Christmas Shopping Season

by Charles McGrath


It would be nice to hear the Christmastime shopping remembrances of those on this site. The Christmas shopping areas from Vailsburg were accessed by the #31 or #32 South Orange Avenue bus to Downtown, the # 94 Stuyvesant Avenue bus to Springfield Avenue (Irvington ) or Central Avenue ( East Orange ) and locally by walking to South Orange Avenue.

Down Town

Bamberger's, Kresege's, Hahne's , Klein's, Orbach's, Miles, Learner's, Terry Shop, Woolworth's, Bond's, Howard's and many more. This was where most of the serious shopping was done. Remember the coded bells that would ring in Bamberger's. They would use them to call a manager. Or for some stealth reason. Christmas music was piped into the streets on a P.A. system. Remember trying to get a bus home? They were all packed. The people would stand near the front of the bus. The driver would constantly tell everyone to please move to the rear to no avail. Sometimes the bus driver would let you pay him and enter through the back door. It seemed like most people got the #31 at Washington or Halsey Streets. If they were really crowded some would walk down past Broad Street to get a bus. The good thing was that the buses ran every five minutes. They were like e conveyor belt.

Springfield Avenue (Irvington)

Tom McCann, Woolworth's, Canadian, Kembler's, Goldfinger's etc. It was the next notch up from South Orange Avenue without the hassle of going Downtown. Shopping here was a lot easier then going Downtown. The bus would run every 15 minutes but they were also crowded.

South Orange Avenue (Vailsburg)

Woolworth's, Merit, Lincoln , Boccia's, Marx's, Cornacchio's, Young's etc. Shopping on the Avenue was convenient. It also allowed the little children a place to shop for modest priced Christmas presents. It was also very unique. Especially if the street was snow covered. It projected the image of a village.

These are precious and unique experiences that can never be relived but only remembered.


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