Syd's, a landmark on Chancellor Avenue,
was famous for hot-dogs and French fries. Located on the opposite
side of the street from the Weequahic High School, it was a few
doors down from the corner of Summit Avenue and Chancellor. Perhaps
it was a doublewide store because I recall walking in the door,
going a distance back and then turning to the right to get to the
counter. There was music playing, from perhaps a jukebox or a radio.
The counter was long with backless barstools, but most times I would
stand. Behind the counter were guys tending to the fries, bubbling
away in huge those deep mesh metal baskets.
The hot-dogs were the big attractions though and I usually ordered
sweet relish, which they called "sweet works." I seemed
to go through phases. For long spells I ordered mustard and sauerkraut
but later got the true culinary calling "hot dog with sweet
works, please." Of course they were juicy and good but too
filling for an after-school treat. So, I discovered my true love
very well done French fries. They came in a small brown paper bag
and were accompanied by a wooden fork. The smell was heavenly, the
taste perfection. I poured salt into the hot bag and then dumped
in ketchup. Who knew from cholesterol? Prices? No idea.
In the late 1950s, besides the food, it was a great place to meet
(cute) guys. One day, after school, one of those very cute boys
struck up a conversation with me while I was waiting for my fries.
He was very tall, very handsome in a "rough" way, and
dressed great. Now keep in mind this recollection is from the eyes
of a 17 year old girl. I had always seen him around the neighborhood,
after all the Weequahic section, especially for those who lived
around the high school, wasn't that big. But it was exciting to
think that this "hunk" was talking to me. Well, he was
quite nice. In fact, he drove me home in his most spectacular white
1959 Chevy convertible with turquoise interior. Ah, those were the
days, my friend.