LITTLE FALLS, N.J. — Little Falls historian Robert Restaino wants to take you to the places you have known
On his Facebook pages, "The Paper Boy of Bergen County" and "The Paper Boy of Passaic County," he posts hundreds of classic photographs ripped from the pages of The Record, The Star-Ledger and various other newspapers.
His goal is to help older generations slip back in time.
"Us Baby Boomers are really connected to our childhood," said Restaino, 55, who goes by the nickname "Bobby Cole." "These photos click the memory bank and can bring us back to something we haven't thought about in forty or fifty years.
"I've had people email me saying they saw their mother in a picture I posted and now they can't stop crying."
The Newark native's affinity for the past began at a young age.
"As a kid I remember I always wanted my parents to put on the projector so we could watch home movies," Restaino said. "There was something fascinating to me about watching something that already happened."
Restaino began collecting classic photographs 30 years ago after he happened upon an old photo of himself in the Belleville Times while studying microfilm at the library.
"It was such a thrill to see that photo and I knew other people would probably have that same feeling," he said.
Restaino worked for the Newark Fire Department for 10 years and then ran a retro-themed restaurant in Montclair for 11 years. When he retired in 2007, he decided to start posting his classic photograph collection on Facebook.
He launched "The Paper Boy" Facebook pages — which also features Hudson, Morris, Union and Essex County editions — in April to consolidate his collection in one place.
Now he spends his days scouring microfilm at northern New Jersey libraries and going to estate sales on the weekends.
"Whenever I go, I always hope a newspaper hoarder lived there," he said.
Any interesting photos he finds he snaps a picture of on his phone or scans onto his computer. Then he posts them to Facebook and watches as the comments and "likes" come rolling in.
"It is wonderful to watch everybody chime in," Restaino said. "I feel like a history teacher in a weird kind of way."
Restaino intends to continue posting his classic photos to Facebook, and is also considering starting a website.
"It is a great feeling being able to provide people with something they would probably never see otherwise," Restaino said. "I wanted to share my passion and it is working out well."
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.