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January, 2003

Inside This Edition: Meyersville Inn in Meyersville , NJ; Liberty State Park in Jersey City, NJ; Movie Review - FERRIS BEULLER'S DAY OFF; The Planet in Hoboken, NJ and our New Feature - Growing Up Jersey - This month Growing up in Nutley, NJ


Jersey Food - January, 2003

After a holiday season filled with roast beef, turkey and ham we decided it was time to seek out some alternative fare.   We've been hearing some good things about the Meyersville Inn in Myersville, so we set out for an evening of relaxation and what we hoped would be good dining.  Wow! What a nice surprise...

Located on the edge of the Great Swamp, this charming Country Inn with it's twinkling lights was both inviting and cozy.  We were quite surprised to see how extensive the menu was, and although heavily tilted toward Cajun and Creole dishes, there were choices for every taste.  After enjoying cocktails that were quite generous, we shared appetizers of Stuffed Mushrooms and a Cajun Sampling Plate with tender shrimp, boudin sausage, crab, catfish and hush puppies.  Forks flew as the food disappeared quickly.

Our group seemed to be of like minds, each ordering seafood platters.  The winner of the night was the Crawfish Etoufee, so tender and perfectly prepared.  Other shrimp dishes, one of them Blackened Shrimp, were again prepared to perfection.  Side orders of Hush Puppies and Andouie Sausage rounded out our taste needs.

It's very clear that the kitchen staff and chefs are well trained in Cajun and Creole cooking; they know their way around a New Orleans kitchen.

This restaurant very definitely warrants a return visit.  Next time we will try to leave room for dessert.

Meyersville Inn - Meyersville, New Jersey 


Jersey Treasure - January, 2003

Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey, offers plenty to see and do.  Liberty State Park has emerged in recent years from a sound vision of urban renewal to become a unique and valued Jersey Treasure.  You might be surprised to learn that the park is quite large at 1,212 acres and has a tidal salt marsh home to resident and migratory species of birds.  Along the waterfront overlooking the Hudson river sits one of the most beautiful and historic railroad terminals in all of America.  The lovingly restored Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal welcomed immigrants processed at Ellis Island by playing an integral role in their journey to their new homes as they purchased tickets and boarded trains.  The Land at Liberty State Park is extremely pretty and quite functional.  Ferry service is available to both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island all year.  Also available are food stands, picnic facilities, nature and hiking trails and a marina making the park a year round destination for nearby residents and visitors.  The Liberty Science Center is also part of the park which is home to the largest IMAX theatre in the United States.  Also at the center is a science museum with interactive exhibits based on the environment and technology.  Liberty State Park is a unique destination with something for everyone and a most valued Jersey Treasure.

Liberty State Park - Jersey City, New Jersey 


Movie Review - January, 2003

Video Rental Pick:

FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF - Rated PG-13 - Are you in the mood for a whimsical 80's classic?  You might want to check out this raucous adolescent comedy starring Matthew Broderick.  Broderick steps easily into the shoes of a wisecracking, class cutting free spirit named Ferris.  Cutting class is easy for a senior punk like Ferris as he matches wits with an adult dimwit named  Mr. Rooney who is bent on catching Ferris ditching school.  Ferris handles Mr. Rooney in classic adolescent manner with fun first and consequences later.  Ferris wakes up ready to take the day off with his best friend Cameron who is a morose hypochondriac.  Cameron, Ferris and his girlfriend Sloan embark on a day of fun ala Ferris.  This very funny movie has stood the test of time as a very well constructed film with a timeless theme.  Some kid's will always ditch school but few skip school to enjoy life to it's fullest the way Ferris does in this classic.  If you are young or old it doesn't matter because this film will make you laugh and take yourself less seriously.  You will see Chicago and childhood angst in a new and interesting way in FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF. 


Jersey Clubs and Nightlife - January, 2003  

The Planet in Hoboken, New Jersey, offers a good party on Thursday nights.  On a recent Thursday I stopped by with a buddy to check this place out.  Thursday nights can be tricky when searching for a place for some party atmosphere and this particular night The Planet started off slow but quickly turned into a party.  The crowd here is definitely on the young side say mid 20's to late 20's but for Hoboken which is young anyway you will feel right at home if you seek a Hoboken night out.  This particular experience is very Latin in nature complete with some great Latin music mixed in with American club music.  The club also is promoting the first Latin night of 2,003 on the first Thursday of the new year.  There is nothing worse then driving around all night looking for a good party during the week.  Heading over to The Planet will get you out of search mode and into party mode complete with some great beats and a great crowd with a have fun attitude.

The Planet - Hoboken, New Jersey 


 

Jersey Feature - January, 2003

Growing up Jersey

Growing up in New Jersey in the 60’s was unique and a great experience.  This is just one story of countless stories about special memories from a special place during a special time.  Nutley, New Jersey, is part of Essex County, made famous in past years with the Soprano’s cable TV series.  It’s a kick to hear and see places you grew up with mentioned on the show.  Nutley was by no means problem-free, but for a kid going through his wonder years, it was quite a place to grow up.  We actually walked to school in those days and that was always an adventure.  Spring Garden School was one of many elementary schools in town.  Like many schools during this time period, most of the students were fascinated by advances in technology, the latest fads and the 69 New York Mets.  A classmate of mine from way back then came to school with this little tiny handheld radio with a special earphone for listening.  I thought that was just about the coolest thing I had ever seen.  Also cool were the glass clackers which I’m sure shattered in more than one school yard before being banned and yo yo’s that lit up when you used them.  Those early days in Nutley were pretty carefree, and despite running the wrong way for a touchdown in gym one day, things were pretty good.  About this time, I was introduced to Gantner’s Hardware on Franklin Avenue after breaking my first window in the backyard playing basketball.  Numerous trips to this long-since-gone Nutley landmark for panes of glass taught me the fundamentals of window repair and the aggravation that went with breaking them.  I always loved to make the rounds with my Father to various Jersey places for this and that.  Always an adventure were the times that our TV was on the blink.  It was a ritual in our house to take most of, if not all of the vacuum tubes in the TV over to the drugstore near Rowe Manse Emporium  in Clifton to be tested.  It was like hitting the lottery if a bad one was found because then my father  was sure we could get the TV working again.  My father would routinely take me with him over to South Orange Avenue in Vailsburg to visit his old friends.  We also would go over there to have special custom  radiator covers made out of sheet metal.  He would also take me over to Newark Airport to watch the 707's take off.

In every kid's childhood, the bike shop must be like a temple, and mine was no exception.  For my birthday one year, my little-kid bike was fixed up with big-kid handle bars and seat down at the Nutley Bike Shop.  The bike was stolen from our garage a short time later and never recovered.  Lucky for me, I had a great father who took me back to the Nutley Bike Shop to get a new bike which never was stolen.  In fact after 30-plus years, it still looks great!

Growing up in Nutley provided for some very good eating, but I guess when you are a kid it all looks good.  From Ralph’s Pizzeria to the Red Chimney and even the Lyndhurst diner on special occasions, things were good.  By the time 1970 rolled around I felt like I had seen a lot living in Nutley.  I played my very first video game called Pong over at Rizzuto Berra, a long-since-gone bowling alley; and yes, the two names on the sign were of the former Yankees.  In fact, I remember they had a showcase inside the alley with all sorts of Yankee memorabilia.  Of course, we always stopped to look at these mementos of Yankee history before and after bowling.   

Being friends with the son of the Principle of Franklin School in Nutley had its advantages.  His father would often take us with him to school during the summer when we were little.  Now, I don’t know of any kid who likes to go to school, but it was big fun to be able to have an entire gymnasium to ourselves.  We would play basketball there and throw a football around.  During those summers I dreamed of being able to go to that big-kid Junior High.

Nutley is one of the most well-designed places in all of New Jersey with a very centralized town center complete with mini stadium, then called the Park Oval.  It was a big treat to be old enough to be able to go see a Nutley High School football game with just the guys.  We used to climb under the fence the day of the game to avoid having to pay for a ticket, although it was really just for the thrill of it.  When I was a kid, everything seemed so much more vivid- the summers seemed hotter and the winters colder.  I remember the big old oak trees on a clear, crisp day during football season as I walked to the game listening to the leaves rustling in the breeze.

After two years at Franklin School, it was time to cross the street into the big time and begin  Nutley High School.  Nutley High School, or as we called it NHS, was a place that came with some freedom.  For the first time in my life we could leave the school grounds for lunch.  Now that was a big deal!  What better place to go to high school than right in the middle of town.  My friends and I made the daily pilgrimage to Santini’s Pizzeria for slices of pizza and cokes.  Afterward we would walk past the Maroon Raiders soda shop and stop at the Candy Corner to stock up on candy for the afternoon.

From playing golf at Hendricks Field in Belleville, to long bike rides through Branch Brook Park and fishing at the Mud Hole, my time in Nutley was quite memorable and I’m sure unique.  I remember long walks to school with many debates on life and the meaning of things with friends.  One morning we were debating what the word “fuggetaboutit” meant and we decided it meant all sorts of things depending on who and how it was said.  Such debates seem trivial now, but it was a groundbreaking discovery at the time.  Changes were in the air in 1976 as our family left Nutley for the country in Morris County.  Looking back I wouldn’t have wanted to grow up in any other place.  

Do you have great memories of Growing Up Jersey that you would like to see featured on Jersey Spin?  Send us your original unpublished story and if we like it we will make arrangements with you to feature it here!  Email submissions to us here.

Growing Up Jersey  written by Jerry Butler


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