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Gallery 3

Photos of Newark USA

Let's start with some pictures of the Newark portion of Branch Brook Park, an Essex County park that spans Newark and Belleville, a northern suburb. I took these photos during a brite spring day late in the Cherry Blossom Festival of 2004.

[Sacred Heart seen past cherry trees]

Here's a picture of a couple of guys fishing for trout (the lake is stocked by the State).

[Fishing in Branch Brook Park]

Fish are not the only wildlife in the lake. Here are a couple of ducks.

[Duck leaves wake in water]

The ducks and fishermen are in the area of two stone lions left and right of a stairway down to the water. Here's the one to the right of the stairway. The fishermen are beyond it.

[Right lion, fisherman beyond]

Here's a wider view of the same area, to show context.

[Right lion, wall beyond]

Alas, multiple activities do not always coexist happily. Here we see another angler and bystanders trying to figure out a way to help someone retrieve a soccer ball that rolled down a slope into the lake. While I was there, no one managed to get it back.

[Soccer ball floats irredeemably in lake]

But the day was great for taking family photos.

[Asian family photo]

Or having a barbecue.

[Portable barbecue in BBPark]

Others just relaxed against a wall with friends.

[Relaxing by the bridges]

The next two pictures show views from under the bridge in the background above.

[View from under bridge, BBPark]

[View from under bridge, BBPark]

[Roller rink in old reservoir, seen from top of stairs]Active folks headed for the indoor roller skating rink built within what had been a round reservoir in the southwest corner of the park near Sacred Heart. Here's a view of the rink seen from a stairway down into the bed of the old reservoir.

 

 

 

 

This view shows the same stairway and the slope up.

[Roller rink in old reservoir]

If you look to the right of the view above, you can see one of Newark's oldest high-rise apartment houses, the Colonnade Apartments. There is a group of them. You couldn't have seen either of these views a hundred years ago, because you'd be under water at this point!

[Colonnade Apartments seen from roller rink]

Less energetic park visitors preferred the quiet views along the lake.

[Reeds along edge of park lake]

[Tree in foreground towers above apt. house in background]

A short walk away is the grandest building in Newark, the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Here's some detail of the facade.

[Facade of Sacred Heart Cathedral]

Here's a closeup of the top of one of the towers.

[Top of tower, Sacred Heart Cathedral]

And here is a view of the back of the Cathedral. There are no bad angles to this magnificent building.

[Back of Sacred Heart Cathedral]

Heading south from the Cathedral on Norfolk Street you might see Renaissance House, a residential substance-abuse treatment center for women, adolescents, and the children of drug abusers. The businesses of Downtown Newark (skyline on the right) beckon to successful graduates of the program.

[Renaissance House, skyline beyond]

From Norfolk Street, you turn left at South Orange Avenue, which merges into Market Street in the heart of Downtown. Here are two views of the Mulberry Street front entrance to the largest of Downtown Newark's office complexes, Gateway Center. Different liting conditions at different times of day make a big difference with reflective glass walls.

[Front entrance, Gateway Center]

[Front of Gateway Center, oblique view]

The grounds are graced by neat floral plantings, English ivy, and trees.

[Plantings in front of Gateway Center]

From the front entrance, one passes thru hallways and skyways connecting all the Gateway Center buildings with the Hilton Hotel, the Legal Center, and Newark Penn Station. Here's what one sees to the left out the skyway between Gateway Two and Gateway One.

[Hilton, Legal Ctr seen thru skyway plexiglas]

Note the distortion, which is in the plexiglas windows, not my camera. To the right from about the same point, you can see One Gateway Center, oldest of the Gateway complex, also distorted by the plexiglas.

[Gateway One seen from skyway]

You then arrive in the lobby that connects Gateway One with the Hilton Hotel. Look up.

[Gateway One seen thru skylite]

This skylite is regular glass. See the difference in clarity? If you look out the skylite toward the right during Christmas time, here's what you're likely to see.

[Christmas tree, view thru skylite, Gateway One lobby]

Here's another view of Gateway One, seen thru the skylite not of the lobby but of the retail corridor leading to the Hilton.

[Gateway One from retail corridor]

Looking the other way thru the same corridor's skylite, you can see the Hilton (low white building, foreground) and Legal Center.

[Hilton, One Riverfront thru retail skylite]

If you exit the Gateway complex thru the Hilton garage and look to your left as you head toward Newark Penn Station, here's what you see: the Hilton Hotel, the Legal Center, and, low in front of them, the skyway from Gateway Center to Penn Station.

[Hilton, Legal Center, skyway to Penn Sta]

If you pass thru the skyway seen above and make a left into the skyway to the Legal Center (also called One Riverfront Plaza), and look to your left, you might see this view of Raymond Boulevard past thick steel struts.

[Downtown Newark seen from Legal Ctr skyway]

Were you able to look down at the Hilton and Legal Center at nite from One Gateway Center, you might see the retail corridor's skyway (left) and the skyway to Penn Station (right), like so.

[Hilton, Penn Sta skyways at nite]

If, on departing, you left Gateway Center via the parking garage between Gateway Two and Four, and were on the open roof level in the daytime, you might notice this. That is One Newark Center (which contains the Seton Hall Law School) reflected in the irregularly aligned glass panels of Gateway Three. Also reflected, below 1NC, is part of the new Federal Custom House for the Port of New York and New Jersey. The largely concealed reflective building in the middle, background, is PSE&G's HQ. (PSE&G is New Jersey's largest electric and gas utility.)

[One Newark Center reflected in Gateway Four]

North of Gateway Center, across Mulberry Street, this is part of the view from Market Street, the main east-west thorofare of Downtown Newark: brick and glass at peace. The tall building on the left is the Raymond-Commerce Building, now undergoing renovation. It is the second tallest building in Newark. The glass-faced building is a fuller view of the PSE&G Building, Newark's fourth-tallest structure. (One Gateway, One Newark Center, and the Cathedral, all seen earlier, are respectively the fifth, sixth, and ninth tallest. Sacred Heart is taller than Notre Dame in Paris. And the Prudential building, below, is the third tallest.)

[Brick and glass at peace in Downtown Newark]

As you walk closer to the PSE&G Building, you notice reflections in its surface. Here, there appears to be a dark growth hugging its skin.

[Reflected bldg in PSE&G glass]

That's the Raymond-Commerce Building, I think. A short walk past the right side of the PSE&G Building is NJPAC ("enjay-pack"), the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, which contains two concert halls. Here's a picture of the larger space, Prudential Hall, from the top balcony.

[Prudential Hall, NJPAC]

Perhaps you can see why New York Times theater critic Clive Barnes called it "the nation's most glamorous theater".

Not everything in Newark is glamorous, of course. Here is an old landmark that has fallen on bad times. It used to be the main entrance to the grand Newark Paramount Theater, and you can still, if you look closely, see the fancy ceramic work over the marquee. Sad, huh?

[Old Paramount Theater, brought low]

Near NJPAC is historic Trinity & St. Philip's Cathedral, whose steeple you can see here before the towers of Downtown Newark. Established in 1666, Newark has lots of history, architectural not least. This picture shows structures from the 18th, 19th, and 20th Centuries.

[Trinity and St. Philip's Cathedral, towers beyond]

Here are three historic plaques that adorn the structure. The first gives some history of the church itself.

[Trinity Church historic plaque]

The second speaks of George Washington having passed beneath its spire.

[Historic plaque about Washington's retreat]

And the third commemorates the grant in 1665 of the first constitution for the colony of "Nova Caesarea or New Jersey". It may be hard to read at this size, but you are welcome to view the original at Trinity Cathedral.

[Plaque commemorating NJ's first constitution]

The Episcopal Cathedral is on Broad Street, the main north-south artery of Downtown Newark. Across the street from the Cathedral is the old Hahne's department store building, which is being converted to condominium apartments. The facade is actually not quite this dark. I tried to bring out the lettering near the top of the structure by intensifying things a bit in my graphics program.

[Old Hahne building]

Up Broad Street (to the north) a few blocks is a distinguished old office building that is also undergoing renovation. For a while it housed offices for the telecommunications company Verizon. Here are three views of the facade, one wide, from inside Washington Park across the street, showing all the busts carved into the stone; the second is closer, showing only two faces. The third shows the carving over the entryway, very close up.

 

[Stone faces on office bldg facade]

 

 

[Detail of stone faces]

 

 

[Stone carvings over doorway]

On the southern boundary of Washington Park a block or so away stands the Veterans Administration Building, a handsome old stone structure. Here are two views, one wide and one showing detail of the iron cats in the grillwork at the base of the arched windows.

[Veterans Administration Building, Washington Park]

 

[Detail, iron cats on Veterans Admin Bldg]

Inside Washington Park opposite theVeterans' Administration Building is this plaque embedded in a large boulder.

[First Academy plaque, Washington Park]

To the northwest of Washington Park is 15 Washington Street, a distinctive Rutgers University skyscraper that has appeared in an Advair commercial, seen here past trees.

[15 Washington Av, thru the trees]

Left of 15 Washington is 33 Washington, an office building with strong vertical white piers against a glass facade. And to the left of that is Ballantine House, mansion of the famed brewing family. The house and its furnishings are now part of the Newark Museum, which is beyond the frame of this picture to the left. So here we have another happy juxtaposition of Brick City's traditional materials and newer construction.

[Ballantine House against modern background]

Leaving Downtown, let's look first at a surprising mosaic top to an otherwise unassuming brick commercial building in northeastern Newark.

[Mosaic-topped brick building]

Between Downtown and my part of town is West Side Park, where I noticed a fresh powdered chalk line of a football field covering clover.

[Powder-covered clover, football field line]

West of that park and beyond a corner of Irvington Township is my part of town, Vailsburg. From Downtown you get there most directly via South Orange Avenue (the avenue to the Village of South Orange — yup, a village, in urban northeastern New Jersey — a leafy western suburb). On the way, you pass the Coroner's Office at SOAv and Norfolk Street. (Yes, that's the same Norfolk Street that leads to the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart.) This lite-brick building has an artistic frieze across its second floor that most people don't notice.

[Frieze on Coroner's Office building]

You then pass a little private park created by the New Community Corporation, an innovative and highly effective private development corporation established shortly after the 1967 Riots that has made a huge difference in the lives of many Newarkers and changed the physical face of the Central Ward. NCC is the one lasting effect of the Riots that were so notorious that almost 40 years later, most older Americans still associate the name "Newark" with the word "riots". But the good that proceeded from the reaction of Newark's religious and business communities to the Riots (also called "disturbances", "Rebellion", and other things) ended up being far more important than the Riots themselves. Large areas of the city are unrecognizable from the pre-1967 city, not because they comprise a bombed-out wasteland but, precisely to the contrary, because they are filled with new construction, optimism, and hard-headed determination. That is not to say it's a good thing Newark had riots but that Newarkers rose to the challenge the Riots imposed and built a stronger and better city from the ruins.

[NCC garden, South Orange Avenue]

Inside this park, to the left of the area shown above, is a public sculpture, "The Seven Ages" I think it's called, comprising seven flat metal sculptures with cutouts thru which you see the next smaller sculpture.

[Seven Ages, outdoor sculpture]

After you pass under the Garden State Parkway, you're in Vailsburg. Vailsburg used to be a separate municipality, but was annexed as the first — and, as it turned out, only — step toward creating a Greater Newark by annexing the suburbs. Annexing the 'burbs is still a good idea, and I'd like to see us annex at least Irvington and East Orange, both of which are urban and distressed. But Vailsburg is semi-suburban, safe, and very, very pleasant.

[Fancy Vailsburg street sign]

Vailsburg contains a large stone church that is a major landmark, another Catholic "Sacred Heart": Sacred Heart of Vailsburg.

[Sacred Heart of Vailsburg]

Aside from its paired towers of uneven height, Sacred Heart is best known for a great bas-relief over the main entrance, seen here day and nite.

[Sacred Heart bas relief in the daytime]

[Bas relief lited at nite]

Five blocks from there is my house. Last spring I had a Newark tree service cut down some trees and trim back others so I would have more lite for flowers and veggies. I watched the process. At one point, the boss, in the cherry-picker, and his tree-climbing assistant strung a rope from one tree in my side yard to another, and the tree-climber crossed from the one tree to the other aloft, hand-over-hand across the rope! Pretty impressive.

[Switching trees mid-air]

Finally, I present two views of a longtime West Side landmark now coming down at Grove Street and South Orange Avenue, a couple of miles east of my house. There was once a Pabst brewery at that location, and when Pabst withdrew, I am told, Hoffman Soda took over the plant and bottled soft drinks there. Or is it the other way around? Click here for a view of the plant before demolition started. In any case, the water tower for the plant was created in the shape of an enormous bottle. While the site was a working bottling plant, the water tower was fully painted with a replica label so it really did look like a huge bottle. Many of us on Newark's West Side wish that The Bottle could somehow remain as a landmark for everyone to enjoy, even repainted to look like a beer or soda bottle. In the alternative, I'd like it to be encased in the electronic chips that have created two huge buildings at Times Square (less than 20 miles away) into gigantic video screens, by means of which entrancing lite shows could be displayed, punctuated by animated ads on what becomes a fascinating billboard within sight of the Garden State Parkway. One website I have seen suggests that The Bottle has deteriorated too much to be saved. I don't believe it, but I don't own it either, so cannot decide its fate.

Below appears the structure mid-demolition, first in brite daylite and then toward the end of day.

[Old bottling plant coming down]

Sunset for the Old West Side

[Old bottling plant coming down, sunset]

I don't know what will replace this old landmark, but I hope it will be great!

[Return to Resurgence City home page.][Cherry Blossom Festival 2005 photos (another photographer's site)] [Go to Photo Gallery No. 2 (this site)] [Newark in the Artistic Imagination, photos and artistic variations on Newark sights, plus some information for artists] [First Photo Gallery on AOL][Niches for Newark.][Arts Day page][Quotations] [Explosive Demolition filmlet]["Newark USA" blog, by the author of this site, Craig Schoonmaker] [Other Websites of Interest]