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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.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

James Street Statuary

I have shown some statuary in my part of town, Vailsburg, and thought that years ago I showed an odd statuary head, with at least three faces that I could see from the sidewalk on James Street (two blocks from Rutgers), but I don't know when, and a brief search of this blog did not reveal it. I did, however, record where the fotos I took of it in October 2010 appear on my hard drive, so can show them now as compared to a foto I took last month. The fotos from 2010 differ from the foto last month mainly in the lushness of the landscaping around the head that has grown up in the meantime.
The first foto shows the sculpture, against a relatively bare background, from the front (well, the James Street side). It looks distinctly Amerind to me, like something from Mesoamerica (Maya, Toltec, Aztec). If there are only three faces, and not a fourth that points away from the street, it's easy to imagine the three faces as representing present, past, and future, much like the Roman god Janus, who has two faces, one facing the future and the other the past. (Our month of January, at the beginning of a new year and just after the old year, is named for him.) Mind you, I don't know that this is what the statuary head represents, but it might well.

In this next foto from 2010, you can see two of the faces.

The following foto shows the sculpture against lush plantings in September of this year. What a difference four years can make.

The 3(?)-faced head in the fotos above is in the back yard of low buildings that front on MLK Blvd at the corner of James Street.
This next foto shows a statuary angel in the same block, but farther west, closer to Summit Street.

That block has much improved in landscaping lushness in the last four years. Here is a view from last month of the corner of James and Summit Streets.

And here is a closer view of the spiky, and spectacular, flowers at the corner. I have no idea what plant this is, but I really like it. It's times like these that I wish I had a much larger and sunnier yard, so I could have more showy plants like this myself.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Weedflowers and Free Museums

Every year around this time, various weeds produce a host of tiny flowers in my yard in Vailsburg. The flowers are not large or showy enuf for me to call them "wildflowers", exactly, so I call them "weedflowers". I don't know what the plants are that produce them.

In that I don't have more info to offer about these wild/weedflowers, let me just use a few more pictures of them to enliven the text of my next topic, this month's "Museums on Us" offer from Bank of America. Here's a description of that program from the monthly reminder email I signed up for at the BofA website.
This coming weekend, get free general admission to more than 150 museums nationwide with the Museums on Us® program.

Just present your Bank of America® or Merrill Lynch® credit or debit card, along with your photo ID. * * *
Offer valid the first full weekend (Sat and Sun) of the month. Photo ID and any valid Bank of America/Merrill Lynch credit or debit card must be presented. Free general admission limited to cardholder at participating institution. Excludes special exhibitions, ticketed shows and fundraising events.

These little flowers might be those of clematis, a vine.

Participating institutions in North Jersey are, in Newark, the Newark Museum and Aljira, A Center for Contemporary Art (Saturday only); in Montclair, also Essex County, the Montclair Art Museum,; in Hudson County, the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, and in Morris County, the Morris Museum in Morristown. Consult their websites (links as above) for hours, current shows, directions, etc.

Speaking of museums, tho this one does not participate in the "Museums on Us" program, I recently was trying to find a Chinese supermarket (for gyoza/"potstickers" and decorative large ceramic bowls, near a Home Depot on Route 10, and saw a sign for a Gustav Stickley Museum! In case you don't recognize the name, Gustav Stickley was a maker of fine, manly, modernist furniture in the Arts and Crafts Movement. I saw a Stickley show at the Newark Museum four years ago, and was much impressed. I did not, however, know of any New Jersey connection on his part. Certainly the Newark Museum's webpage on that show makes no mention of any such connection. But there it is, in Morris Plains, a Gustav Stickley Museum!
Getting back to this coming weekend's free museums, Residents of Newark always get free general admission to the Newark Museum (not including the Planetarium or special shows), but residents of Newark suburbs, no matter how interconnected to Newark, do not. Each first weekend of the month would therefore be a good time for residents of the 'burbs who have a BofA credit or debit card to "come on down!"

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


On April 14th, at the 13th foto, I wondered aloud here of a building:
At the southeast corner of the NuPru site, Cedar Street at Broad, is this low building enshrouded in black netting. Other buildings that had been so shrouded in prior stages of the construction of this Prudential HQ annex have been torn down. Is that to be the fate of this building too?
As it turned out, no. This next foto, taken on October 5th, shows that that building was instead renovated and incorporated into the grand scheme of the NuPru expansion. Terrific.

The following foto shows a view of part of this building toward Broad Street.

And this foto shows the very end of the building at Broad Street. Why was it spared demolition? I have no idea. But I am pleased that some developers respect Newark's past, and work their own will with restraint.

Monday, October 27, 2014

'Chasing New Jersey' Drops 'New Jersey'; I Drop 'Chasing'

The bizarre, extremely noisy and overproduced half-hour news program on channel 9-1 from 10:00-10:30pm that started as Chasing New Jersey, has recently dropped "New Jersey", leaving its title as the absurdly incomplete Chasing. Chasing what? "To chase" is a transitive verb in all but the most casual, slang uses. It requires an object, but this show no longer has an object, in more ways than one. It also no longer has me as a viewer. You drop New Jersey, I drop you.

Mind you, the program continued to focus on New Jersey, and its Twitter and Facebook mentions continued to include "New Jersey" or "NJ". That is not good enuf for me. There was absolutely no defensible reason to drop "New Jersey" from the program's title. That constituted eminent reason for me, however, to drop that program from my routine. The program had in any case become almost unbearably annoying in filling something like 40% of its time with pointless, loud music that had absolutely no relationship to the subject being discussed, and that sometimes nearly drowned out the oral reports. It also kept wandering over to New York City, as tho NY needed more attention. I did not care to see, on Chasing New Jersey, segments about Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, or any other part of New York. NY gets lots of coverage from the other broadcast channels in this area. It doesn't need to steal attention away from New Jersey. And channel 9 is supposed to focus on New JERSEY, according to a mandate from the FCC. If channel 9 will not live up to its LEGAL OBLIGATION to devote much of its time to New Jersey, it's time for the FCC to revoke channel 9's broadcast license, and reassign it to some truly New Jersey-based entity.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Stop Signs — and Poles

A couple of years ago, I noticed that many Stop signs in Newark gained a reflective red strip down the supporting post, as substantially — and brilliantly — increased the visibility of the Stop sign. This could prove esp. important in locations where low-hanging branches or high-rising shrubs might block a driver's view of part or all of the sign itself.
Tho I tried to get a nitetime view of a Stop sign on my street, the liting was too dim, and I couldn't steady the camera on my steering wheel because the car was vibrating. It only now (bizarrely) occurs to me that I could have turned the car OFF for a minute or two but left the headlites on, to take the requisite pictures. Isn't that absurd?
In any case, when doing one of my periodic "progress pix" surveys of the NuPru construction site (that is, of the annex to Prudential Financial's World Headquarters between Broad and Halsey Streets), I spotted this Stop sign and took two pix, first of the sign overall.

And then of the reflective metal strip below, of perhaps 4' in height, secured by a bolt to the uprite.

Is this a national standard, or a New Jersey innovation? The foto below shows a "Garden State" commercial entity below a patent notification, but that does not necessarily mean that this is a New Jersey innovation. Whosever idea it was, it's great, and I applaud it. Anyone who has gotten a ticket for not stopping at a Stop sign s/he did not see due to foliage that had grown up or fallen down in the way will be esp. grateful for this additional notice to stop.
Alas, my pictures, being taken during the day, don't show the luminous warning these modified Stop signs now provide. Nor did I realize at the time that there was printed information at the bottom of the vertical strip that I should have focused on at the time, but had, later, to zoom in on within a wider picture, and rotate into position for easy reading (to the extent that anyone can read that fuzzy text).

Saturday, October 25, 2014

FOTD (+1): Faux Façade

On Sunday, October 19th, when I ventured Downtown for the Art + Peace Parade, I parked several blocks away from the parade's announced starting point and walked the area in which I parked, looking for things of interest.
I thought I was in the vicinity of the Gibraltar Building, one of 19th-to-20th-century starchitect Cass Gilbert's three buildings in Downtown Newark, and spotted this highrise structure with a partly concealed area at right, which was apparently undergoing some kind of repair or renovation. I am NOT sure that that is the Gibraltar Building (which Wikipedia describes as "[completed in] 1927. headquarters for Prudential Insurance in Newark" (which explains the building's name, given the Prudential's use of the Rock of Gibraltar as its logo. "New Jersey" is not mentioned, for not being necessary, there being only one "Newark" that much of anybody on this planet will have heard of.
I will have to check the street coordinates before I go looking for that building in particular. Certainly the building I show below doesn't seem very distinguished on this, the Halsey Street side. It has stonework tracery, but so does the former Bamberger's building, at Market and Washington Streets. Maybe the Gibraltar Building was intended to be viewed from the Washington Street side, which I have not yet fotograffed. But will.
In any case, on October 19th, I was intent on getting to the parade, and dallied in that area, a block west of Broad Street, only because I did not hear anything that sounded like a marching band. Here is a wide view of whatever building that is, as seen from, I believe, Academy Street just east of Halsey.

When I walked farther back to show the edifice in context, I saw this interesting visual screen alongside a parking lot opposite the building, which purported to show a low-rise building at that site. I found that very interesting, interesting enuf to be a Foto Of The Day at "Newark USA".

Friday, October 24, 2014

Newark Print Shop's Current Art Show

On September 20th, I attended the opening of the current exhibition at the Newark Print Shop ("NPS").

Piece by Lizz DeSimone.

My friend Jerry came in from Manhattan to join me. Sometimes he notices things I don't, and vice-versa. So it's good to have someone else along.

Work by Ariana Barat, Cross My Heart.

The show is still open, but closes on November 2nd. Here's the description from the NPS email invite.
Printers in Residence
The artwork of Ariana Barat, Lizz DeSimone, and Brendan Mahoney.

This exhibition showcases the artwork created by our 2014 resident artists Ariana Barat, Lizz DeSimone, and Brendan Mahoney. For six months, these artists have had unlimited access to facilities at the shop to explore and engage with fine art printmaking processes in order to expand their artistic practice. This exhibition highlights the importance of accessibility to workspace and resources as it highlights work created in an active, cooperative print shop right here in Newark.

Print J Leo, by Brendan Mahoney.

Altho the actual current-show gallery is a small room on the north side of the NPS space, this show in particular used much more than that space, and as I looked around the main room I was struck by how much was put into that space without making it seem jammed-crammed.

These suspended goldfish by Lizz DeSimone formed a school that 'swam' toward the sailing ship in the longstanding mural to the left of the door to the current-shows gallery.

Goldfish are splendid little critters. I have had two 20-gallon tanks with goldfish and, in warmer weather, tropical fish as well. Some tropical fish are nasty, fin-nippers. Not goldfish. And goldfish don't really need an electric heater. Indeed, some survive being nearly frozen under ice in a large outdoor pond. I have not created such a pond, and won't, because there are raccoons in the neighborhood, and raccoons would love to eat goldfish. One hears tales of people who stock backyard ponds with very expensive koi (a related, Japanese type of carp; goldfish (also carp) were developed in China) only to find that raccoons raided the ponds and ate every single fish!

Here you see what I suspected from the first time I saw it was a drying rack, with prints resting on it to dry, indeed, as confirmed by Lisa Conrad, a principal of NPS.

Goldfish are also not fussy eaters but will eat the leaves of common aquarium plants (e.g., anacharis, pronounced a.náak.a.rìs), and bits of stale bread more than just the expensive food designed for them and available in pet stores. I have even petted some of the bigger goldfish, which will come quite close to your hand.

Here's a closer view of the prints drying on the rack. You can see a framed version of the print of the snake and goldfish on the wall in the foto of the school of goldfish above. Mind you, an aquatic goldfish and terrestrial snake would not likely be found together. There are of course some aquatic snakes, but I don't think they'd be coiled. The image is a work of art, not an illustration for a book about biological science.

I do not currently have fish in either of my tanks, but have thought to stock at least one with goldfish again. My bedroom may be too crowded for a working fishtank at present. But my two cats would certainly love to sit by a tank in the dining room and watch the pretty fishies swim. My problem was filtration and pumps. I have working filters, but need some filter pads or a combination of activated charcoal and filter floss. Cleaning the filters is a slitely messy task, and thus a little offputting. But goldfish are so sweet and pretty that I may just restock at least the tank in the dining room. I'd feel better then about neglecting my cats, which (can one say "who", of cats?) are not allowed above the first floor, if they had not just each other to keep them company but also some pretty fishies to watch.

Here are some silkscreens stored vertically on the floor under some shelves that contain other items for use in making prints.

Lizz DeSimone mentions short-term memory in her goldfish works, a reference to the preposterous suggestion that goldfish have absolutely no memory of anything, but the world is always new to them. Not so. They know, for instance, where to look if you approach the surface to drop food there for them.

Prints are so thin that NPS could display five of them hanging on a string or rope between the main room and gallery space.

When you visit NPS, look everywhere, because there are art prints on view on many surfaces. NPS does a really good job of fitting a lot in a small space.

Here are some of the paints and screens employed in printmaking.

Friend Of This Blog Frank M. sent me link to a story on NJ.com that says that Rutgers-Newark has signed a lease for 57,000 square feet of space on three floors in the 440,000-square-foot former Hahne's Department Store building currently being renovated Downtown, in cooperation with (and for use by?) various arts organizations, among which is mentioned NPS. So perhaps NPS will have substantially more exhibition space once the Hahne's renovation is complete. I'm sure that NPS would have no trouble filling whatever space they get with wonderful works by Newark artists. And remember that once a print is set up, any number of copies can be made, as affords artlovers a chance to pick up a wonderful piece cheap. It won't be one-of-a-kind, but who cares?, if what you want is something that moves you, that you want in your life. A thing of beauty is indeed a joy forever. Just don't try to sell it at a profit, because unless you can wait for 50 or 60 years, while other copies deteriorate or are thrown away, you are not likely to make anything like a fortune from resale.

Prints from prior shows on a side wall.

I will be adding not just the fotos that appear today but also others that don't fit in today's discussion, to the Picasa Online NPS album that I created May 5th.

Lisa Conrad introduced me to the one artist from that show who was present at the time, Lizz DeSimone, who graciously agreed to pose for me by her favorite part of her show, first without a goldfish mask.

For now, let me just try to whet your esthetic appetite to induce you to get to NPS before the "Printers in Residence" show closes November 2nd. The exhibition is free, and on view at 304 University Avenue, 2nd Floor, Newark, NJ 07102. That is over the former Skipper's Plane Street Pub, and across from Essex County College. Hours as shown on the website are Tuesday – Saturday, 12-10pm. If you are in doubt as to whether visitors are welcome thru all that time, you can fone (973) 643-2772 or send an email inquiry to info@newarkprintshop.org.

The last foto today shows Lizz DeSimone in her goldfish mask. I am reminded of the Lone Ranger (which show is now broadcast regularly, early in the day, on channel 4-2, Cozi TV): "Who was that masked woman?" Lizz DeSimone, Newark-area New Jersey artist.