CAMDEN, NEW JERSEY
629 Ferry Avenue
629 Ferry Avenue was already bar by the time of Prohibition. The 1918 Camden City Directory shows that Solomon Rosenberg was the proprietor. He remained in business at 629 Ferry through at least 1921. By 1926 Walter Evanuk was the saloonkeeper. He purchased the bar at 400 Jasper Street, and sold 629 Ferry Avenue to Michael Brown, who owned, operated, and lived at 629 Ferry Avenue through at least 1931. The bar change hands at least once before World War II, as Eugene Zalewski is listed as the proprietor in the 1940 Camden City Directory.
The 1947 Camden City Directory shows 629 Ferry Avenue as being owned by Samuel Wasiluk, who owned the Central Cafe. The Central Cafe was originally located at 1057 Central Avenue. When Sam Wasiluk moved to Ferry Avenue, he brought the name Central Cafe with him, and although his bar was on Ferry Avenue, it was known for many years as the Central Cafe.
Sam Wasiluk came to America from Russian Poland in 1910. By 1920 he was living at 668 Tulip Street and working as a riveter at the New York Shipbuilding Corporation shipyard. By 1930 he had moved to 1057 Central Avenue, the corner of Central Avenue and Tioga Street, and was operating a grocery store. When Prohibition was repealed in 1933, Samuel Wasiluk established a bar at 1057 Central Avenue. He had acquired the 629 Ferry Avenue bar by 1946. The 1947 City Directory shows both bars as being called the Central Cafe. The Tioga Street property has been known since the 1950s as the Tioga Tavern. Sam Wasiluk passed away in Rio Grande NJ in January of 1970.
The bar was sold in 1954 to Jean Mihalick and Bronislawa Wardach and was called Cindy's Central Cafe. In 1960 the business was put up for sale. In 1961 Samuel Berelman acquired the bar and operated as Cindy's Bar for a year or two. In partnership with Raymond Payton and Joan Payton, 629 Ferry Avenue operated as Payton's Place until 1972, when it was renamed The Velvet Lounge. In 1967 Flash Wilson, who was still working in bars as late as 1999, was managing Payton's Place.
Samuel Berelman died in the summer of 1976 after a lengthy illness. The Payton's held the real estate, but apparently not the license, and that appears to have spelled the end of the bar at 629 Ferry Avenue. In the spring of 1977, the State of New Jersey took the land on Ferry Avenue which the bar had stood, and everything else on Ferry Avenue between the railroad tracks and Master Street, to build Interstate I-676.
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