Bayonne’s Own: George R. R. Martin

Game of Thrones Cast members Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke and Peter Dinklage, and Bayonne-bred author George R.R. Martin. Illustration by Peter Horvath.

Game of Thrones Cast members Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke and Peter Dinklage, and Bayonne-bred author George R.R. Martin. Illustration by Peter Horvath.

You can’t talk about “All Things Bayonne” without mentioning that author George R. R. Martin was born and raised here.

Born in the fall of 1948, Martin’s parents were Raymond “Smokey”, a longshoreman, and Margaret Martin, a factory worker. They lived in the federal housing project “La Tourette” on First Street.

“I went to school on Fifth Street, and that was pretty much my world, from First Street to Fifth Street, except in my imagination,” he says. “I was a voracious reader of science fiction and fantasy books. We didn’t even own a car, so we never went anywhere.”

Blessed with the vivid imagination that would later create A Song of Ice and Fire, Martin dreamed of traveling and distant lands when looking out at the Kill van Kull.

“There were always big ships on the way to Port Newark, freighters and oil tankers with flags from all over the world,” he says. “I had an encyclopedia with a list of flags in the back, so I would look at all these flags from China and Liberia and England and Denmark. I tried to imagine what it would be like to be voyaging on some of these ships…. Staten Island was Shangri-la to me. It was just lights shining on the water, lights of people that I would never see, people that I would never touch, but it really kindled my imagination.” 

Martin graduated from Marist High School in 1966 and headed off to Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

Read more about George R.R. Martin at NJMonthly.com

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