Passing: The Arena Diner
Journeys into Hackensack
A local landmark is no more.
A diner that occupied the northwest corner of the intersection of First Street (Polifly Road) and Essex Street has been demolished.
The diner, The Arena, was not renowned for its food as much as its location and convenience. Situated close to the Hackensack Hospital, the Bergen County Courthouse, apartments on Prospect Avenue and Route 80 the place was nearby meeting spot for many.
According to an article on North Jersey.com which provided some interesting background, "the diner sat at the epicenter of North Jersey power. Two blocks west is the hospital, whose board is a who’s who of prominent Bergen County leaders. Seven blocks east is the county courthouse. The county Republicans keep their office a mile and a half away, on the north side of downtown, and the Democrats are two miles away to the south".
Even for those who were not power brokers, deal makers and local residents the diner served as a familiar and reassuring presence as one entered town from the south.
There has been some talk that an apartment building is slated to be built at the site. For now there is little sign of that future or reminder of its past.
Along with Rudy's, the Louis Barber Shop and Kazmir Pet Store, the Arena is now a memory of a time past.