Stories in a Picture from the 1970's: River Edge's Original McDonald's

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Stories in a Picture from the 1970's: River Edge's Original McDonald's

Journeys into River Edge

"Every picture tells a story" goes an old saying. Thanks to Martha Szalay Scannell on Pinterest,  we are blessed with a 1970's vintage picture that tells quite a few stories about River Edge.

Her caption describes the picture "Bergenfield Junk Yard at Main Street & River Streets, River Edge". That description and its story will await a future "Journeys Into River Edge" posting here.

What caught our eye initially was not just the junk yard , but also the classic golden arches of McDonald's middle left of the picture, once a fixture on Main Street.

In fact, River Edge was the home of one the earlier original McDonald's restaurants.

We did not have the first in the area - that was and still is located on Broadway (Route 4) in Fair Lawn, just next to the recently fire ravaged IHOP. But still McDonald's came to town pretty early in their existence and before it could be found virtually everywhere.

I think it was in the mid-1960s' (1964-65?) that McDonald's set up shop at its present location on Main Street between Elizabeth Street and the train tracks. Its neighbor across the street was the big building that was the long-time home of the Cherry Hill Reform Church (before it moved up to the corner of Howland and Bogert) and then later of the River Edge Jewish Community Center (later Temple Sholom) before it found its own home on the other end of Howland near the Paramus broder. The building later would house the Joseph Augusta Beauty Parlor before it eventually was razed to become a parking lot for the office building that now graces the corner of Kinderkamack and Main where the Gulf station stood across from the A&P (later Foodtown).

The McDonald's was the place to go. In fact, it was so popular that unfortunately helped to put the Cherry Hill Luncheonette down the street out of business - the first example of a pattern to be repeated later when Staples and Haome Dept would spell trouble for local commujnity owned businesses

Our family did not go to the local McDonald's all too often. A trip there was considered as a reward for some special accomplishment. We especially looked forward to our annual June annual "outing" with Mom - a picnic of MKcDonald's that we would bring to Van Saun, our reward for having "earned" our promotion to the next grade at school.

The otuing did not cost her much. There were few offering back the (see image below) The hamburger ran 15 cents, french fries 10 cents and a soda 15 cents

But to us it was special.

Back then there was no drive thru at the place. That was added later when they rebuilt the place a couple of times (the end of the original Golden Arches). Those remakes occurring every so often, relflected the tastes of the corporate corporate types who thought they know what we liked and what we wanted.

But they never asked me. For me, I liked the original golden arches. And, I liked the few but reasonably priced choices. Filet o Fish is an exotic item for a McDonald's menu. Breakfast ? A bowl of cereal at home suits me fine.

The new place there on Main Street is very nice. Functional too. My son is able to order his chicken tenders in modern fashion with relative ease.

Still,  when I drive by I still see in my head those red yellow and white tiles, the golden arches and the menu board with those 10 cent fries.

(Again, thanks to Martha Szalay Scannell for having shared this River Edge picture with us)

Stories in a Picture from the 1970's: River Edge's Original McDonald's