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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.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Shields on Fallon, O'Neal on Meyers

I have backfilled a post for November 16th, "Three-Line Taskbar". I'm trying to put up something for every day, tho I might not be able to do that, long-term. When I do backfill, I try to remember to place a note atop the most recent post to alert readers to check out the backfilled post, as now. In case I forget, however, you might just scroll down past one or two posts you have already seen to make sure you have seen everything posted recently. The default in Google Blogger is the most recent seven posts, and I will assuredly put up a note about any post backfilled beyond that point.

On Tuesday, November 18th, Brooke Shields agreed to be interviewed by Jimmy Fallon on The Tonite Show, to discuss her new book, There Was a Little Girl: The Real Story of My Mother and Me. Early on, she mentions that her mother was from Newark, but wanted to go places — "get out of Newark", is, I think, the (unfortunate) way Ms. Shields put it. But hey, two mentions of Newark in the first two minutes of her interview is pretty good. And the mention was only "Newark", not also "New Jersey" — because, after all, everyone knows Newark. As well they should.

I plainly would not have fotos of either of the TV appearances I discuss today, so show instead some touristic information about the city that these two celebrities are connected to. This first foto shows a billboard-kiosk, at nite, about Newark arts, in the skyway between Newark Penn Station and Gateway Center. Note the two sideways chevrons, or greater-than signs, in the line above "Endless Arts" and again at the bottom of the poster. I discuss that symbol, with a foto, in my post of November 4th, about the (Greater) Newark Convention and Visitors Bureau.

In any case, Brooke's mother apparently wanted to pursue career opportunities that were not readily available in Newark, in that the entertainment industry was based elsewhere. Fortunately for her, New York, the East Coast center of the entertainment industry, was just a quick hop from Newark, so exploring options there would not have uprooted her jarringly in the way that it would people in, say, the Midwest or South.

This foto shows a wide view of a portion of the ground-floor retail space in the Military Park Building on Park Place, just across from the grandly restored Military Park. You can see the same touristic symbol toward the right, in the sign above the CVB's walk-in center.

I thought I had addressed, years ago, Brooke Shields's Newark connection, but do not find it in this blog, nor in a quick review of my Resurgence City website. Where did I speak to that? I used to have a great deal more text online than I now have (probably well more than a million words, in various websites on various topics). But the very inexpensive, Australian webhost I had been paying for stopped working, and I had to move only what seemed the most important materials to a free webhost. Maybe my discussion of Brooke Shields's Newark ancestry is in one of the pages I did not put on the free webhost, due to insufficient storage and bandwidth allowances. I may eventually recall where I put that. It might even still be online somewhere. If so, and I find it, I'll update this post with a link to that site.

This foto shows another internally-lited billboard-kiosk in the passageway between Newark Penn Station and Gateway Center. I didn't think at the time to make mental note as to how large these advertising kiosks are, but I think they are on the order of seven feet tall by three feet wide. Next time I'm there, I'll see if I can get a better reading. I do sometimes carry a tape measure, by means of which I can determine actual dimensions. As regards content, note that Newark has not just arts but also sports.

Shaq on Meyers. The same nite, Shaquille O'Neal appeared on Late Nite with Seth Meyers. Altho Brooke Shields was not, herself, born in Newark, but Shaq was, Mr. O'Neal didn't mention Newark at all, whereas Ms. Shields mentioned this splendid city twice. Meyers asked about Shaq's business ventures, which could, and, to my mind, should have led to Shaq's mentioning Newark Screens, in which he is or was a principal, and/or his proposed highrise apartment house to be built over the old SciHi. Both of those projects lie less than 20 miles from where the interview took place. But Shaq didn't mention either venture. Pity.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Hiatus on Outdoor Fotos; Last Tomatoes and Peppers

I wanted to take progress pix of several things on Sunday, but the sky was a dismal gray, and the weather unusually cold. Unfortunately, the batteries that I need for my GE camera are not as hardy as I am, and become exhausted very quickly in the cold. Many people may not realize that standard batteries do not operate well at low temperatures, but, if at all, for only a fraction of their normal capacity. My camera needs very strong batteries, Energizer Ultimate Lithium, which cost a lot. The lowest price I have seen around here is $2.25 apiece. I can't have them discharging and becoming useless at a rate something like 1/100th their normal 'life'.

This foto shows, at right, a chrysanthemum in my front yard that blooms very late, this year mere days before our premature first frost. Ordinarily, we don't get our first hard freeze until about December 3rd. But this year, it arrived in the wee hours overnite between Monday the 17th and Tuesday the 18th. The plant is unusually skimpy this year. I don't know why.

I can take a small number of fotos outdoors, individually, and store the camera in an internal pocket between fotos so it doesn't cool off too much. That's what I did with the two fotos today. But I dare not embark upon an extensive foto expedition as to show progress pix of, for instance, the North Star Academy annex on Sandford Avenue, the Child Development Center on South Orange Avenue at Palm Street, the Newark ShopRite, the Indigo Hotel, and the NuPru annex to Prudential Financial's World Headquarters, until the weather warms up a lot. I could take a couple of pix from inside the car, but not expose the batteries to cold temperatures for more than a few seconds at a time. Certainly I wouldn't dare keep the camera out very long when the temperature is below 50°. If that means few outdoor progress pix until next spring, so be it.

Last Tomatoes and Peppers. The foto above shows one tomato and two green peppers, the last produced by the plants in the large red planter in my little front yard. I think I got something like 8 tomatoes in total from that one vine this year, but these are the only two peppers from my one Bell-pepper plant that I got all season. The foto below shows a closeup of as large as they got before I harvested them.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Three-Line Taskbar

I had to reboot a few days ago to install Microsoft updates, as advised by an iconic shield on the Sleep button. Besides, I think it's good computer practice to restart at least every three days or so to clear away little problems that might add up incrementally if the machine is left on constantly without a reboot.
In any case, once I had done that reboot, a starkly different Taskbar (the bottom-most portion of the computer screen) appeared. This is a screenprint from a Microsoft webpage about the Taskbar that I made after that different Taskbar appeared on my machine, when I looked for an explanation as to why the Taskbar changed in appearance. That page did not speak to any change.

I did a Google Search to see if what I now see on my machine is what everyone should now see. Nope.
By the way, have you noticed that the Google Chrome web browser asks if you'd like to save a password, and the default is "Nope"? The other option is "Never for this site".) I like the "Nope", a lot. I don't know what so appeals to me about that choice of word. Maybe it's some kind of memory throwback to, for instance, Jimmy Stewart in some old movie. Speaking of "throwback", I do not understand this "social media" phenomenon of "Throwback Thursdays". Who came up with this nonsense, that for some reason, or no reason, we are supposed to think back to inconsequential things in the past on Thursdays? In my teens, there was supposed to be some special link between Thursdays and homosexuality, such that self-identified gay men or boys were supposed to wear some item of clothing of the color green on Thursday. That would actually have been a great help to us in identifying each other (in a day when everyone hid), but was not a real phenomenon. Given the spirit of the times, it was probably just malicious mischief, to embarrass guys (heterosexual as much as, or more commonly than, homosexual) who wore something green without giving it a thought. I don't understand malicious, mindless bullying. Never have. And of course things were never as malicious in my day as they subsequently became, if one is to believe references in media. There was no such thing as a "swirly" (pushing someone's head in a toilet while flushing it) or "wedgie" in my day. Did any such thing ever actually occur, or is it just insane media fiction? If it did, when, and why, did this country become so vicious? The article on "wedgie" in Wikipedia employs British spelling, so this is/was not just an American phenomenon. But it certainly did not exist in the country I was born into at the end of 1944. I really do not understand why a country that was so relatively peaceful and prosperous after the terrible times of World War II should have turned so vicious. Not one person in the entire United States would have known what you were talking about if you mentioned either "swirly" or "wedgie" in 1955. Not one.
Note the appearance of the bottom of the screenprint above from a current Microsoft webpage. The Taskbar occupies one line, with a large Start button on the left that intrudes upward into the main screen. Everything (else) on the Taskbar is in one line to the right of that big button. Not so on my machine now.
Two differences jumped out at me as regards the new Taskbar that appeared after my reboot. First, the Start button, tho still at the far left, now appears midway between two lines of icons and textual information, in essence spanning three lines of icons and text. And second, the Notification Area at far right now occupies those three lines.

Altho the text shown in this screenprint says that the notification area includes a clock, that is not up-to-date, at least not as regards my machine. My notification area includes a clock (top line), the day of the week (second line, below the clock), and the full date below that (in a third line of text)! This is a wonderful improvement, and I do not understand why Microsoft would not brag about it, urge people to update to it, and tell them how to do that.

If your computer operates under the Microsoft Windows environment but does not yet show the three-line Taskbar, try rebooting from shutdown. If that doesn't work, contact Microsoft if you'd like to have the time, day of the week, and date openly shown on your Taskbar at all times. I find it a great convenience. I don't have to open Windows Calendar to be absolutely sure what day and date I'm dealing with. Regular visitors to this blog may have noticed that I sometimes backfill, when I have time, formerly empty days, and it is sometimes hard for me to keep totally accurate track of what day and date I am filling in. This post is, in fact, backfilled! The new MS Taskbar helps.

I just wish Microsoft had told me that this new Taskbar was not an accident but an intentional improvement to the operating system (in my case, Vista; and how did they come up with "vista", anyway? A "vista" is a narrow view into the distance, as contrasted with "panorama", a wide view.)
Tho I like the new Taskbar much more than the old, I'm not quite adjusted to looking farther left than I used to, for the first program I opened in a given day, given that the large Start button used to occupy the entire far left. but higher up, whereas the first program opened now appears in that space — or is that the problem? I'm not sure. In any case, we still cannot move programs on the Taskbar to adjust around what we want to see, where we want to see it. For instance, I always want my word-processor (WordPerfect 11) to be the leftmost item on the Taskbar, even if I should have to close and reopen it for some reason. (Now and then, any program can freeze and need to be closed.) But I see no way to move WordPerfect from a farther-right position to leftmost. I cannot drag, with the mouse, an application horizontally left or right on the new Taskbar any more than I could with the old Taskbar. Why not?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Park Halsey

When Newark was established (1666), there was no such thing as an automobile. There, was also no such thing as a problem with parking. Times have changed, and one of the things that is choking Newark's present economic vitality and future growth is the dearth of places to park. Just outside our city limits, there are parking lots aplenty for all kinds of commercial establishments, while Newark struggles with where the heck to put the cars of would-be patrons of its myriad businesses, governmental entities, nonprofit organizations, and cultural institutions.
There are powerful forces in various communities working to prevent privately owned, ground-level parking lots from being established, esp. if they would cause the demolition of historic structures (which, however, were not actually valued while they stood).
Raymond Ocasio, Executive Director of the publicly-dedicated organization La Casa de Don Pedro, told me at the pop-up show held by ArtFront Galleries, that Lower Broadway is to introduce angle parking on a wide portion of that roadway, as to make room for four more parking spots. But drivers will have to BACK UP into those angled parking spaces! Jeez. Many people can barely parallel-park on the street. How are they to back into angled parking?
Plainly, something must be done. But what? A 12-story parking structure has just been built slitely north of the juncture of Washington and Broad Streets. That would seem a very good start to addressing the grievous shortage of parking in Downtown Newark. But who built it and owns it, and how expensive will it be to park in it?

A much less ambitious and costly solution has been initiated by a cooperative arrangement among the Newark Downtown District, Edison Park Fast, and Prudential on Halsey Street.

How extensively can such a program be adopted for other parts of Downtown Newark? It seemed apparent to me that when the Federal "stimulus" grants were being handed out to revive the Nation's economy after the Republican-produced economic catastrophe of 2008, Newark should have built a large number of free or low-cost parking garages. That was not done. Will private efforts do much good? That remains to be seen. But assuredly the Halsey Street Parking Program is a good start.

Friday, November 14, 2014

FOTD: GreeNewark — Jones Street

On August 17th, while walking around the site of the construction of the impending Newark ShopRite, I saw this cluster of indications of how "green" Newark has become.

This one Foto Of The Day shows (1) a "Green Way" bike-route sign, (2) a sign indicating the route to Branch Brook Park (the first county park in the Nation), (3) THREE solar panels, and (4) signs for at least one bus. NOT manifest from that foto is (5) that the narrow lane alongside the bus stop is a bicycle path (the green did not come out brite in this picture), and is matched on the left side of the street by a second bicycle path heading the opposite direction on Jones Street, which I showed here on October 20th.
Newark is a very old city, in U.S. terms, established in 1666, but very modern in its appreciation of the value of ecologically sound municipal behavior.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Marriott Asymmetry; Crab Shack; Airport Food

Newark's Courtyard by Marriott Hotel alongside the Prudential Center appears at first glance to be symmetrical, as in the 21st foto, taken in brite daylite, from a bit north of its middle, which appears among various progress pix in the construction of that hotel, in my post of May 20th. I reproduce it below so you might contrast it with the foto one paragraf farther on, which shows the same building from somewhat south of the building's middle.

If you examine the foto below, there are at least two clear differences between the left side and right. Most notably, the bulge in the central portion of the façade is recessed from the portion of the main building on the left, but sticks out somewhat on the right.

The second oddity is that there is a setback to the main façade to the left of center, but none on the right. One ordinarily expects symmetry in architecture, but here we have instead what is called "asymmetrical balance". That means that the two halves of a work of art (here, architecture) are not mirror images but nonetheless seem balanced, one compared to (not to say "against") the other. There's just a little variation that may add to the building's visual interest, whether the viewer realizes, or does not, that the two halves are not the same, but does not jar the observer as being disturbingly unbalanced.
Crab Shack. One of the tenants in the Hotel is Joe's Crab Shack.

I saw on TV today a report that a Joe's Crab Shack in Colorado Springs — Colorado, unsurprisingly; tho, pls note, there is a Kansas City that is not in Kansas. Indeed, the larger of two adjoining Kansas Cities is in Missouri — unintentionally served alcohol to six tiny children, ages 2 to 8! How could this happen?, you ask. Check the text, and esp. the picture in this print story. I trust that controls are in place in the Newark Crab Shack to prevent such a serious, and potentially disastrous, mistake here.
Airport Food — Newark's is 5th Best in the Nation. I also today saw a brief mention that rankings came out of the food on offer at the Nation's major airports. Newark came in 5th. JFK was one or two higher, and Dallas was first. Tho most of us don't spend much time thinking about eating in airports, I have to wonder how Newark would rank if the major restaurants Downtown and in the Ironbound had a presence at Newark International, either as separate establishments or as a group sharing space, called something like "A Taste of Newark". Think of it: Fornos (pls note that there is no apostrophe in "Fornos", which is plural for "oven" in Spanish), Iberia and Iberia Peninsula, Adega Grill, Dinosaur Barb-B-Que, and perhaps other distinguished Newark restaurants all sharing a commodious and luxurious food court at the Airport. Newark Airport would be the talk of discerning, jetsetting diners across the world.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Bronze Shields

When I ventured to Teachers Village on July 20th to take pix of this architectural and urban-renewal work in progress, I saw this street sign on (I believe) William Street. The sign seemed to me cryptic, in that I had no idea what "Bronze Shields" referred to.

I later did a Google Search and found a website that explained the term. Unfortunately, the designer of that site (stupidly) chose a very high resolution (1280 × 720 pixels) that does not wrap to a visitor's own screen resolution. So I had to scroll right and then left, line after line. After a very short time, I lost patience and decided to go to Control Panel to change my computer's screen resolution. Having to do that is an intolerable imposition upon potential visitors, and not everyone will be willing to change their screen resolution, but will in fact RESENT any such imposition, then leave that website without reading the bulk of it.
In brief, here's the story.
The Newark Bronze Shields is the African-American police officers association within the Newark Police Department. The organization was founded in 1959 by a group of African-American Police Officers who were battling racial discrimination within the Newark Police Department. One of the founding members, Floyd Bostic, is still a member and serves as our guiding light for today's organization. We are a non-profit organization committed to serving the citizens of Newark, New Jersey as well as the African-American community abroad. We are focused on improving the quality of life within the community by engaging in youth programs, fundraisers to benefit the less fortunate, and providing scholarships for college-bound students. We are also charged with the responsibility of the recruitment and retention of African-American Police Officers in the City of Newark and abroad.
The Federal Government is now investigating the NPD over (alleged) civil-rights violations, and there was a protest against the NPD by over 100 activists on the steps of City Hall today.
I have never perceived the Newark Police Department as anything but "diverse", and my contacts with black cops within the force have been nothing but professional and pleasant. (I had some unpleasantness, once, with some white, state police brought in to help in one bad year.)
Perhaps I'm hopelessly badly informed about how the NPD treats black and Latino residents, but I have always been PROUD of our department, and I'd like to think that the Department's leadership itself, and as it operates under the control of Mayor Baraka, will see to it that anything that might once have been wrong with the NPD will be fixed in short order.