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Thread: Newark: The City of New Jersey

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    Default Newark: The City of New Jersey

    There's a thread for Camden, one for Jersey City and one for Trenton. I figured it was time for the true city of New Jersey to get its own thread.

    Newark's got a lot more than people realize. Branch Brook Park and Weequahic Park are the two largest of five parks designed by the same firm that designed Central Park in Manhattan and the National Mall in D.C. There's a thread already in one of the other boards about the cherry blossom festival in Branch Brook Park which has a larger and more diverse selection of the trees than the more famous festival of its kind in D.C.

    The Newark Museum has one of the largest collections of Tibetan art in the world as well as a fully restored Victorian Era Mansion, a petting zoo, and a planetarium. Notable architecture includes: City Hall, the National Newark Building, the Raymond-Commerce Building, Pennsylvania Station, the Federal Courthouse, and the Essex County Courthouse among many others. Next to Branch Brook Park you'll find the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, one of the largest cathedrals in the US.

    Downtown has two large concert venues: New Jersey Performing Arts Center and Newark Symphony Hall, both with concert halls seating more than 2000 apiece. No discussion of Newark is complete without mentioning the Ironbound Portuguese section and its epicenter of Ferry Street with its multitude of wonderful restaurants.

    There are plenty of other interesting things in Newark, but I'd like to talk about the developments in the works: a new waterfront park to mirror one on the other side of the river in Harrison, the new arena for the Devils, the Museum of African American Music, and possibly a New Jersey Jewish Museum.

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    I'm glad you started this thread. I do talk in numerous places about the great things to do in Newark, but you are right, it should have it's own thread also. I'm not surte if you saw this thread, but I have one that includes an article about Queen Latifah having her movie premier in the city - Queen Latifah is a proud New Jerseyan
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    Here is a really great article Queen Latifah did for American Way Magazine....


    Celebrated Weekend
    JERSEY QUEEN

    by MARK SEAL

    SHE’LL WALK THE RED CARPET IN HOLLYWOOD THIS MONTH AT THE OPENING OF HER NEW MOVIE, TAXI, BUT QUEEN LATIFAH SAYS SHE OWES MUCH OF HER SUCCESS TO HER NEWARK UPBRINGING.

    QUEEN LATIFAH IS TRYING TO SEDUCE ME. Not with her bodacious curves or her oversized personality or even her Oscar nomination for her scene-stealing role in Chicago. ? No, she’s trying to seduce me with her hometown. ? “Oh, man, there are so many reasons to go to Newark,” she tells me. “Great food, great places to visit. We’ve got music, culture, good shopping. The people are cool …”

    .
    I stop her midsentence. That rap may be fine for the convention and visitor’s bureau, I say. But I’m stuck mind, body, and soul in Manhattan. “Why would I leave the city that never sleeps to go to … Newark?”

    My insolence almost sends her barreling through the telephone. How dare I doubt the greatness of Newark! How dare I bring my big-city bias to the queendom of Latifah! How could I not know the secrets of the city that produced stars ranging from Shaquille O’Neal to Tony Soprano? How deep is my ignorance that I don’t even realize that Newark is in the midst of an economic and cultural renaissance?

    “Well, you have an hour to convince me why I should come, and then stay, in the city,” I tell her.

    With that, she’s got me on the 20-minute A train from Penn Station, New York, to Penn Station, New Jersey, where she says she’ll pick me up and take me to town on a 24-hour scream that begins, fittingly, with breakfast.

    “Je’s is the spot,” she says. “They serve soul food, but you can get grits, eggs, omelets, pancakes, French toast, and not just regular sausage, but turkey sausage. That’s the clincher for me. I can go there and still stay on my health kick.”

    But I won’t be able to resist temptation, she claims. “In fact, you’ll need a new shirt, because you spilled all kinds of hot sauce while you were eating so much so fast,” she says. “So I gotta take you shopping. We’ll just go right around the corner from Je’s. We don’t even have to drive. We’ll get you a nice, fresh, crisp sweatsuit, or some nice jeans and sneakers.”

    Now that she’s got Newark food in my belly and Newark duds on my back, she’s ready to start getting Newark into my heart.

    “We’ll cruise over to Branch Brook Park,” where, Latifah says, she had her first childhood kiss. If we time it right, the cherry blossoms will be in bloom, she adds, and I will instantly forget about Gotham across the Hudson. “Branch Brook is about near the size of Central Park,” she boasts. “We’ll lie out and take a nap in the sun or under a shady tree as we listen to some music. ’Cause you know I gotta bring a box with me.

    “I would sing, ‘Oh, Happy Day,’ ” she continues, and she begins crooning, her velvety voice pouring through the telephone. “Or maybe we would throw on some Sarah Vaughn. She’s from Newark, you know. Or maybe something by Whitney Houston. She’s from Newark, too. Maybe we would just rock out to some Bon Jovi, also from Jersey. Of course, there’s the Boss, Bruce Springsteen. He’s from Freehold, New Jersey.”

    QUEEN LATIFAH ENTERED THE WORLD in 1970 as Dana Elaine Owens. Her father was a Newark policeman, her mother a member of Newark’s famed Jubilee Choir. She grew up a polite child, who, at eight, was bestowed with an Arabic nickname, thanks to the area’s ethnic population. “In Newark, a lot of people have Arabic nicknames, because the names have meaning,” she explains. “Latifah means sensitive, kind, and nice, and I thought that pretty much fit who I was.”

    As a teen she worked at Burger King, starred in a high school production of The Wiz, and sold records at the Whiz record chain. But then something happened, as it does to so many young people in this city where music rises up from the streets. She began to sing, and then she began to rap, serving as a human beat box with a group called Ladies Fresh.

    Soon they were selling her single — “Wrath of My Madness,” with its flip side “Princess of the Posse” — at the Whiz. Then record company suits began making the pilgrimage from Manhattan to Newark, contracts in hand. When she was 17 and about to sign a deal, Latifah added another moniker from her Jersey upbringing: Queen. “My momma told me I was one, and every man should treat me with that respect,” she explains.

    Thus, Queen Latifah was born, and her first full-length CD, All Hail the Queen, was released to strong reviews. Hollywood would soon beckon with roles in TV (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Living Single) and movies (Jungle Fever, Bringing Down the House). This month, she stars as New York’s fastest cabbie, helping a cop chase a gang of bank robbers in Taxi, an action/comedy costarring Jimmy Fallon.

    Still, despite all her fame and fortune, Latifah’s devotion to her hometown has never strayed.

    “Everything starts with Newark,” she says. “Newark is the heart.”

    “Okay,” I tell her. “You hooked me through breakfast and Branch Brook Park. But I’m heading back across the Hudson if you can’t convince me to stay with some culture.”

    Latifah doesn’t miss a beat.

    “We have a great museum, the Newark Museum, as well as the Newark Library. They’re right next door to each other.”

    Right. I’d heard about the Bruce Spring*steen retrospective the Newark Museum put on earlier this year, I say.

    “I’ve grown up at the museum,” she says. “It’s a great place to take kids, because they have a lot of interactive stuff and things to fascinate the mind. Not just history, but cool ways of showing it. Little gadgets and all kinds of stuff that would turn on a kid’s mind.

    “Another place you’d like to go is the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. It’s a great place to catch a show. It’s a brand-new facility. They also have a fabulous restaurant attached to it, the Theater Square Grill. Every year, they have a great Christmas show at the Performing Arts Center. My mom actually sings in the choir. So we go every year to the Christmas special and it’s great. Every time the snow comes down on that stage, I feel like a little kid. I go for the fake snow and that choir.”

    continued...
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    LATIFAH IS AT THE FOREFRONT OF what The New York Times called a “reawakening” in Newark. “Besides an economic resurgence and ambitious real-estate developments, Newark is seeing a much less publicized flowering of artists, writers, and musicians — honest-to-goodness bohemians,” reported the Times. “It may be transforming itself into a cool city.”

    And the Queen herself is part of that. “We’re trying to put together some affordable housing, as well as some commercial development,” she says. “Primarily, my dream is to make Newark beautiful, to put some beautiful homes there, and kind of get more of a middle-income population moving back into the downtown area.”

    She insists that the distance from her current home in Hollywood to her real home in Newark isn’t all that far.

    “I’ll tell you one reason why you should come to Newark,” she says. “The first film was invented in Newark, New Jersey. Invented and created. So if it wasn’t for Newark, our nice little industrial town, Hollywood might not be here.”

    When I dare ask for proof, for documentation, she says, “All you gotta do is go to www.NewarkNewJersey.com, a website the city has that will give you the whole rundown about what Newark is about.”

    She’s quickly back on her Newark sales pitch. After breakfast and Branch Brook Park, we’d resume shopping, she says. “You can’t beat downtown Newark. You’ve got all the clothes you want and you can actually haggle with people.”

    “You mean, like you can say, ‘I’ll give you $5 for that $10 item?’ ” I inquire.

    “Sure,” she says. “When you’re shopping in certain parts of Manhattan, you ain’t making no deals. The price is the price.”

    Specifically, Dr. Jay’s and Lady Dr. Jay’s are her spots, she says. “Every time my trainer comes in from L.A., she goes out of her mind when she goes into Lady Dr. Jay’s. It’s like a sporting goods store, but she can never find half the things they have in this one store in all of L.A. And she could never get these kind of deals.”

    “All this shopping is making me hungry,” I tell her.

    “One of Jersey’s favorite foods,” she announces, “is the Italian hot dog, or an Italian sausage on a quarter piece of round bread. You can get anything you want on it: sautéed onions, peppers, ketchup, the works. There are a bunch of places you can get it, including right on Bransford Place and Holiday Street.”

    “And what does Newark have to drink?” I ask.

    “Now there’s a good question,” she answers. “You can get drinks at the Theater Square Grill, or you can go right across the street to the Robert Treat Hotel bar and get pretty much anything you like. Me, I like El Patron.”

    “A few shots of tequila might make me forget New York City,” I suggest.

    “I don’t think you’ll make it back after too many of those, so you’ll have to crash at my place,” she says. “But you shouldn’t be doing all that drinking on an empty stomach anyway,” she continues, as she begins rattling off more dining options.

    First and foremost is Maize, the restaurant at the Robert Treat Hotel. “You can get some Asian dishes, some American, some French/Italian. It’s a great mixture,” says Latifah. “The head chef there really has it going on.” But the restaurant she says that would best convince me to forget the Big Apple is John’s Place. “We gotta go to John’s and get us some soul food,” she says. “There is no soul food in Manhattan as good as John’s Place in midtown Newark. I’m sorry, I have eaten at all the spots. It’s good, it’s clean, it’s tasty. Baked chicken and the best short ribs around. It’s also a great bar, and they make a peach daiquiri that’s off the hook.”

    Okay, enough, I’m telling her. It’ll be midnight by now, and I’ll have to get back to New York.

    “Oh, we would find an after party,” she says. “The good thing is, midnight is too early. You don’t even go to a club until midnight. Clubs don’t close until 4 in the morning in New Jersey, so you don’t have to worry about that. You could sleep at my house, ’cause we’re hanging out.”

    So I imagine myself waking up in the palace of the Queen, attempting to slip out the door before she rises and begins hard-selling Newark anew. But I’m too late for that. She’s blocking the doorway before I can make a move, all dressed for a day at the beach.

    “We would get up around 9, have breakfast, and then drive out to Jersey’s beaches. We have some of the best beaches around,” she brags. “We would go to Belmar or Point Pleasant. Or maybe even Seaside Heights. They have a nice amusement park. If we go to Point Pleasant, we would go onto the boardwalk, where the stores sell saltwater taffy. Nobody makes it better than we do in New Jersey.”

    We’ll race into the sea, the salty spray drenching our hair. “The water is nice and clean,” she insists. “We have so many beaches*, and they’re all really long and wide, and not overcrowded. There’s good surf. You can get good four- to five-foot waves out there on a regular day. There’s jet skiing, boating, and really good fishing in Jersey. We would definitely have to drop a jet ski in the water and play around a bit.”

    We’ll be hungry after our swim, she says, so it’s back to the boardwalk, where a cornucopia awaits. “I go to the beach to eat,” she says. “I go there for fried shrimp, fried calamari, pizza, and, of course, hot dogs. You can get all that at Point Pleasant, Belmar, or Seaside Heights. Or you could go to Long Branch or Asbury Park.”

    “Honestly, Latifah,” I interject, “thanks for everything, but I have to …”

    “You’d be tired from swimming,” she continues, undeterred, “so you’d have to relax for a minute and maybe sack out on the beach for a while. Or if you were really up for some fun, we would drive right on down to Great Adventure. That’s Six Flags, man! There are rides there that would scare you [to death]. If you want to see some animals, they have a huge safari park, and there’s a water park nearby.”

    After that, she insists we have dinner in Ironbound, the neighborhood where she once lived, now a melting pot of Spanish, Brazilian, and Portuguese culture, whose dozens of restaurants are all heartily endorsed by the Queen.

    “Spain is probably my favorite,” she says. “One of my favorite appetizers is their garlic shrimp. There’s gotta be about 50 shrimp in garlic and olive oil. Another one of the staples, of course, is the paella. Both Spain and another place called Iberia are known for their fresh seafood, lobster, and all kinds of fish dishes. They’ve got good steaks down there, too. You’ll find waiters dressed in white shirts and vests with the little bolero jackets. They usually have a white napkin over their arms and are ready to serve.”

    Once dinner is done, and before Latifah can lure me to a house party raging until dawn, I’m back on the train to New York. I envision her running alongside the track as the train begins to roll. Take a walk on the wild side! she seems to be admonishing me. Come to Newark! Join the renaissance! And I’m leaping off the train, surrendering to Latifah, succumbing to Newark.

    Because where else can you party in the palace of a queen?


    MARK SEAL is an American Way contributing editor whose writing has also appeared in Vanity Fair, Esquire, Playboy, and Time.
    I've been meaning to post this for a while now.
    New Jersey is the only state honored by two resorts at Walt Disney World. The Beach Club Resort, modeled after Historic Cape May and The Boardwalk Resort, after Atlantic City. If the Jersey Shore is good enough for Walt Disney to recreate, isn't the REAL Jersey Shore even better for you and your family?

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    Default Unfortunately, the rest of the state hates Newark.

    Instead of seeing the city's potential as a catalyst for pride and identity for the whole state, our leaders bash Newark any chance they get. The Newark Arena is a perfect example of this. Instead of the state getting behind the plan and using it for redevelopment, they put down the city and became "concerned about NJ taxpayers ". They put fear into people with visions of "suburban fans having to drive unsafe Newark streets to games".Funny how there's no taxpayer concern over the new Giant Stadium deal, though. And fans can take mass transit to games, something they can't do at the Meadowlands.

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    Default Newark, like other cities in NJ are being marketed

    to New Yorkers and Philadelphians as cheaper living alternatives. NJ cities are not being utilized as urban centers but more as "suburbs" to NY and Phila. A city like Newark should be revitalized to become OUR economic, cultural and entertainment hub, not just because it's got nifty mass transportation to New York!! Love him or hate him, Mayor Sharpe James always was a cheerleader for the city even back when Newark was left for dead. I hope the next mayor will continue that trend.

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    Quote Originally Posted by beatman10
    to New Yorkers and Philadelphians as cheaper living alternatives. NJ cities are not being utilized as urban centers but more as "suburbs" to NY and Phila. A city like Newark should be revitalized to become OUR economic, cultural and entertainment hub, not just because it's got nifty mass transportation to New York!!
    I agree with you 150% on this one. That is one of the problems with NJ. Even peopel in the tourism industry such as the Newark Museum, just view that area as a surburb of NY and not a place to develop as a cultural center. Waht is so sickening about this, is that these cities have such a great history and were founded in colonial times. They were NOT developed as suburbs of NY, but our politicans are letting them lose their identity.

    I was basically mocked at the Governors Confernece by Gateway Region representatives, one being from Circle Line and the other being from the Newark Museum, for suggesting that Broad St could be redeveloped as the Times Square of Newark. As I said before, people seem to forget what condition NY was in, and that during the 70's and 80's the only thing going for it was that it probably had the largest rats in America.

    BTW - this is another problem NJ faces. People from NY move here, but they don't "live" here. They don't go to our restaurants or our museums, or explore all the great things NJ has to offer. They merely use it as an inexpensive place to live, but still allows them to work and play in NY.

    You might be interested in this. There is a group of New Jerseyans who actually support NY extending their subway into NJ so it'll be easier for people to get to NY. I e-mailed them and told them why is everyone alwaystrying to send our tax dollars out of the state to NY. Why doens't anyone try to bringing New Yorkers - not to live, but to visit, and bring their tax dollars here. I've never heard of transportation project proposed that said "this will enable New Yorkers to more easily get to New Jersey", it's always - "this will enable New Jerseyans to more easily get to NY". And people wonder why NJ - the highest per capita income in the country, has such a huge budget deficit.
    Love him or hate him, Mayor Sharpe James always was a cheerleader for the city even back when Newark was left for dead. I hope the next mayor will continue that trend.
    I do give Sharpe James credit for being a cheerleader of Newark. I don't know enough about him otherwise to make a decision. I do hope that Booker will be a person that will work to give Newark an itdentiy and revitalize it. Not just turn it into a surbub of NY as you have said.
    New Jersey is the only state honored by two resorts at Walt Disney World. The Beach Club Resort, modeled after Historic Cape May and The Boardwalk Resort, after Atlantic City. If the Jersey Shore is good enough for Walt Disney to recreate, isn't the REAL Jersey Shore even better for you and your family?

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    Well - Booker won. I hope he will be a good mayor for Newark. I had somewhat supported him last election, but as beatman pointed out in the nets thread, he was against the Devils Arena. I considered that a mark against him. I wanted someone who wouldn't screw up the arena deal again. Now it's time for him to prove that he has what it takes to get Newark on track - and as has been pointed out - not as a NY surburb either.
    New Jersey is the only state honored by two resorts at Walt Disney World. The Beach Club Resort, modeled after Historic Cape May and The Boardwalk Resort, after Atlantic City. If the Jersey Shore is good enough for Walt Disney to recreate, isn't the REAL Jersey Shore even better for you and your family?

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    I was just looking at information on the population of Newark and it's really quite distrubing. I really hope the trend will start reversing itself, but really New Jerseyans themselves have to start looking at the new Newark that is developing.

    So what is so disturbing? Well it's the population numbers...

    1666: 200 (est.)
    1776: 1,000 (est.)
    1800: 6,000 (est.)
    1830: 10,953
    1850: 38,894
    1890: 181,390
    1900: 246,070
    1910: 347,469
    1920: 414,524
    1930: 442,337
    1940: 429,760
    1950: 438,776
    1960: 405,220
    1980: 329,248
    1985: 314,000
    1990: 275,221
    2000: 273,546


    Look at that - in 1930 Newark had a population of 442,337 and since then it has been in steady decline. It has about half the population it had 70 years ago. People can keep saying that the decline of Newark was from the race riots, but I feel those were merely a symptom of the overall problems that the city had encountered starting in the 1930's & 40's. I would bet much of the decline was facilitate by the building of the New Jersey Turnpike. People left NJ's cities for the suburbs and it is about time that we work at bringing people OUT of the suburbs, prevent this constant sprawl and get people and businesses back to New Jersey's cities such as Newark!

    BTW - I feel the Newark Arena will be the cornerstone of the new revitalization of Newark. I fully support this project as I have said in the Newark Arena thread. I hope to hell Booker does not screw up this project and kill it.
    New Jersey is the only state honored by two resorts at Walt Disney World. The Beach Club Resort, modeled after Historic Cape May and The Boardwalk Resort, after Atlantic City. If the Jersey Shore is good enough for Walt Disney to recreate, isn't the REAL Jersey Shore even better for you and your family?

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    Quote Originally Posted by JerseyDevil
    I was just looking at information on the population of Newark and it's really quite distrubing. I really hope the trend will start reversing itself, but really New Jerseyans themselves have to start looking at the new Newark that is developing.

    So what is so disturbing? Well it's the population numbers...

    1666: 200 (est.)
    1776: 1,000 (est.)
    1800: 6,000 (est.)
    1830: 10,953
    1850: 38,894
    1890: 181,390
    1900: 246,070
    1910: 347,469
    1920: 414,524
    1930: 442,337
    1940: 429,760
    1950: 438,776
    1960: 405,220
    1980: 329,248
    1985: 314,000
    1990: 275,221
    2000: 273,546


    Look at that - in 1930 Newark had a population of 442,337 and since then it has been in steady decline. It has about half the population it had 70 years ago. People can keep saying that the decline of Newark was from the race riots, but I feel those were merely a symptom of the overall problems that the city had encountered starting in the 1930's & 40's. I would bet much of the decline was facilitate by the building of the New Jersey Turnpike. People left NJ's cities for the suburbs and it is about time that we work at bringing people OUT of the suburbs, prevent this constant sprawl and get people and businesses back to New Jersey's cities such as Newark!

    BTW - I feel the Newark Arena will be the cornerstone of the new revitalization of Newark. I fully support this project as I have said in the Newark Arena thread. I hope to hell Booker does not screw up this project and kill it.
    Actually, I think the real population decline started right after WWII when the veterans came back and bought homes with their VA loans. The suburbs were being marketed to them with newer, more affordable housing units with more land. New highways like the Turnpike promised fast travel to jobs still located in Newark and other NJ cities. As more and more people left Newark, the jobs soon followed along with shopping, growth and entertainment. I think the building of Route 280 was more of a major player in Newarks declining population than the Turnpike, because it cut right through the city giving commuters easier bypass of Newark. I do like the Stickel Bridge, which was built in the late 40s. It's a cool looking drawbridge,as long as you don't drive over it at rush hour:

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    This surprisingly was in the Star Ledger. This is the same newspaper that routinely pushes the negative stereotypes about Newark and hardly has anything nice to say about the city.
    Crossing the river to rebuild a city
    Newark’s new point man on development grappled with aftermath of 9/11
    BY KATIE WANG STAR-LEDGER STAFF

    NEW YORK — Months after the Twin Towers collapsed, Stefan Pryor watched as a caravan of moving trucks lined the streets of Lower Manhattan.

    Pryor, who lived several blocks from the World Trade Center, did not consider joining the stampede of residents fleeing the city. Instead, he became the first and only employee working at a newly formed agency called the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., which was charged with overseeing the rebuilding of Ground Zero.

    ‘‘There was a sense that Lower Manhattan would never recover,’’ said Pryor, who has been president of the LMDC for the past 15 months.

    Now Pryor is crossing the Hudson River to take on another challenge — transforming Newark into a magnet for businesses and developers. Pryor, a Yale Law School classmate of Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s, has been appointed the city’s deputy mayor for economic development, charged with jump-starting the city’s economic development office.

    ‘‘This is not a disaster recovery, but a major recovery,’’ said Booker, explaining why he selected the Pryor, 34.

    Although luxury apartments, a performing arts center and the beginnings of a pro hockey arena have cropped up in recent years, the state’s largest city is still considered a hard sell, due in part to its image of violence, developers say.

    And while housing values are rising in Newark, the city council voted last year to declare the entire city a redevelopment zone, which gives the government authority to seize and raze property by eminent domain.

    Developers are also waiting to take cues from this new administration. Discounted sales of city-owned land for $4 per square foot were put on hold earlier this year by a state Superior Court judge, and developers are hoping Booker’s office will introduce a more organized and standardized way of reviewing proposals by developers.

    ‘‘I think Newark is one of the most exciting places in New Jersey,’’ said Gil Medina, former New Jersey secretary of commerce and executive managing director for Cushman & Wakefield, a real estate firm. ‘‘I believe there is a perception of Newark that is not consistent with the reality of Newark.’’

    Booker said he wants Pryor to complete a master plan and create an autonomous economic development agency, a role formerly filled by the Newark Economic Development Corp.

    ‘‘This is a chance to be a major impact player to help us restart the department of economic development, to focus on the key areas of wealth creation in minority communities, planning and development,’’ Booker said.

    Pryor is scheduled to start his new post in September after the LMDC, a temporary organization, officially closes shop and hands off its duties to other agencies in New York.

    Hunting for solutions and building alliances are skills Pryor has honed over the years, say friends and colleagues. Even though politicians and community groups have griped about the LMDC’s sluggish pace for redevelopment, they do not blame Pryor.

    ‘‘My impression is that he was always a loyal soldier’’ for Gov. George Pataki, said David Dyssegaard Kallick, a senior fellow at the Fiscal Policy Institute, a research and watchdog group in New York. ‘‘I don’t blame him for the problems. I don’t think he was in much of a position to develop his own independent vision or try to implement a vision of his own, so he didn’t.’’

    New York City Councilman Alan Gerson said the agency’s problems were institutional.

    ‘‘My criticism has always been directed at the structure at the LMDC and the process given to (Pryor) by the governor and his folks who created the LMDC,’’ Gerson said. ‘‘I’ve always been impressed by his capabilities and his commitment to development.’’

    Pryor was born in New York City, raised in New City, a suburb in upstate New York, and attended college and law school at Yale University in New Haven.

    While he was a student at Yale, he was elected to New Haven’s 30-member Board of Aldermen in 1993. After one year in office, he left his seat for a job working as a policy adviser for the city’s mayor.

    Julie Horowitz, a Yale classmate, said Pryor immersed himself in the community, not just the school.

    ‘‘He loves government,’’ Horowitz said. ‘‘There aren’t many people who do.’’

    Pryor, the son of teachers, also took an interest in that field and was one of the founders of a charter school in New Haven called the Amistad Academy. The school opened in 1999 and is still operating.

    ‘‘He is someone who could frequently step into the background so that others could be the ones who take the credit,’’ said Dacia Toll, a co-founder of the school and law school classmate.

    It was at law school that Pryor and Booker crossed paths, building a friendship on their mutual interest in urban issues.

    After graduating from law school in 1998, Pryor moved to Lower Manhattan to work for the Partnership for New York City, a nonprofit group focused on boosting the city’s economy. He was vice president of the group when terrorists slammed two planes into the Twin Towers on 9/11.

    Pryor spent the weeks after the attack answering phones at a Brooklyn-based call center for businesses and CEOs.

    In November, the LMDC, a citystate agency, was formed to take the lead in rebuilding that area and to distribute $2.7 billion in federal funds.

    He became LMDC’s first employee after meeting with the agency’s chairman, John Whitehead, a senior partner at Goldman Sachs & Co., who hired Pryor on the spot.

    As the rebuilding process got under way, the LMDC often found itself in the crossfire between different camps about the most fitting tribute to replace the Twin Towers.

    Friends said Pryor held his own, even in the most stressful moments.

    ‘‘He is adept at managing complicated situations,’’ said Horowitz.

    Shortly after Booker w a s elected in May, he called Pryor and encouraged him to join the administration.

    Pryor said it was a difficult decision because he devoted so much time to LMDC, where he earns $213,200 as president.

    Realizing his stint at the LMDC was coming to a close, though, he accepted the deputy mayor post, which pays $88,903.

    Pryor said he plans to ‘‘set up and start up’’ an operation for the city’s development office. This, he said, involves recruiting people and building a strong staff.

    ‘‘Newark is a city that has not come close to realizing its potential,’’ Pryor said. ‘‘If cities had the emotion of jealousy, I’m sure they would be jealous of Newark.’’
    It is nice to see someone finally say - or at least to see it publily printed in a newspaper - ‘‘I believe there is a perception of Newark that is not consistent with the reality of Newark.’’ I agree with this. There are so many people I talk to who say "newark? I wouldn't step foot there for a million bucks, unless I'm suicidal." :rolls: That is so far removed from the reality that newark is becoming. New York City was able to make people forget it's seedy and down trodden past of only 20 years ago, I believe Newark can do the same.

    I still have a slight concern though - I do NOT want Newark to be developed or portrayed as a "suburb" of New York City or as an extension of that city. It should be promoted as the BEST New JERSEY city. I hope Stefan Pryor, who seems to be NY though and through - will actually fight for Newark and do what is best for Newark and New JERSEY. Too many times these redevelopment projects along the northeast section of New Jersey are planned out in assciation with how they fit in with NY.
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    In October, NJN is going to have on "Once & Future Newark". I just wanted to give people a heads up. They didn't give an exact date though.
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    Default Whatever way Newark goes, so does the rest of NJ.

    Newark is our Detroit,our Los Angeles,our Baltimore, etc. You get the picture, it's our largest and most important city. How we allow the city to develop affects us in all parts of the state. You ignore Newark at your own risk, as someone once said. Newark has a new mayor, Cory Booker, who comes with a lot of potential. He's young, chrismatic, is said to have a good business head, and wants to make city government more accountable. He also is committed to stopping the increasing crime and murders in the city. I hope he is successful, because that would go a long way in changing the negative image that still plagues the city. I only hope that Cory can make Newark the PREMIER NEW JERSEY CITY and not just living quarters for New Yorkers. Lord knows we have enough towns that are simply that: New York's bedrooms. I'd love to see him attract some businesses to headquarter in Newark. I have a lot of pride in Newark, and I think Newark can become it's own economic region powerhouse. Newark's time is definitely overdue.

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    Beatman - so what is your feeling for Cory Booker now? He seems to be really making some changes and one of my big concerns about him - he's now reversed. When he was campaigning I was concerned he would come in a put a stop or at least a serious wrench into the Newark Arena. With some minor chnages - which I feel will help Newark (hiring more Newark residents, using the arena video screens to promote the city, etc) he has now actively embraced the Arena. He is even talking to the Nets about moving there - which will be GREAT - as long as they keep New JERSEY in their name.

    In addition he seems to be working hard at combatting crime, and the negative image of Newark - this is what turned New York around. I really do feel, from what I have seen, that Cory Booker is great for Newark and will probably be muh better than Sharpe James. Although James was a big proponent of Newark - he had a lot of sleazy deals going on. His administations were very corrupt, but seemed to be fully revealed until AFTER he left office.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JerseyDevil
    Beatman - so what is your feeling for Cory Booker now? He seems to be really making some changes and one of my big concerns about him - he's now reversed. When he was campaigning I was concerned he would come in a put a stop or at least a serious wrench into the Newark Arena. With some minor chnages - which I feel will help Newark (hiring more Newark residents, using the arena video screens to promote the city, etc) he has now actively embraced the Arena. He is even talking to the Nets about moving there - which will be GREAT - as long as they keep New JERSEY in their name.

    In addition he seems to be working hard at combatting crime, and the negative image of Newark - this is what turned New York around. I really do feel, from what I have seen, that Cory Booker is great for Newark and will probably be muh better than Sharpe James. Although James was a big proponent of Newark - he had a lot of sleazy deals going on. His administations were very corrupt, but seemed to be fully revealed until AFTER he left office.
    Sorry it took me so long to reply!!
    I think Cory took the only action he could on the arena. If he stopped it, he would have opened the city to massive lawsuits and developers would have blacklisted the city for years to come. Truth is, Cory needs more people like Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek to come in and invest. Cory was able to get more concessions from the Devils.
    You're right about about Sharpe James, though. Yeah, he had a great run there for a while, but in his final years in office, he just became another face of what's wrong with NJ politics, especially with his latest vacation scandal in Brazil.
    I hope Cory is successful in turning Newark's negative image around. I would love to see more corporations relocating to Newark, and I want to see the city return to it's days of might and grandeur. I just wonder if the rest of NJ will jump on the Newark bandwagon or will they continue to hate the city. I also wonder if our state officials will finally get behind Newark, or will they continue to do New York's bidding and fight Newark at every turn. After all, a lot of campaign contributions are received by our lawmakers from NY. It wouldn't surprise me at all to find out our state officials are paid to keep Newark down!

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    Listening to Channel 7 Eyewitness News out of New York, you would think that Newark was going no where. However, the latest crime stats have come out and crime is down 20%. Funny ho New York media covers every shooting and bad event in Newark, but when this news was released, there wasn't a word (at least from Eyewitness News). I've always accused the New York media of being anti-New Jersey and this is just more proof of it. Sadly though, not even the Star ledger made a big deal of it. Where did they cover the story - on page 6. Newark is our largest and greatest city, the livelihood and health of this great city should be the concern of ALL New Jerseyans.

    Newark applauds big drop in crime
    20 percent decrease for first half of year
    BY JONATHAN SCHUPPE STAR-LEDGER STAFF
    Jonathan Schuppe may be reached at jschuppe@starledger.com or (973) 392-7960.


    Crime of all types dropped dramatically in Newark during the first half of 2007, according to statistics released yesterday by the police department.

    The numbers, covering offenses tracked annually by the FBI, show a 20 percent overall decline in crime.

    If that trend continues for the rest of the year, Newark could enjoy its 12 th straight year of reductions in total crime.

    The data also shows that Newark could end a four-year rise in murders. When he was elected last year, Mayor Cory Booker said his success would hinge on his ability to stem the murder rate. The city ended 2006 with 106 murders, the most since 1990.

    In the first six months of 2007, there were 48 murders, compared with 51 during the same period last year. Underlying that small reduction was a steeper drop in shootings, to 154 from 220 (those numbers cover all shooting incidents, including gun murders, but do not include the total number of shooting victims).

    Booker called those numbers a success, but said he wasn’t satisfied.

    ‘‘The city of Newark is moving in the right direction. We’re not moving as quickly as we want, but crime is dropping,’’ he said at a news conference announcing the statistics.

    The data showed that every other individual category of crime — rapes, robberies, assaults, burglaries, thefts and car thefts — was down as well.

    Mike Wagers, director of the Police Institute at Rutgers-Newark, said the city seems to be responding to changes made by Police Director Garry McCarthy, who came to Newark in October after serving as chief crime strategist for the New York Police Department.

    He cited the creation of a new unit to track down fugitives and a crackdown on quality of life offenses, such as public drinking.

    Other initiatives, like the narcotics and criminal intelligence units, will bear fruit later, he said.

    But Wagers cautioned against looking too much into the murder reduction.

    ‘‘The police deserve credit, but the murder number is only a difference of three. So you could have a bad weekend and it could be back up,’’ Wagers said.

    McCarthy said the reductions were not by accident. He attributed much of the drop to the quality of life crackdowns, in which officers stop people for small violations such as public drinking and often find guns in their waistbands — or outstanding warrants on their records.

    ‘‘The bad guys are clearly off balance,’’ McCarthy said. ‘‘We’re interacting with them in a way they don’t expect.’’
    What's even worse about the Star Ledger not having this on the front page is that the Star Ledger is a "Newark" newspaper. Their full name is the "Newark Star Ledger".

    Change is happening in Newark....
    Newark is taking change to the streets
    Improvement project will spend $17.5M on new lighting, curbs, signs and other changes
    Wednesday, June 27, 2007
    BY CARMEN JURI
    Star-Ledger Staff


    The drab and barren streets in downtown Newark will be transformed with new lighting, signs, plantings and other improvements as part of a $17.5 million project designed to make the city more inviting to pedestrians.

    The three-year project, which began yesterday, calls for benches, graffiti-proof trash cans, old-fashioned streetlamps, poles with hanging baskets and four different groups of trees to be planted on narrow side streets, and larger, wider varieties gracing boulevards like Broad Street. Every corner will have granite curb cuts, allowing for smooth access to crosswalks for all pedestrians.

    The first phase of the project focuses on the streets between Newark Penn Station and the new Prudential Center arena, which is expected to attract thousands of new visitors to Newark when it opens in October.

    The streetscape project is the largest to be financed by a Special Improvement District in New Jersey, said Anthony McMillan, executive director of Newark Downtown District.

    The New Jersey Economic Development Authority has approved $10 million in bonds to be issued on behalf of the NDD for the project, and the remainder of the funds will be supplied by the city, the Newark Urban Enterprise Zone and PSE&G, McMillan said.

    "This is an enormous step for ward, using private money to improve public streets," McMillan said.

    Mayor Cory Booker said the plan will forever change the way Newark is viewed and positively impact city residents.

    "Jobs, jobs, jobs," Booker said. "It will create an environment more attractive to employers like retail."

    The Downtown District itself will provide more jobs to Newarkers through the project, he said.

    "It adds to the economic vitality of Newark, to the joy, hope and prosperity of our city," he said. "In the journey for complete urban transformation, this is one giant step."

    The first phase, which expected to be completed by September, will focus on portions of Market Street, Edison Place, Alling Street and Mulberry Street. The area was planned to be improved first, since it is the neighborhood surrounding the new arena.

    "We moved our phases with the opening of the arena," McMillan said. "We want people who are going to travel into our city to come to, say, a Bon Jovi concert, and we want their experiences and perceptions of Newark to be a good one."

    Dan Biederman, president of BRV Corp., a New York-based consulting firm specializing in self-financing neighborhood redevelopment programs, said this project is modeled after a streetscape project he led on 34th Street in New York City.

    The New York project was funded by private money, as were three other projects he led in New York and Philadelphia. The Newark project is also unusual because it falls into that category, he said.

    "This is an extremely sensible and sophisticated city government working with hard-working private sector people," Biederman said.

    As part of the project, new graffiti-resistant trash receptacles will have a 36-gallon capacity and a decorative shell enclosure. Durable newspaper boxes will be installed in later phases of the project, helping to reduce clutter on sidewalks and improve pedestrian access.

    Signs will also be improved and color-coded with directional signs for motorists, signs marking street names, and pedestrian-oriented signs that will provide directions and distances to major destinations, retailers and historic landmarks.

    Doug Sarini, chairman of the Newark Downtown District, said the changes will improve the city's economic viability.

    "It's the ultimate public/private partnership," Sarini said.

    "It's super exciting, emblematic of the progress that's possible in Newark," said Deputy Mayor Ste fan Pryor, Newark's deputy mayor for economic development.

    Carmen Juri may be reached at cjuri@starledger.com or (973) 392-1853.
    New Jerseyans and especially our politicians need to get behind our cities, from Camden, to Jersey City, to Newark , to Atlantic City. Without thriving cities, the state severly suffers as a whole. Cities are the life blood of any state - they are the heart. What do people think of when they hear of Los Angeles, Nashville, Indianapolis, Portland? There is NO reason for our cities to be in the condition that they are, other than the fact that New Jerseyans and our politicians work more for the betterment of New York and Philadelphia - which does NOTHING for the New Jersey economy. People have a choice, we can make New Jersey a better place by creating our cities into world class destinations, or we can continue to live in this rut that we have been in for decades and even centuries.

    It's time for a change!

    This is what new Jerseyans can do - instead of going to Broadway - go to The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC). Instead of going to Madison Square Garden - go to the new Prudential Center and cheer on our home team the New JERSEY Devils. Instead of going to a museum in New York, check out the fantastic Newark Museum which has the largest collection of Tibetan art outside of Tibet. Check out the fantastic restaurants in the Iron Bound District. Believe me - I've been to Newark. I've walked Broad Street at 9:00 at night. Yeah it needs work, but it will take visitors, it will take money, it will take a change of attitude on the part of New Jerseyans to make this change fully take root and grow!!!
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    What ever you guys say, I still feel insecure walking on the streets of Newark. I think I see that as a main reason for the population staying in Newark.
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