North Newark

by Emilia Centi


I was born in the Gianntti house at 38 7th. Ave. in 1942. I remember all the people that lived in the building plus on the block. Jerry Tobi's candy store across the street. Giordino's bakery next door to Jerry's. Sal's Italian Deli downstairs from where I lived.

In the summer the hydrants were open for us kids and we sat out almost all night after getting a pizza with the family and people from the neighborhood if it was too hot. Sometimes my father and other would sleep on the fire escapes if it was too hot.

We lived in cold water flats, as they were called, and went up to the bath houses by the park to take our showers. I was to young but all the adults went. Saturday was a day my family went food shopping. All the stores were right on 7th.ave. There was Celentano for pot cheese, a pasta store where you got a hand shovel to take your pasta from barrels.

If you didn't get your fruit and vegetables from the peddler that was always on your corner you would get them when you shopped up 7th. Ave. Everything you needed for the week to eat was on that street. Harry Meyers, Litterio's meat market, De Noias bakery, La mortes bar. A&P on the corner of High St. and 7th. Ave. A&P was a store front, might have been first one. I remember the two that ran the A&P, Nick and Ambrose, the latter was a butcher.

Ting a Ling was on 8th. AVE. and what great lemon ice! That was a summer treat we had a couple of times in the summer.

As kids we played in Webster St. play ground or just on the block we lived on. We played points, where you throw the rubber ball on the edge of a building and when it popped up you catch it and that was the start of your points. Jump rope and double dutch rope. Hop Scotch with a heal from your father's shoe or some other man's shoe, fun, fun, fun.

Can't forget the St. Lucy's feast every summer. The great smells and the food and the singing. We were poor then but we sure didn't know it, we had a family neighborhood that watched out for us, and we didn't even know it.

In the winter on the corner of High St. and 7th. Ave., there was a lot and the guys sold Christmas Trees. The smell from the trees was Christmas in itself. The guys had a metal drum that they had wood burning to keep them warm while selling the trees. When Christmas was over all trees from our building and others were put out for the garbage men. I don't think they had artificial trees then, not sure.

I can go on and on for my memory of the First Ward is so vivid, but I will stop here. Maybe I will come back another time and tell more of my great days on 7th. Ave. My relatives were Marchetti, De Angelo and Cerbone.


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