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Remembering Bob Fishkin

By Ron Miskoff—

It was with deep sadness that I read the obituary of Robert Fishkin, the longtime owner of the former Fishkin’s store on Madison Avenue.

Bob was a true gentleman, and I knew him during several different parts of my life, dating all the way back to when I was a boy of 15. A friend and I would take the bus from Avenel into Perth Amboy with just enough money in our pockets to pay for bus fare, lunch at the Amboy Lunch on Smith Street and admission to the Majestic Theater or the Royal.

After lunch we would wander around the downtown and invariably find ourselves in Fishkin’s looking at the toys. We would play with the air rifles and plastic models just long enough for Bob to chase us out.

Later, as an adult I met him in his connection as the former president of the Chamber of Commerce. I followed him many years later as president, and often, we would find ourselves together with the other former presidents whenever the Chamber had a dinner or event that honored former presidents.

But nothing surpasses the years I worked as a professional photographer. During those years, I had little interest in the toy side of Fishkin’s and a lot of interest in the photo side. If you went into Fishkin’s on a Saturday morning, you would see scores of professional photographers lining up to buy a last-minute box of 120 film or a lens for a wedding later that day. Bob, although in the midst of many people asking for his attention, was always gentlemanly and helpful.

I know that Fishkin’s wasn’t the lowest priced store for photo goods, but it was always the most complete. Bob helped me when I purchased my Mamiya 645, a professional camera that would give me many years of service — until digital photography rendered it obsolete.

I will always remember Perth Amboy’s great store, and it’s owner, Bob Fishkin.

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