Latest Newark ShopRite Progress Pix
On Tuesday, January 20th, I got up very unusually early, to move the car out of the way of streetsweeping, and felt I had to run the engine for at least 15 minutes to recharge the battery against cold weather. So I decided to drive to the construction site of the Newark ShopRite. I hadn't taken any progress pix since January 5th, nor, before that, for over a month, because of cold and wet weather. I didn't want to go out in the cold and worry about my camera batteries draining, nor show dismal gray skies. Such skies depress me in person, and in pictures. I imagined this blog's visitors might have a similar reaction.
I had remembered the forecast as calling for rain, at least at the time of day I would ordinarily get up (sometime in the afternoon, in that I spent some 30+ years working on evening and graveyard shifts), but before 8am, it was brilliantly sunny, ideal weather for the background to my pictures.
The trip to where I usually park for such progress pix, 14th Avenue just west of Jones Street, takes less than 15 minutes, so I ran the car for a bit less than 10 minutes before I pulled out from my parking spot down a bit from my house. As usual, when I got to 14th Avenue, I found a parking spot only about 50 feet in from Jones Street, but was too quick to turn the engine off. When I checked how far out I was from the curb, I saw I was much too far out, over 2 feet. (I think the law requires that you park no farther than 18" out.) I dared not restart the engine for just a couple of minutes to park closer, lest I drain the battery and not be able to start when I needed to leave for home, so decided to run the engine for several minutes on 14th Avenue, then drive to Prince Street, on the eastern edge of the construction site. Besides, the last progress pix I took (January 5th) were from the western edge, including the first several pix today, so I wanted to show things from a different perspective.
Altho a sign speaks of a residential building, the main supermarket structure is low, only three stories. I doubt an apartment house in that area would be so short.
Tho the supermarket structure is low, the crane is tall.
Here you can see buildings closer to Downtown, under the structure now rising.
In the next picture appear two microwave/cellfone towers, at left, the one atop One Gateway Center, the first building in the Gateway Center complex. At right, and closer, is another, but I don't know what building it rises from. That's the last foto from January 5th that I'll show today.
The foto below depicts the view from Prince Street on January 20th, showing what appears to be a second building, the residences?
The sky, in the pictures from the 20th, was glorious.
Being readily able to see the sky is in fact one of the main reasons I live in Newark. When I lived in Manhattan, on low floors, I practically had to look straight up to see the sky much of the time. In Newark, the sky is omnipresent, like the Tristate Area's own "Big Sky Country". (I have been to Montana, by the way, twice. Beautiful, but COLD much of the year, much TOO cold for me.)
I noted something very peculiar about this building: it dips in the middle of the roof, such that at least part of it is not level, but sloped. Is it a garage rather than apartment house or supermarket building?
This new complex is being built across South Orange Avenue ("SOA") from part of Hovnanian's Society Hill housing development west of the Essex County Civic Center.
The western end of the ShopRite center is across SOA from low bleachers overlooking a soccer(?) field associated with Science Park High School, another reasonably new complex in the Central Ward. When I looked north on Jones Street, which becomes Norfolk Street north of SOA, I could see in the distance other new structures, including a dormitory for the former UMDNJ (now Rutgers medical and dental school) and the green Tyvek or other insulating material for a big building farther up Norfolk Street toward the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart. I didn't take a picture of that because I wasn't using a tripod (due to the cold), which I'd have needed in order to get a clear picture of a distant building. There's a lot of new construction in Newark, and I couldn't be happier about it. Now more people will get to live, work, and study in this fine city.
In this next foto, you can see a construction worker in the basket of a 'cherrypicker'.
The following foto shows a prefabricated portion of steelwork swinging from the crane.
And this next picture shows another view of the construction worker relative to the steelwork he is helping with. I could not, alas, see, from my vantage point, anyone securing the prefab steelwork hanging from the crane to that already integrated into the overall structure.
The following picture shows concrete piers from the ground to the top of the first floor, but wooden frame construction in the upper floors (presently, second and third; I don't know if there will be more when the building is complete).
I saw this sign, which had apparently fallen from the post in the picture onto its side on the sidewalk. I imagine it was intended to warn drivers that irregularities in the pavement, or perhaps metal plates over construction pits, formed a tilted surface.
I don't know what the very large, wide building in the middle and on the right in the next foto, is, but the building on the left with a cupola (kyúe.pa.la) is the former synagog Oheb Shalom, now part of the Prudential Outdoor Learning Center of the Greater Newark Conservancy.
For this next picture, I needed to move around a bit, to center the top of Arts High within some structural steel.
This next foto shows a backhoe working to remove some of the contaminated "brownfield" soil that was piled up from the excavation/s for the ShopRite complex's buildings. I didn't see any dumptrucks into which that soil would be deposited, but there had to be some nearby. Where do they take soil from "brownfields"? To fill in former coal mines in Pennsylvania or West Virginia? The ground above Prince Street is, at present, still quite high. I don't know if the site, upon completion of construction, will slope gently down to Prince Street, nor how level or sloped the parking lot will be. Either the (still-open) ShopRite or closed Pathmark in Kearny had a sloping parking lot, which could cause problems with shopping carts rolling after being emptied. (I think it is the ShopRite, because it is near a Pearle Vision center I noted as having the same parking lot.)
This next foto shows either another prefab section of steelwork hanging from the crane or the same one I showed before from a different angle that had not yet been secured to the main structure.
Advance Training, Artist's Conception. My friend Gaetano from the Ironbound sent me link to a story on NJ.com about training 200, or 300, workers (number differs in different parts of the story) for employment in the Newark ShopRite. The New Community Corporation's Workforce Development Center has established a program for that purpose. (You may have passed by that building on Bergen Street but not stopped to read the banner and other identifying info on it. I showed two pix of it on March 8, 2008.) A second article, link to which appeared at the first, says that the same company that built the Courtyard by Marriott hotel next to the Prudential Center is building the new ShopRite and associated structures:
The supermarket chain has signed a lease to be the anchor tenant at the Springfield Avenue Marketplace in Newark. * * *Altho I provide clickable links to these two NJ.com stories, I cannot recommend that you go to them if you have bandwidth limitations, because all NJ.com stories load well over 100 extraneous ads, graffics, thumbnail fotos used for clickable links, icons for Facebook, Twitter, and on and on. During all that "Loading" time, you can't scroll down to read the story. It can take more than two minutes for a story to stabilize on my machine. If you have clicked to scroll down more than once, you can find that when the story does finally appear, you are far down in the text, not at the beginning. NJ.com is not the only extremely stupid web publisher that makes it very hard for people to read their stories, but it is one of the very worst I ever have to deal with, and when somebody sends me a link to a story on NJ.com, I dread following it.
Wakefern Food, the parent company for ShopRite stores, signed a 20-year lease for a 67,000-square-foot supermarket on Springfield Avenue and Prince Street. The store will be part of a new development featuring 150 apartments and [a few other] stores.
I found an artist's conception of the "Springfield Avenue Marketplace" on Baristanet, as the second illustration of their story, "ShopRite Breaks Ground In Newark", from October 17, 2013. Unfortunately, that suburban website quotes a Brookdale ShopRite manager speaking of Newark as having been a "food desert" for 40 years. What contemptible drivel. Newark has two very large Pathmarks open 24/7, another large supermarket only about half a mile from the Bergen Street Pathmark, and a bunch of smaller stores that call themselves "supermarkets" as far apart as Clinton Avenue and South Orange Avenue. It is nothing like a "food desert".
There appears in that artist's rendering a large future building, probably an apartment house, on Jones Street just across from the Newark ShopRite. That would certainly seem a convenient place to live. Buses Downtown run on both Springfield Avenue and South Orange Avenue, and there will be a great big supermarket just across the street. That would seem an ideal place for middle-aged and elderly "empty nesters" who no longer care to rattle around in a big house in sterile suburbs. A quick hop on a bus will take them to NJPAC, the Newark Museum, Prudential Center, and the various art galleries and fine restaurants Downtown and in the Ironbound. And they won't have to shovel snow in the winter, rake leaves in the autumn, mow grass in the summer, or do their own household repairs year-round.
As regards training potential employees, ShopRite appears to have high standards, judging from the East Orange ShopRite, whose employees seem to be of high quality, tho I have noted lapses. On the plus side is one superlative young woman I want to mention. On Sunday, December 14th, I got distracted when fishing in my pockets for change for a cash purchase, and laid my wallet on the counter of Express Checkout station #2 shortly before 5pm. Once I had completed my transaction, I headed back to my car and had nearly reached the exit when the young black female cashier rushed up to me with my wallet. In my surprise, I exclaimed something dopy like "Where did that come from?" and she replied that I had left it on the counter. "Thank you very much", I said in inadequate appreciation of all the trouble she had saved me in either retracing my steps, if the wallet had been turned in to management, or replacing everything in it, if someone else had walked off with it. Now that is an employee who would be a credit to any company.
Alas, there is a minus side. Around the same time last month, I bought five flannel shirts on special ($4.99 as against a usual price of $9.99, tho shirts are not usually sold in the E.O. SR) and tried them on once I got home. I found that one of them had the buttons on the wrong side, which I cannot work with, and which I believe is the usual pattern with women's clothing. So I took it back, and the young black man at Customer Service, when I mentioned that I could not work with buttons on the women's side, made the unfortunate decision to joke about that, to the effect, "You sure?", making hand gestures as to playfully suggest effeminacy. I was quite sure, yes, and indignant that he, as so many other people, even in this day and age, more than 44 years after I put forward the term "Gay Pride", still identified homosexuality with effeminacy. Yes, I am gay. No, I am not confused about gender and do not affect feminine behavior. Management of the East Orange ShopRite, should they see this, need to say a few words to employees about careless, thoughtless language and hand gestures with customers, because they never know whom they might be offending. And New Community Corporation's training of potential employees for the Newark ShopRite needs to address such attitudinal behavior, more than just the technicalities of how to operate a price scanner and cash register, how to choose which items to put into which bags, in what order, etc.
I don't mean to exaggerate behavioral problems with ShopRite employees. I have had many pleasant encounters with very helpful employees at the E.O. SR on all shifts, and I anticipate the same level of agreeable interaction with employees of the Newark ShopRite once it opens. I don't know whether I will switch all of my ShopRite trips from E.O. to Nwk, some, or none — if I don't care for the Newark store, which seems unlikely. I have not yet determined the difference in distance to the two different stores. The E.O. store is 2.1 miles from my house, according to my car's tripmeter. Prince Street and Springfield Avenue, which will be the entrance to the parking lot of the Newark ShopRite, is (according to MapQuest), 2.85 miles. But I often go to the supermarket as only one of several stops in a given day, so on different days might go to either ShopRite or one of three Pathmarks, the two in Newark and the one in South Orange. (The S.O. Pmk is the only one that recycles plastic bags. I urge management of the Newark ShopRite to do such recycling. I also urge the State of New Jersey to REQUIRE every store that employs single-use plastic bags to recycle them.) If any portion of the sales tax, on such items as are subject to sales tax in a supermarket, went to the City of Newark, I would prefer the Newark ShopRite. But there is no local sales tax, so that does not militate for the Newark store. Perhaps some portion of the sales tax collected by the state in any given municipality should go to that municipality, but that is not, as I understand, the way things now work.
Still, my friend Joe from Belleville suggests that any new supermarket is likely to be more appealing than an older market. He is familiar with other ShopRites run by the people who are opening the Newark ShopRite, and thinks highly of their management. We'll see. I'm not sure how soon the new store will open, but I'm definitely looking forward to it.
All of today's fotos, plus others from earlier dates, appear in my "Newark ShopRite" Picasa Online album. I embed below a slideshow of that album in its current state, with 74 pix. You can turn captions on or off, and pause to read any caption you can't read in the time ordinarily allotted for a single foto, tho most captions speak only to the vantage point from which the foto was taken and the date.