Newark’s Justice: William J. Brennan Jr., The Newark History Society’s Panel Discussion

Since early June, Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. (his new statue) has stood high in front of the historic Essex County Hall of Records, watching his native city and far beyond with an anxious expression. During his 34-year tenure in the U.S. Supreme Court, with his over 1,300 legal opinions, Justice Brennan literarily touched all aspects of every American’s life. However, 13 years after his death, American democracy and its fundamental values, such as church-and-state separation, and even the First Amendment itself, seem to face a serious challenge. With questions of the Constitution framers’ intentions during the “Tea Party” insurgence, Justice Brennan’s legal genius and his passion for human dignity are more needed than ever before. With these thoughts in her mind, Linda Epps, the Director of the New Jersey Historical Society, opened the discussion on Justice Brennan on the evening of October 20.
Brendan O’Flaherty, an economics professor at Columbia University, a Newark connoisseur, and “the only person alive who has read through the 1929 Newark city budget,” organized the discussion with a question to all panelists: “What would Justice Brennan have been without Newark?”

Facing a crowded Newark audience, Seth Stern, an author of the long-awaited biography, Justice Brennan: Liberal Champion, started his presentation apologetically for devoting “only” 40 pages about Brennan’s Newark experience in this huge volume of almost 700 pages. He said, “We have to get Brennan quickly to the U.S. Supreme Court,” the institution that became his life. A talented storyteller with an admirable ability for even distant details, Stern traced Brennan Sr.’s ascendance from a penniless Irish immigrant in1893 to an almost legendary figure at his sudden death in 1930. Tens of thousands of Newarkers rushed to join his funeral precession from City Hall to St. Patrick’s Cathedral while three New Jersey National Guard airplanes dropping white flowers along the cortege. However, the humble family experience had a deep imprint on young Brennan and his firm commitment towards justice and human dignity, particularly for the deprived, humiliated, and voiceless underdogs.

Seton Hall law Professor Edward Hartnett observed Brennan’s deep distrust of elected political power, which he developed during his youth seeing his father brutally attacked. In his book, Stern also described young Brennan’s most fearful moments when his father drank alone, frustrated and disturbed by local politics. Hartnett pointed out that, in contrast, since becoming a state judge after the 1947 State Constitution Convention overhauled the backward judicial system, Brennan Jr. had never wavered in his faith in the judicial power to create a more humane society. Hartnett sited case after case among Brennan’s numerous legal decisions where he extended justice through a living Constitution.

A walking encyclopedia of Essex County politics, Assemblyman Tomas Giblin is a long-time president of Local 68 Operating Engineers, the Brennan Sr.’s union in the 1910’s. During the hardest days in the Great Depression, Giblin’s father got a one-day-a-week job from Commissioner Brennan. Thirty years later, Justice Brennan’s Baker v. Carr decision paved Giblin Senior’s path to another job, this time in the State Legislature. To Giblin, the Brennan family’s support to young Irish immigrants is legendary.

The Brennan family’s Irish connection, however, often led to the ethnic stereotype that Georgianna Brennan deeply resents. Justice Brennan, Geogianna’s father-in-law, was always dear “Pop,” not a mischievously smiling Leprechaun with short arms around his colleagues, as caricatured by authors like Bob Woodward. She recalled the hardworking old man baby-sitting grandchildren on a Christmas morning while writing legal opinions on a yellow pad next to the kitchen table. She testified what Seth Stern described all through his 700-page book – the heroic but quiet sacrifices that Brennan made, together with his wife Marjorie and their children, for the justice of all. Having reached the pinnacle of his legal career, Justice Brennan was far from a wealthy man, but often resorted to borrowing money from friends for his children’s education. Shortly before her death, Marjorie overcame her cancer pain and showed up for the last time in Justice Brennan’s Supreme Court chamber to observe his questioning. Georgianna Brennan is particularly proud of her Newark roots, “I am a Newarker because I was born, married, and worked in Newark.” What she did not mention is that her own father Pearce Franklin, an able attorney, served as a Newark City Commissioner between the 1930’s and the 1950’s, even longer than Brennan Sr.

The evening’s audience seemed to enthusiastically embrace the Brennan’s, particularly William J. Brennan Sr., as their own. I remember reading a 1928 New York Times report about 100,000 children attending a Brennan “family picnic” in Dreamland Park, which blocked the Lincoln Highway traffic for hours. Today, with the Newark Public Library facing extensive service cuts and Brennan’s Barringer High School falling into chaos, it is hard to imagine that political leaders like Commissioner Brennan could command such affection from ordinary citizens. Justice Brennan said in 1986, “Everything I am, I am because of my father.” For today’s Newarkers and Americans whose lives have been deeply touched by Brennan’s monumental legal works, we may be tempted to say, “Everything we are, we are because of Justice Brennan.”

Future Riverfront Park at Brill Street

Drivers pass by Brill Street without even a glance at this ragged post-industrial riverfront, perfect only for a Soprano’s episode.  Cars curve along Raymond Boulevard swiftly, so swiftly that five people died here a few years ago after their cars flew into Passaic River.  The city then settled with the families of Monique Hawkin (39), Nicole Floyd (34), and Gail Williams (43) for $5.8 million and another $3.1 million for the families of Ceneida Zapata (52) and David Torre (54).   Seemingly, there have been other curses at this sadly storied spot.  For instance, a 21-year-old Harry Ryan dove in for a summer swim in 1934 and disappeared forever.  The following year, Harry Keenan (40), a barge captain, was drowned while unloading stones.
On Wednesday, the Essex County police directed cars to a large white tent on the graveled riverbank to celebrate a new chapter of the place.  Last July, the Port Authority allocated $7 million through its Hudson-Raritan Estuary Resource Program to purchase 12.25 acres along the Passaic Riverfront for a future county park.  Now, in an election season, the check should be delivered.  The ceremony hostess State Senator Teresa Ruiz reminded people, mostly county and city officials, “With a vision of dream, we, come together as winners.”  Then, the Chief County Counsel James Paganelli talked about his “non-stop, roller-coaster, behind-the-scenes” funding effort.  Then, Bill Baroni, a Port Authority deputy director for just two months and a former Southern Jersey State Senator, happily announced, “I, bring greetings.  I, bring congratulations.  I, bring $7 million.”  The County Sheriff Armando Fontoura, who promised “the safest park in the land,” was all excited, “This is huge, Jo D!  This is huge, Jo D.”  Assemblyman Samuel Gonzalez, (Ruiz’ husband,) staged yet another round of thanking each individual politician’s vision.  The local Democratic Party boss Bonnie Watson proclaimed to preside over “the best Freeholder Board in New Jersey,  “We, did it!  We, did it!  Open space for the county!  Open the air to breath fresh air!”  Ah, fresh air, on this beautiful spring day without the familiar garbage incinerator odor.  Two hours flew by as quickly as the cars on Raymond Boulevard.  “That was brutal,” remarked my veteran journalist companion, relieved after ten politicians’ small talk.  To me, the best was Mayor Booker’s joke:  “The great park builder Divincenzo wishes those thousands of newly planted cherry trees can all vote, and I am going to do what politicians do in an election year, to claim credit for everything.”  He quietly disappeared with his staff soon after his joke.

The Ironbound Community Corporation’s director Joseph Della Fave was the last to speak. “After all this, I ask for a little attention for the history of the park.”  He gently reminded the audience that people’s struggles could be traced back to spring, 1991.  An Ironbound lady in front of me whispered to her friend about a video that Nancy Zak showed her yesterday: “School children demonstrated for our park as early as 1983.”  Ruiz, Gonzalez, Coutinho, and even Mayor Booker were around the age of those Ironbound school children.  Fave’s subtle message was, Who really should be claiming credit?  On April 16, 1998, another beautiful spring day in an election year, on the same Brill Street spot, a park had already been celebrated after a huge public outcry against a planned conversion of the nearby River Bank Park to a baseball stadium.  The stadium was moved to the Broad Street Station and an additional park of 8.2 acre was promised with $4 million for soccer fields, tennis and basketball courts, and in-line hockey and roller skating space.

When Toni Griffin reviewed the city’s recent planning history, she found over 400 large and small development plans, almost all unexecuted.  I cannot help to mention about another cheered development on this very Brill Street location.  On November 15, 1977, the city revealed “the largest private industrial re-development project ever undertaken.”  The Ironbound Plaza by then-Newark’s J.I. Kislak Realty planned to invest $21.5 million for a shopping center of 85,000 square-feet, as well as various industrial and residential buildings.  The New Jersey Economic Development Authority and the First National Bank were all involved.  The celebration specifically discussed “symbols” of the past, incomplete demolition for projects even earlier, which created a painfully scarred appearance.

After the Morris Canal brought traffic in 1832, the New Jersey Zinc and Iron Company and Passaic Chemical Works settled along the river.  By 1872, the chemical factory on the very land for the proposed park became the largest sulphuric acid supplier for oil refiners and match factories all over America and Canada.  In the early last century, Christian Feigenspan brought his beer fortune to the Brill Street waterfront soon before World War I against his native Germany and then the disastrous Prohibitionist era against his business.  On October 1, 1927, he opened spigots of 26 huge vats to drain 303,552 gallons of pre-prohibition ale and beer into the Passaic River, the largest storage in the country worth $1 million.  The New York Times reported that the lathery fluid poured into the river, “diluted with the tears of old brewery employees” and the dirty river water.  Feigenspan’s misfortune did not end there.  In a cold November night in 1932, the bootleg gang sneaked into the boiler room to shoot five bullets into a potential witness, with a protecting police officer nearby.  In 1943, Robert Ballantine bought the brewery and operated it for a few more years before weeds swallowed the riverfront.

Mayor Booker told the crowd that he will meet with President Obama and Interior Department officials this Friday.  I think that he does not need to go as far as Washington D.C.  Next time when the Governor is in town, they should together call the Port Authority’s chairman Anthony Coscia.  People in Newark want to know why the agency can spend more than $100 million for the waterfront in Queens and millions in Brooklyn and Hoboken, but not enough here, where money is generated from the seaport and the airport.  For the next election year, all freeholders and senators can simply go to nearby Fleming Avenue, like they did on Wednesday, for a steak lunch at Fernadez’s even with our money.  Cory Booker alone is enough to cut the ribbon, “This is all Newarkers’ credit.  Enjoy the park!”

Another American Experience at 80 Lister Ave., Ironbound

The EPA director, our own Lisa Jackson visited one of the nation’s most notorious Superfund sites at 80 Lister Avenue on March 26, promising speedy action towards clean-up, which will be the first step for Newarkers to reclaim the Passaic riverfront.
At 11:59 a.m. on February 20, 1960, a huge explosion blew up the roof of the 125-by-250-foot building at 80 Lister Avenue, sending tons of toxic debris into the Passaic River and surrounding streets. Many workers had to be dug out by fire rescue squads. Soon after, Alfred Casatelli, 35, a chemical engineer, died in St. James Hospital of chemical poisoning, among many others badly injured. The chemical factory, Diamond Alkali, was about to accelerate its 24-7 production schedule to produce one million gallons of Agent Orange for the Vietnam War. By the time the factory closed its production in 1983, it left behind “a sprawling tomb” for the herbicide’s toxic byproduct, dioxin, measuring 500 parts per billion, with some samples as high as 1,200 parts per billion. (The EPA classifies a level of one part per billion as dangerous to humans.) Producing DDT at the Lister Avenue site for over 40 years, Diamond Alkali had ordered its employees “to wade out surreptitiously at low tide to chop up mounds of DDT” to avoid being detected for dumping waste into the Passaic River.

On June 4, 1983, after a chilling contamination report, Governor Kean showed up in the site with Mayor Ken Gibson to order further inspection and to close the nearby Newark Farmers Market, the largest seafood supplier in New Jersey, in addition to fresh and frozen goods for the tri-state area. A few months later, the Federal Government declared it among the first Superfund Sites. However, all politicians, reporters, and lab workers in white moonwalk outfits soon disappeared, leaving scared Ironbound residents puzzled. Governor Kean’s spokesman Carl Golden explained, “This is not the kind of thing that leads to a quick, overnight solution.” In past 27 years, the 65,000 cubic yards of polluted dirt and debris faced a few remedies, none of which led to easy solutions. According to the company, the only place for processing highly contaminated materials is in Coffeyville Kansas, with a price tag of $241 million, plus transportation, that would take seven to ten years. A second solution is on-site incineration, which successfully removed dioxin of lower concentrations (400 parts per billion) at Diamond Alkali’s other Superfund site in Times Beach, Missouri. In a more populated urban area, the two-year decontamination would cost $40 million. Not surprisingly, in 1998, the responsible corporation (Occidental Chemicals) took the third route: to “encase” the four-acre site with a floodwall and a groundwater treatment system at a cost of $22 million, the lowest-cost approach. Some additional debris was put in 932 cargo containers piled along the Passaic River. (For more details about the EPA Lower Passaic River cleanup, see www.ourpassaic.org/projectsites.)

The EPA-approved “interim solution” thereafter turned to be permanent, while the Dallas-based company went into its fast global expansion during the Golden Era of massive deregulation under the Bush Administration. The CEO, Dr. Ray Irani, has lived a high life in Beverly Hills, with a record annual earning of $460 million in 2006. (For a bad year, he made $59 million in 2009.) Meanwhile, Newark has developed “Renaissance on a garbage heap,” as Johns Hopkins University researcher Eileen McGurty has called it. The largest garbage incinerator opened in 1991 to process 930,000 tons of garbage annually. Alan Gerson, a New York City Council member representing Lower Manhattan, complained about the incinerator air: “Some of the stench and toxins could waft right back to Manhattan on an easterly wind.” In our local Jersey, struggling to dispose of municipal solid garbage, the state and the county tried to entice Newark to allow more incinerators by throwing in an employment opportunity – a jail, also in the Ironbound. As adjunct law professor of Seton Hall University Tirza Wahrman observed, “Another thing going on here is New Jerseyans don’t feel a sense of ownership about Newark.”

This typical urban American story will not be completed without mentioning its heroes. With some other enduring Ironbound residents, a young man Arnold Cohen started the Ironbound Committee Against Toxic Waste in 1983. Among many heroic “pushing-backs,” the committee sued the State DEP for its negligent inaction in 1984. In the past three decades, his daughter has been born and has recently left home to attend Princeton University, while his hair turned grey at the age of 62. I hope that my little Newarker daughter will some day join Arnold’s daughter to carry the Committee’s battle for a just and clean America.

Newark’s Ironbound: An American Experience

A few years ago when powerful developers and institutions planned to turn my James Street neighborhood into a giant corporate parking lot, we started to search over the urban Tri-State area for a new refuge. Soon, we happily concluded that one does not have to go as far as Astoria in Queens for a viable, diverse, and un-gentrified community, with a rich history that reflects our American experience, individually and collectively. It’s found in our own Ironbound, which was the subject for Monday’s panel discussion organized by the Newark History Society.
In a small area of four square miles surrounded by a curve in the Passaic River and the Northern Corridor rail tracts, the Ironbound has been the home for generations of working class Germans, Italians, Irish, Eastern Europeans, Jewish and African-Americans. In the past decades, Portuguese dominated the area, increasingly joined by Brazilians and other Hispanics. However, according to one of the panelist Maria Pereira of Luso Americano, her nationally circulated newspaper found that 48 percent of Portuguese residents never responded to the 2000 Census. Therefore, the accurate size of the Ironbound population has always been a subject of speculation.

Many well-known early American immigrant communities have been characterized by their extremely transient living. For instance, an average early immigrant family made Lower Eastside Manhattan its home for only eight months before its “upward” migration. In contrast, the Ironbound has retained many proud long-term residents through Newark’s ups and downs. Another panelist, Alice Schreiner, a manager of Ironbound Senior Citizen Center, was born at 102 Houston Street, where her Polish-American parents settled 59 years ago, not far from their own parents. After attending St. Casimir Academy and Eastside High School, she married and moved from the second floor to the first floor of the same building, where she raised her four children. Alice plans her next move “only when the God calls me.” One of the organizers of tonight’s discussion, Nancy Zak once told me about her treasured Sunday morning family tradition—having pancakes with her older upstairs neighbor. Fighting for a stable American experience has kept her working at the Ironbound Community Corporation, which will celebrate in the coming May over 40 years of community service.

The most endearing presentation was by Walter Chambers and Michael Underwood, who grew up respectively in Ironbound’s Pennington Court and Hyatt Court Homes, two earliest Newark public housing projects. While not glossing over their difficult circumstances, they both enthusiastically celebrated their rich diverse experience both socially and culturally. With an often-ill single mother in the 1950’s, Underwood enjoyed his freedom as an “Ironbound Tom Sawyer.” As a child, he roamed around neighborhood factories, foundries, and even the police auto pound, where he learned from manufacturing workers about the real world. Finding his love of railroads at Ironbound’s edges, he has become a Conrail locomotive engineer and a union leader. Chambers, a 78-years-old African-American, distributed his brief history of Pennington Court (1939-1960), in which he quoted the 1940 statement by Neil Convery, the accomplished Newark architect and first Newark Housing Authority director, “The housing program is truly American. Twenty-three nationalities and two races (white and black) are living in friendly neighborliness in a government-aided project.” However, that was long before the “Real Estate Lobby,” as President Truman called it, mobilized corporate powers to sabotage public housing and create the most economically and racially segregated housing market in the industrialized world.

As one of the participants pointed out, Ironbound’s ethnically diverse history was once well represented by over ten local newspapers of all languages. Forward, a progressive Yiddish newspaper still has its old building standing on Ferry Street. Students of Newark history can also testify about Ironbound’s reflection of national and regional politics through a century of turmoil. For instance, during the World War I, Ironbound’s Hamburg Place was changed into its current name Wilson Street. The area closely witnessed the wartime industrial boom and then the final decline of the country’s manufacturing power. Since 1947, Newark’s port and airport, a part of Ironbound, have been taken over by the Port Authority to become the world’s only comprehensive air-rail-sea infrastructural complex. At the same time, nobody seems to remember that Newark is a costal city while it declines into a mismanaged inward city. However, tonight’s discussion was all about celebrating Ironbound’s diverse, enduring, and ever optimistic people. Walter Chambers closed the discussion by quoting the late Charles Cummings, “People will always be the most valuable resource of America.”

(The Newark History Society’s event in May will be about the Star-Ledger’s history.)

Paradise Lost: Newark Poetry

All hell broke loose.
John Milton, Paradise Lost

In June 1667, Puritans under Robert Treat signed the first city charter for the religiously exclusive Newark governance. A month later, these white men struck a good deal with the Lenape Indians for the paradisiacal land from the Passaic River to the Watchung Mountains. That was the year when the immortal Milton first published his Paradise Lost.

In November 1915, Newark at its pinnacle organized the Newark Poetry Competition as a part of the city’s 250th anniversary celebration. In the official publication, The Newarker, the organizers wrote:

Newark is not all industries, smoke, rush and din. It is a great center of production and in its special field of work is alert and progressive. But it has also beautiful homes, fine parks, admirable schools, and a useful library. Its thousands of shade trees are the envy of many cities. The cleanliness of its highways surprises even the Newarker himself. It has a good government, churches in plenty and many worthy clubs and societies. Art and science even are not altogether neglected here… Newark, with 400,000 people… (is) known to all the world as a producer of honest goods.

Clement Wood, a graduate of Yale Law School, won the first prize with his poem, The Smithy of God.

Clang, and clang, and clang, and clang,
Till a hundred thousand tired feet
Drag-drag-drag down the evening street,
And gleaming the myriad street-lights hang;
The far night-noise dwindle and hush,
The city quiets its homing rush;
The stars blow forth with silent sweep,
As Hammer and hammered drowse asleep…
Softy I sing to heaven again,
I am Newark, forger of men,
Forger of men, forger of men.

Perhaps even with a nightingale’s singing, Wood’s nocturne might not be able to send 400,000 working men and women with blue eyes and children with above-average intelligence to their sweet American dreams every night. However, Newark indeed was a first-class city of manufacture and technological inventions. Poet Sayers Coe, a native Newarker and a graduate of Princeton, could even verify the most familiar sound of his time in his The Voice of the City:

Clang! Clang! Clang! Clang! Clang!
Hark to the music that the hammers beat!
List to the tramp of the marching feet!
See, where the forges redly glow!
This is the song that my children know –
Clang! Clang! Clang! Clang! Clang!
Hear me, cities of men….

Before becoming an editor of Puck Magazine, Berton Braley labored with his hands, passing coal on the Great Lakes, digging ditches, guarding prisons and an insane asylum, farming and mining. With Walt Whitman’s spirit, he testified, “The needs and wants of the world have spurred her, Newark – city that builds our dreams.” However, amazed by Newark’s vulgar Pollyannaish fever, the literature wizard Ezra Pound sent his advice from London, “If each Italian city is herself, Each with a form, light, character… Can you, Newark, be thus, setting a fashion, But little known in our land?”

On May 31, 1916, 40,000 citizens celebrated the city’s birth in a beautiful amphitheatre in Weequahic Park. On a natural stage separated from the crowds by a lagoon 300 feet long and 163 fee wide, 4,000 performers unfolded the city’s history in four movements, including Lenape “peace legend,” Robert Treat (of course), land rioters of 1746, and rebels against British tyranny in a 1776 town meeting. A live band of 92 pieces performed the pageant music composed by Henry Hadley for the event.

Was life so great then? Would the celebration last? Our poet Richard Cammarieri in his 1999 poem, Taking Sides, asked:

Celebrate?
Celebrate what?
Ignorance deceit
Conquest slavery death
that is what you are about
and I know – we know –
what you are about.

In the next 50 years, through two World Wars, the Prohibitionist attack, the Great Depression, and Urban Renewal, two waves of Southern African-American migrant workers moved in with poverty and tens of thousands of whites moved out with wealth. In front of the eyes of a single generation, the once powerful city swiftly experienced a stunning metamorphosis, which has, in turn, generated a very different poetry. In 1967, a Newark court convicted Amiri Baraka with his poem, “We must take our own world, man, our own world, and we cannot do this unless the white man is dead. Let’s get together and kill him my man… Let’s make a world we want black children to grow and learn in.” In his Black People!, the “paradise-lost” scene was depicted:

What about that bad short you saw last week on Frelinhuysen, or those stoves and refrigerators, record players in Sears, Bamberger’s, Klein’s, Hahnes’, Chase, and smaller joosh enterprises? What about the bad jewelry, on Washington Street, and those couple of shops on Springfield? You know how to get it, you can get it, no money down, no money never, money don’t grow on trees no way, only whitey’s got it, makes it with a machine, to control you, you cant steal nothing from a white man.

Now, even those stores, Sears, Macy’s, Klein’s, Hahnes’ and whatever enterprises have long gone and might never come back. The “paradise” has nothing, but Baraka’s and my anger. A young poet Candy Killion cries in her Urban Renewal, Newark (2005):

They stand at sweet attention, now
Condos tight and scrubbed,
Manicured and fertilized
On the hot-tarred rise where there was never grass,
Not when we know it.

Over there, see the swing set?
through decades of exhaust from the 21 bus,
back, further still, see the hill then:
houses burning, National Guard boys…
white and black and yellow and red
barely nineteen, some of them
crawling sweaty and confused in the gutters,
rifle muzzles erect through tinted windows,
waving at them into dreams of rice paddies

Molotov air, broken glass and screams are there still
Under the flowerbeds, under the new-set sod
Just as we knew it.

We knew it? Do we know that, once lost, the paradise will never come back? Maybe the crazy Ezra Pound, who died in an asylum, was right after all: “Can you, Newark, be thus, setting a fashion, But little known in our land?” We don’t really need a paradise, do we?

Newark’s “Autopia”

In a 1957 lecture, the city thinker Lewis Munford observed, “…instead of planning motor cars and motor ways to fit our life, we are rapidly planning our life to fit the motor car… that we have no life that is worth living.” Arguably, Munford has summarized our 100-year collective experience in Newark and far beyond.
In the afternoon of August 20, 1834, Newarkers cheered their first glimpse of rapid transit: a team of powerful horses made an epochal trip, pulling a car (the “Washington”) on tracks from a Broad Street tavern to Jersey City. On December 2, 1835, the first steam locomotive (“Newark”) started to replace horses on the line. In the winter of 1871, the locally built Baxter Steam Car operated on the Bloomfield line going 18 miles an hour. In 1888, a spectacle of cable cars had a short life on Springfield Avenue. Newark’s first electrical trolley car began operation on October 4, 1890, and swiftly took over the city’s streets.

In 1893, America’s first gas-engine automobile was built in Springfield, Massachusetts. On February 21, 1908, the first Newark Auto Show opened at Essex Troop Armory on Roseville Avenue, featuring moving pictures of the thrilling Vanderbilt Cup race. Thousands of visitors admired over 30 brands of magic machines, including Maxwell, Crawford, Jackson, Peerless, Ford, Fiat, Oldsmobile, and Regal. The subsequent shows even gained national significance, attended by President Tufts, and focused not only on sales, but also the politics of auto legislation and road construction. Motor cars aggressively but arrogantly charged into Newark’s maelstrom of dirty horse wagons, trotting carriages famously made locally, darting bicycles, and hyper streetcars.

The city builders of the “Progressive Era” believed that automobiles provided the solution to urban traffic problems. Newark’s Harland Bartholomew said in 1913, “The logical development and growth of a modern city depends almost exclusively upon its transportation facilities.” Once Newark’s streets were cleared of slow vehicles, they would be dedicated to the smooth flow of motorized traffic.

The modern “Autopia,” however, quickly turned into a bloody nightmare, with hundreds of deaths under wheels annually. Local motoring organizations, supported by the automobile industry, directed public attention to trouble makers – “jaywalkers.” They even heavily advertised against popular images of spoiled “joy-riders” and demanded the press to cease attacks on innocent motorists. With the auto lobby, State Motor Vehicle Commissioner Magee said in a 1939 Newark City Hall meeting:

Approximately 3,000 pedestrians have been killed and more than 35,000 injured in the last five years…. Careless action of pedestrians, the almost absolute defiance of many stubborn-minded individuals of their probable chances for injury, is an outstanding reason for these casualties.”

As some people observed, even Ralph Nader’s auto safety reform in the 1960’s did nothing for those lives outside the car. Starting from 1923, Newark adopted strict laws against jaywalkers. Through endless efforts of widening streets, particularly after Essex County took over major corridors (e.g., Springfield, Bloomfield, Central Avenues) as county roads, many sidewalks were further narrowed or even eliminated. Many ordinances were adopted against traffic problems, such as uniform traffic control (1915), street parking bans (1921), and one-way streets (1940). In the 1920’s, Police Director Brennan (the father of our beloved U.S. Superior Court Justice) was the most-hated figure in town for his traffic law enforcement.

The great German historian Oswald Spengler, who chronicled the decline of the West, observed as early as 1932, “In great cities the motor-car has by its numbers destroyed its own value, and one gets on quicker on foot.” Twenty years later, however, the magic machine reached its new pinnacle in American, with an average of three persons owning a car, compared with one out of every 20 Britons owning a car. Optimistic city planners are divided into two camps, like today. Some are confident that cities can build their way out of their decline by making them more auto-friendly, using further regulatory tools, providing plentiful and convenient parking, and building express highways into the city center. (Sound familiar, Newark?) The other school was represented by Victor Gruen, a refugee from Vienna who hated cars and loved old cities. He proposed a wide ring road outside the city center, with an archipelago of commuter parking, an underground freight-delivering network, and an efficient bus system to reduce traffic pressure. His new American downtown would be a car-free mall attracting diverse interests, such as churches, offices, and educational institutions.

In the late 1950’s, Newark commissioned Gruen for a comprehensive study on its downtown and for the design of Gateway One. From a Newark Evening News report, one can see that Gruen did a very decent job educating the public, “For a long time he (pedestrian) was the forgotten man in the soaring dreams of the City Beautiful. The plan often sounded as though tomorrow’s town was expected to have no people, only skyscrapers and unbroken streams of swift traffic.”

With the power of automobiles and anti-urban national policies, however, Gruen was (and still is) too remote to Newark’s business people, politicians, and most planners. Leslie Blau, one of the most influential businessmen in town, predicted in 1957, “The construction of the east-west freeway (Rt. 280), together with additional garages and adjusted downtown taxes, will wipe out most of the store vacancies, greatly improve existing business… bring more business. People want to drive to the shopping area.” At the time, Downtown Newark still had five department stores: Bamberger’s, Hahne’s, Chase, S. Klein, and Ohrbach’s. Pasqual Guerrieri, the president of Kresge/Chase and Chairman of the Newark Parking Authority, predicted with the Military Park underground parking, “Millions of dollars will be spent here. They will go into payroll, supplies, and into the general stream of the economy.” Bamberger President David Yunich said that Newark “is looking forward to its fair share in the space age from visiting consumer and capital expenditures.”

The auto-oriented prosperity, or “revitalization” in today’s term enthusiastically used by politicians, has never really happened. While Newarkers like to boast of its great “transportation advantages,” in the past 100 years, highways and automobiles actually drained the urban center in favor of peripheral areas, where driving and parking were less arduous. Before World War II, Le Corbusier, the great creator of the “Radiant City,” enjoyed driving with his lover in her powerful Ford V8 towards Newark. He noted, “…the ‘sky-way,’ so-called for the way its enormous length rises high above the industrial districts, the coastal bays, the railroad lines….A roadway without art, for no thoughts of that was taken, but a prodigious tool.” He did not know that as early as 1926, Newark’s chief engineer James Costello had to launch a “showdown” with the State Highway Commission against the design and the intention of this “prodigious tool,” the Pulaski Skyway, which had no point of access to the city of Newark.

From the beginning, highway construction aimed for sprawl and decentralization. For instance, for highway funding in 1930, Ocean County got 410 percent of its tax dollars; Sussex and Hunterdon 324 percent and 333 percent, respectively, while Essex got only 37 percent. Federal and state legislation further deprived Newark’s funding for road construction. In the 1930’s, under the County Engineer Stickel, Essex County took over ten “county roads” beyond High Street (MLK Blvd.) to better serve suburban needs.

Under the economic boom with massive highway construction after World War II, a large number of “Boomtowns” mushroomed in New Jersey. For instance, by 1950, New Providence (original Turkey Town), a country hamlet, had expanded threefold in 20 years, becoming the home of engineers, research scientists, technicians, and sales personnel, in general young people with families and “definite” ideas about local affairs. Following Bell Labs that settled in New Providence, large and small corporations located along highways, such as Ciba Pharmaceuticals in Summit and Standard Oil in Linden. Even the native institution, the Newark Academy, followed young families to pastoral Livingston. As Frank Lloyd Wright prescribed for his “Broadacre City,” every family lives in an individual house at the equivalent of the lowest suburban densities, linked by universal car ownership and fast roads.

As a Chinese proverb said, “No banquet will be endless.” The good life in Bo-bo land, La-la land, or wonderland is finally coming to an end under economic and environmental constraints. We even get an “urban president” in the White House, as we have all hoped for. More and more suburban towns have started serious efforts to build more dense and pedestrian-friendly centers, particularly along mass transit lines. That has not happened in Newark! In the City Council meeting a week ago, the Chancellor of our urban university addressed his ambition to grow the school by constructing 3,500 new parking spaces on the city’s best land for transit-oriented community development, indeed the largest parking development in the history of the city and the state. Although the paradigm of Newark’s “autopia” did not work for its five department stores, it seems to still have the support of our leaders and planners, calling it “urban revitalization.”

My grandchildren will see what Newark will look like in 2025. Since this is a discussion of the city, Jane Jacobs will have the last word: “What if we fail to stop the erosion of cities by automobiles? What if we are prevented from catalyzing workable and vital cities because the practical steps needed to do so are in conflict with the practical steps demanded by erosion?…. In that case we Americans will hardly need to ponder a mystery that has troubled men for millennia: What is the purpose of life? For us the answer will be clear, established and for all practical purpose indisputable: The purpose of life is to produce and consume automobiles.”

(See also Newark’s Lethal Traffic and The Iron Cage: A Very Brief History of Parking in Newark, both posted at this site.)

Why Is Newark Not Baltimore?

There are times when a short trip to exciting New York City streets is not enough to ease the frustration from Newark’s troubles. On Christmas Day, 1994, we woke up only to find our car was among seven within two blocks, stripped by smashed windows. On the next day, we booked a bed-and-breakfast room on Ann Street of Baltimore’s thriving Fells Point. The four-term mayor Schaefer’s urban revival projects had started to change Baltimore’s downtown decay. At the time, Governor Schaefer was pushing a $500 million light rail line through the heart of the once “Cinderella City.” Encouraging!
On the morning before returning home, we sat at the hostess’ kitchen table for an elaborate breakfast with Andy, the hospitable husband. After learning our destination, he could not help giggling. “What is it, Andy?” “When I drove through the fallow city blocks, wind blew waste paper against my windshield. I am sorry. Newark is such a dirty city.” We headed back immediately after, without a single word in two hours.

Earlier this year, after two years into the Booker Administration and much talk of Downtown Revitalization, we had another visit to Baltimore, by now a completely different place. Its urban redevelopment strategy has worked impressively. As a Fortune magazine article envisioned 30 years ago, “Their [public and private sector] strategy has been to convert the heart of the city into a culturally rich, architecturally exciting magnet where both affluent and middle-class families will choose to work, shop, and live.” A closer look at the city’s success points to a single word—“Leadership.”

William Donald Schaefer was born in Baltimore in 1921 to a modest Lutheran family of German descent. After finishing his early education in public schools and Baltimore City College, he went to England not to attend Oxford, but to serve with distinction in the Army during World War II. With the GI bill, he received his law degree from the University of Baltimore and spent 19 years on the city council, tackling the city’s planning and housing issues. The Baltimore native son was elected mayor in 1971, 1975, 1979, and 1983 by over 85 percent of the votes in a city with an African-American majority. In 1986 and 1990, he was elected the governor of Maryland with an overwhelming majority. Over his almost 60 year career of public services, the driven and focused visionary had his heart only in his city.

The legendary mayor was known for his attention to detail, taking note of problems of every project large and small, such as the seal pool at the National Aquarium and street violations like strewn garbage as he rode around. “Fix it right now!” Aiming to redevelop the downtown and the waterfront as fast as possible, he devised strategies to overcome the slow-moving bureaucratic city machine and to win the confidence of ordinary citizens and corporate investors. Under his leadership, redevelopment efforts were directed and implemented by 24 flexible and efficient quasi-public development corporations, which could pay higher salaries with less politicized regulations. As a city researcher observed, Schaefer encouraged “apolitical means for improving the city’s development potential by infusing speed, flexibility, and technical expertise into the policy-making process.”

The Ann Street Bed-and-Breakfast opened during the transformation of the Inner Harbor. Those rat-infested piers, rundown structures, and eclectic parking lots were scenes familiar to Downtown Newark residents. The blighted mess smelled “like a million polecats,” as H.L. Mencken described. Under Schaefer’s leadership, the city acquired over 400 structures to provide land for redevelopment. A few blocks away from Ann Street, the Harborplace, a delightful and warm place of people, includes two translucent pavilions of diverse shops and restaurants. Its success assured Schaefer’s audacious dream of making Baltimore a national tourist destination, attracting 18 million visitors the first year, earning $42 million, and creating 2,300 jobs. During the year of our first visit, the nearby aquarium added another 18 million visitors. By 1998, visitors spent $847 million annually, contributing $81 million in tax revenues, and covering a payroll of $266 million. Schaefer’s legacy also includes the construction of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the reduction of Chesapeake Bay pollution, and higher standards for public schools.

A “public entrepreneur,” Schaefer lives most of his life in humble row houses in the city, with no interest in material things except fast food and political-convention freebies. The no-nonsense pal held public positions over half a century, not for his political ambition, but for his intrinsic motivation of getting things done for his beloved city. Like any strong leader, he never shied away from controversy. His successor, the first African-American Mayor Kurt Schmoke, observed, “If you revisited Baltimore today after a 20-year absence, you would find us much prettier and much poorer.” The national organization “Good Job First” complained about using millions of Urban Development Action Grants (UDAG) on Inner Harbor projects. With our own Newark experience, I am not convinced by his detractors’ accusations. He served during the worst urban decline, the fastest manufacturing depletion, and the deepest racial and economic segregation in this country’s history. When Baltimore poured UDAG money into its tourist and entertainment infrastructures, Newark was busy building parking garages and industrial parks with the same money. To this day, these facilities are still strangely under the total control of our infamous Al Faiella, with no contribution to the city and its poor people, but to his own $200,000 plus salary and “charitable” choices.

A few months ago, Schaefer sold his row house in Fells Point for $225,000. However, the 87-year-old man only moved to a sixth-floor apartment at a retirement community, with his friends and a view of the Baltimore skyline shaped by none other but himself. Having been a Newark resident for 12 years and our mayor for 30 months, Cory Booker has yet put his money down on Newark soil for a permanent home. In an August master plan hearing, NJPAC’s CEO Larry Goldman commented on Newark’s slow motion redevelopment, “There is no value-free planning. We are expecting the administration’s strong leadership to move the city forward.” Absolutely, leadership!

Drive-Through College and Its Urban Mission

Rutgers Newark is celebrating its centennial this year, with its proud mission of serving an underprivileged urban population. It began in October 1908, when Richard Currier started New Jersey Law School in the Prudential Insurance building. He believed that education is “a most potent factor in the progress of human development towards the ideal in the individual and the state.” Then, in those University of Newark years, buses and trolleys carried mostly working class and new immigrant students to their classes. Among the commuting professors, the world renowned Frankfurt philosopher Theodor Adorno wrote his famous jazz essays, not without the Newark influence. In 1947, Rutgers University absorbed the struggling University of Newark to extend its influence, as well as to keep Eastern European Jewish and minority students out of the its New Brunswick campus. Since the rapid suburbanization in the 1950’s, the school population has further changed to create the most racially diverse, but the most commuting, student body in the country.
To turn the shallow commuter experience into an intellectually and socially more stimulating education, Chancellor Steve Diner, since the beginning of his tenure in 2002, has declared the university’s transformative effort for an urban residential college. However, a cultural revolution, that is, demands some deeply rooted structural changes. Despite a new 650-bed dormitory building, the “drive-through” college is still mostly quiet for at least three days a week, far from a 24-7 culture. Obviously, students’ financial constraint is not solely to be blamed for the commuter culture. Most college students have to pay for their own room and board some where anyway, in addition to expensive automobile commuting costs. A simple survey of where the university’s leaders live might provide some insight. Among a total of 36 top administrators, with titles of chancellor, vice chancellors, deans, and associate and assistant deans (from Nursing, Criminal Justice, Law, Public Administration, Graduate School), only one new vice chancellor might have a permanent Newark address. The rest are busy driving in and out of Newark, in some cases, for over 80 miles one-way. Campus parking has been a headache to almost all universities. However, Rutgers Newark might be among a very few in the nation where the planning priority of creating parking has been through destroying its own historic neighborhood. Students readily accept the inferior drive-through experience created by the very university leaders and professors who have paid only lip-service to a residential college and urban revitalization.

Interestingly, in his own dissertation three decades ago, Dr. Diner studied an urban residential college with its cosmopolitan faculty devoted to the home city’s progressive future. University of Chicago, Dr, Diner’s alma mater, has a proud tradition of an urban residential community. President William Harper and President Robert Hutchins dedicated many years of their lives living on the sometimes not-so-peaceful campus and fighting for the university and its place in the city and the world. Its professors are known for their loyalty toward their intellectual home, their students, and their city. I remembered the occasion of admiring Professor Edward Shils’ huge home library near the campus. The old scholar cut a distinctive figure on the streets of Hyde Park with his walking stick, his suit jacket, and hat. I am sure that Dr. Diner’s own experience in Chicago must have influenced his determination for a residential culture in Newark.

Under the leadership of Judith Rodin, within ten years, the University of Pennsylvania changed its campus, as well as the surrounding crime-ridden urban environment. Dr. Rodin not only lived on campus as the president, but also grew up in the neighborhood with her life-long affection toward the area. Buildings were developed, or renovated, to turn outward to the streets and the city, leading to collaboration with the community revitalization in University City and West Philadelphia. The university even established the Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander University of Pennsylvania Partnership School and other partnership schools for children of local residents and university staff. Rodin convinced the university community that a viable residential college cannot survive without a residential faculty in a viable neighborhood and its city.

One might point out that the two elite universities have a different student population and a far superior financial strength, which a poor urban college lacks. Rutgers Newark’s own history, however, argues differently. From 1963 to 1974, Malcolm Talbott, Rutgers’ Vice President in charge of the Newark Campus, was in the forefront of the city’s revitalization and the modern campus’ creation. During his long distinguished service to the university, he always lived in Newark. Many active participants of the black student protest movement in 1969 vividly remember their insightful discussions in Mr. Talbott’s home on Mt. Prospect Avenue. Some of them, such as Vicki Donaldson, the spokesperson for the Black Organization of Students, maintained their friendship with Talbot to the last moment of his life, long after his ouster by New Brunswick for his out-spoken promotion of Newark’s interests. Many of Talbott’s colleagues lived around the campus, forming an intellectual home for many underprivileged students.

When becoming the President of NJIT in 2002, Dr. Robert Altenkirch was told to live away from the battled city. Soon, he realized that “the easy thing to do would have been to sit back in Maplewood,” knowing nothing about the lay of the land, focusing only on the campus, and ignoring the neighborhood. He said, “I have never pursued the easy over the right.” He happily moved to Newark and took responsibility as the chair of the Downtown Core Development, which includes the Prudential Arena. Following UPenn’s model, but with very limited recourses, NJIT developed a creative vision for the community around the campus and a seamless transition between “town and gown.” Starting his day on campus at 6:30 every morning, often including Saturdays, Dr. Altenkirch knows not only all university staff, but also many students by their first names and their future career pursuits. The sole purpose of the NJIT Gateway Project is to enhance the students’ residential life through creating viable mixed-use streets for the community and the city. Along the tradition of John Cotton Dana and Malcolm Talbott, Dr. Altenkirch has argued forcefully that only a hometown university, not a satellite drive-through campus, can be the engine and pillar of our city. As simple as that!

Who Killed Westinghouse, and Me?

On March 12, 1914, George Westinghouse, whose 361 patents rivaled Thomas Edison’s creativity, died in his chair while still working in a New York City apartment. However, in this city, Westinghouse, as a powerful industrial symbol and, later, a sad building remnant on Orange Street, lived on until April 2008. In the demolition dust, I also felt suffering from a death of some sort after living in the shadow of Westinghouse (the building) and dreaming about the city’s renaissance for the past 18 years. Westinghouse and I did not expect a proper closure until Matt Gosser came along with his Project of Westinghouse.
Matt and I formally met in the twilight last spring inside the Westinghouse building, where my children and I were searching for the last memorabilia—a metal sign, a piece of stone, or a lamp shade. An odd silhouette alarmed us until it turned into a tall man shouldering an old sink. That was Matt, searching for the same memories before heavy demolition machines wiped out the whole building.

We soon came to know his pick-up truck parked outside the chain link fence every evening and weekends, as well as some of his artist friends, with cameras and easels. We all shared the same entrance, a hole in the fence that led to a broken staircase. Matt has found Newark to teach architecture (at NJIT) and to make his art from the endless supply of old building artifacts since coming here from Ohio 15 years ago. Although I thought that Matt and I shared the aesthetics of Heraclitus, who believed that “the most beautiful world is like a heap of rubble, tossed down in confusion,” I often watched him and his Hippie artist friends with suspicion and worry. Maybe they would just make some tasteless “postmodern” spectacle from the death of Westinghouse.

On Saturday, October 11, Matt’s Westinghouse Project unveiled its mystical screen in the Gallery of NJIT School of Architecture, with his fellow artists, live music, champagne, and cheap food, like any other bourgeoisie art opening. After spotting some faces of those who I believed to be responsible for the building’s destruction, I left with disappointment in a sardonic carcass viewing. That night, I could not sleep, “It can’t be, Matt!”

On Monday, I took my son back to the gallery to have another look. Matt opened the door before rushing to his class. No music, no drink, no crowd, just the two of us. Outside the window, Newark’s downtown was under the smooth autumn light, with the beautiful New York City skyline on the distant horizon. Inside, 47 artists’ voices were competing with the Westinghouse stories in silence. I could not hold back my tears when I saw Phillip Buehier’s “In Lieu of Flowers.” A waterfall-like sculpture of columns of newsprint gracefully flows through the staircase from the third floor all the way to the basement, with obituaries of those who worked in the Westinghouse building for 20, 30, or even 40 years.

Catherine Gutowski, 84, was honored for not missing a single day of work, or being late in 35 years. Edward Braunagan Jr., 92, was a group leader of the meter division for 43 years, and turned in 1,764 suggestions (843 accepted) in a 12-year period. Anne Nicodemus, 86, received only an orange and three hard candies for Christmas in her orphanage and later treated the Westinghouse factory as her home… Where are you Maurice Veneri, 89, the union president? Dr. Anton Lennert, 79, the scientist? Or Lillian Westcott, 93, the secretary of 45 years to the president?

My son’s favorite piece is DC Smith’s “Westinghouse AM,” made from found objects, documents, paper mache (pigeons inside the empty building), and a radio. I told NJN’s Deserre Taylor, who walked in to report the show, “It is a perfect tribute to the building and a relevant one particularly to broadcasters like you. The Westinghouse building was the home of WJZ, the nation’s oldest commercial radio station that covered the first live Baseball World Series in 1921.” (See my Feb.13, 2008 piece “City without Memory” in TDN.)

Matt Gosser’s art is loud and muscular, despite his always calm and gentle demeanor. His “Centipede,” made from a bundle of old wires, reminded me of the moment when he was cutting the piece in the dark from an electrical control panel with his portable electric saw, black smudges covering his face. His “Electro revisited,” (priced for $18,000) looks like a giant gorilla made from salvaged bolts, screws, meters, wires, wood, and plastic lids, sitting in the middle of the gallery. Or to be more accurate, it is George Westinghouse on his knees, begging for understanding and sympathy. Eleonora Luongo’s three small photos and her powerful poem echo each other:

“It stood a symbol of the city’s past,
a sign of its decay. A looming ghost
of former industry, with empty smoke-
stack, broken windows, cracks in its façade.
Led on and bought and sold and passed around,
declared unsafe and tossed aside; a used-
up hooker on the corner. That’s Enough!
It cried brick tears, and crushed four cars below.”

Chris Funkhouser playfully manipulated all 12 letters of “Westinghouse” in his flash movie, “we sting house.” I am not an artist, but a student of the city’s past and of the Westinghouse building, who has read many of the legal proceedings of the building. I know who “we” are (e.g., greedy owners, developers, lawyers, politicians, state and city officials) and how they together “sting” a healthy building to its death and my “death.” I promise to come back to tell the ugly story! That night, I fell asleep peacefully, but dreamed about Maria Mijares’ three stunningly beautiful oil paintings: “No matter how much, I have to have them to eulogize Westinghouse and my innocence.”

Welcome to Newark, Project U.S.E.

Project U.S.E. is no stranger to Newark children from North Star Academy and Link Community School. However, to be completely worthy of its name (Urban Suburban Environment), the 38-year-old experiential education program opened its University Heights Learning Hub in Newark on the evening of October 8. In addition to extended expeditions for school children to natural environments in Newark and far beyond, the Hub will help young men transition from a highly structured incarcerated environment to a productive and independent life.
At the corner of Central Avenue and Golden Street, the Learning Hub occupies a newly- renovated old warehouse: bright, spacious, and cheerful, with a pleasant smell of fresh paint. “Learning from the past, living in the present, looking to the future” is the program’s motto.

From its big windows, I could see not only moonlit Central Avenue and Sussex Street, but also the past of Newark. Only one block from Morris Canal, the area was the beginning of Newark’s industrial revolution over 100 years ago. The dozens of leather tanning companies, including T.P. Howell, Hugh Smith, and Charles Smyth, not only supplied the nation, and even Europe, with high quality patent leather, but also literally decided who would be elected to the offices of Essex County. This exact block, however, was home to humble Newarkers, including a corset maker, a fireman, a music teacher, a bartender, and a wire weaver, who witnessed the city’s decline after the Great Depression. From the 1940’s, the Newark Housing Authority under Louis Danzig struggled in its urban renewal effort from his office across street. After five days of shooting in July 1967, the last National Guard soldiers leaving the city passed by this building. With the thorough urban destruction, those left behind in Newark, particularly badly deprived children, have paid a heavy price with their unimaginable suffering.

On Wednesday night, a few Project U.S.E. youth educators joined Newark’s children, living in the present of this coming-back city. Danise Cavallaro, the director of the Hub, who grew up in suburban Wayne and encountered Newark only in passing on her way to school, could not conceal her joy about the new beginning. The building includes high ceiling spaces for boat building and a carpentry workshop to teach social and life skills to juvenile offenders re-entering into society. On walls and the floor of the workshop, spaces planned for a drill table, a rip saw, a sander, and an exhaust fan are marked by blue tape with prices, desperately calling for financial support. In the hallway, Newark students’ photographs are telling compelling stories of their urban lives, their loneliness and anger, as well as their joy and happiness. Living in the present is never an easy walk in Newark. A young man writes for his self-portrait, “Always remember: There is nothing closer to you than your shadow.”

Around 7 o’clock, the cheerful music stopped. Mayor Booker walked to the microphone. “I am here to celebrate the transformation of this building. While we are talking about an environmental movement in the city to deal with limited natural resources, we should not forget a magic resource, which is equally distributed around the nation, the resource and genius in every child.” For the development of “divinity in each individual,” Booker welcomes Project U.S.E. to join us in Newark. According to Bill Mikesell, the architect for the building, the future of the Hub will need “a lot of money and a little imagination.” However, I have to warn these enthusiastic newcomers that Newark, with its past, present, and future, is a highly contagious place that demands a lot of endurance, courage, and idealism. Welcome to Newark, Project U.S.E.

(University Heights Learning Hub, 185 Central Avenue, www.projectuse.org)