Although I lived in Harrison I have very
fond memories of Newark from my early childhood days to my first
leave from the army in 1968. Friday evenings would find me riding
on the 43 bus and getting off by Kliens. From there it was up the
street that took you to the back entrance of McCroy's, but before
heading down the steps it was into the button shop that use to be
across the street, It was a very small shop but I was always amazed
at all the types and colors of buttons and the purchases my mother
Then it was down the stairs to the lunch counter and either Chow
Mein or a Club sandwich. And every so often when they would have
the balloons up and you paid what the balloon had in it, I would
get a banana split. While I ate mom would take care of her shopping
and then it was off to Klien's. I remember one holiday season my
mm sent me to Klien's very early on a Saturday morning to be first
in line so that I could get my sister an Easy Bake Oven.
A stop in Klien's would usually be followed by a stop at Kresges
(known as K-Mart these days). Out the back of there and down the
street to Bamberger's followed by a stop at Woolworth's. There,
if I was really good on a Saturday I would get a treat of one of
their Ice Cream Sandwiches. These were made with real waffles with
a slab of vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry ice cream in between.
We would cross Broad Street and Market Street and grab the bus
back to Harrison. If it was really cold, sometimes we would run
into Chock Full of Nuts until the bus arrived.
I was also a member of some sort of club at the Newark Museum.
I even saw Kuka, Fran and Olie there one summer. The bees coming
into their hive in the back was really interesting. And during one
summer we got to make a book with real snake skins in it.
During my high school days I worked in the mail and stock room
for INA in the Mutual Benefit Life Building up on the 15th and 14th
floors. During the summer we would go across the street to the park
to eat our lunches or buy one of those great hot dogs with everything
It was also during my high school days that my dad started a new
ritual of going down to Market and Mulberry Streets on a Saturday
morning to visit the butcher shops and grocery markets. He would
drag me and my sis along and I still remember the saw dust on the
floors and my dad buying a whole baloney for a week of sandwiches
for all of us.
High school also saw me visiting the passion pit of the Newark
Drive-In and one of my buddies from school actually worked there.
I am not sure what he did but he sure met a lot of girls. I too
recall the Pic's in the summer and the heaters in the winter there.
I remember riding over to get our senior pictures taken in Newark
during the riots. My buddy Joey had a Vespa Motor Scooter and we
went sailing past National Guard soldiers riding in Jeeps with machine
guns mounted on them. Being young and foolish we didn't even realize
what danger we were in.
Christmas of 1968 saw me arriving on the bus at Penn Station. It
had been a ride of 3 days and nights from El Paso, TX where I was
stationed in the army and this was my first leave. I threw my duffle
bag over my shoulder and headed up McCarter Highway towards Harrison.
When I got to the Mutual Benefit Life building I stopped in to see
that old gang of mine. I was to learn that Al & Joe who I worked
with in the mail room had gone into the service as Marines.
The next few years as I was in the army would see me countless
times going to Penn Station to take the train back to base. I will
always have fond memories of the Newark I knew and keep it close
to my heart even if I am on the other side of the US.