I lived in Newark from 1961-1967. I was
born at Beth Israel Hospital in 1961 and my family lived at 15 Crescent
Avenue in the Weequahic section. It was an apartment building with
four apartments, and three of the four were occupied by my family.
The building was owned by by grandparents, Rose and Morris Simon,
who came to Newark from Hungary and originally had a grocery store
on Avon Avenue.
I remember Newark very well, even though I only lived there for
the first six years of my life. I remember the stores on Chancellor
Avenue, including Harjays and Halem’s, and I used to go around
to all of them on Halloween. There was a restaurant called The Bunny
Hop that I remember. I also remember the Y where I attended day
care, and the fireworks (the first I ever saw) at Weequahic High
School on July 4th. And there was Watson’s Bagels (which we
would eat fresh and hot) and Valley Fair nearby.
My cousins moved out shortly before the violence of 1967. But my
immediate family and my grandparents didn’t. I went to kindergarten
at the Chancellor Avenue School, where regrettably I had no less
than five teachers that year, as the first four left the area. In
1967, my parents moved us out to the Millburn-Short Hills area,
while my grandparents remained, as they were viewed as pillars of
their local community and strongly believed in the neighborhood
and the city. They stayed on Chancellor Avenue for probably 2-3
years, but the neighborhood became dangerous and they eventually
left as well.
My biggest regret is that I don’t have even more memories
of living there, since I was so young. While I remember our apartment
very well, and that of my grandparents, I wish we had lived there
much longer, as it was a vibrant community where people got along
and knew one another. Living in Short Hills was very different,
and just couldn’t compare.