My first memory of Old Newark was, So.
19th St in from 16th Ave. I believe. We lived in an apartment house
that I think was at least 4 stories tall if not more. From the roof
we would watch Olympic Park’s fireworks and some of the surrounding
cities. Summer on the roof, was also were we would sleep. No air
conditioning, just lots of insect bites and Witch Hazel.
I started school at So. 19th St. Don’t remember too much,
though it was all brick. We lived a block from West Side Park. My
brother (Rest in Peace) and I would be taken there by our parents
to play in the grass or on the swings next to the lake. Winter was
sleigh riding time. Racing downhill to see who would cross over
the gravel road next to the lake, and try to reach the ice covered
lake. Making snow ramps so we would get air under our sleighs, going
through the hedges making our own trails.
Taking the street cars to downtown Newark, the West End movie house
around the corner from where we lived are all fond memories. Olympic
Park was the place. Sand beach, free circus shows you can see from
the beach, the largest fresh water pool in the world at the time,
the rides, cotton candy, the games of chance(?), ice cream sandwiches,
hot dogs. To us growing up, it was the greatest place to be in the
summer. Of course, coming from the locker rooms through the cold
water foot bath and shower made you really enjoy the heat and cool
waters of the pool.
Then we moved to Bragaw Ave. where I attended Bragaw Ave. School.
To those who say there is a teacher that stands out in your memory,
that one would be my gym teacher, Mr. Sasnow. The hockey puck slamming
on the desk to get your attention Sasnow. And do you recall something
called Bombardment, better known as dodge ball?
Next came Clinton Place Jr. High. We were the second graduating
class from that new building. 3 towers, 3 floors, each tower in
the shape of a honey comb-six wedges of class rooms. What is remembered
best? The friendships made there, the traffic pattern you had to
follow, dropping one torpedo in the hallway, waiting for someone
to step on it to explode-loud as a fingerlady. Mr. Scheafer(?) our
English teacher and closet writer for Mad Magazine!!!! About that
time of Graduation, we moved to Union Township, where I finished
How many remember the Diner? The Weequahic Diner. During the summers,
I worker there assisting my mother who managed the night shift from
6pm to 6am. Made good money for the time. I Remember the long lines
on a Sat. or Sun. evening of families and people waiting on the
sidewalk waiting to get in. We served finger snacks and cold water
to them through the summer. It was the meeting place for all who
knew great food, 24 hours a day. Breakfast at 6pm and dinner at
noon. The menu was always open.
And the characters that came in. From some of the big names in
entertainment, the gangsters of Newark, the vice-cops, drunks and
That time is gone, never to be seem again. But the memories of
friends, places and the things I did as a kid growing up in Old
Newark will always be with me.