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You know you grew up in Central Jersey if…

On this ‘Throwback Thursday,’ let’s take a look at some signs that you grew up in Central Jersey. From my experience, we’re focusing on the ’80s and ’90s.

Yes, the borders maybe a bit blurred, but we can pack a lot of distinct memories in-between Routes 78 and 195. What’s missing? Tell us in the comment section below. 


1. You’re not phased by the giant Ship that’s a store on Route 22.


The Flagship is a PC Richard & Son these days, after its stint as The Wiz.


2. Your hangout spot was a diner or a Dunkin’ Donuts — including the parking lot.

Icons of American Culture: History of New Jersey Diners, Cornelius Low House
Diners and D & D are central Jersey staples (Dino Flammia, Townsquare Media NJ)


3. You regularly shopped at Caldor or Bradlees.

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Before the reign of Target and Kohl’s, these were the stores that had the staples of life.


4. You might have visited Brendan Byrne Arena … and definitely went to something at Continental Arena.

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Same place, different name. Then it was Izod. And now it’s nothing.


5. You’ve partied on the lawn at the “Garden State Arts Center.”

Summer nights with @5SOS! Is it July yet? #TBT : @jessica_gerth

A photo posted by PNC Bank Arts Center (@pncartscenter) on

Of course, you can still party on the lawn at PNC Bank Arts Center.


6. You went ice skating at Warinanco Park.

It’s still there, in Union County, but getting a massive overhaul! We won’t even recognize it by the time it reopens this fall.


7. You know what a Fat Darrell is … you know who Fat Darrell is … or, you personally KNOW Fat Darrell.

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All hail the Rutgers grease trucks.


8. You went to movies at Amboy Multiplex Cinemas in Sayreville.

#MovieTheater #Theater #Cinema #Closed #Signs #SignGeeks #AmboyCinemas #NewJersey #Sayreville #NJ

A photo posted by Nick Florio (@floriophoto) on

Talk about a shuttered building — the site’s been empty for more than a decade. In the same category — you remember when Westfield had two theaters, Roselle Park had one … and the Cranford theater was just two screens, with the old inside decor still visible.


9. You remember when Van Gogh’s Ear cafe opened in Union.

It instantly became Jersey’s own Central Perk … and is still going strong!


10. You remember “Romper Room” with Miss Molly and her magic mirror.

This kids’ show was nationally syndicated at times. We were lucky to have Miss Molly joined by kids at the Secaucus studio of WWOR-TV.


11. Or, you watched “Steampipe Alley.”

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“Steampipe” Alley was Mario Cantone in his pre-”Sex and the City” days. I went to a taping once and won a gumball machine for playing musical chairs with whoopee cushions. That gives you an idea of the class level of the show.


So what are YOUR memories of Central Jersey? Tell us in the comments below, or Tweet them @NJ1015.

Erin Vogt is a lifelong Jersey Girl, whose first reporting gig involved her Fisher Price tape recorder. As a wife and momma of two kiddies, she firmly believes that life’s too short to drink bad coffee.  A fan of the beach, Dave Grohl and karma, in no particular order.

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