Fran McClain lived as a child on Central Place in Orange. She remembers the neighborhood well, but feels a loss since it declined after 280 was built. She recalls big sites like Orange Memorial Hospital, Rheingold’s Brewery, the Oakwood Avenue YMCA as well as small places like Dave’s and Manning’s jazz joint at the corner of Parrow and Central and the Friendship House on Parrow St. where the older kids would hang out and sometime bring the kids they were babysitting along.
One of her fondest memories was going to the movies: “There were so many movies here. We had the Hollywood [theater], which was right out here on Central Avenue …. We’d roller skate there. It was only a quarter to get into the movies. We saw the cartoons, two features, then we would roller skate back home. There was also the Embassy Theater on Main Street by the library and the Palace theater on Main Street by East Orange. I remember seeing Moby Dick, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Westerns with John Wayne. We roller skated when we came home from school, of course we had to get our homework done, but afterwards we would roller skate. The kids in the neighborhood played hopscotch, jump rope, and played in the backyards of neighbors.”