This is the Newark I remember!

by Lynda Harper


I was raised in the houses on Dayton St. My house sat on a block between Emerson Place and Whittier Place, from 1968 to 1980, across from Weequahic Park. My memories are of playing on the basketball courts at night, caddying at the golf course, playing in the park itself for hours, walking to the airport, shopping with my mother at Bamberger's, (I think Bamberger's on Hanes had hotdogs and chocolate frosties in its bargain basement where the women's shoes were), Two Guys, Hanes Department Store, the S. Klein Department Store, oh yeah and Valley Fair..Addinizio was mayor when I was young and Kenneth Gibson was I believe our first African American mayor . Not to mention, going to movies and the restaurants downtown. Oh yeah and Valley Fair...  
I loved Newark. It had a favor all its own and not far from New York City. Whether I caught the 107 bus on Meeker Ave or if I hopped on the 11, 12 or the 24 to the Path Train...New York was at my feet. Going to the Newark Museum, the Library...looking at the bridge to the airport that had the World Trade Center as its backdrop and I was lulled to sleep by sound of airplanes out at the airport. There was the Twin City Roller skating rink...ahh the 70's...and back further, I remember the riots...Newark was never the same after that. There was Woolworth's, Nedick's (those hotdogs and Orange Julius'), McCrory's, and the Adams theatre and sitting on Prudential I remembered all that...*lol*  
Unfortunately the drug culture came to the Seth Boyden and Dayton Street projects - neighborhoods heading toward Elizabeth, NJ and our neighborhood began to change and so did I. Now I am over 6 years clean, a lot more older, a lot more wiser and relocating back to the East Coast...I have had Newark in my heart everywhere I went...I would smile whenever I heard the term "Brick City" on TV and or music...I smiled because it wasn't all bad and after all, I am part of Newark's fabric, apart of its culture....and it took me a long time to be proud of that.  
I remember loving to go downtown to McCrory's, Woolworth's, Nedick's Choc-full-o-Nuts, the Adams theatre, sitting on Prudential Square, heading down neck to the drive-in, the Good Humor ice cream trucks and MR. Softee...yep...those were truly the days...if I think of anything else...I will definitely share with you all.


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