View Full Version : Does the Execution Murders define Newark?

08-25-2007, 10:08 AM
Mark Di Ionno had an excellent article in the Star Ledger today concerning the three student murders in Newark. I had never seen a map before of where the murders actually took place. As he points out - just a few blocks further - and it wouldn't have been a Newark murder. This atrocity happened on the border of about 5 other towns.

As you can see from this map form the Star-Ledger, the murders occurred no where near downtown Newark, but an area surrounded by other towns.

NewarkDevil5 - I don't want to destroy your thread with this post, but I think it's important to show people that Newark isn't about these murders. The positives have been overshadowed by this and that is just plain unacceptable. (I decided to move this thread)

Newark schoolyard killings — a crime without borders
Mark Di Ionno may be reached at mdiionno@starledger.com or (973) 392-1728.

The schoolyard where three college students were murdered in Newark three weeks ago is four blocks from the 114-unit Maplewood Senior Citizens Housing Complex, and five blocks from the South Orange neighborhoods where many Seton Hall students live off-campus.

The Ivy Hill neighborhood where the six suspects banded together is literally on a large corner where those three towns come together, and just four blocks from one of the tidier residential areas of Irvington. The house in Orange where suspect Jose Carranza lived is a block from West Orange. One of the juvenile suspects lived in Morristown. Simple geography says this is not just a Newark story. Not when the schoolyard where Dashon Harvey, Terrance Aeriel and Iofemi Hightower were shot execution style is closer to the suburban downtowns of Maplewood, West Orange, Springfield, Union and Hillside than it is to downtown Newark.

Not when the murder scene is less than five miles away from the Route 24 corridor of million- and multimillion-dollar homes of North Summit and Short Hills, and the highend mall.

Not when all those places, and nearby Orange and East Orange, have schoolyards where kids hang out at night, and are just a stolen car joyride away.

The cold-blooded depravity of this crime should scare us all. Forget for a moment the illegal immigration side dish that is being served by the national media. The more alarming problem exhibited by this crime is the indifference to human life, including the less-than-human brutality of a machete attack, and the finality of life made possible by the easy access to illegal guns.

A Newark problem?

Geography says its everybody’s problem. Geography says this kind of violence is sneaking out of the confined ‘‘crime-ridden’’ neighborhoods, and may soon be coming to a suburb near you.

A Newark problem?

Not when the three murdered kids had the same kind of résumés and experiences as hundreds of thousands of college-age kids from all over New Jersey: band, student government, parttime jobs and, of course, student loans. One reason Newark Police Director Garry McCarthy and Mayor Cory Booker have downplayed the ‘‘gang-related’’ aspect of the killings is to not cast aspersions on the victims. ‘‘Gang-related’’ is loaded language, and blindly assumes the victims, too, were up to no good. ‘‘Gang-related’’ makes it easy for people outside of Newark to push the murders off as a Newark problem, even when the three dead kids are not much different than their own.

So now Newark wrestles again with its reputation as a place too dangerous to discover and enjoy, just as so much was going right.

The arena is about to open, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center is celebrating its 10 th anniversary and the Newark Museum is headed into a third straight year of double-digit percentage increases in attendance. New dorms have been built at Rutgers-Newark, UMDNJ and near NJIT, and the light rail connecting Broad Street station to Penn Station is done. Luxury apartments have been built at 1180 Raymond Blvd. and more are going up on Edison Place across from the arena.

And then . . .

‘‘Here we go again,’’ said Devils principal owner Jeff Vanderbeek, as he walked through the arena that is scheduled to open in two months with a string of sold-out Bon Jovi concerts. ‘‘Crime is heading down across the board, but this (crime) has overshadowed that. Unfortunately, it’s three steps forward and two steps back.’’

The Newark cultural and entertainment centers have dug out from underneath the high-crime perceptions before.

Vanderbeek said 150,000 people will be coming in for Bon Jovi, and the Devils retained 92 percent of their season ticket holders from the Meadowlands, about 8,000.

‘‘So far, we’ve added about another 3,000,’’ he said. ‘‘These are people who didn’t have season tickets at the Meadowlands.’’

This summer, NJPAC offered a summer concert series featuring pop stars such as Smokey Robinson, Vanessa Williams, Clay Aiken and Diana Krall, as well as the Thursday night outdoor music events that draw thousands.

‘‘We’ve had our best summer ever,’’ said NJPAC president Larry Goldman, ‘‘and our season ticket sales are going well.’’

Goldman does not think the murders will hurt NJPAC.

‘‘In 10 years of bringing half-amillion people a year into the city, we haven’t had one violent incident,’’ he said.

Newark Museum marketing director Mark Albin said his institution brings 300,000 people into the downtown each year and hopes a new photographic and video show called ‘‘India: Public Places, Private Spaces’’ will introduce the museum to new audiences, specifically the Indian populations of Middesex and Morris counties.

‘‘Our visitation is at an alltime high. The downtown improvements continue,’’ Albin said. ‘‘Time will tell if the murders will scare people off, but our experience is that people love this museum and keep coming back because of what we offer.’’

Vanderbeek, too, remains optimistic about the future of the downtown.

‘‘I bet $165 million on it,’’ he said. ‘‘We will be bringing 3 million people a year into this city. It’s up to other entrepreneurs to take advantage of it.’’

And it’s up to the rest of us, cityfolk and suburbanites, many of whom have their American ancestral roots in this city, not to give up on Newark. It’s our own big brother of a city, a place that holds our own storied history and cultures. It’s too close a relative for us not to love.

No matter how atrocious this incident was and how terrible it was, it can't be used to define Newark.

I for one have no problems going into Newark. As I posted in the Iberia Restaurant thread, I was there just this weekend with my father. I plan on doing an article about Newark and the great things to do there.

08-25-2007, 10:31 PM
Do the execution murders represent the TRUE Newark? (Please post explanation)

No. Just as crime does not represent New York, London, LA or many other cities.

Newark as other cities is defined by its culture, people, history, activities, climate and geography.

08-25-2007, 10:38 PM
Do the execution murders represent the TRUE Newark? (Please post explanation)

No. Just as crime does not represent New York, London, LA or many other cities.

Newark as other cities is defined by its culture, people, history, activities, climate and geography.
The sad thing is though - most people don't know anything about Newark except what they get from the news. People know - or think they know - about New York, London, LA - which are all cities I've been to. It's sometimes laughable what people think of NY who have never been there before.

BTW - I'm not disagreeing with you. I'm just wondering if still defines Newark to the outside world. Newark is still defined by the race riots of the 1960's - yet they occurred in almost every city of America, but Newarks were plastered in Newsweek and Time and were used as the poster child for the Race Riots.