Paramus' Famous Santa
A Journey into Paramus
Way back when at Christmas time, Mom used to dress us up, walk with us down to the bus stop and hop aboard for the 55 cent ride into the City.
Once there we would make the pilgrimage over to midtown to catch a glimpse of the Rockefeller Center tree, skating rink below and the nearby department store windows dressed up for the season. The lights and buzz were captivating and made a lasting impression.
These days one need not go any further than Paramus for holiday lights and buzz. There, at our local shopping centers, one can find an incredible display of lights and decorations.
At the same time, modern day wonder can not duplicate a long time local institution of Christmases past - the Santa Claus at Garden State Plaza.
No, not the human one. He was impressive - I always wanted to be on my best behavior with him - whether he was to be found at Bamburger's or in the "mall" part of the shopping center.
Rather, we refer to a landmark roadside structure outdoors - a giant Santa that sat on a parking lot pole foundation in the parking area not far from the cloverleaf intersection of Routes 4 and 17.
There were no lights embellishing this sesaonal ornament (other than a flood light). None were needed.
But this Santa was big. And, we mean big. Made from more than 20 prefabricated pieces, he was 51 feet high and appeared to be emerging from a 25-foot-high chimney.
He was there from the Plaza's earliest days (some say from the first year -1957; others claim later in the early 1960's) until the mid-1980's.
To this day this giant Santa still remains big to many - occupying a large role in a bank of memories of Christmases past.
One could not help but feel good when one saw it. This feeling endures - even today as it is recalled by memory.
Image Acknowledgement (with thanks): cardcow.com