Hahne's, Bamberger's & Downtown

by Newark Talk Collective


Robert L.:
When very young, (early 1960s) my father used to take us to a coffee shop type place or restaurant, was it Bamberger's or Hahnes? it was a large department store, and we went through the back entrance. After entering through the back, I think that it was Branford or Halsey Street, we would walk further down and the restaurant was on the left, I think paneled in oak or wood. Does anyone remember this and any details? It was a nice, enjoyable place. Is this Hahne's or Bambergers? As I recall, as soon as we entered the store, on the way to the restaurant, right near the back entrance, we would pass by glass cases with watches or jewelry, is that not right? And their cokes were terrific. I remember one Saturday morning it was hot and I suggested that we not wear our dress jackets...Then when we got to that store's restaurant they would not let us in because we weren't dressed properly, no jackets! Times have changed, hmmm?

Bamberger's did have a sit down restaurant. I don't ever remember eating in Hanes. It was always a very quiet store. It seemed it was more of adult store to shop. And they would have soft chimes ringing.
Down on Branford Place that might have been Hobbies. As far as the dress code at one time Bamberger's might have had one. When they closed the downstairs Restaurant. they opened one on the second floor. I believe that's when it became Macy's. That's also gone.

I did not know they opened a restaurant on the second floor of Bamberger's once it became a Macy's. I used to visit relatives and saw the changeover to a Macy's but never went in. The last time I think I was in Bamberger's or Hahne's in Newark was the 70's.

Joan Niven:
There was a place to eat in Bams and Hahnes. Hahnes always had a lovely place to eat. The Bird Cage was one of their eating places. I don't know anything about wearing Jackets to eat in Bams or Hahnes especially in the 1960's!

Seymour Pierce:
It was definitely Hahne's. You entered the store from Halsey St. and the restaurant was ,as you describe it, on the left. A panelled room that gave the feeling that it was a separate disconnected entity. Hahnes also had a basement coffee shop, one level down with "counter service ". That store was always kind of "low key "with its own clientele. Even during their SALES I never really saw it crowded, like Bam's or Kresge's or Ohrbach's. Though the "sales " were for real and did add some activity.

So, that was Hahne's! For a child of 7 or so, I certainly seem to remember that downtown around there was rather prosperous at that time, around 1961-63...am I not right.

Jule Spohn:
I got out of the Marine Corps in 1966 and began working in downtown in early 1967 for National Newark and Essex Bank at 744 Broad Street which was right in the middle between Bam's, Orbachs, Woolworths, Kresgee's, S. Klein; Hahne, and all of the rest of the large and small stores that surrounded the downtown area. Downtown Newark was very prosperous and thriving at that time. Every Thursday night all of the stores would stay open till 9 or 10pm. There were no malls in those days and everyone from the suburbs would take the train down to Newark and do their shopping and go out for dinner of to see a show at any of the many movie theaters or great restaurants in the downtown area.

All of that totally disappeared after the 1967 riots - especially as we got into the mid to late 70's. Today, finally after 35 years of decline, life is coming back to downtown Newark. It will never be what it once was, but it is having a great rebirth taking place as I write this memo.

I had heard, but was not sure that Newark's decline mostly all took place after the riots in '67, that is what my parents said. But being more wise and knowledgeable than my parents as all young adolescents are, I didn't believe them. When my father told me stories about how he used to see famous people like Thomas Edison dining in downtown Newark restaurants, I scoffed, but then thought long and hard. I was amazed at the contrast between what he said and what I saw in the 70's, how such a transformation in a city could take place. As you say, it must have been drastic...

Bamber's had a loverly paneled restaurant on, I believe, the seventh floor in the late 40's & 50's. The waitresses wore elegant uniforms. Hahne's also had a lovely restaurant.

Thank you for responding to my post. I was so young I remember little of downtown and Newark -- first impressions of life, but I remember it was a prosperous city, with its fine dept. stores. They really were well known throughout; my father said that when visiting any part of the country, South Carolina or California, people would comment on what fine store Bambergers and Hahne's are. Hahne's restaurant with its fine paneling reminded me in later years of Grunings, the sweet shop in the NJ suburbs of Montclair and South Orange that closed much later. I lived in Forest Hills, near Ballantine Parkway and the Clark estate. Perhaps you lived/worked nearby.

I used to eat lunch at Hahne's and the dining room was called the Pine Room. I worked in the National Newark & Essex Bldg. for a law firm during the 60's. During the holidays, my mom would take the bus and meet me after work to go shopping. Those are good memories.

That was it, the Pine Room. You really did stir up memories, I have been trying to know more and more and recall all I can about my earliest years. Thank you so much.

Jule Spohn:
Any anyone who remembers Hahne's has to remember the Griffith Piano Company right next door. Well here is your chance to live right next door to Hahne's. The Griffith building - 18 stories - will be converted to condo's at some point in the not too distant future.

Dee Boutureira:
Whenever I get up there for my visits, my oldest son (who lives in Danbury CT), will come in to spend a day with me. He loves it, for we always take our walking tour through our familiar DN area. He says, "I remember when Mama & Papa (my parents) lived here..or we lived here!". Remembering some little shops that used to be, here and there, on Wilson Avenue; walking along Ferry St. And, Ann St School..where not only I attended, but he had started at too. Then stop at Krug's for lunch...walk some more..then later for dinner at Tony da Caneca's...as he remembers Papa taking him in there when he was a little boy, or when we'd all go for dinner there, on a Sunday. Meeting my old friends, who knew me from way back when..and that can be quite funny. Best of all that I mention here tho...is he and I, animatedly talking, smiling, laughing..and the SHINE in our eyes, feeling great! He says to me, "Mom, I never see you as happy, radiant, full of life, as when you are back here. Move back if you want to." Have also taken him back Uptown (it's not Down Town to DN'ers..lol) to see the NJPAC, which wasn't there when he was a boy..and the Stadium..the Newark Museum, I used to take he and his brother to. He thinks it's wonderful, as does his Mom.


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