Manischewitz Expands Newark Operations

A common misperception some people have about Newark is that the city’s industry is a thing of the past. Well-informed people know that Newark used to be an industrial colossus, but knowledge that Newark still has a great deal of industry is something of a secret.
Well, if you live in the Northeastern US and you drink Rolling Rock or Budweiser, chances are that your beer was Newark brewed. If you build a house in New Jersey, it’s a decent possibility that some of your building materials, like sheetrock, were made in Newark.

This may not affect all readers of this site, but Newark is gaining another jewel for its industrial crown: a new $15 million expansion for the Manischewitz matzah factory!!! That’s right, the Passover staple is now going to be made in Newark!

According to an article in the New Jersey Jewish News (The article is in the Dec 28 Jewish News, the article is online, but the NJ Jewish News website uses frames, and I cannot link to it. To find the article, go to the Jewish News website’s list of articles and go to the article “With one last matza run . .. “), Manischewitz is selling its 75 year old matzah factory on Bay Street in Jersey City to Toll Brothers, who plan to build a high rise apartment building on the site.

Manischewitz actually has a long history in Newark. The company operated a factory on Clinton Avenue until the 1970s. Beryl Manischewitz used to be active in Newark Jersey issues in the 1940s and 1950s. Manischewitz already has a factory in Newark, in the Industrial Meadowlands, but up until now this factory has produced non-Passover matzah, gefilte fish, soups, and sauces under the Rokeach, Season, and Guiltless Gourmet labels. With this expansion, all Manischewitz matzah, Passover and non-Passover, will be Newark made. Manischewitz had, at peak season, 100 employees at its Jersey City factory, so
Newark may be gaining 100 jobs from this.

Jersey City Mayor Jeremiah O’Leary sees the move in the historical context:

“Manischewitz is a company that has been a good corporate neighbor. But it is part of the changing Jersey City. . . . The old manufacturing days have left and we have new types of businesses coming in – IT and computer-type things. Real estate is obviously more valuable now than when they purchased this land for probably next to nothing 75 years ago.”

As Jersey City has gained from New York becoming red hot, maybe Newark will gain from Jersey City’s rise.

Other comments on Newark industry and Newark-Jersey City links are very welcome.

Off the Broiler Covers the Ironbound

Jason Perlow at Off the Broiler sent me what could only be described as a prodigious list of articles he’s written about restaurants in Newark’s Ironbound. I’ve lived here for over two years, and I still don’t think I’ve eaten at all the places he’s covered here.

WOW. My favorite so far is the small and cozy Casa Vasca — walking distance from our apartment (a BIG plus after a pitcher of sangria), and fantastic food. They’ve been covered by the Ledger’s food tour feature and was mentioned recently by one of the DJ’s at WPLJ. Go check ‘em out and stop up at Mompou for a night-cap!

Brazilian Festival on Ferry Street

Today wrapped up the Brazilian Festival, celebrating Brazilian Independence Day. The Newark Star Ledger has a piece about Brazilian culture in the city: 2-day fest salutes culture of Brazil.

At the first Brazilian festival in Newark 14 years ago, a modest number of visitors came to the area just outside of Penn Station to celebrate Brazilian culture. The party extended to Union Street a few blocks away.

As the years passed and the population of Brazilians grew in the Ironbound, the festival moved to the area known as Five Corners — where Ferry Street meets Wilson Avenue — to accommodate the growing number of attendees.

These days, the two-day September festival attracts some 30,000 visitors, who come from all over the tri-state area to hear local artists perform Brazilian music, and to sample typical dishes such as “feijao propeiro,” a beans and pork dish, and “tutu a mineira,” a type of beef stew topped with eggs and sausage.

A couple of Flickr users have taken some great photos of the festivities and the fantastic food:

Ironbound Quiet After World Cup Losses

Newark Star Ledger: Bearing the burden of a country’s lifelong wait. We were looking forward to posting up videos of Brazil or Portugal celebrating their World Cup win in the Ironbound, but, alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Brad Parks interviews local Portuguese after their crushing loss to France on Wednesday.

For the team’s many supporters in this heavily Portuguese enclave, it’s been the wait of a lifetime.

“I wasn’t born the last time this happened,” said Costa, as he watched the early minutes of Portugal’s struggle against France. “I talked to my father and he told me about crying last time. I may never live to see us get this far again. That’s the kind of moment this is.”

It’s difficult to explain what exactly it means to be a Portuguese soccer die-hard. The short version goes like this: Portugal never wins anything.

“You can count what Portugal has won on one hand and still have plenty of fingers left over,” said Ivon Silva, a club vice president. “We’ve suffered over the years.”

Ironbound Mixed Over World Cup Results

Newark Star Ledger: Emotional Side of the Game. Ironbounders were both elated and depressed over this weekend’s fútbol results. Portugal beat out England 3 – 1 in penalty kicks at the end of a long and intense game, which sent droves of Portuguese to the streets for celebration.

In a thrilling penalty kick shoot-out, Portugal bested England, 3-1, unleashing thousands of ecstatic Portuguese fans onto the Ironbound streets, their sheer enthusiasm forcing police to redirect traffic out of the area.

Cars draped in Portuguese flags idled on side streets, horns blowing and lights flashing. Men wearing flags as capes danced arm in arm through traffic.

“We’re going to be champions!” screamed Amilcar Heleno, a contractor from Springfield.

“We’re going to keep partying until tomorrow!” said Vieira.

Brazil, however, didn’t fare so well, losing to France 0 – 1 in a suprising upset.

Hopes for a dramatic and historic semifinal match were dashed later in the afternoon, when Brazil lost a 1-0 heartbreaker to the French.

“Brazil is the best, but they didn’t play today,” said Souza, as he mournfully stabbed at the rodizio meat on his plate.

“The World Cup is over. Brazil’s out,” moaned his friend Wesley Costa, 24.

Portugal Day Celebration

It’s that time again! The Portugal Day celebration is going on in the Ironbound this weekend. The Newark Star Ledger reports:

The Portugal Day Festival continues this weekend with a street festival that runs from noon to midnight Saturday along 17 city blocks in the Ironbound. Visitors can enjoy Portuguese food, drink, music, dance and arts and crafts at the street fair, which runs from Newark Penn Station to Fillmore Street along Ferry Street.

On Sunday, a two-hour parade begins at 3 p.m. along Ferry Street, featuring musicians and dancers from Portugal as well as local pipe and drum corps. The festival continues until to 10 p.m.

The week-long festival has been hampered by all the rainy weather, but revelers will get their chance to party as the weekend promises drier weather. The excited chatter of the crowd, the vendors hawking cheap t-shirts and jewelry, and chowing down on arepas while sipping sangria from a plastic cup—I can’t wait. 🙂