Note: This website has no control over the ads placed on it. Caveat emptor.
By L. Craig Schoonmaker, Webmaster
Resurgence City Website, Newark USA
February 29, 2004
Mural in One Gateway Center
In October 2004, three European artists brought in by Advance Realty, the manager of the Gateway Center complex in Downtown Newark, painted the mural shown above on the back wall of the ground floor of One Gateway Center, first of the Gateway buildings to be built (in 1971). For an explanation of the conception behind the mural and how it was executed, see my "Newark USA" blog entries of October 18, 20, and 29, 2004.
Early morning view of Downtown Newark as seen from the Jackson Street Bridge.
The Raymond-Commerce Building appears in a gap between buildings farther in front.
This is the second gallery on this website. I created the first before I got my current camera (an Olympus Stylus 300) and newest graphics software (JASC's Paint Shop Pro 8.0). I hope visitors notice an improvement in the quality of my fotos over time. If you know of other websites with fotos of interest to people who'd like to know more about New Jersey's Resurgence City, tell me. And if you have good fotos you'd be willing to share with others via this website (for free, out of the goodness of your heart and love for Newark), let me see them. Maybe you have already portrayed places I have yet to get to.
This is the same general area seen before dawn.
I spent a wonderful afternoon walking around Branch Brook Park in the vicinity of the Roman Catholic Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, shortly after the peak of the Cherry Blossom Festival. BBPk is an Essex County park that spans Newark and its northern suburb, Belleville. It has more flowering cherry trees, of more varieties, than the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C. (see the photo near the top of the Resurgence City home page). The best displays of cherry blossoms are in Belleville, my friend Joe (who just happens to live in Belleville) keeps telling me. Most of the Essex County parks are big, empty lots of trees and grass, with almost nobody in them. Not BBPk, not that day. It was much like a scaled-down Central Park, with far fewer tall buildings around, but the same sense of serenity with multiplicity in the sunlite you get on a good day in New York's central park. There were people whose ancestors hail from East Asia and South Asia and Africa and Europe, all getting along splendidly in this wonderful city and wonderful country. The sun was shining, the ducks were ducking. Young people were throwing a frisbee-like hollow ring with a ribbon attached, and kicking soccer balls. One group was insufficiently wary of the slope to the lake, and their ball got to the lake before they could. When I left, it was there still, despite efforts to retrieve it with a fishing pole oh: there's trout fishing in the lake.
Here is a view of the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart from Branch
Note the stone lion at lower right.
I attended an opening at the Newark Museum (I'm a member) of a show by Ethiopian-born artist Wosene Worke Kosrof. The event began with a talk by Kosrof in the main auditorium illustrated by slides (left picture). We then retired to munchies in the lounge area and to a viewing of his exhibition (on the right).
The Newark Museum is across from Washington Park, in which are various statues, including one by the sculptor of Mount Rushmore, Gutzon Borglum, and the statue below of George Washington by distinguished sculptor J. Massey Rhind, who is represented in the National Statuary Hall Collection of the U.S. Capitol Building by a statue in the Senate corridor. As you can see by comparing the size of the statue with that of the pretty lady in the picture (my sister Trina), the Washington statue appears to be a little less than life-size.
In finding my way to the DMV (now called Motor Vehicle Services) I chanced to see an extremely ornate flagpole base in Lincoln Park and after several busy months found my way to the park to take pictures. While there I saw the intriguing sign shown on the left below and saw close up the apparently abandoned church with little trees or shrubs growing out of its top that I had noticed in passing by on Broad Street on various occasions.
I checked the Internet as to the claim about the first President of the Republic of Texas (to tell my brother who lives outside Houston), and it's true. I also found out why there is vegetation growing out of the tower of the church. It turns out that the church is no longer a full structure but only a facade. It was originally the South Park Presbyterian Church, built in 1853 near what was then called South Park (put those thoughts of the Comedy Central adult-cartoon series out of your mind!), not yet Lincoln Park. Abraham Lincoln spoke to a large crowd from its front steps in 1861, and the nearby park was renamed for the martyred President in 1869. Fitting, I think, inasmuch as he had a real connection to Newark and that immediate vicinity within Newark.
Stone tracery on second floor of the old Bamberger's Department Store building, which
became a Macy's before Macy's left town. Word is that it is being converted to a high-tech office center,
but I see no sign of any development above the stores on the ground floor, which include a Rite-Aid and Old Navy.
In checking the dates for the church's various uses, I discovered that there is a third statue by Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor of Mount Rushmore, in Newark, in Washington Park. (I'm glad I had said on the index page of this site that there were "at least" two, both pictured on that page. Now I have to go back to Washington Park to take a picture of the 'Indian and Puritan', and make sure I have a closeup picture of the statue of Washington and any other statuary that is there too.
Steel-and-glass roof over ramp in Newark Penn Station leading down from
the PATH inbound platform.
Guide2Newark.com says that the South Park church's
"distinctive twin towers were shortened in 1964 [presumably for safety reasons, to avert falling debris]. Through most of its life South Park served a Presbyterian congregation, but from 1974 to 1989 it also housed the Light-house Temple, which fed and cared for thousands of homeless and hungry. The building was shut in 1989 because of deterioration, and most of it was destroyed by fire in July 1992. There has been talk of preserving the ruin in a park-like setting."
It turns out that the only thing left to preserve is the two towers and facade between. As you can see from a New Jersey church website, there's just an empty lot behind!
That "talk of preserving the ruin in a park-like setting" has evolved into something grander. According to Wikipedia.com,
"In February 2004, plans were announced for a new Smithsonian affiliated Museum of African-American music to be built in the city's Lincoln Park neighborhood. The museum will be dedicated to black musical styles from gospel to rap. The new museum will incorporate the facade of the old South Park Presbyterian Church (where Abraham Lincoln once spoke), and groundbreaking may be in winter, 2006."
I hope that happens.
The photo to the right portrays a statue of Frederick T. Frelinghuysen, with the spire of the Episcopalian Trinity and St. Philips's Cathedral beyond, in Military Park, Downtown Newark. Frelinghuysen was U.S. Secretary of State from 1881 to 1885, after having served as a New Jersey Attorney General and a U.S. Senator. He was part of a dynasty of New Jersey politicians, including the present Congressman from the 11th District, Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, and was buried in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Newark, wherein lie as well several other notables, including New Jersey governors, Congressmen (including a Speaker of the House!), and Senators.
One of the signs of vitality in any city is the health of the sidewalks "street life". While the sidewalks don't always bustle, there are some street vendors all year long, and more in warm weather. Here's a hardy vendor of belts, hats and the like on Market Street near Broad, a prime location several vendors of different items inhabit.
For many months I saw an ornate top to a building as I went east on South Orange Avenue or Springfield Avenue where they merge, beyond Saint Benedict's Prep. One day my friend Joe and I tracked down the building of which it is part and found Arts High School.
It turns out that Newark established the first arts high school in the Nation in 1931, and became the model for the LATER New York High School of Music and Art (1936). According to the school's own website, graduates have included are you ready? Sarah Vaughn, Melba Moore, Connie Francis, Taurean Blaque, Tisha Campbell, Steven Burrows, and Savion Glover! Whoo-WEE! The more I find out about Newark, the more impressed I am.
Here's a detail of the more modern entrance to the right of the older portion depicted above.
And here's a detail view of the high-relief lions atop the wings of the main structure.
Newark seems to have a 'thing' for lions, in that high-relief lions appear on Newark Penn Station too.
As an older city, Newark has lots of architecture that includes details like those, later renounced by 'modernist' architects under the sway of Mies van der Rohe and the Bauhaus movement. Here's a detail from the Verizon building on Broad Street, still in the process of renovation. (I don't know what it was before Verizon took over.)
This is more like what modern architects offer the viewer. It is Gateway Center Two as seen from the roof of the Gateway Three parking garage. Alas, the building doesn't look quite so good from some other views.
Let's continue to compare and contrast older and more-modern architecture in Newark. Here's a picture of the top of the building on Broad Street at Edison Place, one little block from the Four Corners, and the steeple of the 1791 First Presbyterian Church.
Here, by comparison, is University Hospital at UMDNJ, Bergen Street.
And here is a closeup of the overpass between the two MBNA buildings on Market Street and University Place. MBNA is one of the Nation's largest issuers of credit cards. Confusingly, it has offices in both Newark, Delaware (tho that city's name, I see from the Internet, is pronounced "New-ARK") and Newark, NJ ("NEW-work", which happens to be one interpretation of the origin of this great city's name). The more eastern building, 3 stories tall, was built first; a second, 4 stories tall, was added later, and this overpass was built to connect them.
They are fine, unassuming buildings surrounded by small areas of dignified plantings and grass. Grass! In a major city!
Of course, the ultimate in modern, no-detail architecture is the reflective glass wall, as in the headquarters building of Public Service Electric and Gas Company.
It may appear that there is a building in front of the PSE&G Building on the left. Nope. That's just a reflection of the NorCrown/Military Park Building nearby.
Here, a condominium apartment building, Renaissance Center, opposite Gateway Center, compromises between the spare lines of modernist architecture and the decoration of older architecture with alternation of colors in its brickwork. (The more ornate Raymond-Commerce Building rises beyond.).
Not all modernist architecture forswears intricate detail. From the outside Gateway Center may seem flat and utterly lacking in detail, as here.
Still, there is some detail in the ribbing between glass sheets, and because the surface of the interconnected buildings is reflective, you can see nearby structures reflected. In the photo above, both of Newark's two tallest buildings appear reflected. The tallest, on the right, the National Newark Building, looks to be shorter than the second-tallest, the Raymond-Commerce Building, on the left.
The inside of the same general area of Gateway Center shows a very different face, filled with detail and grace.
Here are two views of the graceful two-ended portal between Gateway Three and Four. The picture on the left shows a spatial continuation beyond the front of the complex that is shown in the reflective view two photos above, looking up the escalator out between the towers. To the right is a view from the top of the escalators toward the front of the complex. The off-center overhead line shows the arc of the ceiling above the landing area of the escalators. (Compare the two photos and you will see in the left picture the rounded ceiling of the right photo.)
I now present a view of three stages of architecture in one. Here's a view of the National Newark Building (on the right in the picture below) and Prudential headquarters as seen between Gateway Three and Four from the roof of a parking garage adjoining. Note that the traditional masonry National Newark Building (the tallest in the city, at present) contrasts with the sleek, white-marble masonry of the Prudential tower, built decades later, which in turn contrasts with the glass-walled towers of Gateway Center that form the frame to this vista. The foto on the right is a nitetime view of the National Newark Building in the same frame.
Churches in Newark tend to be more traditional in their architecture than in some places (for this purpose, I am speaking of church buildings originally constructed as churches, not buildings that originally served other purposes but were later converted to church use). Here I present detail views of the two "Sacred Heart"s. First, a nite-time view of the Gothic facade of the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, which is the HQ of the Archdiocese of Newark.
And now, a closeup of a high relief over the main entrance to Sacred Heart of Vailsburg, a Catholic church in my part of town, some five miles from the Cathedral.
And now, here's a modern church, St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Catholic Church, also in Vailsburg. (The Ukrainian Catholic Church is an "Eastern Rite" or "Uniate" church reunited with Rome after a period of separation.) Note that altho the architecture is clearly modern, it also retains a textured look that cherishes the detail of older forms without being slave to those forms.
(A close view of the wonderful mosaic the top of which you can just see at the bottom of this picture appears at the very end of the main page of the Resurgence City website).
In stark contrast is the interior walkway between Gateway Three and Four on the west and Gateway Two on the east.
How about some nite-time pictures of Newark? Unlike some cities with bad reps, Newark isn't a deathtrap at nite. You can actually walk the streets of Downtown Newark after dark and live to tell the tale!
Here's an unusual picture, a view of Newark Penn Station at nite ROTATED 45 degrees to show it in a more naturalistic perspective. The white space shows its original orientation.
Here's a soft-focus nite view of the office building next to Ballantine House, the Newark Museum's preserved/restored mansion of the ale-brewing family, on Washington Street.
Here's a picture of the view from Gateway One to the south, looking to the Newark Airport area. You can't see much detail, but I think it's kind of pretty, and very much the picture of a vibrant urban center.
Here's a picture of the full moon over City Hall. It's more impressionistic than representational, in that I had not yet learned to use the Night Scene setting on my camera. Until I can get back there during a full moon to take a better picture, this will have to do.
Here's a view of the left portion of the skyline seen past the Bridge Street bridge.
And here's the right portion of the same general view.
And for the last of the nite-time views on this page, I present a fuller view of the front facade of the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, a closeup of which appears above.
You can see Sacred Heart at nite from the Turnpike, on a hill to the right of Downtown. Every year more buildings are lited at nite so passersby can see the glory of resurgent Newark.
Newark doesn't exist in a vacuum, of course, but is surrounded by other municipalities, all tied together by the dynamics of the metropolitan area. When I was returning to my car after taking pictures of the Downtown skyline from the Jackson Street Bridge one day, I chanced to see graffitti on an old factory building in Harrison, a town in Hudson County on the other end of the bridge.
When I looked more closely, I had to laugh. I don't know who climbed up onto the roof of this big building to paint these graffitti, but whoever it is had an odd sense of humor.
Here's a view of One Newark Center (home of the Seton Hall Law School) and its parking garage, with the Legal Center off to the left in the background, as the sun gleams off the Law School's mirrored surface.
Here's a view of Downtown from NJPAC in the late afternoon.
Here's what it's like to be in the skyway between Gateway One and Gateway Two at nite.
We make much, in Newark, of the term "Gateway", as well we might. Ellis Island, the main entry point for millions of immigrants to the United States, was ruled by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1998 to be largely in New Jersey, including part of the main administration building. New Jersey comprises a large part of the ocean port administered by what used to be called The Port of New York Authority but has since 1972 been known as The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The Gateway National Recreation Area comprises beaches and such in both states. Port Newark is a major containerport, and the Custom House for the entire bistate port is soon to begin operations in Newark, across the street from where I work. For much of Manhattan, Newark's international airport is the most convenient of the three major airports of the metropolitan area. It was the first airport to serve major airlines in the Nation to have an air traffic control tower, lighted runways at nite, etc. And millions of people stream thru Newark on their way to and from multitudinous destinations across the U.S., Canada indeed, the whole planet by air, road, and rail.
View of the northern portion of Downtown from the Newark Club
on the 22nd floor of One Newark Center
New Jerseyans tend to be modest, even self-effacing, especially given their sometimes-uncomfortable location between the New York and Philadelphia metropolitan areas. But Newark's own metropolitan area includes some 2 million people, and urban North Jersey comprises over 6 million people! New Jersey has been too modest in asserting its importance to the success of the "Tristate Metropolitan Area" of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. More realistically, this is basically a bistate Metropolitan Area, because at least in simple population terms, Connecticut contributes to the region only minimally.
This is a view of the Newark Campus of the University of Medicine
and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)
from the east, on South Orange Avenue. Note the new construction, a cancer center, which is one of two
new buildings (the other is on the Bergen Street side) under construction in April 2004. Indeed, the
white building to the right of the steelwork was also added within the past three years.
Just as New Jersey is too timid about asserting its importance to the region, Newark is too timid about asserting its importance to New Jersey. Despite (largely racist) efforts to move jobs and the center of New Jersey's civilization to the suburbs, Newark retains a powerful claim to being the cultural center of the state and, as well, the second center of cultural gravity in the entire Tristate area. Were Newark not so close to New York, it would be universally understood to be a major cultural force in itself.
Newark's many new structures abuilding don't raise themselves,
of course. Here are two men working on UMDNJ's
new SOAv building. One is at the controls of a cherrypicker; the other wields a sledge hammer.
UMDNJ is a public university comprising, among other divisions, a Medical School, University Hospital (where I have already had surgery on my left knee and will have surgery on my right knee), and School of Nursing; and a Dental School and Dental Clinic (whose low-cost work by carefully supervised student dentists is not nearly so well known as a comparable program at NYU 10 miles away). UMDNJ's homepage calls it "New Jersey's university of the health sciences, the largest of its kind in the nation", but that counts campuses in other parts of the state than Newark. Still, Newark holds a very large part of UMDNJ's infrastructure.
New Community Corporation, a private organization, is also doing a LOT of building in Newark. Its website says, "Its assets are valued at more than $500,000,000 and its programs and services touch the lives of 50,000 Newark and Essex County residents every day." Tho I am not in a position to audit its assets, its mark is everywhere in the Central Ward. The 24-hour supermarket I most often shop at is in this NCC shopping center:
Flowering trees brighten a parking lot on South Orange Avenue. UMDNJ's School of Nursing
rises in the back, and the other of the two newUMDNJ buildings nears completion on Bergen Street.
NCC built hundreds of townhouses in the Morris Avenue/Springfield Avenue area, which set the stage for 600 more built by the City on an adjoining plot. And NCC is building a new health center building at Littleton and South Orange Avenues:
Workmen on platforms lifted by accordion hoists put up siding, April 2004
NCC is a multiracial project founded by churchmen in the aftermath of the 1967 riots. The prime mover was a white Catholic priest. It is a spectacularly successful example of faith-based, intergroup, public-private cooperation that should serve as a model for the Nation, and part of the spirit that marks Newark as a city poised on the threshold of a great resurgence that will leave it greater than it ever was.
I attended the parade up Broad Street that was part of the Statewide African Heritage Celebration on Sunday, May 30, 2004. There were very few white people in evidence, which is their loss, because the parade was terrific, if a little "small-town", in the best sense. The Mayor of this great city came by to shake hands with the crowd, something you would hardly expect in New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles.
Fear of Newark is still very much a determinant of who attends what event. Get over it, people! I am a 59-year-old white man who walks with a discernible limp and attended the parade carrying two expensive cameras. In an hour and a half (before I had to leave to prevent severe sunburn on that gorgeous day), I saw at most 20 other white people, including Hispanic whites, in the 600 feet or so in front of City Hall, to witness a spirited and COMPLETELY SAFE spectator event. There were police all over the place, but they really weren't needed. The crowd was WONDERFUL. Nobody gives a white guy a second look, and everybody gets along famously. What is the problem with white people that they can't understand that Newark has changed?!?
Shabazz High School band dances at City Hall reviewing stand.
In any case, Broad Street at City Hall is a grand boulevard fit for the grandest occasion. Alas, a small group marching up its center seems insignificant. It is, however, wide enuf to accommodate the biggest drill team (Jersey City's splendid, spirited all-girl team in purple and white); or marching band (I saw at least three of size, one each for Weequahic High and Shabazz High both TERRIFIC, with great moves and a third, largely white in beautiful black and red uniforms, who were superb musicians, even tho they scarcely moved at all except to march); or float; or balloon.
Weequahic (pronounced WEE-quake) High School band struts its stuff up Broad Street.
That's right: balloon. I didn't expect to see giant balloons in Newark, but here's one.
Newark is nothing like what most people think it is. Newark is far, far better than its stereotype, a livable city of people who get along great, with no regard whatsoever to what race a person is. So let me close this second photo gallery of the Resurgence City website with a closeup view of the central facade of Gateway Center, a color-photo embodiment of Newark's brilliant future in gleaming black and white.
The more I see of Newark, the prouder I am to call myself a Newarker.
[Go to Resurgence City home page.]