Old Newark Bluff

Engaging Tales From The Old Neighborhood.

Howard Johnson Zombies

Although we’re a literary motor inn, we stand in solidarity with our roadside sisters and brothers, and when they leave us, it’s up to us to keep their memory alive.  With that in mind, here are some Howard Johnson Zombies  — and where we encountered them. 

The shells … Continue reading »


(Originally appeared in Burnt Bridge)

Tonight, my girlfriend’s reeling off my faults in an auctioneer’s voice to an imaginary gathering of women, all also displeased with their boyfriends.

“Good evening, ladies.  First up, I’ve got a boy who doesn’t share, doesn’t like to snuggle, and always argues with me when I’m feeling hurt.  I’ll start the bidding at five dollars.”

I sit quietly … Continue reading »


You’re knocked out.  I’m choking on nothing.  That means a trip to The Cabinet.  It’s just to the right of the kitchen window. Five floors up, I can see the Canal.  The water there is so thoroughly contaminated it will take one hundred years to remediate.

I start by realigning the two jars of peanut butter, the ones from last year’s … Continue reading »

U FUMO – Newark’s Sweet Potato Man


My dad always bragged about Newark’s Branch Brook Park and the great fun he had growing up in The First Ward after the war.  There were many stories we tried to call him out on as kids but one he repeated involved a man who had mounted three metal drawers full of sweet potatoes on a cart and sold them for a … Continue reading »

Searching for Bruce Springsteen in Asbury Park, New Jersey

In the 1980’s New Jersey, the quest to be present when Bruce Springsteen magically appeared in some aging Jersey Shore bar was a crusade of mythic proportions. Continue reading »


In the chic nightclub world of Manhattan, many people were ashamed to admit they were a card-carrying member of the so-called "Bridge and Tunnel Crowd" — the unfortunate orphans who lived in New Jersey, Staten Island and the outer boroughs, but who worked and played in Manhattan. During the 1980’s, I was proud to be included in that group, even … Continue reading »