Down Neck Memories 1960's - 1970's

by Deborah Kacerek


I was born in 1958, but have vivid memories of growing up Down Neck. My father still lives on Darcy Street, but it just isn't the place I grew up in.

I graduated from Ann Street (Dr. Groder, Mrs. Walsh and Mr. Boutsikaris were in charge then, and Miss Kirsten was not only my first grade teacher, but also my father's and his brothers' and sister's) and East Side; and was baptized and confirmed at St. Stephan's. Most of my friends went to St. Benedicts.

I remember walking down to Ruppert Stadium with my grandfather, before it was torn down. He would tell us stories of the games played there, and all the greats he got to see. I also remember that it was near the stockyards, and many times the freight trains would be there with an assortment of cattle and pigs!

I remember Hensler Brewery on Wilson Avenue, before it was torn down and turned into a Shop Rite. I also remember the A&P and the Acme, both also on Wilson Ave. Sue's Italian Hot Dogs, right off the corner of Darcy St. on Wilson Ave. Mr. Falik's variety store, next to Sue's Hot Dogs. Rite Drug's across the street, One Hour Martinizing, the shoe store, and the Gold's variety store within a two block walk. The bakery on the corner of Darcy and Wilson (can't remember the name). Ferro's Hardware store on the corner of Niagara and Darcy. Dolly and Art's Luncheonette. Sue's Ice Cream Fountain on Niagara Street, near the corner of Marne Street. Mike's Grocery store on the corner of Marne and Niagara; King's Candy store across the street.

My most vivid and cherished memory from my childhood was my Monday night outings with Dad. First we went to the Fidelity Bank on Ferry Street, then over to Riverbank Park. After time at the park we went to either the concession stand across from the playground, or to Dairy Queen.

I remember the milk box on the front stoop (when milk wasn't in there, my jump rope was). I remember the Liver Man, the Fish Man, Al the fruit and vegetable man. Baked goods delivered by Dugan's.

I remember going to Goldfinger's and Lorczack's on Ferry Street. Furniture from Roman Jelley. TV's and appliances from Rothhauser's (and remember the TV repairman coming to replace vacuum tubes in the TV).
Going to the Drive In on Friday nights in the summer - in my pajamas - and riding the rides before the movie started.

Going uptown to Bamberger's, S. Klein's, Orbach's, Woolworth's, Haines, Kresge's, Two Guys - and getting there by taking the No. 31 bus. I remember Christmas time at Bamberger's the 7th(?) floor was turned into Santa Land. The orange ade and hot dogs in the basement.

Going to the "old" Newark Airport to watch the planes take off and land; the planes were close enough to touch on the tarmac.

Cobblestone streets and fire hydrants in the summer. Sipping Hoffman's soda while waiting for the Good Humor Man. Ed the mailman. Al the cop, who got us across Wilson Ave to get to school at Ann Street. Learning to drive on Avenue P.

I could go on and on!


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