I recently discovered the wonderful ON
Website! I was born in 1944 and lived at 321 Belmont Avenue until
1958 when we moved to the Seth Boyden Housing projects on Frelinghuysen
Avenue which were by all standards then considered the elite of
all the housing projects of that time. The 321 Belmont Avenue area
was heaven when I was a child. The Amsters of the Watson Bagels
were our neighbors and good friends of ours since my father was
a baker. He first came to Newark in 1906, and lived in the area
of Charlton Street. I even found his Ellis Island documents on the
website they have. I used to think the whole world was Jewish, and
we knew everyone by first name in the neighborhood.
I recall my dad and mom going to Tobins on Prince Street, and
Mandell's shoe store. I recall Mr. Mandell, senior as well. On Belmont
Avenue, we attended the Galicianer Shul, in the courtyard BEHIND
Watson Bagels. This shul was founded by my uncle Abe (through marriage)
and his parents, primarily, Leah and Pincus Weich, back in the 1890's
or thereabouts. My aunt and uncle had a Kosher butcher shop on Belmont
Avenue, crossing Avon, and next door we shopped at Baer's supermarket,
Morris and old Mrs. Baer adding up our orders with a lead pencil
on a paper bag.
I recall the doughboy statue there. Mr. Schleifer, who lost his
son in WWI, lived on Belmont Avenue also. My father's first wife,
who died in 1941 had three sons, born 1910, 1911 and 1913, all in
the vicinity of Rankin Street. My father's brother-in-law, from
his first marriage, was Izzie (Isadore) Faigen and his wife, Anna
(my father's first wife's sister), who were junk dealers (today
we say "antique dealers") who lived on Charlton Street,
behind the old Krueger Brewery.
I still recall walking with my mom from Belmont to Prince Street,
on a beautiful, warm summer day, to buy a fresh chicken from Schwartz'
chicken market, because the Schwartz family was our upstairs neighbor
at 321. Our next door neighbor, was a spinster, Miss Kaufman, who
lived with her aged mother. She ran a lady's lingerie shop on Prince
Street. My mother was also widowed living in Newark. She and her
first husband owned a delicatessen on the corner of Avon Avenue
and Hillside Avenue in the late 1920's. On the corner of Prince
and Springfield, I believe, was a small newspaper and tobacco shop,
run by another neighbor, one Mr. Brock, who died young, and was
also an upstairs neighbor of ours. His children Lynn and brother
Mortie were playmates from my youth.
When we were ill, we went to Doc Wallach's pharmacy (then you
called it a drugstore), on the corner of Avon and Belmont, in fact
on the website, there is a photo taken in 1908, of the very same
drugstore run then by the Wallach's. Mrs. Wallach was a beautiful
woman, with silvery white hair. I recall the brown and green tile
soda fountain in the shop, where Mr. Wallach would mix sodas or
two cents plain, if you "had a little heartburn". I recall
Doc Wallach selling my mom Coca Cola syrup for an upset stomach.
Above the pharmacy was the apartment of my aunt and uncle. The entrance
to the building was on Avon Avenue, still seen in the very same
photo previously mentioned.
A real treat was to take the #9 bus on the corner of Belmont and
Avon, in front of Doc Wallach's pharmacy, to go to Weequahic Park
in the summertime, or better yet, the #56 bus, on the opposite corner
of Belmont and Avon, which took us to Olympic Park. I still remember
the rides, games and the swimming pool for an entrance fee of 50
cents, 75, with a locker. However, at the height of the Polio scare,
my mother did not take me there, for fear of contracting Polio,
in the early 50's.
As a young immigrant girl to Newark, my mother's first boyfriend
was Charlie Schultz of Prince Range Company. My grandfather disapproved
of him, because he always "Wore shoes with rundown heels",
so my mother stopped going out with him. My grandfather felt he
had no future, I guess!
Oh yes, before I sign off, I must mention the Garber Linoleum
store further down on Prince Street, with all the tall remnants
standing out in front of the store. Mr. Garber's wife also died
young, leaving him with two children, a son and daughter. The daughter,
Marlene, was my first piano teacher, although she was still a young
teen herself. Mr. Garber remarried a deaf woman who treated his
children wickedly, and they lived across the street at 322 Belmont
Avenue, on the same floor with the Amsters. Later on, Marlene, the
daughter, also tragically died young in the 60's in childbirth,
leaving the infant to be raised by the young husband, and I lost
track of the family at that time.
I forgot to mention my children's clothing came from London's
Children shop on Springfield Avenue, and my mother used to buy shoes
from Haussman's also on Springfield, sort of a fork-in-the -road
Sometimes, we shopped "THE AVENUE", meaning Clinton
Avenue, where we would eat corned beef sandwiches with Celery Tonic
(Dr. Brown's) at Lipschitz Delicatessen, or indulge in ice cream
and fancy chocolates at Mangieri's Ice Cream Parlor ( they moved
I even recall the old Bernheim Funeral Parlor on Belmont where
my grandfather was buried from, and the Apter Funeral Parlor on
Hillside Place, around the corner from 299 Clinton Avenue, the fancy
apartment and professional doctors' building, with the circular
driveway and doorman. And who can forget Peterman's on the corner
of Johnson and Clinton Avenue?
Sundays were the day we ate out, deli, and my mother would treat
me to chocolate cupcakes from the "bakery at Peterman's to
take home. I remember the Friday nights on Belmont Avenue.....the
rabbi and his sons, Rabbi Singer and Rebbitzen, walking past our
house on the way to the little shul. I recall Simchat Torah, kissing
the torah, and walking on Belmont Avenue, following the crowd who
were following the torah. And who could forget the beautiful wooden
bimah, and those wonderful home cooked aromas in the building, especially
Friday nights, when our mothers cooked the chicken, and made Chicken
Soup.....it was a pleasure!