Memories of Down Neck/Ironbound

by Linda (Panek) Prignano


From the 50’s to the 90’s Down Neck memories.

I remember walking to Sid’s Jewish Deli (cor. Pulaski/Oliver St.) to get a bagel or Byk’s (cor. Pulaski/East Kinney St.) for Polish Kielbasa, of course Teddy’s & Alex (5 corners Ferry St.) another favorite. You really went down under into a dugout for pizza - Dugout Pizzeria!

Over at (Nichols/Warwick Sts.) you could buy Hot Pizza Bread in the basement. I would work the bingo at St. Casmir’s Church and joining the CYO as the bowling alley was under the Church; and even the dances at St. Benedicts & Wilson Ave Schools were special. Heading from Penn Station to Ferry Street you had the Rivoli Theatre, Newark Drive-In, Goldfingers, Lorzacks, and Roman Jelley all were icons in itself. That was then and now there are Portuguese/Spanish bakeries and restaurants.

On Halloween those were the days stores would toss out money, you stayed out to midnight and had to watch out for water bombs and being egged. We looked forward every year to Mt. Carmel Church Italian Festivals (Van Buren/Chestnut Sts.), where my Dad taught me to eat raw clams, but do I miss those zeppoles.

You had the real Italian Ice Nastos (Adams St) & the San Lucicha’s Restaurant (Jefferson St), family-own in a large 3 family house....most of our family events were there as the Polish Falcons (New York Ave) seem to be always booked.

In the late 60’s I will never forget Johnny Maestro & the Brooklyn Bridge performing at East Side High. My first part-time job was with Laurel Lamp (Rome St) and ending up with a full time job at Western Electric (Cedar St) downtown Newark where you would find Klein's, Two Guys, McCory's, Woolworth's, & Kressge's are only a few I remember. Those were the days the businesses went to your High School looking for you to fill out an application to work for them.

My job moved from Cedar Street to 'The Gateway' Penn Station I remember leaving my job for a short break only to go into the ticket station to a small pub (the only there -- wish I could remember the name) to catch Luke & Laura get married from General Hospital Soap Opera...they are still around on the Soaps, imagine that over 25 yrs ago and this year 2008 Luke & Laura re-married on General Hospital once again and that is when I said to myself “do you remember where you were when they first got married”, and sure I did….Newark - Ironbound/Down Neck – in Penn Station no less.

I really do miss those times, the places & the people. You were not afraid to walk the streets, go to Independence Park or even to buy a carton of milk from the milk machine right across East Side High School on Pulaski St. in a little vacant triangle lot.

So many friends and family all moved from the Down Neck area.....and now in 08, what is left there?


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