They’re naming it The Prudential Center

The Star-Ledger announces today that Prudential and the Devils are finalizing an agreement to dub the new Newark Arena The Prudential Arena, possibly nicknamed “The Rock.”
The most likely figure for the naming rights is $5 million a year.

In my opinion, this is a good deal for Newark, the Devils, and Prudential. Newark is getting an arena with a respectable corporate name. Prudential is not a controversial corporation, nor is “Prudential” a somewhat silly name like Tropicana, Petco, or Gaylord Entertainment. “Prudential” isn’t a long name like TD Waterhouse. The Prudential Insurance Company isn’t likely to change its name anytime soon or be taken over by another corporation. Thus, Newark isn’t going to go through a series of different arena names like San Francisco has gone through with SBC Park/Pacific Bell Park/AT&T Park.

The Prudential has a long history in Newark. Founded in 1875 as the Prudential Friendly Society by John Fairfield Dryden, the Pru has been a loyal citizen of Newark despite all the pressures to leave. The Prudential Arena is going to be located a few blocks south of the Prudential’s world headquarters on Broad Street and a few blocks north of John Fairfield Dryden’s mansion on Lincoln Park.

The best names for the arena would have been the Newark Arena or Broad Street Arena, but those kind of names have gone out of style.

In other area arena news, the New York State Public Authorities Control Board voted to approve the Atlantic Yards development in Brooklyn. This massive 8 million sq ft project will include office space, housing, and an arena for the New Jersey Brooklyn Nets. This was the Atlantic Yards project’s last regulatory hurdle to clear. Up until now I had some hope that Newark might get the Nets after all.

Newark Violent Crime Covered on NPR

The city of Newark made the NPR home page today: Leading Newark, One of America’s Deadly Cities. NPR covered the larger increasing trend of violent crime in the United States and focused on Newark — whose violent crime this year will reach an all-time high — in particular. When reporter Michelle Norris challenged Mayor Booker on these statistics, he claimed improvements made to the city police organization to combat what was already a rising tide of crime before he took office. Booker cited statistics that, on a month-over-month basis, shootings have declined since July and that Newark was the only city his administration was aware of that has produced a 20% drop in shootings.
Norris also spoke to the Mayor about his background living on the streets of the city, his personal encounter with violent crime, and his new home in yet another gritty neighborhood.

Like the rest of the country, Newark, N.J., has seen an increase in violent crime. In fact, the city is on its way to setting a record for murders this year. Mayor Corey Booker, who took office in July, lived in a housing project in one of the city’s grittiest neighborhoods.

Shortly after he was elected to the city council, Booker went on a 10-day hunger strike and moved into a tent in front of a notorious housing project to call attention to an open-air drug market. Then he quieted critics who dismissed the move as a publicty stunt by moving permanently into the Brick Towers — a housing project in Newark’s Central Ward.

Booker moved out recently, but only because he and a dozen other holdouts were evicted to make way for bulldozers.

Michele Norris talks with Booker about crime and his life in Brick Towers.