Hometown Christmas Memories
A Journey into River Edge
River Edge never did have much of a downtown, and from the looks of it we are not going to get to the promised downtown of redevelopment any time soon (Although there is a nice new old fashioned clock at the corner of Main & Kinderkamack).
Come Christmas time, however, one could still get a feel for the season driving through its commercial section.
Way back when, before the Paramus shopping centers, folks would head to Hackensack for their shopping needs, especially during the holiday season. Main Street was then a classic Main Street - with boulevard lights and active sidewalk life. There were pretty seasonal decorations that stretched across the street - and it continued from the Court House to past Sears, as well as on Banta Place. And, a little to the north Packard Bamberger had a cool Christmas decoration of Santa and his sled connecting the stores two towers (see image below).
Of course, New York and its department stores were a draw - only a 55 cent bus ride away.
But in River Edge, you were greeted by the immaculately kept Huffman & Boyle property dressed up for the season.
There was a wreath - light up - surrounding the clock that faced Route 4.
And a pine tree at the corner of Main, Bogert and Route 4 was decorated as a Christmas Tree welcoming shopper and citizen as well.
Of course, the local merchants in the Cherry Hill Shopping Center decorated their shops as well.
One of the special highlights of the season was the special German-style chopped herring made only at Christmas time.
Of course, those local shops are all gone now - having been replaced by the national chains such s Habit, Dunkin' Donuts and Sports Clips.
There are now seasonal decorations on the street lights - a modern day improvement.
But the old Christmas tree is no more - it is where total Wine now sits. Now the herring is sold - but it is up the road in Oradell at Schrieber's, whose former owners came up from River Edge some years back and brought the herring recipe with them. They are gone now but the herring still resurfaces just before Christmas.
Alas, time marches on and things change....