Interview: Darius Sollohub of the NJIT School of Architecture

Newark is the fastest growing city in the Northeast, leading the nationwide trend of people migrating into cities. The Wall Street Journal ran a piece describing the demographic aspect of this move — boomers and millennials, mostly — and identifying higher energy prices as one of the main reasons for this trend.

The Journal (and a similar CNN piece that ran the day before) described the New Urbamism phenomenon, which closely identifies with walkable neighborhoods intended to encourage community. To get some insight into the New Urbanism movement and how Newark’s future is being guided from an urban design perspective, I interviewed Darius Sollohub, Associate Professor of Architecture at NJIT.

The interview is about 31 minutes. Press the play button below to listen.


On the podcast, we discussed:


  • Darius’ history with the NJIT School of Architecture and how the school has participated in research and advisory in the city
  • What New Urbanism means, the origins of the movement, and some of the critiques and benefits
  • How Newark’s redevelopment can benefit from the New Urbanism model
  • Whether Newark is taking the right approach in its urban design, and how design can make a difference in urban problems like crime and quality of life
  • Bonus! What will Newark be like in five years? Firefighters battle blaze at former Newark brewery

Firefighters battle blaze at former Newark brewery
Pabst Brewery is on fire! And causing major rubbernecking delays on the Garden State Parkway.

Birthday Wishes
Creative Commons License photo credit: Niemster

Newark firefighters were battling a blaze this morning in the partially demolished remains of the former Pabst Brewery, authorities said.

The fire in the six-story building, on South Orange Avenue near the Garden State Parkway, was reported at about 8 a.m., said Newark Fire Chief Michael Lalor. It began in the lower floor and spread to the upper floors, he said.

Firefighters were initially attacking the flames from inside the building, but moved outside as a precaution, Lalor said. “We are concerned because it is under demolition. So we are a little leery about working underneath it,” Lalor said.

Four-Story Building Fire on Broadway in North Ward

Star Ledger: Seven hurt in Newark fire

A four-story Newark apartment building caught fire this afternoon, injuring seven people inside – including an elderly couple rescued by an off-duty fire chief who ran into the building, authorities said.

The two-alarm blaze at 69 Broadway started in a second-floor apartment at about 4:20 p.m., and quickly spread to the other floors, authorities said. Seven people who were inside the building suffered smoke inhalation; three were taken to University Hospital while four others were treated at the scene, authorities said.

An elderly couple living on the top floor escaped more serious injury when off-duty Lyndhurst Fire Chief Paul Horvath drove by the building and spotted the fire, authorities said. Horvath, 51, ran inside and found them upstairs, oblivious to the fire, authorities said. The 30-year firefighting veteran kept them calm until Newark firefighters could execute a ladder rescue about five minutes later, authorities said.

“I think he played a pivotal role,” Newark Fire Director Dave Giordano said. “Without his help, we may have had loss of life, or people would’ve been critically injured.”

7Online has a video interview with Horvath, the off-duty fire chief from Lyndhurst who ran into the burning building and saved several people: Off-duty fire chief to the rescue in Newark fire.

Paul Horvath, an off-duty Lyndhurst fire chief, was driving down the street about 4:30 Tuesday afternoon when he saw flames shooting out of the four-story building and responded. He saw no firemen in sight.

He could have kept driving, but he didn’t. Instead, he ran inside without any protective gear.

“I kicked the doors in the lower apartments and there was no one in them,” he said.

And again without any safety equipment he climbed the stairs looking for people who might be trapped inside the burning building.

“When I got up to the fourth floor … I saw two elderly people on the fourth floor … I just kept the door closed. I got to the window and let the firemen know I was up there,” Horvath said.

Eight families were left homeless in the fire, and 10 people were injured — none of them seriously.

If Horvath hadn’t come by, it might have been a whole lot worse.

“He kept them calm waiting for the Newark firefighters to get here and to exit the building. I would say without his part here, there may have been loss of life here,” said Newark Fire Director Dave Giordano.

Electrical Fire at One Gateway Center

The Star Ledger writes that there were two electrical fires at One Gateway Center which badly injured a contractor: Fires force evacuations at Gateway Center.

An electrical panel on the 20th floor of the One Gateway Center building in Newark exploded early this evening, seriously injuring a worker and briefly forcing the evacuation of the office tower, officials said.

Just over an hour later, a second fire – also electrical – was discovered in the basement of the same building, but it was not known if the fires were related.

No one was injured in the second fire, but the building was evacuated a second time.

Injured in the first fire was 51-year-old Steve Paris of Bergenfield, who sustained second- and third-degree burns on his upper body when the panel exploded at about 6:10 p.m., Newark Fire Department spokesman John Brown said.

Paris was taken to Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, Brown said. His condition was not immediately available.

The victim is employed by a private electrical contractor, and was replacing meters when the explosion occurred, Brown said.

Highrise Fire Causes Evacuation of 100 Seniors

Live from the Ledger: 100 senior citizens evacuated in Newark fire. Thankfully, there don’t appear to have been any casualties in the blaze.

A smoky electrical fire routed some 100 elderly Newark residents from a high-rise apartment complex for seniors early this morning, officials said.

With thick black smoke quickly spreading, more than 80 firefighters worked “methodically” to remove the seniors, many of them in wheelchairs or bed-ridden, from all 15 floors of the Seth Boyden Elderly at 46 Evergreen St., said Jon Brown, a fire department spokesman.

Eight were treated at area hospitals for breathing problems, Brown said. No firefighters were injured.

Most of the people evacuated were taken to the nearby Dayton Street School.

Brown said the fire erupted in the building’s electrical conduit that runs from the first to the 15th floors shortly before 1 a.m. The fire was contained in the conduit, but thick back smoke poured out into the floors.

Firefighters used elevators and stairways to evacuate the seniors. Once all were removed, Public Service Electric & Gas Co. was called to cut the power to the building, just before 3 a.m., Brown said.

“They did an excellent job. This could have been a disaster, but we got it under control pretty fast,” Brown said.