Growing Up in Newark

by Richard Krentz


Growing up in Newark from the mid 40's to late 50's was a great experience and good place to live. I remember the end of the war in 1945 (I was 8 years old) and lived at 95 Mt. Pleasant Ave. People were running and shouting in the streets. I remember Alfre Bulson the old Ice Man who came around with his horse and carriage and delivered ice. The rag man did the same.

My teen age haunt was between Arlington ave and May St. Leo Mulligan was my best friend at that time and does anyone recall these names: June Marie Hummel, Beverly Brydon, Hilda ???, Sonny Buccino (Lamorte), Vinny Acceturo, Denise Birtwistle, Cliff Birtwistle, Lois and Delores Bell, Connie Stawarz, Bob Golembeski, Joan Lambert, Isabel Bunting, Carol Wharton, Kiki's luncheonette, Vellardi's market, Saul from the Drug store, Larry Bell, Gary Bell, and there were more I can't seem to remember (getting older). We had a fantastic neighborhood then and great friends. I remember the Italian Ice vendor who came around and how about the 77 steps?

On Mt. Prospect ave. there was the Widemeyer mansion which was known as the haunted house. Most of us went to the Elwood movies on Broadway. I remember Blue Castle hamburgers and sneaking through the graveyard at night. Saturdays were fun too. Bob Golembeski and I would go downtown on the #28 Summer ave. bus and visit Bamberger's toy department. Kresge's was also good. I'll bet many of you rode the old yellow trolley from the Silver Lake area down under Raymond Blvd to the Public Service building Broad St. I have distant memories of the #29 trolley that ran up Orange St from downtown. My dad told me he swam in the Morris Canal when he was a kid in the 20's that used to run down Raymond Blvd which became the tunnel for the trolley When he was a kid.

Back then, when I was out of High school, I worked at WAAT radio on South Broad St in the Mosque Theater near Lincoln Park. The Adams theater was a fantastic place to hear the big bands. Do you remember Vaughn Monroe or Tex Beneke?

Yes, Newark has changed allot and so has the mix of people. Newark has been on the comeback for years and it'll take years for it to even get better.

Put on your thinking caps and go back as far as you can. You can live it again in your mind.


Mary Ellen Howley:
Wow....did you wake up some memories for me!
The mansions were big time fun! I can smell the old newspapers that were around the homes..we thought for sure ghosts would pop out and chase us away!
77 steps ...another memory I had forgotten! Mr Bolson..I told my kids about him. What a welcome sight in the heat of the summer ...right?
He use to give us kids some ice ..I would marvel how he could manage to hold on the the ice with the picks the way he did!
I remember the end of the war...but I wasn't on Broadway then . I was 5 yrs old and I remember it well!

Another memory...were you there when the donkey and goats got loose and wound up on Broadway? Do you remember when the house was removed from 3rd Ave to somewhere, making room for the post office? What a sight that was!
Downtown Newark was something kids now-a-days cant even was special...! My Mom worked at Bams...
At one point in time I worked at Hanes during the holidays. I also worked at what was called National State Bank of Newark...Dunn and Bradstreet too.
The Elwood Theater...what a blast we all had! 2 movies and cartoons...a safe place to leave your kids for a few hrs!

Richard Krentz:
Do you remember the row boats at Branch Brook Park? We'd spend allot of time in them things. I also remember when the rubber duck factory up the Passaic River released thousands of rubber duckies for the kids to get. How about Rutts Hut? Its still there. I stopped in a year ago to get a hot dog, They are still great but the ownership has changed. I'm still thinking.

Don't quite remember the goats but I do remember when a truck full of chicks lost it's load on Mc Carter Hwy and feathers lasted for 6 months. There was also a truck that lost it's load of pigs on the ramp at the end of Mc Carter Hwy in about 1958. People ran for days trying to catch them, what fun!

Mary Ellen Howley:
I don't remember the boats..but I do remember when the Army had barracks you? HHHMMM...lots of very cute guys there!
We girls thought that was great!
We must have crossed paths...for sure Denise is one person that I know. Do you remember the Davitts on Van Wagenen St? Or the Gaurinos( not sure of the spelling)
Do you remember my grandmothers store? Right next to Dempsys tavern.
Remember when Acme had the grocery store next to Dempsys?
Do you remember the motorcycles in a storage building behind Acme before it was Acme?

Richard Krentz:
May Ellen,
I certainly remember the Acme and Dempseys tavern. My dad spent his Friday nights there with the 'boys' to watch the Friday Night fights on a black and white TV in the 50's.
Can't say I remember the motorcycle thing but I can recall the Chinese restaurant near Bloomfield Ave and Broadway. There were many days we got chased out of the Teachers Normal School yard too.

Carol Singorelli:
Does anyone remember Roe-Dee's on Broadway? The Crystals used to entertain there on the Weekends. This was about 1961-1963? Ann Blaine, Bob, Dina Adams and Paul?

Mary Ellen Howley:
Hi Richard,
Some more you remember a German Shepard mutt by the name of Rex? He use to go to Dempsys every day and night esp in the summer when they had air conditioning! Mrs Dempsy would make supper for Mr Dempsy and for Rex!
He was very popular in the 50s. He was my dog!
My Grandmothers store was called Palmers Drygood Store and Watch Repair Shop.
I am reading about your sneaking in the cemetery...we did that too!
What scary things!!! But no doing any damage though...just goofing around! We use to get chased away...try to go through the fence wasn't easy esp when your are laughing like a maniac!

Martha Imperiale:
When you wrote you remember Blue Castle hamburgers don't you mean White Castle Hamburgers?

Mary Ellen Howley:
Hi Martha, there was White Castle AND Blue Castles!
I believe the one Richard is referring to is the one by the little park on Broadway before Rutgers .
I may have the location a little mixed up but what ever...the hamburgers were THE best! Cant get anything like that anymore.

Joan Niven:
Yes, there were Blue Castles and White Castles. The last Blue Castle I recall was in Kearny NJ right on the Belleville Turnpike. Its gone quite a long time.

Martha Imperiale:
I don't remember any Blue Castles I do remember the White Castles and their GOOD. ..hambergers. You can buy them frozen today in the food stores but their not as good as back then.

Mary Ellen Howley:
That Chinese restaurant was called the Chopstick Inn.
My mom and I used to go there every now and then. The talk was all over about how cats disappear and wound up in our you remember hearing that? I must was good even if it were cats!

Richard Krentz:
There was a Blue Castle ham berger place on Broadway across from the graveyard and by a small park. We called them 'Murder Burgers" because a little ball meat was smashed down flat and pickle juice was sprinkled on top and the buns were about 3" round. But, they were only 5 cents each and were delicious.

janice. I wonder if those are the same army barracks that they moved up to West Orange on Victory Rd. I remember a young girl that "caught" polio, and the entire street was razed and rebuilt with VERY high end homes.

I lived on So. 12th and 14th ave. So to get to Olympic Park I would take the 25 Springfield Ave. To go Downtown I would take the 31 or the 54. I went to Cleveland Jr High 1956 Took the 5 Kinney which left us off at 18th Ave and Bergen st. To get to Roseville ave we would take the 6 Crosstown. My father also swam in the Morris Canal in the 20's. We would take the 6 Crosstown to Roseville and and 2nd. ave. My family had friends there. Then take the Trolley up Bloomfield Ave to South Mountain Ave. get off and walk in about 2 blocks to a house (mansion) 66 so. mountain ave. about 30 rooms. Relatives of our friends lived there...I'll never forget that place. I've taken a ride up there several times over the
years. It is still there. It made the Ledger about 2 years ago. Had two swimming pools. 3 living rooms Library, Huge Dining room. A pantry as big as the whole first floor of my house. Sorry to bend your ears Richard...but every one else is doing it.

Richard Krentz:
Do you remember the big Hoffman soda bottle on on top of the building on South Orange Ave?

Yes, I remember the big Hoffman Bottle on So. Orange Avenue and the Pabst Blue Ribbon Bottle. Tell me do you know what was inside the Bottles? My father used to tell me there was water in there and if a fire would break out the water would come shooting out. I think he was kidding me.

Richard Krentz:
Your dad was right, the bottles were filled with water that was used for the fire sprinkler systems in the bottling company.
So was the Pabst bottle. Do you know if the bottles are still there?

Yes Richard, the Bottle is still there. Painted brown or its rusted. The factory is closed and the area is a disaster. What else would it be?

Richard Krentz:
When I was 10, I used to ride my bike from Summer Ave, up to Chancellor Ave. near Olympic Park. I'd pass that bottle and one time we took a tour of the Hoffman bottle co. I can still remember the machinery filling the bottles and all. It's too bad that the area has degraded, but, isn't that true for most of the city. My grandfather is buried in Fairmount Cemetery and I haven't see the grave site in 50 years. I was Christened in the Old First Church on Broad St. Does anyone remember the Public Service pole busses that ran along Broadway. We would jump on the back of the bus and hang on to the ropes that held the pole to the overhead wires. Sometimes we'd pull so hard that the bus would come to a stop and the poles would jump off the wires. That was stupid I'm sure.
When Rutgers had a campus building on the corner of 3rd ave. and Broad St, we would peek in the basement windows and see the students cutting up cadavers on a table. Yuck!
How about Hahn's Bakery on Broadway? Hot rolls were the big thing on Saturday morning and Sunday after Church.

What fond memories I have found today, thanks Richard! I remember the Blue Castle on Broadway, 10 cents a piece, or 12 for a buck!
I also knew Mary Ellen, and her wonderful dog Rex. I lived across the street from her at 263, the Tremount...
How about Schwartz's Deli, what wonderful people they were. I am so excited about finding old friends and fond memories on this page...

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