July 9, 2008
Reader Jim B sent me a couple of pictures of the old shipyard, this one taken during a snowstorm, both taken in the not-so-distant past.
This one shows the old NY skyline, before there was a convention center.
Emphasizing his Hoboken background, Jim writes: "My parents were both teachers in Hoboken, Dad was at Demarest and then Hoboken High when it opened. He was also the first football coach at the high school. He also ran the visual aid department and made the morning announcements on the school loud speaker. Mom taught at #3 school. Both retired in the 1970's. My younger brother and I grew up in Hoboken. My aunts and uncles lived in town, and most were also teachers. My brother and I went to Brandt School, most of our friends went to Wallace.
"We lived opposite the shipyards. It was always very busy there with lots of workers, but mostly they used the 14th street gate. You can see the guard shack in the picture, The bars seemed to be open for two hours before and after each shift. If a ball went into the yard, we either asked someone to throw it back or sneaked in after it, The machine ship which now houses Kings and the museum was always very busy and usually on three shifts,
"The can company had a plant next to Maxwell House Coffee. One of the jobs there was interesting, if the coffee line broke down, he would sweep the cans to the floor. If the can line went down he would put the cans back on the line.
"You had a piece on the clothes poles, We all had them out the back in an alley where we also played ball. Each pole had about 20 clothes lines coming from several directions on it so climbing up on it was a hazard. You used the spikes that were on the pole to climb up.
"We played most kinds of ball in the alley between Washington and Hudson Street. On what is called the yellow flats, all the basements were connected and we played in them. Lots of the people we played with became teachers in Hoboken. On Hudson street we had a basketball net on the Gate at 12th street, and played stickball and football at Bethlehem Stadium (the yard side of Hudson Street).
"Some of the places we like to go to included Helmer's on Friday (lots of teachers), the Town Lunch on Washington Street, Umland's, and Snackies, Gold's, and Jacodine's opposite Demarest. We would get pizza and mussels at the Blue Point. O'Grady's deli on 11th street was the deli of choice. There was a very small A&P on Tenth and Washington, and a good butcher shop next door, which I think was Mickey's. You could earn money carrying bags home from the A&P, and most stores had delivery boys. . We got vegetables at Tony's, 5 cent soda and high bouncers at Rays, both of which were on 12th and Washington. There were still occasional horse drawn wagons with fruit, ice and sharpening for knives. When people talk about the big parades they were right. Memorial day would have a parade up Washington, and then to Elysian Park. In 1955 there was a hug bicentennial day where Washington was closed off and it was all shops and all kinds of food.
"I attached a picture from Hudson street taken from the roof of our building, it shows the Lipton tea building, and the tracks on Hudson street. Those tracks are gone now. A police car is turning onto Hudson from 14th, and going past a truck parked by a fire hydrant. Looks like the truck is selling vegetables or fruits. The little cove is the place where the fishing boats would tie up for day fishing.
"Hope you enjoy Hoboken, it was always a place where you could feel good. People knew everyone else, which could be bad if you did something wrong. If you have any questions on my ramblings let me know. I have other pictures of uptown, mostly views of the shipyard and Maxwell House, but I failed in technology courses and have to figure out how to send them."
Great stuff! I'm sure lots of my readers will want to add their memories to these.