Westinghouse Project Exhibit Extended to Jan 17

The successful Westinghouse Project exhibit, which commemorates the fall of the Westinghouse plant on Lackawanna Ave and Orange St, will be extended into next year after the gallery is closed for a short period of time. Check out the note from Matt Gosser, the exhibit curator, below.

The Westinghouse Project has been so well received that we decided to extend the exhibit until January 17. In order to do this, we have to shut the gallery down until about December 8. Until then, I’ll be trying to update the website with photos of the artwork, video from an NJN broadcast and info about our closing celebration (so far…Saturday, Jan. 17 at 5pm).

If you haven’t visited the exhibition or if you want to check it out again (additional work is being added) or if you’d like to bring some friends, please do so Monday thru Friday (9am-5pm) between Dec.8 and Jan.17.

If you know anyone that worked at Westinghouse, I’m doing an oral history project. We’re also looking at the possibility of creating a catalog.

Newark Meets the Wire: Brick City Documentary to Air Mid-2009

The Sundance Channel will produce a six-episode documentary series about Newark to air summer 2009.  The series is backed and may be produced by Forest Whitaker: SUNDANCE CHANNEL SERIES AIMS TO REMAKE NEWARK, NJ.

In what sounds like a non-fiction answer to The Wire, the Sundance Channel will produce Brick City, a docu-series set to explore the issues facing Newark, N.J. through first-hand access to citizens, local officials and the city itself.

Forest Whitaker, still hot from his Oscar for The Last King of Scotland, has emerged as the requisite celebrity backer of the series, though his role outside of a producer remains unclear (Reuters suggests a voice-over is a possibility). The series will be co-directed by Marc Levin and Mark Benjamin, and will pivot around a number of the ills the city faces, be it institutionalized corruption or environmental concerns.

The show, to be set over at least a year to follow the city’s progress over time, will debut toward the middle of 2009 with an initial order of six half-hour episodes.

More from the Reuters release in the Times: Forest Whitaker And Sundance Trying to Save Newark.

“Brick City” will center on Newark Mayor Cory Booker, local citizens and key figures — from real estate developers to ex-gang members — as they try to remake the city, working to stamp out violence, poverty and corruption and make improvements in housing, employment and education.

My wife and I are huge fans of the Wire, loved Revolution 67 and Street Fight, and can’t wait to see what Sundance is putting together.

Star Ledger Sees Loss of 151 Newsroom Staff, Displaces 2 Reporters to Mail Room

The effects of the Star Ledger buyouts are becoming apparent as the paper circulates information about which reporters and photographers will stay on at the paper: Buyout-Depleted ‘Star-Ledger’ Reassigns Two Journos — To Mailroom.

When a newspaper cuts its staff, those who remain in the depleted newsroom become valuable. But as The Star-Ledger of Newark, N.J. slowly says farewell to 151 newsroom folks who took buyouts last month, at least two longtime journalists have been reassigned to the mailroom.

Reporter Jason Jett and Assistant Deputy Photo Editor Mitchell Seidel have been filing, sorting, and delivering mail for more than a week, according to sources.

In the end, the buyouts were met, with 151 of the newsroom’s 330 staffers taking them, along with other non-newsroom employees. In recent weeks, news folks have been leaving little by little, with all of those taking buyouts expected to depart by the end of the year.

The Daily Newarker previously reported the loss of coverage in Newark, New Jersey’s largest city, will be significant, given the loss of reporters like Jeff Mays, Katie Wang and Joan Whitlow.

Newark Official Pleads Guilty to Bribery

This week’s NJ corruption scandal follows the money to City Council President Mildred Crump’s former chief of staff, Keith O. Reid.

He was accused of accepting $10,000 in bribes from a fake insurance agency set up by federal authorities to insure municipal contracts. Assistant U.S. Attorney Chris Gramiccioni, one of the attorneys who handled the case, said Reid approached the state about a plea bargain on Friday.”

In court, Judge William Walls asked Reid if he had enough time over the weekend to consider the guilty plea.

“I had a sleepless weekend,” Reid replied.

Funny how a pending bribery conviction will do that.

Save Penn Station’s Snack Shack

In this world of global market meltdowns and billion-dollar government bailouts, there is one commodity that we must ensure continues to be in ample supply to the American public: comfort food.  Literary blogger Tayari Jones points out that the Snack Shack in Newark’s Penn Station is in danger: Save The Snack Shack!

Today, when I swung by for my usual Monday Morning pick me up— fresh popcorn, so tasty—I noticed a sign indicating that The Snack Shack is being forced out. I signed the petition- which contains about 800 names, but I wanted to sound the alarm here. The Snack Shack has only until Decemeber 3 to convince the property management company to change its mind.

If you love popcorn and/or believe in the American Dream, send an email to Portsmgmtnyc[at]verizon[dot]net.

Even if you’ve never patronized it, you know it: that mouth-watering smell of freshly popped popcorn wafting through the air as you step down from the Path train platforms.  That may become a distant memory if the Shack can’t convince the Port Autority to allow it to continue doing business in the station.  

Without these tasty distractions from their day-to-day lives, commuters may actually have to face our painful economic reality alone.  Don’t let that happen: please consider signing the petition or emailing the Port Authority today!

NJPAC, Nation’s “Most Glamorous Theater”

Exploring NJPAC’s beginnings, impact on the community, global reputation (described by renowned critics as one of the “world’s greatest concert halls” and “the nation’s most glamorous theater”) and ambitions for growth.

njpac-exterior-photo-credit-estoI met with Jeff Norman and Josh Balber to talk about what one might still consider to be Newark’s best kept secret: the New Jersey Performing Arts Center.
“Pffft,” you say, “I’ve heard of NJPAC before.“  But, did you know that the center that has drawn over six million people to Newark since its open in 1997?  Did you know that the Center counts Yo-Yo Ma, Bob Dylan, Lauryn Hill and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater among its performances?  Or that deeply embedded into the DNA of the Performing Arts Center is a desire to catalyze the city’s renewal?

Or even that the Center’s Prudential Hall has been described by renowned critics as one of the “world’s greatest concert halls” and “the nation’s most glamorous theater”?


Jeff and Josh were kind enough to share some of the details about how the NJPAC was conceived and built by Lawrence Goldman, the Center’s arts programs and its ambitions for growth.



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Further Reading

Amateur Boxing Competition at JFK Rec Center Sat, Nov 22

Newark will be hosting amateur boxing at the JFK rec center tomorrow. Keep reading for the full release.

“This competitive boxing program has saved a lot of kids’ lives by keeping them off the streets and involved with a positive activity which is adding to their personal development,” said Robert Griffin, an Elite Boxing Club coach, who has coached many of the boxers in this and previous programs. Elite Boxing Club of Newark is co-sponsoring the event.

Continue reading “Amateur Boxing Competition at JFK Rec Center Sat, Nov 22”

Price to Chair NEH Transition Team

Rutgers History Professor Appointed to Prominent Transition Post by President-Elect Barack Obama
Clement Price has been appointed by the Office of President-Elect Obama to chair the transtion team for the National Endowment for the Humanities.

In addition to Price’s outstanding public service record inside and out of Rutgers University, is also the unofficial Newark historian, frequently providing insight for local and national meda.

I can’t express how exciting it is for another Newarker to have this kind of influence in the new Presidential administration.

Clement Alexander Price, Board of Governors Distinguished Service Professor of History at Rutgers University in Newark, has been appointed to a key role on President-Elect Barack Obama’s transition team. Price, who has earned national distinction for his many leadership roles in higher education, the arts and humanities, will chair the Obama transition team for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).  “The NEH is a public trust that is committed to a broad and deep investment in public knowledge,” Price commented. “I expect President Obama, despite the financial crisis now facing the nation, will want to continue its mission and its service to the principles of the American Republic.”