Down Neck

by Ray Drozd


Born in old St. Barnabas Hospital on High Street in 1947, attended Ann St School and East Side High School. Read each of the sections-not one stretching of the truth. Newark in the 50's and 60's was terrific.

Didn't anyone walk to Port Newark and the Airport, or save up eight cents to take the "#4 Port Newark" Public Service bus??? It was free 12 hours of entertainment, and the Newark Fire detachment at the Airport would grill a dog for you, along with a coke from their ice chest ( as long as you said you wanted to be a fireman).

Mom bought our back to school clothes at S. Kleins ( Bams was too expensive), and the real treat was the Naval Reserve Destroyer tied up at the Port with a full time two man crew. That was a free meal also ("We want to be sailors").

The two bars of renown on Pulaski Street were Johnnies Tavern and Barskys. Byks Market (still there) and Sid's Deli were where you bought your local edibles.

You looked forward to the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Festival on Oliver Street each year. The Newark Band played in Independence Park on Saturday evenings during the summer, and there was Ralph's Hot Dog Wagon-a high school lunch staple, on Adam Street. There were only two real Pizza places"Jim and Jeans" (originally on Chestnut and then on Ferry Street) and the 'Dugout' on Oliver Street. I'm 61 now and "Jim and Jean's " is still the best Pizza I ever had. No one has since come close.

Saturday Matinees were 25 cents at the Rivoli. Practically pooped the pants seeing "Creature from the Black Lagoon" and "War of the Worlds" there. Used to walk the dog and listen to the Black Baptist Choir at their Church at Ann and New York Ave. (torn down in 2008). Loved how they sang and learned many songs/hymns that surprised Baptist GI's in Vietnam(I'm RC and St. Casimir's was my Parish). They'd end their practice, and leaving, would ask me how they sounded. I never gave them less than an A-. They were that good.

Dad got his cars repaired at Ed's Texaco (now Lusitania Bank) on Pulaski Street or at Bill's Flying A on Wilson Ave. They wore bow ties.

Never look back. You regret not having the ability to recreate it.


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