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Newark USA

A fotojournal about LIVING in Newark USA, New Jersey's largest and most cultured city, by the author of the foto-essay website RESURGENCE CITY: Newark USA.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

S.O. Pmk Now Stop & Shop

This is a post FOR November 22nd, not uploaded ON that date. All the dates in this blog are FOR the date mentioned. Many are also uploaded ON that date, but not all. I may work in fits and starts, depending on my mood and demands upon my time and energy.

I discussed here on September 22nd the impending changeover from Pathmark (a subsidiary of terminally bankrupt A&P) to Stop & Shop, of the South Orange Pathmark, one of three Pathmarks I sometimes patronized.
The changeover is now complete. The sign on a stanchion alongside Valley Street, which was dark on September 22nd, is now alite wwith the new store information, so I didn't drive past the entrance, as I had on two prior occasions toward the end of the Pathmark era. The parking lot when I arrived just before 6pm was extremely busy, as customers flocked to the new store. Very few customers were in evidence the last time I had been there, perhaps in part because that streetside sign had been dark, so many people might have assumed the store was closed, tho it was not.

Curiously, there is a smaller, Bank of America sign on that stanchion below the large Stop & Shop sign. Hm. There used to be a branch of Bank of America in that building, but it closed in mid-2013. I discussed this more than once, and assumed that once it had closed, it would never reopen, but you see, above, a sign that suggests that there IS now a BofA branch in the Stop & Shop. I walked thru pretty much the entire store tonite, to familiarize myself with where things are now located, but did not see any Bank of America branch, nor even ATM, within the new Stop & Shop. Did I miss it? Or did someone simply neglect to take away an old BofA sign?

Today, once I had taken some pix of the new store and its roadside sign, I went in to the front of the store to see if it still accepted recycled plastic shopping bags (which I collapse, linguistically, into "plags"). Yes. Alone among the supermarkets I regularly patronize, the Stop & Shop in South Orange displays at least three receptacles for recycled plastic bags, and proudly states that ON its shopping bags. Not only does S&S accept its civic responsibility to recycle plastic shopping bags but it also makes public-relations hay from that minimal responsibility. The State of New Jersey should compel ALL businesses that dispense plastic shopping bags to recycle them.
S&S is in every other way a perfectly ordinary supermarket. I looked, in particular, for powdered milk, a staple in my household for coffee, hot chocolate, tea, and instant mashed potatoes. Both the East Orange ShopRite and South Orange Pathmark used to offer 20-quart boxes of loose store-brand powdered milk (ShopRite brand or A&P's "America's Choice" brand). Months ago, the E.O. SR stopped offering its 20-quart store brand, at $14.99 or, on sale, $13.99 per box. Instead, it offered a much smaller box (8-quart?) for something like $10. I tried it and hated it. It tasted funny, and I resented the much higher price. I hoped that it was a temporary stand-in until SR's own brand returned, but it never did. The last time I was in the E.O. store, I couldn't even find that "Village Farm" brand powdered milk, even after asking about powdered milk at customer service. The E.O. SR recently underwent pointless, RIDICULOUS changes in where things were placed. For instance, dry cat food was moved from ONE side of the aisle near the front of the store to the OTHER side of the same aisle, farther away from the front! Why on Earth would any manager do that? Things that had been in one location for YEARS suddenly disappeared from that location. What was management thinking? In any case, not even Customer Service knew where powdered milk was on offer, nor even IF it was still on offer in the store. Fortunately, the South Orange Stop & Shop does offer powdered milk — at a location the people at Customer Service knew, albeit not in a 20-quart, loose-powder size, only 10 one-quart envelopes (in S&S terminology, "pouches") for $11.99, way over a dollar per quart. I would actually much prefer powdered milk with the natural levels of milk fat, over nonfat powder, because I need to keep my weight up. I know that in this country, keeping one's weight up is not, for most people, a problem, but it is for me.

Pathmark had discontinued use of its discount card many months before it went out of business, but Stop & Shop does use a customer card to portion out special prices, and to keep track of what people buy, as to know what to offer in the way of printed coupons after a sale is tallied. I applied for one, and the process was very efficient. A woman at Customer Service scanned my driver's license, then asked for my telefone number and email address. That was it.

Oddly, the keychain version of Stop & Shop's discount card is upside-down to the way most such keychain cards appear. In the foto below, the hole in the odd-shaped S&S keychain card (which matches the bottom of the store's logo) is on the right side, whereas all other such keychain cards, such as the Pathmark version I have now discarded, have the hole on the left side. So the S&S card will be upside-down to other cards. Why did S&S choose to do that?

When I shopped, I found a special on Coca-Cola, 77¢ per 2-liter bottle if you bought 5 (but you had to buy 5). ShopRite's own, very good cola, was at the time being offered for 88¢ per 2L bottle, so naturally I bought the 5 bottles of Coca-Cola. In comparing the two after the fact, I concluded that there was not, to my taste, any significant difference.
I don't know how often I will patronize the South Orange Stop & Shop, as against either the East Orange or Newark ShopRite, or the Newark Acme (formerly Ferry Street Pathmark — or at least what I assume has now been converted to an Acme, even tho I have not yet been to that store, which I generally go to only when my friend Jerry comes in from Manhattan to join me for Newark art-show opening receptions). I haven't been to an Acme since high school, when I think I went to an Acme in Red Bank (Monmouth County), presumably with my (late) mother in about 1961. "The more things change, the more they stay the same." Or do they? There was even a Safeway in Red Bank in those days. (Safeway has since discontinued most operations in the East, but is still active in the Western United States. Stop & Shop is very big in New England. And now in South Orange, suburban Newark.)

One thing I disliked about the Stop & Shop is its metal shopping carts. The 2L bottles of Coke would not stand uprite in them, but fell over. And the carts don't have handholds at the front like those I have become accustomed to at other supermarkets. They will also presumably be colder to the touch in winter if you do grab them from the front.

Friday, November 20, 2015

This is only a test of an attempt to update a post from 2006.
I reformatted this post on November 20, 2015, to restore fotos that disappeared when AOL closed all members' online storage spaces. Between 2006 and 2015, the HTML formatting used by Google Blogger changed massively, so I had to conform the old codes to the new standard. I also enlarged the font to make it more easily readable.

I tried to get to the Greater Newark Conservancy's fall harvest festival (see yesterday's entry) before the event's 4pm end time. The weather was gray, but the forecast had been clouds early, sun later, so I was hopeful of better foto weather toward the end of the festival. Besides, since I work evenings, I don't generally leave the house until 4pm, so getting out before 3:30 was something of a triumph for me.
Alas, as I stepped out my door I found that the weather forecast was wrong, and it was raining. Great. Well, maybe I could get there before the gates were locked, and I could still accomplish my goal of taking pix of the mural head-on and getting some information about what is to be done with the open hillside that rises opposite the Conservancy, and about the adjoining Prudential Outdoor Learning Center. [Update, November 20, 2015: The "brownfield" across Prince Street from the Greater Newark Conservancy was transformed into the magnificent Newark ShopRite.] As I drove, the rain got worse, then backed off. I got there after visitors had left but before the staff locked up. They were about to take in the scarecrows that kids had created. I tried to zoom in to the back of the lot to get this picture, but the lite was not brite enuf for my shutter to trip fast enuf to correct for my slite motion as I clicked the shutter button. There are times you just do need to use a tripod. (To minimize fuzziness, I present the picture at a smaller size than usual.)

I focused most of my early attention on the mural, but also took a quick trip thru the Conservancy's grounds, which I will show sometime in the future. For today, let's focus on this most remarkable mural.
It turns out that the mural is far more than a mural. It has elements of mosaic and collage, with materials as different as glass, rocks, ceramics, part of a castoff car tire, and a chunk of bicycle wheel, all unified into a before-and-after vision of Newark in revival.
Conceived and executed in 1999 by the Newark Youth Leadership Project, as coordinated by (Ms.) Robin Dougherty, Executive Director of the Conservancy, the mural is of an American-primitive, folk-art type. It features familiar architectural landmarks and the Passaic River, and progresses thematically from left to right.
On the white wall to the left of the mural appears a faded version of the Conservancy's logo (you can see a vivid representation on the opening screen at www.citybloom.org. The Conservancy's logo, a tree that incorporates an urban skyline at the bottom of its spreading branches, reminds me of the seventh foto in this blog's entry of September 18th, about Gallery Aferro.
Here appears the leftmost side of the mural, which suggests the city's earlier neglect by litter in and near the river. Note the bicycle wheel on the lower left — which is an actual wheel that emerges from the wall — and castoff tire, which is painted on the wall.

The mural then proceeds rightward to show, in the center, the hard but rewarding work that people who care deeply about Newark are doing to revive their city. This is the wide view of the left of the mural. Here's the center.

It then moves on to an idealized future on the right, symbolized by elaborate gardens alongside the centerpiece of the Conservancy's site, the former synagog, Oheb Shalom.

One of the staffers I met today said that Oheb Shalom is the 7th oldest synagog in the Nation. I don't know how I would check that, but let's say it is.

The wide fotos above show the work in context, with the paving-block courtyard and plantings in front. Here are cropped views that focus on what is in the mural itself. Left:

And now right. The six-petaled flower to the left of the top of the wheelbarrow is the point of overlap.

Now for some closeups. Here is the riverbank, showing stones and a section of a car tire embedded in the mural.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Living Mural

I mentioned on November 11th that there had been significant changes, apart from the change in name of West Park Street to Prudential Drive, in the NuPru area since I last addressed that complex. Today I show what I found the most striking, a literally living mural. The abstract design may not be clear in the foto above, for being too subtly expressed as seen from this distance at that time of day (7:11pm).
The mural is not just textured but formed from plants, ivies and such. I'm not sure what all the plants are, but they were definitely living when I saw them on September 17th. In this second picture, from closer up, you can see more detail.

What a brilliant idea, brilliantly carried out. The next foto shows the very top of the wall, which the foto above cut off, and a bit of the plaza below the mural.

I haven't been back to that wall earlier in the day, yet, to see it in full sun. It probably looks great, but I'll have to confirm that with a visit on a sunny day. I suppose, tho, now that I think about it, that it might appear different in different liting conditions, such as a sunny day vs. cloudy. I'll find out in due course. This next foto shows the edge in shadow, with lites embedded in the granite(?) walkway.

I also must wonder if the plants selected retain their color in winter, or some die off, while the English ivy (I think there's English ivy in there) remains green. I will find that out in due course as well. This next foto shows detail of some of the plants. I have seen these before, but don't know their name. I also don't know if they are evergreen, or might brown out in winter weather.

The last two fotos below show the view looking up from close to the living wall. This first shows the glass façade of the 20-story tower that rises above that low wall.

And this last foto shows a very close view of the design, with its curves and colors. It looks like a horizontal field, but is actually vertical.

If you'd like to see this living mural for yourself, you can find it on a low east-west wall at the northern end of the Prudential World Headquarters Annex building on Broad Street at Prudential Drive, just west of Military Park.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

FOTD: Vailsburg Doorway

I present below as Foto Of The Day a picture of a colorful doorway to a private house on Sandford Avenue, the main north-south drag in my part of town, Vailsburg, westernmost Newark.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

'West Park Street' No More

A long-established street in Downtown Newark has disappeared. West Park Street, a one-block road from Military Park (the origin of its name) to Halsey Street, has been renamed "Prudential Drive", for the magnificent NuPru complex (an annex, albeit two blocks distant, to the World Headquarters of Prudential Financial at Prudential Plaza). What next? Is Newark to be renamed "Prudential City"?

Street sign with new name of the former West Park Street, with 1180 Raymond Boulevard beyond. That wonderful art deco tower was Newark's tallest building when it opened in 1930, but that distinction was taken by 744 Broad Street a year later.

Prudential is practically a saint in the corporate world, having stuck with Newark thru this splendid city's darkest days, and contributing massively to projects that benefit Newarkers and preserve the dignity and grandeur of their city. I'm not completely happy with Prudential, of course, because it could do so much more. For instance, I have pointed out that instead of a relatively piddling annex to its World HQ, Prudential could have created a magnificent "supertall" "multi-edifice" as addition to or replacement for its HQ building.
In any case, there have been significant changes in the short time since I last addressed this new part of our old town. It's not just a new name that has recently distinguished the area, but the new name hilites the changes.
I saw the new name first on September 17th when I was driving to the Pop-Up Festival on Halsey [Street]. Once I had parked on New Street, I walked to see the new designation of West Park Street, down Halsey Street to the southern edge of the NuPru complex, but there was no street sign there! Why not? Aren't there supposed to be street signs on at least one corner of every intersection in the city?
I then walked east on that street (West Park Street/Prudential Drive) toward Broad Street, and saw this other new addition to the vicinity, a giant blue-and-white graffic placed atop the blacktop of the street.

You probably will not recognize that design for what it is unless you had earlier encountered it at Championship Plaza (outside the Prudential Center and alongside Dinosaur Barbecue). From the vantage point above, the design is upside-down.
Here's what it looks like from the far side of where I took the last foto. Recognize it now? It's the Prudential's Rock of Gibraltar corporate logo. I have mentioned that that icon was actually inspired by Laurel Hill (or the unfortunate alternate name, Snake Hill), the rock outcropping in the Meadows, as seen by a man from Prudential's advertising agency in the 1890s.

This next picture shows the new name on a street sign over Broad Street, with both of Newark's historic, signature skyscrapers, 1180 Raymond Boulevard and 744 Broad Street, beyond. To the right of those buildings with their textured brick façades is the main Prudential HQ building, with its flat, white marble exterior distinguished only by windows that puncture the plane at regular, pleasing intervals.

Rotating the view farther to the east and north, this foto shows the sign against the mirror glass of the PSE&G tower.

Rotating the view north and west, this foto shows why West Park Street was renamed, the 20-story annex to the Prudential HQ (which I call NuPru).

I guess we didn't need a West Park Street. We have the park itself, and there's still a Park Street, east of Military Park, of which West Park Street was sort of an extension with a small jog to the north.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Autumn Colors; Free Museums; "Second Sundays" at NuMu

It's that time again, the first full weekend (Saturday and Sunday) of the month, when Bank of America's "Museums on Us® program" offers:
free general admission to more than 150 museums nationwide ...

Just present your Bank of America® or Merrill Lynch® credit or debit card, along with your photo ID.

I show today a few fotos of autumn colors in my yard or as seen from my house in Vailsburg, the westernmost part of Newark proper.

I haven't been to the Montclair Art Museum nor the Morris Museum in a long time, and would ordinarily want to visit one or both on this "Museums on Us" weekend, to use this unusual benefit (esp. now that BofA is charging me $25/month for what used to be a free checking account). I had also wanted to drive to Branch Brook Park to show the colors of trees in the vicinity of the wonderful fountain between the Lions on the Lake and the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart. But I'm having car trouble and dare not wander too far from home. Mind you, I should not be having such trouble, since I had a new battery installed at the end of March, as part of very extensive, and expensive, repairs. But that battery was 'dead' several days ago, and I had to use a booster pack to start the car. In fact, I think I need a more powerful booster pack, or a second roadside-assistance company / organization, in that before I had my March repairs made, I used up all four of my annual AAA emergency calls. To get roadside assistance from AAA now, I'd have to pay $40 per call, which they dare to term a "preferred rate". Oh? Annual membership is $60, which covers 4 jumpstarts or tows (or whatever roadside assistance is called for). That works out to $15 per call. How, then, is $40 per additional call a "preferred rate"? I thought AAA was a nonprofit organization. Why would it charge 2⅔ as much for an additional roadside call as the rate included in annual membership? That is ABUSIVE, and AAA should be ashamed of itself. I've been a member since 2003, and did not use up my 4 roadside-assistance calls in most of those years. I need to do online research to find an additional roadside-assistance source to supplement (if not altogether replace) the AAA. (If you know of a good one, let ME know, via email to resurgencecity@aol.com.)

I would find the change of color of the leaves in autumn to be beautiful except that it signals the DEATH of those leaves and impending frigid, winter weather, which I detest. If the trees dropped one season's leaves only to issue new ones immediately thereafter, that would be wonderful. But the issue of new leaves doesn't occur until some five or six months later. During all that time, the bulk of trees in this area are bare, and the air, even in brilliant sunshine, is cold. Yech.

Second Sundays at NuMu. Even if I cannot feel secure in taking my car out, even if it starts properly without a booster pack, I can certainly take the bus Downtown to attend the first occurrence of a new initiative by the Newark Museum, "Second Sundays". As a Newark resident, I can always get free admittance to NuMu, but if you reside outside Newark, even in a near-in suburb, you cannot. If you qualify for BofA's "Museums on Us", however, this "Second Sunday" would seem a very good time to use that benefit (given that the Newark Museum is a participating institution). (The next time the Museums on Us weekend and Second Sunday coincide isn't until May.) You can view the text of the email invite online by clicking here. Again, I don't know how the various organizations that show their emails online do that, but it is certainly a convenience to me in letting my readers see the original info without my filter. The quoted material below is, however, more than that invitation, but the information at the Museum's website about Second Sundays.
Second Sundays
Kick-Off Event
Sunday, November 8, noon-5 pm
Second Sundays, A New Series for All Ages
Join us every Second Sunday—November through June—for lectures, performances, artist-led tours, art/science demonstrations and workshops, music and a special brunch menu.

Kick-off: November 8

In conjunction with The Shape of Light: Gabriel Dawe, Outside the Lines: Color Across the Collections, and Chromatics: Minimalism and Color Field Experiments, program highlights include:

BRUNCH: Catered by David Ellis Events
noon - 2 pm, Engelhard Court
Join us for a special menu of delicious treats, prepared specially for Newark Museum visitors. (Reservations required.) [The brunch is expensive!: $19.75!]
Creative Play-Teaching Appreciation

1, 2, & 3 pm

Take a trip back to Colonial times to visit the one-room school house [a building on the Museum's grounds]. Visitors will compare the role of a teacher from past to present and show their appreciation by embroidering a gift.

LECTURE: "How We See Color" -- by neuroscientist and artist Bevil Conway
1 pm, Billy Johnson Auditorium

Join Neuroscientist Bevil Conway for an exploration of how the brain processes color and how this visual processing shapes art practice.

ARTIST TALK: Newark Museum through the Eyes of Gallery Aferro Artists
2 pm, Meet in the South Wing Rotunda
Anne Q. McKeown, Gallery Aferro Artist in Residence[,] tours the Museum and talks about what inspires her and the ways that works in the collection impact her own work as a painter, printmaker and master papermaker.
PERFORMANCE: Antoinette Montague, Jazz Vocalist
3 pm, Engelhard Court
Internationally recognized, born and raised in Newark, Antoinette Montague brings her "powerful" and "soulful" voice to the halls of the Museum, accompanied by pianist Danny [?? — last name not given]

James Little: Beyond Geometry, Beyond Race
4 pm, Billy Johnson Auditorium
Artist James Little and American Art curator Tricia Laughlin Bloom discuss Little's body of work. See his work on view in the Museum's exhibition Outside the Lines: Color Across the Collections.

- See more at: http://www.newarkmuseum.org/second-sunday-nov8-2015#sthash.StzVIXWl.dpuf

This all sounds a little exhausting to me, but I am nearly 71 years old. You, however, might find so full a schedule of events invigorating.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

NAC Hassling People to Buy Tickets

Very long post, almost 4,000 words, with 8 fotos.

I put up an improperly-formatted version of this post mid-day to get the ideas online, then needed a break. I'm almost 71 years old, and old people sometimes just have to take a nap. We conk out. If we're lucky, we wake up from our nap and get back to work. (Actually, if truth be told, a lot of old people are not that thrilled that they wake up each day. Financial strains, physical pains, etc., cause some old people to be completely at peace with the idea of dying, and not having to deal, tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, with the same crap! I'm not quite at that point yet, myself. There is nothing wrong with my life that wouldn't be fixed by winning a couple of million dollars in the New Jersey lottery, but I don't always buy my two annuity tickets, one for MegaMillions and one for Pick 6. "You've got to be in it, to win it." Yes, I know. But the store is about 650 feet away from my front door, and up a steep hill. I keep telling myself it's good exercise, but I don't always persuade myself to do that exercise. Sometimes you just do need a 'coach', or nag, to spur you to do what you know perfectly well you should do. Absent such a coach, or nag, which is the situation in which hosts of old people find themselves, we don't do what we know we should do for our health. As regards the financial strains of old age, DO NOT heed the suggestion by Newark's own Prudential Financial in television commercials now airing that you can secure your future with modest savings — such as the $22 in your wallet right now — if only you put those modest amounts aside consistently over time. That is a lie. You might accumulate $45,760 over 40 years thru a consistent set-aside of $22 a week, but what will be the toll of inflation over 40 years, even without a major disruption to the economic order? Germans during the Weimar Republic had to take a wheelbarrow-ful of paper money to buy a week's groceries. Only moneys tied to inflation matter in the long run, and Prudential does not control inflation. Social Security, which is supposed to be tied to inflation, is NOT going up next year because of a drop in the cost of gasoline — whether SS recipients drive or not! The world is mad, and it is NOT possible to make sane calculations regarding the future when the future is controlled by insanity.

The Executive Director of the Newark Arts Council, Linwood Oglesby, is retiring in November after 16 years, and the NAC is honoring him TONITE at a tribute in the Panasonic (American) HQ, Downtown. In advance of the event, one Jessica Mathelier, NAC Program and Communications Manager, sent out the same "invitation" — actually, a solicitation to BUY expensive TICKETS — at least SIX TIMES to the NAC's email list. When I first grew irritated at that abusive emailing, I replied, "STOP harassing people. I have now received this same email at least FOUR TIMES. STOP."

This foto depicts Keyport (Monmouth County) artist Grace Graupe-Pillard in one corner of a large group of her works in the NAC's HQ exhibition in the Gateway Project's space during Open Doors 2014. I was going to describe her as one of my favorite New Jersey artists, but she is actually more than that, one of my favorite artists, period. That she lives and works in NJ and has exhibited in Newark on multiple occasions is serendipity. She was born and raised in Manhattan, but 'graces' NJ now, in a part of Monmouth County not far from where I grew up. I see in the Wikipedia article about her, that she and I have some other things in common. She attended the High School of Music and Art (which was at the time between the North and South Campuses of City College of New York, which I attended). Then both she and I graduated from CCNY.)

After perhaps the fifth time I got that dunning email, despite my complaint after the FOURTH time, I sent this even more bitterly insistent reply, "GODAMMIT, stop sending the same email over and over again. If we haven't bought tickets the first five times, we're NOT GOING TO BUY TICKETS EVER." In reply, Ms. Mathelier had the gall to say, "There's an unsubscribe button at the bottom of your email if you're simply frustrated with a general message being sent to you." Oh? I have to unsubscribe from the NAC's mailing list altogether and forever in order to stop the same importuning email from insisting that I spend some ridiculous amount of money as $125 per ticket to one event? The woman must be insane or retarded, to suggest that anyone who doesn't want to receive the SAME EMAIL over and over, hassling recipients to buy tickets to an event six or more days in a row should unsubscribe from the NAC's email list.

This foto shows one of the great ideas the NAC operated under in the Oglesby years, art shows in "Available Space" in Newark office towers, at once to make use of capacious unutilized areas and to let potential renters see what is available in Newark's commercial real-estate market. That aspect of the NAC's program seems not to have received much attention in the past couple of years. The foto above is from Open Doors 2011.

Linwood Oglesby has done a great job as Executive Director of the NAC. I assuredly do not blame him for the inexcusable unpleasantness of Ms. Mathelier's campaign of email harassment. It is inconceivable that Linwood would have instructed anyone on the NAC's staff to hassle the entire email list to buy tickets for a tribute to himself. I certainly hope that Ms. Mathelier is not in line to take Linwood's place. (There is another "Linwood" in my personal past, Linwood Dodge, a gay militant who had a connection to Newark. I am now honoring his memory, even tho I hadn't thought of him except when Linwood Oglesby's name came up. I am having difficulty picturing his face, but know both that I met him and that I respected him at the time, which is good enuf reason for me to mention him. If we who have been gay militants do not honor each other's memory, who will honor us when we also die? Not our children, because we didn't have any children. I guess childless straight people suffer the same fate, the utter, sudden disappearance of any proof that we ever existed.)

This foto shows brilliant Brooklyn-based artist Abdul Badi by one of his wonderful paintings in an Essex County College exhibition that was part of Open Doors 2013.

During Mr. Oglesby's tenure at the NAC, Newark has become a regional powerhouse in the arts. Naturally, most of that growth is due to the efforts of individual galleries and artists, but multi-venue events coordinated by the NAC, such as the annual "Open Doors" arts festival, made a bigger impression than uncoordinated efforts of solitary venues could have achieved.

The foto above shows my favorite part of "No More Place: A group show by Bronx Museum A.I.M. [Artist In the Marketplace]artists about the degradation and disassociation of personal, domestic, and cultural geographies" during OD 2014. The central object is the flukes of a whale tail on an upper floor. It would have been fantastic if the rest of the gargantuan animal had been continued thru the ceiling of the floor below, but that was too much to hope for.

There is still too little coordination among venues, and events are held on the same date that compete against rather than bolster each other. Thus do we get things like two recent opening receptions, one at the Robeson Center of Rutgers-Newark and the other at City Without Walls, being held at the same time, miles apart. There used to be an extensive, if massively duplicative, calendar of art events on the NAC website, such that organizers of events at Newark's various galleries and academic exhibition spaces could see what is already planned, and work around conflicts, or coordinate activities constructively. Now I see NO event calendar on the NAC website at all. Why is that? There should be an 'Event Planning' area for galleries and such in which they could announce their intentions for future opening receptions and clear the date. If more than one venue announced its intention to open a show on a given date, the NAC would helpfully intervene to make a change, or perhaps arrange a shuttle bus (free to show attendees) between the venues so that potential visitors could benefit from having more than one show to attend.

Among the activities coordinated and publicized by the NAC was this panel discussion by gay men of their place in Newark arts, held in a "pop-up" gallery during OD 2014. It's a great convenience to have a citywide arts organization to help publicize small events such as that and various other pop-up art shows. It is also heartening to neglected groups such as gay artists to be accepted by the larger arts community and made to feel that their contributions are welcomed. In Newark, of course, black artists are not outcasts, but it was still good to have an elegant black man as Executive Director of the city's preeminent arts organization.

I hope that mutually destructive competition lessens in the future so that, for instance, if two or even three venues want to open an art exhibition on the same date, they will do so within a short walk of each other, for instance, Index Art Center, Gallery Aferro, and the Newark Print Shop, so that people interested in one will be able to attend all — without the need for a shuttle bus. Or if Robeson and cWOW do want to open exhibitions at the same time, Rutgers might run a shuttle between them. (Rutgers' current administration seems very public-spirited, as is of course appropriate for a publicly funded institution; and the Robeson Galleries are part of the Rutgers-Newark mission, so running a shuttle between cWOW and Robeson would seem very wise, even in a self-interested way, in that without one, some people who attend a cWOW event but could not also attend a Robeson event, could get to Robeson too. That is what happened to me. I drove first to the vicinity of the Robeson Campus Center but could not find a parking spot in that densely occupied area, so drove instead to cWOW, near which there was plenty of parking. Had there been a shuttle, I could have attended both shows.

My personal favorite of all the annually-recurring Open Doors events is the Barat (like "Barrett") Foundation's Art and Peace Parade, Downtown. I didn't get there this year, but it combines art, mainly the Foundation's wonderful "Animodules" rolled thru the streets (tho their base platforms need larger wheels, such as taken from castoff personal shopping carts, esp. the big wheels of four-wheeled carts (two large, closer to the handle, and two small, farther away, for stability and so people need not have to tilt the cart to roll it easily). Some Newark galleries incorporate musical performances during their opening receptions, particularly NJIT's College of Architecture and Design (COAD) and Index Art Center. The Parade includes marching bands from area high schools! Who doesn't love a marching band? Unfortunately, the Art and (or "&") Peace Parade marches thru Downtown Newark on the weekend, when very few people are on the streets because the area is largely given over to office towers and other commercial properties rather than housing. As Newark's land-use patterns diversify, we can hope for more housing Downtown, and thus more spectators for the Art & Peace Parade, without people in the more-residential areas of the city, and in the suburbs, having to drive or take a bus Downtown just for the parade and associated Open Doors art events.

A shuttle between widely separated venues would be esp. valuable in a place like Newark, which has so much public transportation that a lot of people do not own a car. But most people who rely upon public transit will have good knowledge only of the bus routes and lite-rail lines they customarily travel. They will have no idea how to get from Robeson to cWOW, or the other way around, by public transportation, if they have never had occasion to try to connect those two places by transit. Doing so might not be as simple as traveling the same roads to and from, given one-way streets that may confuse the issue.
I have no information as to who is to replace Linwood, nor what initiatives s/he will introduce to make the NAC ever more helpful to Newark artists and display venues. Permit me to offer a few thoughts for future projects. Perhaps the NAC could
• digitally document every artwork shown in every art exhibition held in an NAC member venue, by title, artist, medium, size in inches (all dimensions), and price on offer (if for-sale). To my knowledge, few or none of Newark's galleries create and keep archival record of such information, so when an exhibition is disassembled, all trace of it is lost. Newark artist James Wilson told me, when I broached that idea to him at the Graffiti show at cWOW, that the Newton/West Caldwell OTA ("Over The Air") TV station WMBC (channels 63.1-63.8) wanted to do that with the Graffiti show, and spent quite some time taking videos after it interviewed him. I don't know if WMBC created a page on its website for that Graffiti art show, but it was a great thought. The NAC could display the entire digital record of each and every art show mounted by member venues on the Internet, organized by venue and cross-indexed by date, artist, etc. It could also, in by far most cases, show the artist by his or her favorite piece, which would not merely suit the curiosity of visitors but also create an archive for art historians;
• create a YouTube channel of VIDEO TOURS of the various art shows in NAC member venues, guided by the curator/s;
• create program-length digital interviews of individual artists ("Meet an Artist"?) by their works, and of curators ("Meet a Curator"?) as to what they intended when they set out to create their show, and whether what they ended up with suited them — or not. And if not, why not?
• provide expért assistance to artists and venues in setting up a website, YouTube channel, etc., with special attention to creating secure SALES of their art over the Internet;
• create online GUIDED TOURS of the various Newark art neighborhoods and their venues, conducted (preferably) by residents of each such neighborhood to provide an overview of the flavor of each neighborhood and advise viewers as to any risks that strangers might not be aware of (we don't want anybody wandering naively at a bad time of day or nite into an area that is not as safe as, say, Market Street, Broad Street from Market Street to Central Avenue, Halsey Street, etc., Downtown;
• create a visual inventory, with printed data, of all public art in Newark, as an online slideshow that visitors could step thru one foto at a time or sit back and watch stream;
• produce an online guided tour of Newark's outdoor public sculpture, from Bergen Street north of South Orange Avenue to and thru Downtown and Lincoln Park, etc.
• create an online, narrated, guided tour of the murals created first by City Without Walls and then by Rodney Gilbert's Yendor Productions, with overview maps between major geograffic segments and then location maps for each specific mural, including the Barat Foundation's recently installed mural inside the Newark ShopRite. Such tours would be narrated by people involved in the creation of the murals, introduced visually before their voices take over;
• promote the long-term or rotating display of art by Newark artists in the lobbies and other public spaces of Newark office buildings, from 2D (paintings, prints) to 3D (sculptures) to video presentations and artistic lite projections;
• place art kiosks in waiting areas of Newark Penn Station, Broad Street Station, Newark Airport, and even the bus terminal in Irvington, by which people with time on their hands could use the fingers of those otherwise-idle hands to walk thru the multitudinous online materials on offer from the NAC, Newark Museum, New Jersey Historical Society (which could speak to other parts of the state easily accessible from Newark, not just Newark proper and its near-in suburbs), NJPAC, Symphony Hall, Prudential Center, etc., in tandem with materials about tourism generated by the Greater Newark Convention and Visitor Bureau and City of Newark. The Yellow Pages telefone directory used to advertise with the slogan, "Let your fingers do the walking", which won awards in 1962. Today, we need not concern ourselves with winning advertising awards, but only with winning the interest of people who are compelled to wait for a train, bus, or airplane here in Newark, permitting them to walk thru Newark arts virtually then, and think about visiting Newark art venues in actuality later;
• generate narrated 360° videos of the city at ground level, to be shown online and at kiosks in the various waiting rooms mentioned above;
• create narrated videos of aerial views of Newark from only several hundred feet up, like the "Una Mirada a ..." videos shown on Spanish-language VeMe TV (channel 13.3);
• create an NAC art-for-sale website that could offer original art for shipment to online buyers, as either the actual original painting, sculpture, etc., or a lower-cost print, all transactions being handled by an entity set up by the NAC, such that an artist is relieved of the need to create his or her own art-sale website, but merely consign his or her specific work for sale by that site, and, after its sale by the NAC or its sales arm, receive the proceeds after some reasonable deduction for costs and a tiny fee to go to support the NAC's general operations
• partner with the Newark Museum and other major Newark art venues to create a world-spanning "Newark Biennale" or annual Newark World Art Competition that would solicit distinguished art critics of, for instance, The New York Times and other major publications, not just The Star-Ledger — which is no longer a Newark institution — and offer respectable prizes, such as $25,000 for first prize, $15,000 for second prize, and $5,000 for third prize — or whatever would seem appealing in today's international competitions;

• if a World Art Competition open to all the planet would seem too ambitious and expensive at the start, we could hold a specialized "Newarks of the World Art Competition" open to artists resident in the various Newarks all over the English-speaking world. Such a competition would likely elicit a lot of human-interest attention by major media in all relevant countries, and promote intercity exchanges of artists and dignitaries to form a new community, a special connection among the multiple Newarks of the World (which have been shown on banners on streetlite stanchions Downtown (here, in NJ) in years past. I did a post here on September 20, 2006 that showed both sides of those banners, but AOL caused all of the pictures to vanish when it closed every member's online storage spaces. Tho I may have those pix on DVD, my current DVD drives (one in a Dell desktop, the other in an Acer laptop) do not work — and why would that happen ever, much less in two different computers?). I don't know what it will take to make them work);
• organize a star-studded benefit for art education in the Newark Public Schools to bring together, in NJPAC or Symphony Hall, as many celebrities with Newark connections as possible (for instance, Queen Latifah, Shaquille O'Neal, Lauryn Hill, Jason Alexander, Cissy Houston, John Amos, Jerry Lewis, Savion Glover, Melba Moore, etc., etc.). Perhaps Philip Roth could write a short play that celebrities who do not sing or dance might act in.
The suggestions above are of course only indicative, not exhaustive, of the many ways an energetic Newark Arts Council might build upon Linwood's legacy. An ever-ambitious NAC could of course continuously solicit suggestions from members of the general public (with appropriate notice that any idea offered becomes the property of the NAC, to avoid tedious and expensive litigation as to the ownership of any offered idea).

The foto above is of the "Habeas Lounge", a big couch curled back on itself by artist Linda Pollack, as it was enjoyed by artists and visitors at the Rupert Ravens Contemporary gallery (no longer in existence) during Open Doors 2010. Ms. Pollack wanted to donate that work to some appropriate Newark venue, and I suggested any Newark-tourism office that might open. Such an office did open, but I did not hear whether it accepted, and now incorporates, that artwork, which would be an ideal place for visitors to read thru tourist brochures, in plenty of time to ask the staff any question that might arise during that reading.

The last foto I show today is of a painting I saw during Open Doors 2009 of what I call "the jukebox building", a former RKO double-decker movie theater on Market Street in Downtown Newark. In prior eras, painters might have portrayed medieval or ancient ruins. Newark's artists quite properly record our own, relatively recent, "ruins". Newark is about as old as any city in North America. Artists who choose Newark as their subject still have a problem, that ruins are ordinarily demolished and removed, as not to prove eyesores. The jukebox building is apparently of sturdy construction, and stands tall and proud on Market Street west of Broad Street to this day. Last I knew, nothing but the storefronts at ground level were occupied. That's both sad and confusing. What's wrong with the upper floors? Couldn't they serve some purpose, as for instance office and shop space for startup companies that don't need showplaces but only places to do their work and house their employees? As regards the painting of the building overall, I do not always have the kinds of information available that an NAC survey of all the art shows offered in Newark would have, so I can't tell you who painted this wonderful rendering of a significant part of Newark's past. I could offer a guess, but if I were wrong, I would insult the actual artist.