My Memories of Newark

by David Toub


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.


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