As some of you know, I grew up on South
Orange Ave and 12th Street back in the 40's and 50's. For the past
six months or so I noticed that all of the houses on the West side
of 12th street from SOA back to 13th Ave have become boarded up.
Almost half of the houses on the East side of 12th street have been
gone for the past 10 years or so. More than half of the houses on
the West side of 11th Street from SOA back to 13th Ave have also
been gone for the past 10 years or so. There are no houses on the
South side of 13th Ave between 11th and 12th street. This has always
been very upsetting to me because I knew almost everyone who lived
in those houses back in the 50's when I delivered groceries for
Schiller's Butcher Shop.
Anyway, this past Monday I was up in that area around 11am or so
and I noticed that the door to the old Lydon's tavern on the SE
corner of SOA and 12th street was open. I had not been in that bar
since I was a kid back in the 50's. It was one of my mother and
father's old hang outs. John Lydon always had a contingent of Irishmen
and women march in the St. Patrick's Day Parade. I decided to be
brave and stop in to see what the place looks like today. To my
surprise, I has not changed one bit in the past 45 years. The bar,
the backbar, the backroom, and the kitchen, are exactly as I remember
them from my childhood. They still have the old, many times painted
over, Philco refrigerator in the kitchen. Many a pot of corned beef
and cabbage was cooked in that tiny kitchen. The bar is now called
the "New Cozy Corner."
The new owner of the place told me that the Board of Education
has taken possession of the entire block from SOA back to 13th Ave
and between 11th and 12th Streets and will be tearing down all of
the houses, including the apt bldg on the corner of SOA and 12th
Street in order to put up new sports fields for the students of
West Side. 12th Street will be closed off from 13th Ave to SOA.
This will be good news for the students at West Side but I'll feel
bad to see another part of my Newark history disappearing.