Saturday, November 1, 2008

Route 80

Northern New Jersey was late in getting the major interstate highways. For years anyone wanting to go to the Pocono's had to take Route 46 through Hacketstown, which was always crowded. Hackensack finally got Route 80 in 1964.

One Sunday afternoon I was traversing my way through the comics in the Herald Tribune. I was past "Peanuts" and entering the more parochial world of "Miss Peach" when my father asked if I'd like to take a bicycle ride. This was a new development in family life up to this point so I said, skeptically, "okay".

I rode my trusty bike and my father rode my older brothers'. He was at college and would never (until now) be the wiser. We headed onto Route 80. Scheduled to open the following day, the highway was magnificent and empty. It had a wonderful view of New York and the Empire State Building. We went as far as Bogota.

In Bogota we visited my father's friends. I had a coke and he drank a few beers. On the way back he swerved a bit on the road but I held up the rear. The next day Route 80 was opened up to the trucks and traffic jams for which it would become famous.


Anonymous said...

"Top of the hill" here... do you remember when they found the mamouth fossils in the area behind what became the Esso station on Polifly Road? One of my friends older brother and father discovered them. Years later we would "hunt" back there with BB guns. I emember finding a sandstone type rock back there and splitting it open with a hammer and finding it filled with little sea shell fossils. Wish I had kept that rock. I remember them tearing down houses on the end of my street to put route 80 through. I was young, but I think I remember some lady refusing to leave her house (though it looked like it was already half torn down).

antmanbee said...

Route 80 must have been slow in completion. I lived in Saddle Brook for a few years and we would walk along the completed but not open to traffic sections of Route 80 from Saddle Brook towards Paterson on our way to Garrett Mountain.
Route 80 was getting close to completion when I worked for Lexington Bottling works in Clifton(Mission Soda) and we still had to drive old roads to Beverage Depot in Hackettstown.
re fossils....In Garfield where Werner Ford was(or maybe still is) there was a big field at end of Belmont Hill. A small creek used to run through there...a lot of plant fossils to be found. Creek ran under River Road into Passaic River.
Small island out there that we called Duck Island...we could wade out to it.
Used to cross river via the Black Bridge...a railroad bridge...
to roam around hose Old Mill buildings on Passaic side...
stinky old canal(Dundee?) back there with slimy carp and monster snapping turtles.