Tables Turned

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With a sense of empathy rare among lawmen of the era, members of the Police Chiefs Association of New Jersey gathered in 1915 for a white-stripe dinner. The meal was held at Irvington’s Olympic amusement park, where, the local paper reported, “Pleading guilty to … being a bunch of ‘gourmands,’ some fifty odd men [dined] under the eyes of Warden Hosp of the county penitentiary … on long wooden benches. Tin plates, knives, and forks were … chained to the table in approved fashion. Each diner wore a cap and coat … made by inmates of the Caldwell penitentiary.” After Chief O’ Neill of East Orange gave a speech, the prisoners made a break for it.

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Alan A. Siegel, an Irvington lawyer and local historian, came across this picture while doing research for his book on Olympic Park, which will be published next year by the Irvington Historical Society.

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