Memories of My Northeast Philly, circa 1966-1974

Center of this Universe: Ashton & Willits Roads
Frankie Masters, Joseph’s Delicatessen, wiffle ball, Holme Circle, Winchester Swim Club, St. Jerome Church & School, Father Dougherty, 25-minute Masses, “Winchester, Colfax & Narvon lines …”, EJ Korvettes, Crown Cork & Seal, friendly football games, Angus Road, nasty football rivalry, Grant & Ashton, Grant & Academy, John Byrnes GC, the fence along Torresdale CC, Pollock School & playground, softball, FlatIron, chain-link basketball nets, the “Big A”, turtle jungle gym, huge angled sheet-metal slide, Route 20 & 88 bus, Philadelphia Electric Co substation (Ashton), North(east) Philadelphia Airport, Ryerson Road, Ryerson Circle, the 5 & 10 cent store (Willits), Shop ‘n Bag(s), “Free Soviet Jews” (B’Nai B’Rith??), 15-cent burgers at McDonalds (Frankford Ave.), Linden Avenue projects, I-95, Roosevelt Boulevard, Roosevelt Mall, Thomas Holme School, Cannstatters, Father Judge HS, dances in the gym, Cottage Green, the original intersection of Ashton & Willits, Lincoln HS, the football bowl, Thanksgiving football games, concrete roads, Bluegrass Shopping Center, grass median strips, Nazareth Hospital, Pennypack Circle, jungle-themed miniature golf, concrete underpasses (before and after), Shriner’s Hospital, Pennypack Park, beer parties, cops, running, beer-dumping parties, street hockey, Flyers Stanley Cup street celebrations, Holy Family College, Nazareth Academy, girls at Archbishop Ryan/St. Huberts, robin-egg blue police cars (post-’74?), PTC, Crispin Gardens, pee wee football, little league, The Evening Bulletin, newspaper shack on Ashton near Winchester SC …  

(Disclaimer:  Dysfunctional memory may result in not-completely-correct recollections.  Please feel free to correct any inconsistencies via Leave a Comment/Post a Reply below.)

46 thoughts on “Memories of My Northeast Philly, circa 1966-1974


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  2. I left NE Philly for South Florida in late 1979. My friends down there were baffled by my “aggressive” driving. But impressed with my skills.

    They have no idea what the Blvd does for driving skills. Frankfort Ave, Torresdale Ave. Old Delaware Ave……12 lanes of cobblestone, railroad tracks and vehicular anarchy. I also learned to ride a motorcycle on these roads and had a job under the Girard Point Bridge. Everyday rush hour….95, off at Allegany (95 didn’t go all the way through yet…remember that?), Packer Ave back onto 95, off at the airport and back roads to a tug and barge dock. I was 18.

    When I taught my kids to drive we did a loop. Out of Holland, through Langhorne up 95, 95 to Taylorsville and then 532 back home. Once they mastered that it was 95 down into Philly, Cottman or Girard and back. But the real test was the Blvd. Langhorne to Adams and back.

    5 very competent drivers, they can all out drive a Dominican taxi driver down Broadway.

    Now…..Dinosaur Lake. Let’s see a show of hands. BTW, it’s still, there minus the dinosaurs. Napoli Village Pizza on Torresdale. The Hatcheries. Byberry…and it’s tunnels. Road grit encrusted pretzels handed to you by a guy that roaches ran away from. Whalers from Burger King. Pantry Pride. Fights, one on one, no posses, no homeboys…and the matter was settled.
    Decatur Rd drag racing for those afraid of Front St. Hanging onto bumpers in the snow. Bad weed. Good weed. Cops who knew the difference. Keg parties in the woods at the end of Greenmount Rd. The Bricks (come on…fess up….)


  3. Okay so I got all those memories down, being a swimmer at both Winchester and PAC, also hanging out at Pollock which offered two versions of stickball. One played down in the schoolyard with base running and the other fast pitch under the A with either 1 on 1 or 2 on 2. The strike zone was a painted square and it sure taught you how to hit line drives because anything up hit the underside of the A roof and was a sure out. Not much launch angle. How about the can lunchers we made with tin, yes tin, either soda cans or tennis ball cans taped together, all ends removed except the bottom can that received lighter fluid and lighter to launch the balls? These morphed into PVC potato launchers. That wide, angled, sliding board someone mentioned could burn you when the sun was shining directly on it.
    Now, growing up closer to Pennypack circle I have to bring up the Bowling alley with pinball machines, air conditioning, and refrigerated water fountain. A reprieve from the heat when playing for Rhawn Sandyford baseball. Rare, not like those porcelain one’s at Jerome’s. Now next to it, before the Gino’s was a miniature golf course. CAN ANYBODY REMEMBER THE NAME? It was across the Boulevard from the old Open Hearth that seemed to burn down regularly. And don’t forget Joe’s barbershop on Rhawn next to Perna’s pizza. None of that is there anymore. Apartments took over the baseball field and Gallo’s restaurant does decent seafood and burgers where Gino’s was. I know some people who got pieces of the bowling alley when they tore that out.


    • We always played stickball down in the schoolyard. With the school building and the high wall in right, you could pretend you were playing in The Vet. Never had a can/potato launcher … Used to play at the Pennypack Circle mini-golf all the time. Remember it having an African jungle theme. When it was maintained, it was one of the better courses. Also remember the “gentleman’s club” right on the circle … Thanks for the post!


  4. Max Myers field, buselton and bowler police district, boulevard dance. Ron diamond sunday night dance (frankford ave. Skating rink- forget name). Parkwood shop etc.


  5. Went to Jeromes 64 -72. Hung at Pollack, drinking behind the backstop, Hardee’s Fast Food at Home Circle was perfect after a night of partying. LOL, or Slim Jim sandwiches from 7-11 across the street!!


          • Mike, That was it !!! Thank you. My wife was lived just beyond Holme Circle and I lived in Olney. Both worked at Film Corporation of America on the Boulevard behind the IRS. Summer college job where I met her. We used to go Gene’s alot back then but then moved out of Phily after being married. She went to Ryan then LaSalle and I went to Roman then Villanova. Those were good times for sure.


            • Remember Film Corp. My dad worked at Philadelphia Steel, which was close by the northwest edge of the NE Philly Airport. I went to Judge and LaSalle. Carol to Ryan and Penn State via Frankford Hospital’s School of Nursing. Was NEVER in Gene’s (that I recall) … Though I may have patronized one of it’s later iterations. ; ^)


  6. I lived on Stamford street. Went to Pollock and loved the chain link nets at Pollock. I live down the shore now, but miss the NE.


    • I remember the Big A structure. We used to run up the angled sides to get up on the roof of it. Also that bizarre angled sliding board thing that is probably banned now in half the States as a fall and injury hazard!


  7. Moved to 2700 block of Tremont St in Dec ’61. Joe and his brother opened right around then and I helped carry rolls in and got a job sweeping and mopping at closing time. Mom worked there for years, Dad worked there when laid off from PTC (later Septa). Older brother worked there for a while. Joe made the best hoagies!!! Later, Joe’s uncle, Carl was the head cook, and a great one. Lot’s of neighborhood kids worked there. Frankie Masters (dishwasher for a few months) wonderful crab cakes on Friday nights. Gary Marks Atlantic station……worked there as well, I could go on& on. Great time of my life!


    • Good memories! Knew a lot of guys who worked at Joe’s (’70s-’80s), but I wasn’t one of them. Absolutely the best lunchmeats and sandwiches … hands down!
      I worked as a dishwasher at Frankie Masters … but only for a week or two. Rough job …
      We used to take our cars to the Texaco across the street from Marks’.
      Had The Bulletin route across Ashton from Joe’s and Master’s on Tremont and Maxwell for years. My brother had an Inquirer route on the other side of Ashton.
      Good memories!


  8. St. Jerome’s School, 1960-68…
    Thanks for the memories, I’ll add a few more: Snow plow coming to clear our street after a blizzard in 1960, sledding down Winchester Hill in the winter, hot dogs at the 5&10 store, donuts on Sunday from Al and Lou’s market on Welsh Rd (I think I got the name right!), selling Christmas cards, exploring Pennypack Park…Sally Starr, Happy the Clown, Pixanne (children’s TV hosts), May processions, school carnival in June, “mischief night” (Oct. 30), playing football in the street, staying out until 9 PM in the summertime, old Ashton Road (shortcut to the swim club), Winchester swim team…so many memories!


  9. Wow, Those fit my experiences. It is funny how a word or phrase brings back so many memories. Powder blue police cars…Getting chased for standing around, walking from Oakland and Pratt st all the way up to Father Judge HS when the busses were full due to snow. Catching a ride with your thumb at 5am on Roosevelt blvd to get to rowing practice on the River drive. Ginos on Frankford ave. Chipping in change from our pockets to the lucky people who had cars and cruising anywhere. way to go with those words…


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