Secaucus has honored the man currently behind the oldest family-owned business in town.
Charlie’s Corner has been open since 1966, currently at 1254 Paterson Plank Road after moving from another location on the same road at some point in time. At the corner of Paterson Plank Road and Wilson Avenue, the bar is two blocks down and across the street from the Municipal Building at 1203 Paterson Plank Road.
Charles Krajewski has been running his family establishment for almost five decades. The Krajewskis descend from a family of local pig farmers, with roots dating back to a time when Secaucus was known as an odorous farm town first formed as a borough by the state from portions of North Bergen in 1900.
Meet the Charles behind Charlie’s Corner
Charles himself is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, having served in the Vietnam War. Following his service, he took over Charlie’s Corner with his brother John Krajewski after inheriting the bar from their father Charles Krajewski Sr.
During his life, Charles Sr. not only worked on his family’s five-acre 4,000-pig farm, but also worked at a once famous local tavern on Secaucus Road known as Tammany Hall, ran by his brother Henry Krajewski. In addition to owning the tavern, Henry was also a three-time presidential candidate for the “Poor Man’s Party,” and also ran for nearly every office from town councilman, to mayor, to county freeholder, to governor.
Henry died on Election Day in 1966 amid a run for the U.S. Senate, no longer a pig farmer by then, as commercial and industrial redevelopment came to town and warehouses replaced pig yards. Despite Henry’s best efforts, it was Charles Sr. who would become an elected official after starting his political career in 1963, eventually going on to serve as a long-time town councilman on a ticket with Mayor Paul Amico who was credited for ushering in the town’s transformation.
Additionally, after having learned the bar business with Henry, Charles Sr. opened his own establishment in 1966 he named Charlie’s Corner. After Charles Sr. passed away in 1977, the bar has been run by Charles and John. The establishment has since been a staple for generations, although the Krajewski pig farms and political runs have now become a thing of the town’s historic past alongside the garbage dumps that defined the old Secaucus.
Charlie’s Corner will remain in the family for the foreseeable future while Secaucus continues to develop as a commuter community. Charles currently works at the bar with his daughter and fellow owner, Tara Krajewski.
The bar, which was the inspiration for Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days” music video, celebrated its 56th anniversary in 2022. After more than half a century, Charlie’s Corner continues to offer residents a good time with offerings like live music and karaoke as well as events including a costume party on Halloween.
Town honors iconic local establishment
Mayor Michael Gonnelli and the Town Council honored Charles Krajewski at the September 13 meeting. First Ward Councilman Robert Costantino gave brief remarks before presenting the award to Charles and the Krajewski family for the longest-running family business in Secaucus.
“This is an honor for me to be up here doing this,” Costantino said. “This is a plaque honoring Charles Krajewski, who is a veteran owner of Charlie’s Corner for probably longer than you’d like to admit. And this is for running the oldest family-owned business in town. Thank you for your contributions to the community.”
Accepting the award, Charles said: “I’d like to take a couple of seconds and thank everybody. It’s a very nice award. There was a lot of fun getting this, a lot of good years. You know, people going to a bar have a good time. I was there all the time. So that’s a big plus. But thank you very much.”
For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.