We had a street Down Neck named Bowery,
which in Dutch means, "farm“, but in the early 1900's
it was renamed after Father Fleming (pastor of Saint Aloysius Church)
to Fleming Avenue.
We never had a section in Newark with the same infamous name as
the Bowery of New York. The Bowery was the home for many lost souls.
Most of these men were either alcoholics or mentally compromised.
They would sleep in doorways, staircases and I guess just about
anyplace where they dropped in a stupor.
I'm sad to relate that most of us at that time would look upon
them as a humorous site. I remember driving with my parents to Bowery
Street to look at all the bums lying around the area. They were
shown in the theatres during the Newsreel and also in magazines
like Life to make us laugh. Speaking for myself I'm ashamed to say
that I laughed at what I now know to be a diseased or a special
In 1990 I worked in that area for Verizon and I was pleased to
see that those conditions no longer exist on Bowery Street.
Did we have a Bowery (like) area Down Town (circa 1940's)? My
answer to that would be yes. As I remember we had a flophouse area
on the south side of Market Street between Lawrence Street and McCarter
The Market Hotel was located at 291-93 Market Street. I believe
it was a three or four story wooden clapboard building. I think
a room or at least a bed was advertised for 50 cents a night. Underneath
the hotel was the Grace and Hope Mission. Going up Market Street
was the Comet Hotel (270 Market Street).
I worked as a messenger in 1950 for Art Photo and Engraving Company.
They made all the engraved plates that were used to print the pictures
in the Newark Evening News. So it seemed like I was in that area
at least once a day.
I remember a policeman taking away a bottle of "Sneaky Pete"
from an alcoholic and breaking it on the curb of Beaver Street.
That was right in front of the Newark Evening News.
Sneaky Pete was slang for a pint bottle of cheap muscatel with
grain alcohol added to pump up the proof to 40. It cost around 35
cents and was a flat bottle, which would fit in one’s back
The Market and the Comet Hotels along with all its guests are
long gone. But for a short period of time we could say that Newark
had its own Bowery.