Go Newark Restaurant Week

“Great Dining, Great Deals!”

  • Monday, November 3-Thursday, November 13
  • There are 33 participating restaurants
  • Come experience our revitalized city while you enjoy Great Dining and Great Deals.
  • Some restaurants are offering prix-fixe menus, some offering discounts.
  • 27 Mix
  • Iberia Seabra’s Rodizio
  • 60 Park Grill
  • Iberia Peninsula
  • Sol Mar Rest.
  • Allegro Seafood
  • Key Club
  • Spanish Manor
  • Arena Lounge
  • Kilkenny Alehouse
  • Spanish Tavern
  • Assaggini Di Roma
  • Maize Restaurant
  • The Spot
  • Blue Mirror
  • McGovern’s Sushi House
  • Brick City Bar MiSaVi Taste of Portugal
  • Casa Vasca
  • Mompou Tapas
  • Theater Sq Grill
  • Chateau of Spain
  • Paleio Restaurant
  • Titanic
  • Hell’s Kitchen
  • The Priory
  • Tony Da Caneca
  • Hobby’s Deli
  • Scully’s Vivo Tapas

In the spirit of the 2008 Presidential Election, please help us “elect” your Favorite Newark Restaurant. You can vote once per email address from now until the end of Restaurant Week – November 13. Include your email and you’ll be entered for a chance to win gift-certificates from our participating restaurants.

New Newark Forum Discusses Opportunity, Challenges

I got to the New Newark forum about a half-hour late, but with enough time to catch the later half of Deputy Mayor of Economic Development Stefan Pryor’s breathless Powerpoint presentation about the opportunities for companies to build and come to the city.

I got to the New Newark forum about a half-hour late, but with enough time to catch the later half of Deputy Mayor of Economic Development Stefan Pryor’s breathless Powerpoint presentation about the opportunities for companies to build and come to the city.  

And by breathless, I mean he was flying through the slides: following a tour of Newark’s premium office and residential space with ballyhoo about the city’s infrastructure improvements like the renovation of eleven of its parks and the Broad Street reconstruction projects.  He sang the praises of tax credits made available for businesses looking to taking advantage of the Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit, suggesting it should have been called the “free building” tax credit because of the tax breaks it provides on office space.  Pryor showed numbers that suggested a business could save between $40 and $70 million by relocating to Newark from midtown Manhattan — this from the man who ran the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.  If there was an overarching theme, it was that Newark is a huge value for businesses, and we are at a time in our history where a business could live or die by how well it controls its expenses.

Following Pryor’s presentation were two panels.  The first, involving Pryor and Mark Willis, a Visiting Scholar from The Ford Foundation, focused on the challenges of the current economy and what affect they are having on Newark’s revitalization.  It was interesting how murky the details were: we’ve been in the midst of the credit crunch — the real crunch — for several months, but it’s still unclear what future will development will look like.  The news for 2009 is mixed: commodity prices are down (that’s good), but lending is way down (that’s bad); interest is out there for investing in Newark (that’s good), but the recession is expected to continue (that’s bad).

And then, another panel: this time featuring community leaders, activists, and policy wonks. This discussion was much more faceted than the initial presentation. At one point, Baye Aadofo-Wilson pointed out that Newark needs to embrace an idea of “progress” that’s more than just bricks-and-mortar development. Rich Cammarieri followed with the idea that real improvement will only happen when students and communities and business work together. The panel agreed that whatever the approach, the New Newark can’t come at the expense of today’s Newark: the residents who have lived and fought and raised their families here.

I got the opportunity to ask Pryor a few follow-up questions. Alas, his presentation was too proprietary to share (although I did get audio of the latter half of the presentation). Given the recent news about drive-by shootings over the weekend, I asked if any of the businesses he’d met with cited crime as a prohibitive reason against investing in the city. Surprisingly, he said no one has. “Not a single retail business said they wouldn’t come to Newark because of crime,” I pressed. His response was still no.

We also talked about the recent rash of news surrounding the shootings. Pryor pointed out that Newark is at a historic low for murder, and noted that New York City had also just had its own share of recent, violent crime that, comparatively, has gone unnoticed by the media. I also nudged him about whether the Nets were coming to town: if he knew anything, he wasn’t saying, leaving me with, “When we know, we’ll know.”

I also took a moment to introduce myself to a woman who had been sitting nearby during the session. Born and raised in Newark, and having raised her kids here, Elizabeth agreed with an early statement by Rich Cammarieri that these forums have happened before with little effect. “[Newarkers] are not involved,” in planning processes that affect their neighborhoods, she told me. She had even become aware of the forum itself by chance because her sister had forwarded it along from her work.

The New Newark is still quite a ways off. I agree with Pryor that the value proposition just makes sense, and that’s part of the reason our family is here, too. Newark will be transformed into a successful and sustainable city, and will likely lead the nation in several key milestones like population growth, crime reduction, and community programs.  But the infrastructure improvements, legislature, and policies that benefit new growth AND the life-long Newarkers who have been here for decades take years before they can have their effect.  The challenge for those of us who want to make a difference is to stick to our convictions and tough out the difficulties and challenges for the long haul.

Oh, if you’re interested in some audio from the event, click play on the podcast link below. The quality is not great, and there’s plenty of keyboard tapping, blackberry humming, and sidebar conversations, but you can get a first-hand listen of the latter half of Pryor’s presentation and the panels that followed.


Star Ledger Brain Drain Will Take a Toll on Newark

After the Star Ledger announced successful negotiations with its unions, the paper found a way to cover its expenses — at least for now.
Newarkers, though, still have plenty to be concerned about their local paper as the 151-person buyout has offered a year’s salary and healthcare and many of those that took the package are some of the best and insightful reporters on the City Hall beat.

After the Star Ledger announced successful negotiations with its unions, the paper found a way to cover its expenses — at least for now.
Newarkers, though, still have plenty to be concerned about their local paper as the 151-person buyout has offered a year’s salary and healthcare and many of those that took the package are some of the best and insightful reporters on the City Hall beat.

Notable journalists such as Jeff Mays, Katie Wang and the notorious Joan Whitlow will be leaving the Star Ledger at a date still yet to be revealed to the staff — and these are just a handful of people leaving in the long line of brain drain from the news room.  

(Remember Rob Gebeloff, who used to write the NJ Stat Attack blog and managed the NJ.com By the Numbers feature?  Nobody’s touched it since February when he left for another local paper whose name ends with “Times”.)

The Ledger is looking to move much of its content online and has started a few promising ventures like Newark Live and Ledger Live.  But we get word from a staffer that the relationship between the paper and “some guys in Secaucus” who manage nj.com is “like a bad marriage, and we want a divorce.”  I bet that makes for some fun meetings.

While these are troubling times for old media, it’s certainly an opportunity for new, niche media to sweep in and grab up some marketshare.  The consolidation of old properties is reducing the number of media contacts for local organizations to reach out to, and as a result I’ve found people very willing to talk to “bloggers” as an alternate means of getting a message out.

We may see insightful coverage from the Ledger shrink, but now is exactly the time when Newarkers can explore how to make use of blogging and other social media to make a new, more engaged public square.

Officer Suspended for Choke Hold

Newark suspends special police officer after arrest of TV cameraman

Newark police said today they suspended a special police officer who had arrested a Channel 2 news cameraman and put him in a chokehold while he was filming a demonstration on Sunday.

Christine Sloan, a Channel 2 newswoman who was present during the arrest, wrote on the station’s website that Quodomine was filming on a public sidewalk when Sharif ordered him to stop and then grabbed his camera and wrestled with him.

If you haven’t seen it, a video of the incident is below — pretty disturbing stuff, and it comes on the heels of a recent protest in Newark against…you guessed it…police brutality.

The incident drew quite the reaction around the blogosphere. Carlos Miller, writing for Photography is Not a Crime, questions the officer’s relationship to the Police Department and notes:

If they are not police officers, then why the hell is Shariff wearing a yellow vest that clearly states “Newark Police”? And why the hell does Shariff have the power to arrest citizens?

It sounds to me that Booker is trying to take blame off the Newark Police Department, which was sued twice in one week in January over separate First Amendment issues.

The officer’s quick suspension is appreciated, but I wonder how much of this old world mentality still exists in the NPD.

Violent Crime Scares Off Suburban Schools

2 suburban schools refuse trips to Newark for football
The city’s recent rash of violence has begun to have an impact on school sports as neighboring communities decline to send their children to city football fields.

Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School and Cranford High School balked at playing games rescheduled from last Friday and Saturday. Newark school Superintendent Clifford Janey had suspended all athletic events districtwide while police were hunting for suspects in the Friday afternoon shootings.

In response, the administration stays on message: this year has seen a 40% decline in murders — a statistic that Newark leads in the nation.  The shootings were localized events between people that knew each other away from Newark schools.

But, to suburbanites, these claims fall on deaf ears.  People in suburban communities don’t distinguish between the hockey rink downtown, the restaurants in Ironbound, Branch Brook Park in the North Ward,  or the numbered streets in the West Ward: it’s all monolithic, scary Newark.  Just like big, monolithic scary New York was to my parents in the 80s.

Neighborhood parsing is something that urbanites do — it requires a level of savvy and sophistication about the issues and geography of a city.  I hope, to some degree, that the Daily Newarker helps strip away some of this naiveté about the city, but this goes to show just how much real fear there still is about Newark and how much further we have to go in the eyes of much of New Jersey.

VZW Gets Urban Tax Break

Verizon gets $20M tax break for keeping 700 jobs in Newark
Benefitting from a Corzine-backed urban tax break, the telecommunications giant looks to save on state taxes to the tune of $20 million.  It’s encouraging to see the state invest money back into its urban infrastructure by partnering with the private sector to bring jobs.

This particular credit, the Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit, comes to companies that put offices within a half-mile of train stations.  Similar credits are being offered for companies putting offices in Camden, East Orange, Elizabeth, Jersey City, New Brunswick, Paterson, Trenton and Hoboken.

Verizon Communications today won approval for $20 million in state tax breaks in return for promising to keep more than 700 employees in an office tower near Newark’s Broad Street Station.

Verizon, which Monday reported a 31 percent increase in profits, is the first firm to cash in on a lucrative urban tax break Gov. Jon Corzine pushed through the state Legislature in late January.

Under the plan approved by the state Economic Development Authority at a special meeting this afternoon, Verizon’s landlord will invest about $78.2 million upgrading the high-rise at 540 Broad Street.

This technique of applying tax credits to companies that move or retain offices in urban centers is right of of New York City’s playbook.  This New York Times piece describes how the practice kept Reuters in Times Square and some of the criticisms leveled against the Giuliani Administration in 1997: Companies Get Second Helping Of Tax Breaks.


City officials have long contended that incentives, which include breaks on sales and property taxes and electricity costs, are a necessary tool. But a growing number of urban planners, budget watchdogs and anti-tax groups, along with State Senator Franz S. Leichter and economists at the Federal Reserve Bank, assert that a city would be better off spending the tax money on roads, public transportation, job training and other areas that improve the overall business climate. No new jobs are created in the region when a company moves to Manhattan from Jersey City, they say, and the tax breaks shift the tax burden from the large corporations that get them to mid- and small-sized companies that do not.


Oh please, oh please…

Mike Francesa on Atlantic Yards
The Nets in Newark would be a lovely catalyst for economic growth downtown.

A few minutes ago, when a caller asked about a potential Nets move to Newark: “I think he will sell as soon as the Brooklyn thing dies, and it looks like it’s dying. I think Bruce Ratner will sell. I don’t think he has any interest in the team, other than bringing it in as the centerpiece to the new project in Brooklyn. Which, if you read and look at the opposition, and realize the climate economically and everything else, looks like it might be dead.”

Newark Tour: People Who Made a Difference

Mark your calendar for Sunday, November 2nd: the Newark Preservation & Landmarks Committee will host a tour of Newark featuring the stories of Newarkers who have made a difference in history.  The tour is $25 for each adult and meets at the Newark Museum at 1pm.

Tour Nov. 2 Will Follow Footsteps of ‘People Who Made a Difference’

Leaders in the fights for human rights, women’s suffrage, and racial equality will be the focus of a tour of Newark historical landmarks on Sunday, Nov. 2.

“People Who Made a Difference” is the theme of the tour, which will visit the home of a mother and daughter who marched for women’s voting rights, a church that was built as an African-American hospital in the 1920s, and a former synagogue that was led by a rabbi who fled Nazi Germany and welcomed Dr. Martin Luther King to its pulpit.

The four-hour tour aboard a chartered bus is sponsored by the Newark Preservation & Landmarks Committee and will be led by Elizabeth Del Tufo, a longtime preservation advocate who has conducted hundreds of tours through the city in the last 30 years.

“This tour,” said Del Tufo, “will take us to sites where we can celebrate the lives and contributions of people who changed society because of their beliefs and dedication.” She noted that the event will mark the 88th anniversary of the first national election in which New Jersey women could vote, following final adoption of the 19th Amendment in 1920.

Highlights of the tour will include the playing of a rare recording of a speech by Dr. King at the synagogue 45 years ago, and the unveiling of a new historical plaque at the Forest Hill home of the suffragettes. There will be exhibits of photos and documents about the notables at all three stops.

Setting out at 1 p.m. from the Newark Museum at 49 Washington St. , the tour group will go first to New Salem Baptist Church on West Kinney Street . The three-story building was opened as a 30-bed general hospital in 1927 by Dr. John A. Kenney, who had come to Newark from Alabama . He founded the institution at a time when black physicians and nurses were excluded from most hospitals in the area.

The hospital served thousands of families and trained scores of doctors until closing in 1953. The church has occupied the building for nearly 50 years, but has preserved the original façade and some interior features – such as the old operating room’s tile walls that still line the office of the pastor, the Rev. John K. White.

The second stop will be the Deliverance Evangelistic Center at Clinton Avenue and South 10th Street . It was built in the 1920s as Temple B’nai Abraham, the largest synagogue ever erected in New Jersey . Dr. Joachim Prinz was appointed chief rabbi after fleeing Germany on the eve of World War II, and later became a national ally of Dr. King in the civil rights movement. Visitors will hear a recording of Dr. King’s address at the temple on Jan. 17, 1963 – just eight months before he and Dr. Prinz both spoke at the March on Washington .

B’nai Abraham later relocated to Livingston , and the massive auditorium, which can seat 2,500, and educational-social building have served as the international headquarters of Deliverance Evangelistic Centers since 1973.

The last stop for the tour will be the DeGraw Avenue house that was owned for more than 90 years by members of the Karr and Milburn families. Lucy Karr Milburn marched with her mother, Minnie Schneider Karr, for women’s voting rights before World War I, and their house served during the 1920s as state headquarters of the National Woman’s Party. Lucy Milburn, a teacher and poet, later campaigned for racial integration at local hospitals and the YWCA swimming pool.

A dozen of her descendants are coming to Newark for the unveiling of the plaque prepared by the Landmarks Committee and Samuel Rivera, who now owns the house. Refreshments will be served before the tour bus returns to the museum.

The former hospital and synagogue both are listed on the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places, and the Karr/Milburn House is within the Forest Hill Historic District.

The cost of the tour is $25 for adults, with a $5 discount for members of the landmarks committee, and $10 for children under 12. Advance reservations are required and can be made by phone at the group’s office, 973-622-4910.

A Walk on the Wild Side

How are you? Doing good? Seen any good puppets lately?
The Open Doors gallery and artist space tour — which kicks off tonight! — will open with a sidewalk puppet parade. Elmo, much to my daughter’s chagrin, will NOT be attending, but I am assured that the puppets that will be in this first-ever event in Newark are ornate, intricate, and beautiful.

So head over to 744 Broad for the parade and stick around for the opening reception, hosted by none other than Mayor Cory Booker. See you there!

“A Walk on the Wild Side” Newark’s Inaugural Arts/Puppet Parade and Opening Reception
October 23, 2008, 5:30 – 8:00pm

WHAT IT IS: “Open Doors” is north Jersey’s/the metropolitan area’s most extensive Arts Tour. More than four days of activities including over 25 new exhibits, 40+ participating venues, 500 artists, movie screenings, crafts demos, gospel performances and other performance pieces.

“A Walk on the Wild Side,” a Puppet/Art Parade kicks off festivities of the Newark Arts Council (NAC) Seventh Annual Open Artists’ Studios and Available Space Tour presented by Chase (Open Doors). Large –scale puppets, African masks, Newark Public Schools Marching Band and NPS students will lead the parade. The parade is the lead-off activity of NAC Open Doors.

Official opening reception takes place at Gallery 744, a temporary gallery curated by Yoland Skeete, and includes a welcome from Mayor Cory A. Booker, a special presentation to Newark / international artist Gladys Grauer and guest jurors Ben Jones and Willie Cole.

WHO: The Parade is a collaboration of the Newark Arts Council, Barat Foundation, a non-profit arts and education foundation, City of Newark Mayor’s Office and Newark Public Schools, and is sponsored by Newark Now.

Newark youth and adults from various organizations, corporations and communities around the City will be making puppets, masks and banners. The Barat Foundation has enlisted the assistance and support of Newark Public Schools Director of Visual Arts, Shabazz Band Director, and puppet maker Terry Brewin. Shabazz Marching Band, Youth and Adults from Newark CBOS.

WHEN: PARADE: Thursday, October 23, 2008; 5:30 – 6:30pm

OPENING RECEPTION: 5:00pm – 8:00pm at Gallery 744 with Mayor Cory A. Booker and artists: Ben Jones, Willie Cole and Gladys Grauer

Open Doors: Oct 23 – 26, 2008, for complete information and calendar of events, visit http://www.NewarkArts.org or call Zing Marketing, 973 623 9464 .

WHERE: The ROUTE: STAGING and STARTING POINT: The Barat Foundation 765 Broad Street, entrance on Bank Street The route: Head north on Broad Street; Cross over Broad/Raymond to Park Place to walk past cultural institutions participating with Open Doors: Key Club, WBGO, New Jersey Historical Society Turn left at Center Street – heading back to Broad, (walk around Military Park on Center Street) Cross over to Broad passing the Kislak Building (581 Broad), Redsaw Gallery (585 Broad), Aljira (591 Broad) staying on Broad.

PARADE END and OPENING RECEPTION: Gallery 744, at 744 Broad Street, entrance on Clinton Street, Newark, NJ

SPONSORS: Funders and supporters of the Newark Arts Council Seventh Annual Artists’ Studios and Available Space Tour 2008 include: lead sponsor JPMorgan Chase Foundation; Prudential Financial; The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation; New Jersey State Council on the Arts; Port Authority of New York/New Jersey; Audible.com; Newark Now, Greater Newark Convention and Visitors Bureau; Newark Downtown District; 570 Broad Street – Ivy Realty Services, LLC; WBGO; PSEG; Cablevision; City of Newark, Star Ledger and NJ TRANSIT.

Battle for Central Ward Takes Shape

The race for the Central Ward is sure to be entertaining and intruiging for Newark politicos.  The 16-person race for the seat left in the wake of Dana Rone’s “rapid, requisite retirement“ has revealed two frontrunners with what appears to be the classic alignments: Eddie Osborne, the labor leader who was once a supporter of the mayor back when Booker ran for that very same Central Ward seat, and former councilman Charles Bell, who declares that anything good that ever happened in Newark happened under the James administration.
The announcement of Booker’s support of Osbourne for Central Ward councilman has revealed some real vitriol in the race with Bell.  Jeff Mays, reporting for the Star Ledger, got this choice quote, Booker endorses Osborne for Newark council seat

“He should be careful. I have a clean record. If he has facts he should submit the information, otherwise he should he keep his mouth shut,” Bell said of Booker, calling his 2-1/2 years in office an “attempt to colonize the city of Newark and put people back on the plantation.”

Bell is sure to put up a tough fight, too.  According to Max Pizzarro at Politicker NJ, he has the backing of State Senator Ron Rice and power-broker Steve Adubato, Osborne welcomes Booker’s support in the Central Ward:

In the multi-person field, former Councilman Charles Bell enjoys high name ID, deep insider alliances, his own city and labor contacts, and key ballot position at eye level with Obama.  At his back stands the compelling local alliance of North Ward Democratic leader Steve Adubato and state Sen. Ronald Rice (D-Essex), who are usually at odds.

The race will be as much a test for Booker as it will be for the untested Bell, as the Mayor has struggled in local elections to rally troops around his own candidates.  Remember that local election back in June

Mayor Cory Booker lost tonight in his final shot this year to win a ward chairman in one of the city’s five wards. Booker had run district leader candidates in the other wards and they lost last Tuesday, most critically in the South Ward.

The mayor’s campaigning for those district leaders was ineffective, but the candidates were not at a level where major policy and budget decisions are being made.  If Osborne loses to Bell, however, Booker will find himself replacing one vociferous opponent on the council with another.

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