Here is another photo of Salem Street. This one was taken in January of 1949 at the corner of Parmenter and Salem Streets.
It’s a Friday morning and the merchants are setting up their displays, some almost in the middle of the street. On the right side you can see Jack’s shoe store, the Liberty Cafe’ and Martignetti’s grocery and wine store. On the left is Resnick’s Hardware and several meat and vegetable shops.
Of course, the most prominent feature is Polcari’s Coffee Shop which is still there. Some men are gathered around two boxes of chestnuts in the street and the outdoor bins have a variety of dried nuts and beans, favas, lupini, pignoli, salted and unsalted pumpkin seeds which we bought for 5 cents an ounce (measured in a shot glass), hazelnuts, almonds and so many more. He also had bins of loose candies and watched out for the fresh boys, scugnizzi, who would grab a handful and run. Old Mr. Rafaelle Polcari used to roast his own coffee and the smell was wonderful. Inside the store was a wooden rack with small bottles of concentrated flavorings, anisette, scotch, creme de menthe and many more. It was common for Italians to make their own liqueurs and everyone had a secret recipe.
In the middle of Salem St., you can see a young woman pushing a baby carriage with a cute little boy holding on. That boy is me and my brother Bobby is in the carriage, probably fussing about something. My mother is taking us from our apartment at 53 Salem to nonna Colomba’s at 109 Salem. The language of Salem St was Neapolitan dialect and you would hear people yelling, stai zitto, hey gualio, or ma che cazza un culo. Doesn’t seem so long ago.