North Ward Walking Tour, June 14th

Hi, I’m leading another Newark walking tour on 2:30 Sunday, June 14th. We’re going to be touring the North Ward, seeing a diverse collection of churches, mansions, cemeteries, and grand apartment buildings.
We will be meeting in front of the old New Jersey Historical Society building at 230 Broadway. From there, we will see the old Mutual Benefit Building, Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, the old Rutgers School of Pharmacy and various Puerto Rican Sites. At Elwood we’ll climb uphill to see the prospect of Mt. Prospect. We will take a look at some of Newark’s finest apartment buildings and surviving mansions. Two highlights will be the Mt. Prospect Manor apartments and the Clark Mansion, now the North Ward Center’s headquarters. Finally, we’ll descend the hill again to Broadway, where we will visit Ahavas Shalom, the oldest functioning synagogue in Newark and the Clinton AME Zion Church, the oldest black congregation in Newark, and a gem of Victorian Gothic architecture. Along the way, we will learn about the different ethnic groups that have lived in the North Ward, such as the Italians who dominated the neighborhood mid-century, as well as the area’s industrial history.

More information is available on my website.

Firefighters’ Ceremony at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery

Hello, yesterday I happened to be exploring Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in preparation for my next walking tour there. Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, even compared to other cemeteries, is a still and forgotten place and yesterday morning was miserable in terms of weather, so I wasn’t expecting to see a soul.

You can imagine my surprise when I came upon this ceremony performed by the Newark Fire Department.

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Mt. Pleasant Cemetery has a firefighter’s graveyard. Like everything else in Mt. Pleasant, it seems forlorn and forgotten. There haven’t been many burials there in the last few decades. I was very heartened to discover in the form of this bag pipe and drum ceremony that the Newark Fire Department remembers its history.

New Gathering Place for Forest Hill Moms

Life in Newark can be serious business, owing in no small part to the challenges of child rearing. Finding the right schools, keeping up with parent/teacher meetings, ferreting out just the right extra-curricular activity for your child — you all get the drill. This stuff changes your life forever, and if it weren’t for helpful advice from friends in the form of books, emails, conversations or whatever, some of us would be more dependent on the bottle — of a different variety, of course — than our little bundles.
Here is a new discussion forum for Forest Hill parents, designed to be another source of advice and helpful information to moms and dads in Forest Hill. This is great, because I’m the type of person who is generally friendly and great to know. However, put me under just the right circumstances, and I might take hostages to get what I want. And I wouldn’t want to set that kind of example for the new Baby on the way, would I? Of course not. So, this group will do nicely for me and anyone else who needs to ask a lot of questions, or who is a fountain of information and loves to share.


Bon Jovi plans to build low-income housing in Newark

Bon Jovi plans to build low-income housing in Newark
Add Bon Jovi to the New Jersey stars bringing resources to our fair city. This housing initiative creates rental units for single-parent families with two or three young children.

The Genesis Apartments will be a project of HELP USA, one of the nation’s leading providers of job training and housing assistance for the homeless and victims of domestic violence, and Bon Jovi’s Philadelphia Soul Charitable Foundation.

Located at Oriental Street and Mt. Pleasant Avenue, the environmentally friendly housing will feature a geothermal heating system, 2,500 square foot community center along with residential and support services for homeless people with AIDS.

Mt. Pleasant Cemetery Walking Tour – October 5th

Hi, I’m posting to share the news that Newarkology has gotten permission to offer a walking tour of Mt. Pleasant Cemetery.
Mt. Pleasant and Fairmount cemeteries were the only two options for eternal rest for well-to-do 19th century Newarkers, with Mt. Pleasant being the choice for most of the Anglo-Protestant aristocracy. The Ballantines, Murphys, Kinneys, and Frelinghuysens who did business and socialization together in life all elected to spent eternity together as well. Learn about the lives and fortunes of the men and women who made Newark an industrial colossus and Victorian mourning customs.

Come learn about the great politicians, businessmen, inventors, and divines of Newark’s Golden Age on this exciting tour.

Date: Sunday, October 5th
Time: 12:15
Cost: $10 for those coming on their first Newarkology tour
Location: 375 Broadway, Newark, New Jersey

More information is available at my website.

New Parks Coming to Newark

Jesse Allen Park

I received a flyer from the City Hall the other day describing the new parks coming to the city. The city is partnering with philanthropists to bring playgrounds, sports fields, pools and walkable green space to Newark neighborhoods.

Mayor Cory A. Booker and the City Council create the largest historic fund for City Parks

Through Green Spaces, a historic public-private partnership, Mayor Cory A. Booker has announced the restoration and construction of parks throughout the City of Newark.

The City of Newark has committed $20 million of capital funds which will be matched by private dolllars. Mayor Cory Booker is partnering with foundations, organizations, such as The Trust For Public Land, and individual philanthropists from around the country to accomplish this ambitious goal.

The renovated parks will include improved city pools, professional quality football and soccer fields, baseball diamonds, basketball courts, state-of-the-art playground equipment and more. These parks will provide Newarkers of all ages safe and expanded opportunities for recreation, relaxation and sports competition.

“Every young person and adult in our City, in every neighborhood, should have abundant access to green spaces, parks and recreation. This should be a fundamental part of life in our City and I am determined to transform our City’s landscape to accomplish this goal,” Mayor Cory A. Booker.


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See full release: Moving Newark Forward: New City Parks (PDF).

The Jazzmobile comes to Newark

The Jazzmobile comes to Newark
What better way to spend a hot summer evening than packing a picnic basket, grabbing a lawn chair and heading to the park for some free, public music? The Jazzmobile continues its summer series in the city tonight at Monteith Avenue, between 6th and 7th Streets in the North Ward.

Jazzmobile is known for its free summer mobile concerts across New York City’s five boroughs. May saw first-hand how the music changed the lives of the youngsters it touched in these summer concerts. Concerned about the shootings in Newark, May pushed for a Jazzmobile series there.

Although May passed away suddenly in January of this year, his dream continues. Jazzmobile, his widow, Lee May, the Rev. Bill Howard (senior pastor of Bethany Church) and the City of Newark have joined forces to present ten concerts this summer in Newark. Latin jazz great Ray Mantilla, the Winard Harper Quintet, the Houston Person Quartet, Barry Harris, the Earl May Legacy Band, Antoinette Montague, the Lyle Atkinson Quintet and the John Lee Quintet will be some of the performers for the concert series, which runs through August 27.

Read the full press release after the jump.

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Two teenage girls are shot, one fatally, at Newark graduation party

Two teenage girls are shot, one fatally, at Newark graduation party

One teenage girl was killed and another was injured by a single bullet fired early today during a fight at a graduation party in Newark, authorities said.

Sujeiti Ocasio, 18, was shot through neck during the dispute outside a house in the North Ward at about 12:15 a.m., authorities said. The bullet continued, striking the second victim — an unidentified 15-year-old — in the chest.

The search continues for the shooter, who remains at large.

“It was so shocking and surprising, because I know what kind of young lady she was,” Ruiz said, wiping her eyes. “She had aspirations, she wanted her life to be something and I can’t believe this happened to her.”

Alicea said Ocasio was born in Newark and lived on Mount Prospect Avenue for most of her life. Two years ago, she moved to an apartment on Lincoln Avenue, a tree-lined, residential street dominated by Puerto Rican families. The first in her family to graduate from high school, according to Alicea, Ocasio was a tough and serious-minded person who lavished attention on her family, friends and boyfriend of a year.

7Online: Triple shooting in Newark apartment building

Triple shooting in Newark apartment building

Three people were shot on separate floors of a high-rise Newark apartment building. Police say the victims were hit on different floors of 175 1st Street just after 11 p.m. last night. One person was shot in the torso, one on the leg and the third in the foot. They were all rushed to University Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, according to officials.

Star Ledger: $1 Million Donated for Park Repairs

$1 Million Donated for Park Repairs

Arthur F. Ryan, former CEO of Prudential Financial Inc., and his wife, Patricia Ryan, co-chairwoman of the Branch Brook Park Alliance, made a personal gift of $1 million to the alliance for improvements at the Essex County park. The grant was announced yesterday and will be used for continued renovations to the 359-acre park, located in Newark and Belleville.

The gift drew praise from Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, who said $25 million has been poured into improving the park over the last six years. He added, “Art is a very generous person … and what he has done for Newark as a whole has been unbelievable.”

Some of the items the money may be used for include finishing the design for incoming cherry blossom trees that are to be planted in the park; creating an arbor walkway, and designing and paving a crescent area near the Park Avenue Bridge to improve foot and car traffic. In addition, Coleman said there are plans to create a paved walkway that would lead people to the recently renovated Octagon.