Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Pompton Lakes' Maestro of Magic, Herb Newman, Dies of Cancer at 48

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Pompton Lakes' Maestro of Magic, Herb Newman, Dies of Cancer at 48

Article excerpt

It wouldn't have been Halloween without Herb Newman.

The proprietor of the fondly remembered Ann-Dy's Magic and Costumes, which was a mainstay in the Pompton Lakes business district for more than 20 years, died Sunday at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. He was 48.

Mr. Newman, of Wayne, had colon cancer, his brother, Andy, said.

With the long-haired look of a rock star -- fitting for a Led Zeppelin fan -- Mr. Newman rented and sold costumes and Santa suits and sold magic supplies and gag gifts such as whoopee cushions and exploding pens from his little store on Wanaque Avenue.

"The only magic and costume shop in the county," he would say, and that's precisely how he described it when he was featured in a "Meet Your Neighbors" column in the Herald News. (Asked to name his favorite food, Mr. Newman answered Fruity Pebbles.)

Ann-Dy's, which stocked thousands of items, was known for its clutter, "and I think he was cited annually by the Fire Department because there wasn't enough room for people to walk through the store," recalled Dan Dondiego, owner of the Flipside 2 used records music store on Wanaque Avenue. "Like me, Herb pack-ratted a lot of stuff away."

Amid all that stuff were the costumes that animated many a Halloween in North Jersey. For several years running, The Record checked in with Mr. Newman for his take on costume trends.

In 2001, when the 9/11 terror attacks spurred an interest in people masquerading as Osama bin Laden, Mr. Newman said he would have no part in that. "I lost a good dozen friends in the WTC and I'm not laughing about it," he said.

Mr. Newman served as president of the Pompton Lakes Chamber of Commerce and appeared before the Borough Council to address issues of importance to the business community, such as the speed of cars on Wanaque Avenue.

"He was a good-natured person who had good feelings for Pompton Lakes and strived in his own way to do good for the town," said Art Kaffka, the chamber's current president. …

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