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.