West Side - 12th Street

by Joe Vitale


I was born in St. Michaels Hospital and was raised on 12th street (#446) until I was 16 years old.

I have nothing but found memories of my childhood there. I went to St. Antoninus grammar school and graduated there in 1954. Then on to good old WEST SIDE HIGH. In 1956 we moved to Irvington and I had to transfer from West Side to the then "much hated" Irvington. (But, it eventually worked out well).

What great memories of those days in the city

The marvelous aroma of Jimmy Buff's Italian hot dogs and sausages;

The 75cents large pizzas from the Reservoir on 9th Street;

The beauty of a snowfall in the city;

The stick ball and "hitting off the stoop" games;

The opening of a fire hydrant on a hot summer day;

St. Rocco's feast on 14th Avenue;

The football games on West Side H. S. lawn (12th St. against 13th St.)

The best lemon ice in the city on 15th Avenue, 3 cents small - nickle large;

The Italian grocery stores & fish markets throughout the neighborhood;

The #6 bus that would take you to Schools Stadium on Bloomfield Avenue;

The #31 and #25 buses that would take you up and down South Orange Avenue;

The Saturdays at the STRAND movies for 10 cents;

The fun of West Side Park (As it was then);

The Jewish delis & candy stores. I used to buy 2 cigarettes for 1 cent (don't tell my mom);

The two-touch football games in the street, under the lights;

The Newark Bears - I mean the "REAL" Newark Bears;

The camaraderie of being a part of the West Side;

I could go on and on. Oh, how I miss those days. All of the above have been replaced by computers; shopping malls; backyard swimming pools; rock concerts; 2 or 3 or more family cars; lengthy summer vacations; super markets; paid TV movies; $5/pack cigarettes; video games; $10. pizzas; fast food chains; etc., etc., etc.


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