Every so often I go to Newark Memories
to I guess, relive my youth. And it always seems to inspire some
old story or some wonderful memory, so here I go again.
My dad owned a barber shop on 15th and Littleton Avenues right
next door to the Yankee Meat Market, it was called Jimmy’s.
I never considered myself a master barber but I had the opportunity
to work there for about five years. The shop was not only a place
to get a haircut, but it also served as a place to meet friends,
hear the local gossip and just hang out.
When I started there I was about 17 years old and it provided not
just a way to make a living but it also offered education in itself.
The stories I heard were almost as informative as those I learned
The people living in the neighborhood were mostly Italians, with
a sprinkling of Irish, Jewish and a few blacks. I guess there was
a store for everything you wanted with no supermarket.
The Yankee Meat Market (next door to our shop) sold nothing but
the best meats, on the other side of my dad’s shop was a store
for fruit and vegetables. On the same side of the street was DeCortie’s
Bakery that sold Italian bread. Just across from the shop was Mr.
Roberts a tailor that made men’s suits. I don’t know
for sure but I was told that Tony Bennett had suits that were made
by Mr. Roberts.
There was an Italian Grocery store named Monstasno’s. And
every intersection had a grocery store. It’s funny the Yankee
Meat Market was on the corner of Littleton and 15th Avenues, the
next street over, 6th Street and 15th Avenue there was Denese’s
Meat Market, and on 7th Street and 19th Avenue there was another
meat market. I can’t remember the name. Now I often wonder
how they all survived.
Every other corner had an Italian bread store and we even had our
own chicken market, Sadano’s, between 6th & 7th Street
on 15th Avenue. On 9th Street and 15th Avenue there was an Italian
pastry shop, them days you could buy a spaudel for.50. I had my
wedding cake made there, it was a replica of St. Peter’s Cathedral.
I wonder what that would cost to make today.
There seemed to be Italian hot dog stores everywhere and nothing
tasted better. The large one cost .25 and you could get a small
one for .15. I went to West Side High School and my Mom would give
me .50 a day for lunch and that bought me a hot dog, soda and three
games on the pin ball machine at Blackie’s on 17th Street
and 14th Avenue.
Mindy’s Pizza was right next to Frisco’s Meat Market
on 16th Avenue between 10th and 11th Streets. You could get a whole
pizza for .75 and it was great.
I do remember an A & P on South Orange Avenue between 6th and
Littleton Avenue, but I don’t recall lever shopping there.
But there was a wonderful ice cream store right next to it, where
I did spend a lot of time. Lugie’s sweet shop was right across