A River Edge Picture from the 1950's

 A River Edge Picture from the 1950's

Journeys into River Edge

Earlier, we posted this picture of River Edge from several decades ago (Source Acknowledgement and credit to the Bergen County Historical Society and This is River Edge). At that time we invited you to share what you noticed about it.

Is it familiar to you? What did you recognize?

 A River Edge Picture from the 1950's

Here is some introductory background about what we saw in the picture:

Thanks to those who shared comments. You caught a lot.

The picture is one taken in the 1950’s. The period can be identified by the passing car of the left (Do you know the make?).

•* The location, first guessed by Wayne Ross, is Main Street. As David C. Stucke, Greg Cariddi, Rich Curran and Hernan A. Green mentioned the view is to the west – the car heading perhaps from the Old New Bridge or the Van Steuben House or even Kiddie Wonderland– towards the intersection of Main Street and Hackensack Avenue. At that time, Main Street had the right of way.  Hackensack Avenue ended at the corner – one had to turn left (if to go to north on Kinderkamack Road) or right (If heading to the bridge to cross into New Milford and Teaneck on the old New Bridge). The modern day continuation of Hackensack Avenue into the present New Bridge Road did not open up until 1956, after the building of a new New Bridge. So the stop sign was on Hackensack Avenue. The stop sign was moved the Main Street sides after the new road opened. A traffic light would not come to the intersection until the late 1960’s/early 1970’s.

• The trees to the left are the site of the parking lot for the New Bridge Landing. The picture was taken before a hamburger hot dog restaurant opened there in the early 1960’s. That joint would not last long. The business that followed, Pizzatown (Greg Cariddi), was more popular. Eventually they left too and the building was demolished. The parking lot remains.

• On the right just beyond the telephone pole strands a building which for many years was the main office for the Bergenfield Auto Parts, a junkyard that in its time was beloved by some, reviled by many others. After many years of negotiation, legal wrangling and environmental mitigation the property was ultimately purchased, cleaned-up and restored to a more pristine existence – today it is part of the Historic New Bridge Landing property.

• Also note the cobblestone road shoulder on the roadway – recalling what roads were like in an even earlier era.

• Just past the stop sign on the left – at the corner is a building that used to be called simply “the warehouse”(Greg Cariddi). For years it served just that purpose for the nearby Huffman & Boyle furniture store up the block. Today that building is long gone, replaced by the self-storage facility. Greg Cariddi also mentioned the existence of another warehouse where the Bergen Batting Cage building s stand – I do not remember it. Thanks Greg.

• Nancy Skae Lustenberger recognized the still standing structure on the left – past the warehouse and before the train tracks – now the location of the shoe repair shop (Anyone remember when it was home to Artie the Barber?) and the Venice Auto Body Shop. Robert Schlossberg reminded us of a “luggage place” that was once there as well.

Beyond the warehouse here are some other points to note:

• This picture was taken before McDonald’s came to town (David C. Stucke)

• It was also taken before the gas station opened at the corner of Main & Hackensack Avenue. For years it was an Amoco/American station. Today it is BP. Instead there is another building set back – unclear if a business or a residence.

• The tall telephone pole is along the train tracks (Erie Railroad). Note the crossing signs at the track. But also note that there were no gates. The gates would only be added some 10-15 years down the line – after too many crashes between trains and drivers resulting in numerous injuries and deaths.

• The large building beyond the train tracks was the old Cherry Reformed Church building – though it is likely that the church had already moved from there, its longtime home, to its new location at the corner of Bogert Road and Howland Avenue. The church bell remained and would be transferred in the mid-1960’s (Greg Cariddi). The building itself burned down in November 1971 as a Hair Salon (Augusta?) / clothing outlet (Greg Cariddi and Rich Curran)

• Being uncertain of the year of the picture, the building may have been vacant at the time. More likely, it was being used as a synagogue – the first home of the River Edge Jewish Community Center, before its name was changed to Temple Sholom and later to the current Temple Avodat Shalom. The building was converted from church to synagogue in 1952 and would remain so until it was deemed unsafe for occupancy a few years later. Eventually, a new building would be constructed on Howland Avenue, the site of the congregation today.

• Two buildings can barely be seen off in the distance: One was the old A&P (Greg Cariddi), which for a long time was one of two supermarkets in town (The other was the Honey Dew Market, later Shop Rite and more recently the Asian Market – located up Kinderkamack in the shopping center near the Borough Hall)…The other building , behind the A&P, is a from the Cherry Hill Shopping Center, anchored by Huffman & Boyle, but also the home to locally and operating businesses such as Manor Pharmacy, Schmidt’s Bakery, the Cherry Hill Luncheonette, River Edge Hardware, S&G Apparel, Brackett Cleaners, Emil’s Barbershop and a “beauty parlor”. Today it is the strip mall called “New Bridge Landing at River Edge”, the series of fast food and franchise businesses located between CVS and Total Wines.

What struck me were how at the same time one could see similarities from then to now, while marveling at the stark changes that time has brought.

What do you see? Anything you can add?

We welcome your thoughts, recollections and impressions.

And, again thanks to all who contributed feedback through comments.