed water to the curbs, the ice man and his horse-drawn wagon, where we were treated to slivers of ice from the wagon, even the trash and garbage trucks, where the guys tossed the cans up into the back of the truck and the guys on the ground caught them again in a graceful acrobatic way.

Our favorite policeman was "Clarkie" who directed traffic at Clinton and Johnson Avenue to make sure the teens got to South Side High School safely. Going to the movies downtown when the theaters first installed air conditioning was great. The enjoyable summer nights sitting on the front porch before air conditioning.

There's more, but that should give you an idea that there are fond memories of growing up in Newark. Did I mention the Museum and the Library?.......Have a good day.


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