Notable Passings as Hackensack Transitions

Notable Passings as Hackensack Transitions

Journeys into Hackensack

After years of promises, empty words and false starts, it finally seems to be downtown Hackensack's time for transition and change.

Some of the changes are quite visible and come with much fanfare. Building cranes spot the skyline. State Street is back to two-ways (Main Street to follow) and new projects are taking shape. The Record building on River Street is gone. So too the Holman Moving Company building across from Sears, Oritani Field Club and the 1950-ish building at the intersection of Main and Ward that once housed Stanley Kaplan test prep. There is a second micro-brewery in town - The Hackensack Brewing Company (joining the Alementary Brewing Company) that has many excited, and has created a Brwer's alley of sorts along Johnsion Avenue. And just down the street, at the intersection of Main, Grand Avenue and Spring Valley Avenue, what used to be Corky's Corner and more recently Poitin Still is now called Cheers.

Then there are also some less heralded changes but equally consequential to some of us.

Kates Brothers Shoes has now closed its doors. Most recently at 329 Main Street, that property is now vacant.

In its time, in a community of a number of family owned shoe stores, Kates Brothers was considered the place to go. Its presence in town went back to 1941.

At that time according to a 2008 obituary for Daisy Kates, the last of the four original Kates family members who founded the shop, the place was located at 210 Main Street at the old Peoples Trust Bank building (now being converted into condos). The story taken from the obituary tells how the bank President, August Banta (of Banta Place and Winne Banta law firm Banta) rejected the idea of sharing his space with this new business. But with the men of the Kates family away in the service, the narrative relates "Mrs. Kates persisted and ultimately he (Banta) grudgingly allowed the intrusion.

Over the next years Kates Brothers had a number of Main Street locations. I most remember the one located just across the street from the Y and Arnold Constable. There were also satellite stores in Westwood, owned by Paul Kates, as well as locations in Passaic and Clifton.

The Kates were also heavily involved in the community and philanthropic causes.

The picture above at the headline reflects what it used to look like in the store.

Another major passing of note is the Louis Barber Shop on Main Street in the Fairmount section. We honor it in our next posting.

These are passings that in another time would have made headlines. Though notable to those who have memories of that earlier time, their demise in 2019 has barely been publicly noted. We do so here. Attention must be paid. They are businesses and folks who mattered and whose legacies are part of the  fabric of Hackensack (though many may not know or appreciate anything about them).