by John McEvoy


Looking through Old Newark, I saw a picture of the old Newark YMCA.

From 1950 until 1955 I was a member to the YMCA on Halsey St. not the YM-YWCA on Broad St). It was across from and in the vicinity of Kresge’s Dept. and McCrory’s 5 & 10 Cents Stores. Today it’s a parking lot. Kids were allowed to go every Tues & Thurs evening & Sat morning.

It cost a nickel to ride the #34 Market or the #1 Newark bus. I usually walked home. Down Market, under Penn St, past River Bank Park, down Fleming Ave to Schalk St. The Y had a cafeteria & dining room, meeting rooms & a lot of other rooms we weren't allowed in. It had a games room, a gym with a banked track up by the ceiling, 16 laps to the mile, a swimming pool 16 & 2/3 yards long, a weight room & a boxing room with heavy & light bags & a regulation ring. It wasn’t unusual to see a person running laps or hitting the light bag on Tues, and then see him on television on the Fri night fights. We got our first TV in 1952.

I Joined my first swim team at the Y. I went on to swim all through school and even coached for 13 years. The YWCA was either on the corner of Halsey or Washington St's, down by the Newark Museum. The building is still there. The new ‘YM-YWCA’ opened in 1955 and is still in operation. That’s where Charlie Herman & I know each other from. He lifted weights, I swam. Its also where, in 1958, I met my wife Kathy (maiden name - Boyle).

If you were involved in the Y's you might remember staff members such as Pete Pretka, Bernie Kuntz, and Joe Allissi ’Blackie’. He also taught at Seton Hall Prep when it was still on the university campus in So Orange. Other Y members were: Joy Pabst, Joanne Leon, Joanne Scriffiano, Natalie Puglisie, Cathy Kramer, Carol Fercal, Diane Ostenski, Richie Lednicki, Lud Passapio, Vic Gonzallas, Chico Class, Benny Delorenzo, Butch Finneran, Walt Corris, Eddie O'Connor, Art Homer, Richie Nabb, and lots more.

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