Busy as Bamberger's on a Saturday Morning

When she was at wit's end with a million things to do, Mom said she was, "Busier than Bamberger's on Saturday morning!" and I knew to go away for a while.

The best part of going to Bamberger's for my back-to-school clothes was when Mom would buy me a hot dog and an orangeade at the stand next to the escalator in the basement. There was a sign that said: We don't boil the flavor out of our hot dogs

I can still remember the giant miniature circus displays they had and you got to look through a glass to see them. Awesome. I think it alternated with a giant train set up (sort of like the set Gomez Addams would blow up on the TV show.)

Copyright © 2005 by Anthony Buccino, all rights reserved.All I Want For Christmas ...

I'm sure all my Santa pictures were taken with the Bam's Santa. The lines were well recreated in Jean Shepherd's "Christmas Story." We kids wanted to tell the big scary Santa what we wanted for Christmas without forgetting anything or crying and our Moms just wanted to get the picture to send to the relatives.

Alas, Newark has changed in the past 40-plus years. So have I. And even my beloved Bamberger's is gone.

Coincidence alert: I worked in the advertising department at the Newark Bamberger's store in 1984. I wanted to know if they still had the circus and train displays set up on a hidden floor - like in an episode of the Twilight Zone. I heard about Mahogany Row where the big shots worked, but I never got to see the circus set up or the train display.

See Also:
A Father's Place - An Eclectic Collection: Seventh Floor

Copyright © 2005 by Anthony Buccino, all rights reserved. Content may not be used for commercial purposes without written permission. Updated May 2008

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1 comment:

Ken said...

I worked at Bamberger's downtown from 1977 to 1980, first in the Book Department on the 6th floor, then in Men's Sportswear on the Street Floor, and finally as a "yellow flower" also on the street floor.
I often would wind up covering in either the Liquor Store or the Main Man shop that was located along the Halsey and Bank Street corner of the street floor.

To answer your question about the train display and circus artifacts. They were set up for the Christmas Season in the 4th floor auditorium, and were last set up in 1976. In 1978, the 6th floor was converted to office space, and the 4th floor was renovated to house Linens and Domestics, with this renovation the auditorium was removed and any remnants of past displays were thrown out.

In 1976 the selling floors ran from Lower Level 2 to the 7th Floor, in 1978 selling floors ran from Lower Level 1 to 7, with the 6th floor closed. In 1980 the store was cut back and ran from Lower Level 1 to the 5th floor, and finally in 1984 the 5th floor was closed as a selling floor.

In it's final years the store itself was consolidated the Street Floor, 2 and 3rd floor. The Lower Level and the 4th floor held the clearence centers, all the diplay windows were closed up, and of the 9 public entrance ways that were still in use back in the early 1970's only 3 were used at the end.

By the time the store closed for good in 1991 she was a shell of her former self.