This week all of North Jersey was shocked to hear The Manor in West Orange will close this summer after 66 years. That magical location has been the location where many wonderful memories were made. From New Year’s Eve black-tie dinners, to weddings, to proms, almost everyone from North Jersey has a story. All those decades, it has been owned and managed by one family.
The Knowles Family cited COVID-19s and continued high costs as the main two reasons why they came to this difficult decision.
We have not come to this conclusion lightly, but are resolved that it is the right and necessary decision. Often choices seem clear and easy from a distance, but when facing undeniable details, hard choices must be made. It is not for lack of want or effort. ~The Knowles Family
I was lucky enough to attend the 1986 Belleville High School senior prom there with a good friend when I was a sophomore. There was nowhere that felt more fancy. It was a perfect day in June and we would all wait and watch as everyone would arrive wearing their absolute best. We took pictures everywhere on the property. Even the bathrooms were beautiful!
This beautiful venue will close in July of this year. I can’t imagine being a bride and receiving this news just a few months before my wedding. Hopefully The Manor ownership is doing all they can to help reschedule these weddings at other venues.
Some may look at this as just the closing of a North Jersey formal venue, but to me it represents a bigger issue that is taking place in both West Orange as well as New Jersey as a whole. Just last year Mayfair Farms in West Orange, owned by the Horn Family, closed after 80 years in business.
According to Mayor Robert Parisi, “The West Orange Planning Board has received an application for a small subdivision of assisted living housing, and the existing building and property are to be occupied and utilized by Wonder Food Trucks.”
The Horn Family also owned the iconic Pal’s Cabin, also in West Orange. It opened in 1932, selling hot dogs for a dime each. Over the years it grew and became a fabled Jersey haunt. This awesome place was a favorite of Babe Ruth after playing golf at the country club down the road. An 18-year-old piano player from Wisconsin named Wladziu Valentino Liberace played at Pals for six months, earning $40 a week. Sadly, it closed in 2013. There is now a CVS perched in its place.
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got
Till it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
We are losing all our great places that have been around for decades that we hold near and dear to our heart. I recently posted about the possible development of the old Hercules property in Kenvil, a portion of Roxbury Township. A few years ago, a favorite place of mine growing up, Rosebud’s, closed. Instead of making sure these places remain a part of our communities, it is harder and harder for them to stay in business. Whether it is due to increased local and state taxes, increased cost of doing business, or trouble finding good employees, we are losing far too many of these long-standing mom-and-pop-shops in our communities.
So if you have the option of going to a big box store to make a purchase or spending maybe a few pennies more at a local store, make the effort and shop local. These are the businesses that sponsor the ball teams in your town and gives our communities their unique character. Maybe our extra purchases here and there will make an impact and help keep them in business and that we support them.