This project revives a Jersey City based newsletter from the late '50s/early '60s, and is dedicated to John White, Bobby Rey and Badd Ladd - holding a spot at the bar for us at that big Joe Crine's in the sky.
The Trust Co of NJ was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The landmark sign on the roof had been removed and North Fork Bank was the new proprietor. And North Fork's name was good enough to prompt a huge plastic rat to be inflated on the corner of Bergen and Sip Avenues to signify the low non union wages being offered by the Scrooge-like management. The benevolent old Trust Co of NJ was as dead as a door-nail.
Were all of these Dickensonian plot twists just another example of the new way of doing business or was this yet again an example of the JEDSEY JOURNAL jinx, because exactly three years ago the JJ commissioned local artist Bobby Harney to create a Christmas card depicting locals Mike Donnelly, Mike Rooney, Crazy Tissy and Jed all at work cutting down the Trust Co sign and replacing it with a JEDSEY JOURNAL sign beaming Holiday Wishes to our friends all around the world? During the last year the Trust Co was sold and many lost their jobs there including Corie Godish who had painted the Christmas colors on that original Harney creation, which was done in pen and ink. Most of all the famous Trust Co roof sign was taken down. When Gerry Brill's dad was VP at the bank, Coca Cola had offered a million dollars to put their logo there - it was the most visible sign in the world, as it could be seen all over Hudson County and from the millions of people in Manhattan as well as those looking east from the Orange Mountains. Franny Yeck's grandmother would sit at her window and watch until it went out to know it was 11:30 and time to go to sleep each night. Several years ago we did a survey and that sign came in 2nd to the Medical Center as the most famous local landmark. And now it appears that the bank along with its big roof sign the latest victim of the JJ jinx. ……… You will therefore permit me to repeat, emphatically, that The Trust Co was as dead as a door-nail.
Although all of these "jinxy" coincidences are getting scary - the "Christmas Carol" did have a happy ending, so let me quote Tiny Zita who in the Jed 1957 version of the Christmas Carol raised her glass and gave the following toast: "Merry Christmas and God blesh us - every one! (hic)"
Apparently the JEDSEY JOURNAL operates with an equal opportunity jinx that does not discriminate as to race, creed or national origin, because at the end of last summer the Canton Tea Garden closed at Journal Square after that local Chinese restaurant was touted by the JJ as a landmark stop that had to be re-visited on any trip back to Hudsontown - and now in this issue we sadly report the closing of Café Adoro - the serendipitous slice of Mexico that the JJ discovered and highly recommended in Union City. The place was off the beaten path and perhaps that was its downfall, as it never cornered a significant following of American customers, but on a weekend night it was crowded and serving home cooking to what appeared to be every Mexican north of Mazatlan. The food was authentic, the, owner was a personable guy who loved to join in the singing and was quick to offer you a drink of his special tequila at the bar, but the biggest loss of all is the authentic music that was presented there. Each week a different Mariachi band, garbed in authentic costume, strolled through the diners and serenaded at each table. It could have been any little stop along the Pan American highway but it was right here in Hudsontown, and now it is cerado.
The live Nativity scene on St Paul's Ave is no more but now there is an additional reason to come to Jersey City for the Holidays. Some come in because they still had family here in town. Some come back for the traditional holiday meeting with old friends from here at a local restaurant. Others come in Christmas morning to pick up pastries at Montelone's. And now with the fine hotels gracing the Jersey City waterfront, it is possible to combine any of the above with a trip in to see the famous New York City holiday sites. Now instead of taking a room in the City for a few days to see the sights at holiday time, you can stay in the finest hotels with spectacular views while paying less and being only a 10 minute PATH ride away from mid-town Manhattan.
Again this year Actor Chris Lucas will be running a Christmas Lights Tour in to town from New Jersey and he will be giving special discounts to those who mention that you read about it in the JEDSEY JOURNAL.
And don't forget that just after the holidays there will be a memorial mass for Don Kennedy at Saint Peter's college on Monday January 24 at 5 o'clock. A reception will follow in the Pavonia Room. The peacocks play Siena at 7 in the Rec center. Anyone interested in attending can contact Fred Cranwell at 201-915-9162 or click on the link below to email Fred.
If you're going to be back in Jersey City for any reason, be sure to avail yourself of the Disneyworld type ride on the new Light Rail where you can view the past, present and future of this town. The self guided tour outlined below can be clipped and saved from this issue. It points out landmarks and other points of interest that can be observed during your ride and highlights stops where you might want to get off and explore further. The ticket options always seem to be changing slightly so read the instructions carefully before you purchase your ticket and plan your itinerary, and be sure to validate your ticket for each segment of your ride, just before you board that tram. All aboard! Enjoy the ride.
NOT YOUR FATHER'S JERSEY CITY (a self guided Light Rail Tour compliments of the JEDSEY JOURNAL) The last yellow Trolley clanged good bye to the local streets of Jersey City in 1949, and the Light Rail that you will ride today does not use many local streets but instead carves out its own right of way in Hudson County's changing landscape. Going north on the Light Rail from Exchange place will show you many of the new developments. If you are only have time to take a short ride, this is the recommended segment. Taking the leg to the south will show you more of the new developments but will also pass many landmarks in Jersey City history. Exchange Place Station- Exchange Place Station is located at the corner where Montgomery St. meets the Exchange Place plaza. Exchange place is accessible by bus, PATH train and ferry from New York and also has some noteworthy items to see. Note the "Katyn" memorial for the massacred Polish officers and the inscription in Polish and English. (This area of the City had been heavily populated with Eastern Europeans.) Jersey City had three major rail lines and the large Pennsylvania Railroad passenger station had been located in this area near Exchange Place. All of the North Jersey Civil War troop trains left from here. When you get to the station, take a minute to orient yourself by using the brass relief map on the floor of the platform. Many historical landmarks are indicated and you can determine how much of this you would like to see. Buying a ticket - Use the machine to buy a ticket - after you buy a ticket you must validate it in the small stamping machine. If you use more than one ticket you must only validate the first one that you are using and wait until you re-board to use the next ticket. For the recommended tour - you need only purchase one adult ticket and validate it once. This entitles you to ride the Light Rail in any direction for 90 minutes for $1.50 (watch your time). If you have the time, it is nice to get off in Hoboken and take a walk "on the waterfront". There is a nice little European style café in Sinatra Park where you can sit at an outside table and take in the New York skyline. If you are a senior and want to do that side tour, you should buy an additional "special fare" ticket ($0.75) and only validate that ticket for the first ride to Hoboken. Hold the regular ticket and validate that one when you board the Light Rail to return. You will have 90 minutes from that point to complete your tour. And if you only intend to return to the Hotel instead of going on the southern leg of this tour, you can buy another special fare instead of the regular fare. If you are undecided you can wait until you re-board to buy the second ticket. To Hoboken from Exchange Place - (you will be coming back the same way so if you don't see it the first time catch it on the return trip) from here to Hoboken you will see many new developments and buildings that have replaced the former rail freight yards that covered lower Jersey City. The big Harborside terminal is no longer in use for transferring cargo between trucks and boats so it has been converted into an office building and exhibition hall. Harborside Looking back toward the City note the old red brick building - this is the original power plant for the Hudson and Manhattan Rapid Transit (the Tubes). The apartment complex on the water side is Avalon Cove - it is laid out like a resort with spas and outdoor coves and swimming pools. The old loft buildings on the City side of the track are designated for use as lofts for working artists. Harsimus Cove You are entering the Newport Area - Many nice restaurants are located here and perhaps the nicest setting is at the Café Newport (aka Jersey City Yacht Club) in the old red brick building on the waterfront - where you can sit outside and eat you dinner amidst million dollar yachts bobbing up and down a few feet from your table. Pavonia -Newport - You have PATH access to uptown New York City from here (the former Pavonia or Erie Station. The Erie Passenger terminal and ferry was once located here. Now the Newport Mall is a favorite shopping area for Jersey and New York residents alike. Leaving Pavonia, look back toward the City and note Dickinson High School (soon to be 100) - the Trust Co has been sold and the sign has been replaced by that of the North Fork Bank and the Medical Center (now replaced and being developed as housing/hotel etc. Hoboken Terminal - note the old Lackawana Railroad terminal (used in the movie "Funny Girl") - get off the train and get back on a Train headed for Bayonne. "On The Waterfront" (side trip) - you may want to see how Hoboken was changed since Johnny Friendly ruled the waterfront in that movie over 50 years ago. Walk through the beautiful old waiting room of the station and out to the walkway along the river in Sinatra Park - you can walk down to Sinatra Café and sit at an outside table with an aperitif while you savor the view or the New York skyline. You can walk back the same way or loop up to Washington St. to see all the yuppie shops and watering holes. To Lincoln Harbor from Hoboken - as of this writing the northern extension of the Light Rail out of Hoboken goes only as far as Lincoln Harbor in Weehawken. (The line will eventually extend out to a park and ride on the NJ Turnpike in Secaucus.) There are no great sites to see on this run which goes along the base of the hill between Jersey City and Hoboken. The final stop in Lincoln Harbor offers some nice dining spots with the best being the Chart House (formerly Shanghai Red's) where the food is good and the view is better. Lincoln Harbor is where the Hamilton-Burr duel reenactment was held in 2004 and is close to the site of the actual duel which occurred in 1804. The route around the west end of Hoboken was originally wetlands and Hoboken's early history shows that it is on the maps as an island. There is a small industry of mushroom farming being conducted in caves on the side of the hill next to the tracks. To Bayonne from Hoboken - while retracing the route back to Exchange Place look back at the Jersey City waterfront as you come in from Hoboken. From Exchange Place to the Bayonne City line the Light Rail follows the route of the 19th Century Morris Canal that ran out from Jersey City to the coal fields of Pennsylvania. Exchange Place All but two of the old Colgate Co. buildings are demolished but the large Colgate Clock is now mounted on the waterfront where the Light Rail turns back in toward the City. That big building next to the Clock is the Goldman Sachs Building - tallest in the State. Essex St The Morris Canal started a block to the south of the line. Just east of the station is a monument for the canal and a block south is the canal park at the site of the canal's final lock before reaching water level at the Hudson River. The Sugar Hose of the Colgate Co. is the old building to the south. Several marinas are located in this inlet and you can also park and take a boat to NYC from here. The entrance is on Marin Blvd (formerly Henderson St). St Peter's Prep new football practice field is on the right. Marin Blvd The tall concrete coal handling facility on the right has been converted into a boy's club and a charter school. - Jersey Ave The new Medical Center on the right has just replaced the old Medical Center up on the hill. Across from the Medical Center two schools are being constructed - one of them will be a medical school associated with the hospital. The office building in the Junk yard was designed by Grace Kelly's father and has a beautiful art deco interior. - The Lafayette area was a Dutch settlement up until 1900. - after the sharp turn the train will cross the cobblestone Johnston St which was the road to the Central Railroad terminal and that old terminal building is now an art center building in Liberty State Park. Liberty State Park Just east of the Station is the Liberty Science Center Museum - shuttle busses are available into the park. Liberty Park offers a wonderful view of Manhattan as well as of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. The old Central RR Terminal is now an arts center. The southern most part of the park is the site of the Black Tom explosion which occurred in the period around World War I - Coming out of the station the Light Rail line splits just as the old Central Railroad line split and ran off to Newark (this line only goes as far as Westside Ave.) - the Bayonne bound tram also uses the old Central Railroad right of way and will eventually extend to the 8th St Station at the south end of Bayonne. - Richard St On the river side a golf course is being constructed using dredge material from the Hudson River to form the hills. On the city side is Bayside Park. You can still see sections of the old Canal in this area. The Canal had to go all the way to the Bayonne line to get around the rocky hill which is the beginnings of the Palisades of the Hudson. Danforth Ave Close to the river is the Porte Liberte development of apartments and town houses that have their own canal system for private boat moorings. Port Liberte had been a dead project for a few years but now is doing further construction. At the end of the hill to the west you can see where the Canal made a sharp turn (Fiddle's Elbow) and ran back toward Currie's Woods (the site of the first cowboy movies ever made). 45th St 34th St - not much to see in Bayonne but across from this station is the former MOT (Military Ocean Terminal) which is now a boarding station for vacation cruise ships. 22nd St
(Hollywood) - Ari Schlossberg will finally emerge from the shadow of his talented parents on next January 28th, when HIS movie, "Hide and Seek" debuts starring Robert DeNiro. The in theater trailers are already generating a buzz and credit Ari with writing the movie. It hasn't been an easy trip for the son of Ben Schlossberg and Connie Bruck who has been steadily building his screen writing credits over recent years and finally sold this major movie to Bobby DeNiro. Ari was back east for most of the on location shooting which was done in New York and Pennsylvania. He was raised in these same areas after his parents split up and both returned east from California where he was born in 1972. Ari attended Blair Academy in New Jersey while living in New York City with his mom and her boyfriend, NY Marathon Legend, Fred LeBow. He spent his summers in Deal with Ben and followed Ben's footsteps as a basketball player in prep school. After majoring in media arts at the U of Miami, Ari returned to the West Coast and continued to plug away and finally made a major score with this latest project. His mother Connie Bruck is well published in her own right and her most famous book, "The Predators' Ball" was credited with exposing junk bond king Michael Milken. Papa Ben originally went to Hollywood after graduating Cornell and he was screen tested and offered a contract through the connection of his relative, movie and radio actor, Charlie Cantor, but Ben, who has always had trouble keeping his feet planted on firm soil, turned that down and then went on to also turn down a job as a writer for Merv Griffin and the lead in the original casting for the "Hair" on Broadway, etc. etc. ….. (you get the picture). Anyway it now appears as if he did at least one thing right.
Ok - so you've already bought your favorite Jersey City native every one of the photo and post card books about the area and now you are looking for a stocking stuffer for this year. Our suggestions in the free to $20 range include the following:
Bret Schundler kicked off his second run to become Governor of New Jersey but Senator John Corzine who now also lives in Hudson County poses a serious challenge for the office. Corzine feels he can do more good for the state in that position and if he can't win the election he figures just to purchase the state outright and start over. - - In the local special election for mayor, Mike Donnelly and Jed were happy to see their friend Judge Jerry Healy win out over a large field of candidates. - - Capt. Bill Morrissey, Rich and Jim Kennedy, Joe Harkins, Jed and Robbie were among those to celebrate the Loews 75th birthday by attending a 75 cent movie at that theater. - - Photo artist Polish Peter Oleszewski announced the opening of his own studio in Union City and he will be presenting a show/happening at the Club Europa in Williamsburg Brooklyn on December 18th - - Giovanna Ramirez' mom, Ampi Knight, is being seen around town with Worshipful Sam Cintron. - - The once monthly concert series at the Brennan Court House has turned into a popular Jersey City social event. - - Agnes Cassidy Duffy and her daughter will both be performing in the play "Scrooge" being presented at the Henderson Theater in Lincroft 12/10 - 12/19. - - Art Fredman and Jed joined the cast of the Radioland Theater Players and had the most fun they have had acting since they had parts together in a high school production of "Junior Miss" along with Agnes Cassidy. - - Speaking of radio, Jed is bummed out about his latest radio idol, Howard Stern going off the air - - - - Robbie and his pal Lance Wheeler spent a Sunday at the Bronx Botanical gardens where there was a special holiday model train exhibit, followed by and evening at the Holiday Lights display at the Bronx Zoo. - - Cynthia Harris' work in the archives of the Library's New Jersey room have unearthed some finds including Dutch bibles from the 1600s and legal documents from the 1700s, but Cynthia's pet program is using old yearbooks to index every Jersey City high school student. The computerized files will be made available to classes looking to get back together for future reunions. - - Ben Schlossberg and Jed are planning to go to the St. Louis Final Four games with Ed Bowler and his contingent from Harrigan's. The Arena in St. Louis is managed by Melanie Donnelly and Kenny and Pat Schark also live nearby in Missouri. - - Jed figures to be the best dressed guy in St Louis as he now sports the $1200 suede Brooks Bros. Trench coat that Paul Sorvino wore in "Goodfellas". The coat was a gift from Nicky Del Re who was Paul's assistant but not hefty enough for the coat to fit well. - - Nicky really shocked his mom Phyllis with a surprise party for her 50th. She knew there was a party in the offing but she expected it at a dummy date set closer to her actual birthday and when she walked into the back room of a Chinese restaurant 3 weeks before the date she almost fell on the floor to see all her family and friends. - - Dr Peter Dimatteo is taking a year off from his Marathon/fund raising efforts while he does the needed work to settle into his new Duxbury digs. - - In the employment area Bernie Barry is out of work again as the Cape Cod time share company he has been working with is being sold. - - Jack McDonough is working security at Stratton Mountain and says to look him up when you ski in the area. - - Jack has been asked to crew with old pal Duke Barry who is retiring from Law in Florida and will sail around the world on a 40 foot ocean going sail boat that he has outfitted with every technical gadget known to man. - - Duke's son Patrick is now a commercial pilot flying out of Albany NY. - - In health related items Kevin Santry and Joe Hajcak both had recent stays in the hospitals in New Mexico and Pennsylvania respectively. Kevin blamed the air in Jersey City for the lung problems he is being treated for but Joe credited learning to drive in Jersey City with saving his life in the terrible car accident he was able to survive.
Making a beau-arts movie of a ballet depicting a top secret WW2 prison camp in Jersey City that became a propaganda base for undermining support for the German army in Italy, sounds like the off the wall vehicle that Max Bialystock peddled to his investors in "The Producers" - BUT - that is just what Diane Dragone and husband Tom Horan have used their combined artistic talents to produce in a movie titled "Caven Point". Stranger yet the historic background on which this work is based is completely factual and was based on information provided to Diane by her mother Anne Dragone.
The story goes that 2000 Italian POWs who had been captured in North Africa were shipped to an "unlisted" prison camp in Jersey City where the population at that time consisted of approximately 80,000 Italian immigrants. The State Department requested the help of Fr. Walter Artioli of Our Lady of Mt Carmel Church to get Italian speaking parishioners to visit the prisoners and encourage them to write letters to relatives at home asking them not to cooperate with German troops. The POWs were so cooperative that their "prison" was transformed into a veritable country club that became known for its popular dance parties and the long lines of traffic that resulted. The prisoners were granted weekend leaves which were spent with the Italian speaking host families. After the war they were all sent home to Italy but several ended up marrying women who they had met in Jersey City.
The movie is delightful with its story line, music, interpretive ballet and historic references. Scenes were shot on location in Mt Carmel Church and at the Caven Pt. Army Base. About the only premise that was hard to swallow was the casting of Guy Catrillo as an army officer or for any other part that would require him not to have his trademark pony tail. "Caven Point" is being entered in several independent film competitions and is now available on CD (see "Stocking Stuffers" above).
OK - since were talkin' Light Rail this issue - here is a Light Rail trivia question: Who is the only person to ride on the ceremonial last Trolley ride and the ceremonial first Light Rail ride in Jersey City? The answer is Jeff/Geoff Hermes and the story below tells how it was the first big project that JJ readers got together and facilitated. It was back in 2000 that the Light Rail was inaugurated, but for years before Jeff/Geoff had this dream to be involved with the first ride. He wrote the letter below to Mayor Schundler but it was basically a host of JEDSEY JOURNAL connections including Bob Leach and County Executive Bob Janiszewski who got J/G's ticket validated. Below is the JJ story as it appeared in May of 2000 under the banner headline, "JEFF/GEOFF RIDES AGAIN".
(Jersey City) - 4/15 - Using the instrument above and prevailing upon the good offices of Bob Leach at the Jersey City Historical Project and Steve Marks in the County Executive's office, Jeff/Geof was invited as an honored guest on the inaugural Light Rail ride. He was greeted on his return to this city by his friends from NJO's Hudson Forum, who waited for him at the Casa Dante bar. Also there to greet him was friend and former neighbor and author, Joan Doherty Lovero. Casa Dante owner Vito Mastromonico was a Prep classmate of J/G and the pair waited until it was late enough to wake up Dr. Richard Satilaro, another former classmate. Another night at Casa Dante, J/G met with his long time friend the Grande Kooke, who he has known since he was four. Jeff got in a visit to Crazy Tissy who stayed in Hawaii wth him last year when he was living with Donna (the sister of Jed's good ex wife), and he was also able to stop in at the Library and visit with Bob Leach to trade stories about the good old days in Jersey City. In addition to riding the first Light Rail, Jeff/Geof was able to parlay the visit into an inspection tour of the other changes in this area and a side trip to see his ailing sister in South Jersey. The JERSEY JOURNAL as usual got the wrong story and continued to write up a guy named John Hughes, who's claim to fame was that he had ridden on the last trolley that ran on NEW YEAR'S EVE (almost 8 full months before the trolleys were closed down). County Executive Bob Janeszewki saved the day and acknowledged Jeff/Geof and the story of his grandfather driving the ceremonial last trolley, but only the Bayonne Community News picked up the real story in the news media. Finally J/G got to go on the crowded first light rail ride along with Governor Whittman, Congressman Menendez, Mayor Schundler and all of the other dignitaries. Get well Governor Whitman.
Michael O'Shea has always been a private person, so it should be no surprise if you come out of this article knowing just as much about him as you did before. Mike was in that famous grammar school class that came out of St Al's in 1954. He lived with his mom on Belvedere Ave and was close friends with his classmate Bernie Barry who lived a block away. Mike then enrolled and became part of the first graduating class at Marist and from there he went to Notre Dame where he stayed friendly with Mike Riley who was a year behind him at both Marist and Notre Dame. Through this all, the person that Michael confided in most was his old grammar school friend, John White. Perhaps he told John more about his life but two things stand out. Michael could not let his mom know that he was dating and he could not tell her when his uncle decided he should have a car and bought him an old clunker that Michael named "Sluggish". Mrs. O'Shea found out about Sluggish when a policeman came to the house to report that it had been ticketed numerous times for parking near Al's Diner where Michael kept it hidden. At the Jersey Shore he had a chance to break loose from his strict mother and could be found in all the late night hot spots after finishing his job as an elevator operator at the Monmouth Hotel. At Notre Dame, Mike Riley recalled that Michael kept to himself and always hung around with one close friend - a football lineman who went on to play in the NFL. After graduation he worked in New York for a while before continuing his education and becoming a lawyer. After passing the Bar Michael got the reputation as a good lawyer albeit one who did not care to communicate much with his clients. Once while working for a law firm in Jersey City there was a story about Michael in the JERSEY JOURNAL when he interrupted a mugging and chased down and collared the criminal. Tina Meyer Wall, who used to date Michael back in the Jersey City days, was working for a law firm in Elizabeth a few years ago when she espied Michael's name in a New Jersey lawyer's register - she called him up and astounded him by asking if he was the Michael O'Shea who used to own a car named "Sluggish". Since then Michael is no longer listed in the New Jersey legal register. He also has an unlisted phone and still lives alone with his mom. Their home is a classic two story suburban home with all the shades pulled down on a quiet cul-de-sac in West Caldwell. Michael's mom says that he has no Internet or email connection.
I'm this kid, see! Well, I'm not really a kid but as a teenager I still tried to cling to my childhood of innocence and carefree play - especially at Christmastime where my favorite yearly reminder that the Yuletide season was here was when my dad would take me to the Lionel showroom over on 23rd St in Manhattan. When I got to be too old for my dad to take me there, I led my friends on the "Tubes" and introduced them to the huge working layout of "O" gage trains and accessories, and by going directly to this showroom we each came home with a free catalog that showed all the new train sets for the season. I remember this one year in the early '50s was really special because Lionel introduced "magnetraction" and for the first time it was possible for an engine to pull long trains up and down inclines without the wheels spinning and slipping. What Lionel had done was to make the drive wheels of the engines out of magnetic material so that they not only pulled the train but also maintained traction on grades by clinging to the steel rails. What a sight - long passenger and freight trains going up and down papier-mâché mountains being powered by 4-8-4 engines that puffed "real" smoke. This was a fairy tale world that I never wanted to leave.
But this was also the one time of the year when peer pressure forced you not to be a kid anymore. You could hang out and play and socialize with your buddies and team mates all year but right after Christmas came New Years Eve - and that was the one night when you didn't hang out with your friends. Everybody I knew was pairing up with some girl to go to some party - on New Years Eve you were expected to have a date, even if you hadn't talked to a member of the opposite sex for the other 364 days of the year. In my case it must have been something like 360 and this one cute little girl that I had chatted with at school was from a real rough section of town and I was basically this nerdy pimple faced kid from uptown who is just trying to grow up for the occasion. . Anyway, I get up the courage to call her up during the Christmas holiday and I broach the subject of New Year's Eve, but her mom overhears us talking and wants to get a line on me first, so she suggests that before New Years I take her daughter for a walk up to see the live manger scene just north of Journal Sq. on St. Paul's Ave., and that becomes the plan. I get it all set up in my mind - we will walk up to the Nativity scene that they make near St John's Church every year - where besides the statues of Joseph, Mary and the Babe, there are live animals, and Christmas music. If it starts to snow it will help to set the holiday mood and then on the way back we'll stop at Liss for hot chocolate, and after all that how could she refuse to go out with me on New Years?
The big night comes and I bundle up for the expected snow flurries that will add the desired atmosphere to the occasion and within the hour we are walking past the Loews and we are on the big bridge over the railroad cut at Journal Square. The girl suggests we cross the Boulevard and walk under the Stanley marquee, but I just say we'll walk back on that side later. My ulterior motive is to stay on the west side of Hudson Blvd. and walk past Uneeda Appliance store on the corner of Cottage St., because this is one of the few Lionel distributors in Jersey City and I know that at the Holidays they always put a big model train display in the window. The move is to casually notice the display in the window but not to let this girl find out that inside a teenage body I am this geeky little kid, who still loves toy trains,.
As we were crossing the street I could already see that the train display in Uneeda's window was not the usual expansive layout that the store was known for, but a smaller board with one train of freight cars approx three feet long that went around an oval and into a one foot tunnel. And there was the hook - it didn't come out the other side!!! The three foot train completely disappeared into the one foot tunnel ...... and then emerged a few seconds later. She looked at this magic in disbelief, but it only took me a moment of analysis and then I was able to give her a logical explanation. "Magnetraction!" I explained how that worked to enable the train to operate on two levels and that the entire train was not only going into the tunnel but going down under the board and then looping around underneath and out of sight before it climbed back up and exited the other side of the tunnel. She didn't want to leave until she finally could envision how this was accomplished. We walked over to the live manger scene and the snow fell lightly on the poor donkeys and sheep who huddled together to keep warm while the tinny Christmas music played in the background. On the way back the girl asked to go past the Undeeda store window again. When we finally got home I heard the mother debriefing her in the kitchen and the word "magnetraction" was spoken more than once. Turns out that her mother thinks I'm really cool, so besides receiving an invitation to attend a small New Years party at their house, the mother and father said they hadn't gone up to see the manger scene yet and asked if I wouldn't mind driving up with them when they go, ...... so I could show them the train display in the window.
I've never seen Kryz so happy - he was walking around with his chest puffed way out. When I investigated he said he is never so proud of his heritage as in this season of the year. He asked me if I knew what nationality Santa Claus is - and before I could guess he offered the answer - "North Polish"!
OK that's it - since it's the Christmas season we'll go light on Kryz this month and we'll use the rest of this space for a public service announcement. The heavily Polish St Anthony's HS where many of Kryz'z American relatives and friends attended, asked that we announce that their November 19, 2004 all class reunion will be held on April 4, 2005.
The newest additions and changes for our online network of readers are included here. Add these address changes to your e-mail listings, and send a note to an old friend today. We will direct link to your websites as they come on line, and there are also websites of local interest included here. Save any or all of these sites in your favorite places. Click below to access new and previously published links and addresses. - - Please resend yout address if it recently changed and/or you did not get recent email notices regarding this new issue - all addressed were dropped from our list if they bounced when the notice was sent out. This month's featured website is Christmas on the Net …. This is a compendium of Christmas related links for stories, sounds, gifts and activities relative to the holiday - - - The best search engine for finding the JJ is now back to Yahoo.com (search on the word "jedsey"), also there are still some who do not recognize that the JOURNAL does not get mailed to you - it is always at the same spot until it is replaced by the new issue at that same spot (the address never changes so keep it saved in your cache of favorite places). - - Finally, for those of you who want to save these issues for you collection use the following instructions: 1- open the on line issue of the current JEDSEY JOURNAL - (make sure it is completely downloaded) 2- click on "file" and then click on "save" and then select a folder to keep each issue in - create a file name to index the issue and make sure it is saved in an html type format and then you will be able to open and read each issue long after it is replaced on line.
JAN/FEB - (SCHEDULED ONLINE FOR END OF JANUARY) - 2004 AWARDS - - HALL OF FAME- - CHRISTMAS MAILBAG - - THE WAY WE WERE - - BEST OF JEDSEY JOURNAL ARCHIVES - JCNJ REDUX (Kirpan's Farm)- WHERE ARE THEY NOW (Fred Cranwell) - - AND MUCH MORE