.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

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.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

About to Pop

As I have said, I've been in semi-hibernation for weeks, waiting for this miserable, severely subnormally cold winter to end, or at least return to normal temperatures. Normal high in the past week would have been 44° to 46°. Not once in the past week did our temperature even equal the normal high, much less exceed it. Indeed, the daytime high has been as much as 22° below normal.


In the entire month of February, the daytime high equaled normal ONCE, and NEVER exceeded it. My car's battery "died" again, and I didn't call AAA to get a jump start, because I'd have had to go out in the cold every day thereafter to run the engine for 20 minutes or so to keep the battery from conking out again, and I was not about to go out into severely subnormally cold weather unless absolutely necessary. So I have been hiding from the cold. My only warm rooms are still not really warm, so my body and mind have been in partial shutdown mode. I keep waiting for the worst to be over, but have waited in vain.
+
One of my oldest friends — meaning at once a person who has been my friend for many years and who is older than I — has suffered worse than I from the cold. He has a very bad landlord (indeed, slumlord) in Greenwich Village, who has refused to make needed repairs of many kinds to various apartments, and if tenants complained, he would evict them on the ground that he needed those apartments for relatives. Of course, the relatives did not really take over those apartments. They wouldn't live in those conditions. But the sham transfer of the apartments to family members passed under the radar of city regulatory authorities, and my friend Don was afraid he too would be evicted if he called in City inspectors to try to get repairs made. In the past couple of weeks, supposed repairs to other apartments produced an almost total shutdown not just of heat but also of water, both hot and cold, which was reduced to a dribble in my friend's apartment for at least several hours a day, if not even all day long. So bad did things get that Don had to be admitted to the hospital for two days, for dehydration and possibly hypothermia. He is almost 76 years old, and his condition brought the attention of a social worker on the staff of the hospital, who has reported his situation to a New York City agency for Adult Protective Services as well as the City's Housing Preservation authorities, who will investigate Don's intolerable abuse by his slumlord. Mind you, Don does not live in a slum, only a building maintained like a slum. He pays over $1,200 a month in rent, for a tiny, one-bedroom apartment without heat or hot water — or even most cold water — in the depth of winter. That landlord needs to be sent to JAIL. New Yorkers seem to put up with more CRAP than people anywhere else in this country, and I am very glad I escaped New York.
+
The AccuWeather forecast for the next three weeks finally shows signs of a return to relatively mild temperatures, tho still, for the most part, subnormal. I can deal with temps well above freezing, even if still subnormal. So I anticipate being able to rev up to my own normal, that is, normal activity level, as soon as daytime temps rise reliably above freezing.


The fotos below show two trees as seen from my windows, that hold onto some of the biomass they produced during the prior growing season, until new growth in spring pushes old growth out. This first foto shows the clusters of copper seed pods of the tree in front of the house nextdoor. Many such pods from trees up and down the block have fallen to the ground, or at least released their seeds. Some areas of snow have been heavily dotted by those black seeds. Others of the seeds and pods remain on the trees.


The next foto shows one of my oak trees that hold onto many of their leaves until spring. Mind you, my oaks do release massive quantities of leaves — and you can see in this picture that a branch at lower right has no leaves, whereas the branches at the left do have leaves. I shall have to go out, once the snow on my driveway and side yard melts at least in large part, and walk around checking if all my oaks hold onto some of their leaves, or some release all their leaves. While I'm out, I'll see if any of the crocuses have pushed up thru the snow. But I'm afraid there is so much snow this year that even if the crocuses have sent shoots up, they will not have risen high enuf to be seen above the snow.


Still, it won't be long until the relative warmth of late winter and early spring pushes the last of these pods and leaves out, for new, green growth. I am very eager to see it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

New Wifi Internet Service; Reformed Spelling Version of this Blog

Mayor Baraka recently announced that the City of Newark has partnered with a nonprofit organization, EveryoneOn.org (also operating as JerseyOn.org) that works to give poor people free or low-cost Internet access via wifi. I think Mayor Luis Quintana was the first mayor who expressed interest in extending wifi reception throughout the city. In the first foto below, from November 2006, then-councilman Quintana is at the left, and then-Mayor Cory Booker is farther right.


I heard of this wifi project thru the mailing list of the Ironbound Super Neighborhood, a terrific resource for people who want to know what's going on in Newark, and went to the website to see what's involved in signing up. In that the City of Newark is a partner organization (most partners are apparently school districts or individual schools), I was not asked any questions about income eligibility or anything like that. I typed in my zip code and was told of offers I could sign up for. I found a plan for $10 a month that could use my existing Hotspot, which I have been using with NetZero, so I didn't have to purchase a device, which could run from $49 to as much as $62.51. I present below screenprints of the steps involved in signing up. The screen capture below shows what first comes up when you go to EveryoneOn.org..


After you type in your zip code and click on the "Find Offers"button, this screen appears. I don't have any children that would qualify me for free Internet, so I answered "No", and moved on to the next screen.


I clicked on the first offer, on the left.


This next screen shows two devices, but there is a red-lettered option "I already own a device".


When I clicked on that, a third device appeared, which is the mobile Hotspot I own, so I clicked on that.


I was then asked to type in the device's unique ID, a string of letters and numbers. EveryoneOn then said that it could use that device, starting on February 19th. My NetZero month ends today, and I called yesterday to tell them not to charge me for another month, because I would be switching to EveryoneOn. The woman at NetZero was under the impression that the Hotspot device I bought from them could be used only with NetZero. That is not what EveryoneOn seems to believe. NetZero said that they could retain a residual account for me of 200MB per month for three months for free, so I could still have minimal Internet access in case EveryoneOn could not redirect my Hotspot from NetZero to EveryoneOn. But if I closed out my NetZero account and had to reopen it, I would be charged $20. So I went for the 200MB (1/5 of a Gigabyte) backup plan, but am very confused as to whether I will have the option of switching between the two services, or they will fite each other. I won't know until tomorrow, and may have to make further fone calls to settle the issue.

+
There may be a delay in future posts to this blog if my Hotspot does not work with EveryoneOn, and I might indeed have to buy a separate wifi device if I cannot resolve a conflict between services. I'll advise how to reconcile any problem once everything works right.
+
Phonetic Version of This Blog. I have often mentioned that I am a spelling reformer. I have decided that I need to generate text in my respelling system for people to see if they can easily make sense of it. I also decided that this blog would make a good model for such text, esp. in that it is lightened by fotos. I have respelled 7 posts so far, and will be adding an Introduction that explains the principles, and updating the Fanétik version going forward. The blog version employs written accents to show syllabic stress, and is actually called Augméntad Fanétik. Ordinary Fanetik does not employ accents. Fanetik for pronunciation keys employs both accents to show syllabic stress and dots / periods to show where syllables break (síl.a.bòol). If you'd like to check it out, the direct URL is http://nuarkysa-fanetikverzhan.blogspot.com/.


Friday, February 13, 2015

A.C. Organ Restored; Adubato at NJPAC

I have no fotos of Atlantic City, much less the Convention Center (now called Boardwalk Hall — why?), so I'm showing a few pix of artworks about ocean creatures from 2014's "Open Doors" artstravaganza in Downtown Newark.


The first three pix today are of an artwork that represents the tail flukes of a whale, in the show "No More Place: A Group Show by 20 Artists from the Bronx Museum's A.I.M. Program". A.I.M. stands for "Artists in the Marketplace" (yes, I know that should be A.I.T.M., but the Museum presumably wanted the abbreviation to be pronounced as a word), a program "now in its 34th year, [which] provides professional development opportunities to emerging artists residing in the New York metropolitan area." I do not know the artist, because this sculpture was in the middle of the room and I did not see a plak or sign identifying it by title or artist.

Channel 25-1 at 2:00am yesterday broadcast(ed) a (nearly) one-hour program about the renovation of the Midmer-Losh pipe organ in Atlantic City's Convention Hall. Built in 1929, it was then and remains now the world's largest organ, with over 33,000 pipes, but has not been playable in its entirety in decades. With a host of volunteers and millions of dollars, part of the organ has been restored to use.


View from off to the side of whale tail sculpture.

The organ was the brainchild of NJ state senator Emerson Lewis Richards and one other man mentioned in the documentary but not the Wikipedia article. New Jerseyans with ambition! Can you imagine? Who ever heard of such a thing?
+
The TV show seemed to me to end abruptly, without telling us if the organ was actually played after those repairs, and we were not privy to such a performance. But I was distracted from the TV by computer work. The Wikipedia article says:
The organ was played in September 2013 during the Miss America pageant, its first public performance in 40 years. It is now used regularly for short public demonstrations.
If you missed the first showing in the wee hours of Thursday morning, there is one more viewing, TONITE at 9pm, on channel 25-1. I will try to remember to watch the last several minutes of actual programming to see what I missed, starting around 9:48. (A promo for the overall series, Ultimate Restorations, runs from about 5 minutes in from the end.) I'd like to hear the Midmer-Losh organ in person someday. I have heard the pipe organ in our Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart and, I think, the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, in Manhattan. Wonderful. And I don't even like most music, at most times.


The artist, and gallery, missed a good bet in not carrying thru to show the rest of the whale on the floor below. I guess that would have been too massive a project, but it sure would have been striking, and could have attracted the attention of major media to Newark.

I asked my friends Joe from Belleville and Gaetano from the Ironbound if they'd like to join me on a bus ride to A.C., but neither wanted to go. I don't know if there are any casino buses from Newark to A.C. But I'll wait to investigate until the return of warm weather.
+
A.C. has done a really bad job of making the city work as a tourist destination. They seem not to remember that long before the arrival of casinos, A.C. was a major tourist draw due to its wide boardwalk and wonderful deep beaches. Salt water taffy was first offered to the public there. I have only rarely been to Atlantic City, but I do recall being impressed by how much beach there was before you get to the surf. It seems to me that A.C. isn't doing nearly enuf with its waterfront location.
+
Are there whales and porpoises — or, the more common term today, "dolphins"; "porpoise" was the favored term in my youth, but it is hardly ever heard today. I wonder why that is. — cavorting in the ocean off A.C.? If so, are there whale-watching tours on offer? Whales were spotted off Coney Island this past summer. Have they also appeared off Atlantic City?


This sculpture by Tasha Lewis shows an octopus passing thru a bell jar. A neat trick, that.

Why isn't there a major marine aquarium in Atlantic City? (There's apparently a smallish aquarium, but not a major institution.) Camden has a major aquarium, and Camden is well up an industrial estuary. Surely it would be easier to supply clean ocean water to an aquarium in A.C. than Camden.
+
And what about entertainment? A.C. does sometimes offer big-name entertainers, but should be able to offer many more. It could also become a latter-day New Haven, an out-of-town tryout venue for previews of Broadway shows. Etc. But rather than use the money that once poured into the city in gambling activity to broaden the city's appeal as an all-around and all-year-round resort, the city government seems to have done little but drive traffic to the casinos. Now that casino attendance and revenues are way down, will the city finally wake up to its duty, and opportunity, to work on other aspects of the resort's appeal?


... at NJPAC. The local PBS television show One on One with Steve Adubato has added "at NJPAC" for at least some shows. Altho Adubato is, I believe, originally from Newark (the Wikipedia article on him most curiously does not mention his place of birth. Kenya?), and now apparently lives in Montclair, he was for some time taping his One on One shows in Manhattan. That is where WNET, Newark's stolen channel 13, moved all studios years ago. When I first arrived in Newark, in mid-2000, there were some WNET facilities on the ground floor of One Gateway Center, but at some point the New Yorkers who stole Newark's PBS station decided no longer even to pretend they had any respect for the station's city of license, and moved everything across the Hudson.
+
It appears that Adubato had enuf clout with WNET to have at least some of his shows' tapings moved to NJPAC, perhaps just to save him the hassle of commuting into the madness of Manhattan. Thank goodness former (and disgraced) Mayor Sharpe James had the foresight to cause NJPAC to be built in Downtown Newark. I suppose Adubato could have taped shows in Symphony Hall or the former NJN studios in the Robert Treat Center, but neither of those venues has the panache of NJPAC. WBGO has radio studios, but is not, I suspect, set up for TV. It occurs to me that I don't know if Rutgers-Newark has a TV-production program of study, with appropriate studios. Montclair State has. But not Rutgers-Newark?

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

FOTD: Refined Trash Bin

I've been working on my spelling-reform project for many hours in the last few days, so do not have the time nor energy for a major post to this blog today. Let me just put up, as Foto Of The Day, a picture I took October 19th of a decorative trash receptacle on Commerce Street just in from McCarter Highway, Downtown.


It seems to me an elegant and practical design, with a roof over the bin within, which keeps rain and snow out. I have not noticed any other like it, not on Commerce Street, not Downtown, not anywhere. I suppose there must be more, but I haven't yet seen any. Newark imposes no uniform design on public trash receptacles, and decorative bins of different designs give many of our sidewalks a touch of class, more than just utilitarian bins into which to place trash that might otherwise turn into litter.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

Wright-Clark Mansion Repurposed; Valentine's Day Land Sale

Friend of the Blog Frank M. sent me link to a January 26th article from NJ.com about the renovation of an old mansion on Mount Prospect Avenue in the Forest Hill (singular) section of the North Ward into seven affordable-housing apartments. A foto slideshow appears atop that article, if you have the patience to wait for it. NJ.com is appallingly slow, and hogs enormous amounts of bandwidth, so I generally avoid it.
+
I stored that article to my hard drive, and when I looked at it in Windows Explorer, found that that directory had 251 files, for one story on NJ.com! Outrageous.
+
A wide foto of the front of the mansion looked familiar. I had seen that Mansion on a February 4, 2007 walking tour of Forest Hill conducted by Jeffrey Bennett of the website Newarkology. It was very cold that day, something like 24°F (or even less?) but perhaps a dozen hardy souls braved the elements to learn more about this fine city. I had a lot of trouble keeping up with the group, for taking pictures and because the cold air caused me some respiratory distress. But I persevered, and among the pictures I took were two of that mansion, which show damage and graffiti. Here's the wider foto.


How affordable will these units be (and, by extension, what does "affordable housing" mean in Newark)? NJ.com states:
The building’s new tenants are expected to move in over the coming weeks, with monthly rents ranging from $680 for a studio apartment to $1,385 for a three-bedroom unit. The tenants were selected via a state lottery program, and preference was given to individuals affected by Hurricane Sandy. The project was financed in part with state and city funding.

This second foto presents a slitely closer view of the Mansion.

The NJ.com story gives this history of the building:
Built in the early 20th Century, the mansion, located at 527 Mount Prospect Avenue, traces its history to the Clark Thread and Nairn Linoleum Newark Co. industrial families of Newark.

The mansion was home to British-born author Coningsby Dawson, who was married to Helen C. Wright-Clark, daughter of Nairn Linoleum Company head Peter Campbell, and widow of John Wright-Clark, a member of the Clark Thread family.

In December 1940, the house was sold to Dr. Anthony F. DePalma, who used it for medical offices for 25 years before it became a nursing home. That facility closed in the late 1980s, the house was abandoned and it became severely damaged over the years.* * *

"This is a great day for us," said [North Ward Councilman Anibal] Ramos, adding that "it’s a great thing for the neighborhood, brings ratables to the city, brings tenants into a building that was under-utilized and it restores what was once an eyesore into the kind of property it deserves to be."
It is heartening to know that a sound, historic structure can be so beautifully restored even after extensive water damage from a hole in the ceiling.


I used my graffics program to zoom in from the second foto to show broken windows in and graffiti on the Mansion before its restoration.

Unfortunately, as so often happens with any article about Newark online, the "haters" appended a number of disgraceful, hateful, racist comments that should have been removed by NJ.com as hate speech. These commenters are vile, subhuman pieces of sh* who dare not use their real names when they spout their bile, but hide behind pseudonyms. Their remarks are unworthy of anyone's attention. The slanderers should be identified, denounced, and publicly shunned. No decent person should have anything to do with them.
+
Valentine's Day Land Sale — Couples Only. The Ironbound Super Neighborhood on February 7th sent to its extensive mailing list a story about a special sale of vacant lots coming up on Valentine's Day that is intended to return more of Newark to ratables and occupied housing.
A special land sale that Economic and Housing Development has organized for St. Valentine’s Day – Saturday, 14 February 2015, 9:00AM  – 12:00PM at Newark City Hall (920 Broad Street). In the spirit of St. Valentine’s Day, we are doing a sale of city lots exclusively to COUPLES. Transforming non-tax producing city owned lots to occupied, tax producing properties with new homes built on them. We will be selling 100 lots at $1,000 a lot. This sale is NOT for developers or investors. The sale is exclusively for couples who are looking to live in Newark.

The rules are as follows:
• You must be a couple (straight or LGBT)
• Only one lot per couple
• Lots will be awarded on a "first come, first served" basis
• Lots will be sold for $1,000 each
• All final sales are subject to Municipal Council approval
• Buyers will be required to make a $500 down payment
• Buyers will be required to pay an additional $500 at closing
• Buyer is responsible for all closing costs
• Buyer must submit a City Planning Board approved site plan to close on the property
• Buyer must have a commitment letter from a financial institution AND/OR proof of cash to cover the cost of the infill new construction to close on the property
• Construction must be completed within 18 months of closing
• Buyer must reside in the property for 5 years after issuance of C.O.
• Anyone from anywhere is eligible to participate except employees of the EHD Property Management Division
The addresses of the lots on offer are given at this webpage.
+
In case you didn't notice one sentence I found striking, let me hilite it: "You must be a couple (straight or LGBT)". I am very proud of the City of Newark. Not only is it fair, but it is also smart, because gay people have sparked the revival of many marginal neighborhoods all across the country. I don't know how close to each other the 1,000 lots are. Plainly gay people would be more inclined to build in an area with other gay people, but the more gay people Newark can attract, esp. gay COUPLES, the stronger the city will be.
+
The email also speaks to another program designed to put more houses into play.
The "Live Newark" Program has been launched to encourage municipal employees and public school teachers to purchase homes — in Newark. The program will provide home purchasers with forgivable loans to cover closing costs and rehabilitation expenses for homes purchased in one of the City’s two struggling Model Neighborhood Initiative areas.
How, pray, is the word "live" in "Live Newark" to be pronounced? This kind of ambiguity is why I am a spelling reformer. I imagine that the first word in "Live Newark" is intended to be pronounced liv. If the program's name were "Live in Newark", that might be clearer, but still a tad ambiguous.
+
In any case, I am very pleased to see that the Baraka Administration is aggressively pursuing programs to fill in vacant lots and renovate housing in "Model Neighborhoods". GlocallyNewark has more information. We can always use more good homeowners willing to exert themselves to restore their own houses and, by extension, the city of Newark.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Monday's Art Reception TONITE Instead

Weather forced a postponement of Monday's NJIT art-show opening reception to this evening from 6-9pm. I repeat below the illustration I used Monday, the postcard announcement of that show.


I had not used the press release that accompanied that postcard in email from NJIT, so will use it now, so you know what to expect if you brave the elements to attend.
The College of Architecture and Design Gallery (CoAD Gallery) at NJIT proudly presents:

Four Printmakers… Four Decades:
Anne McKeown, Lisa Conrad, Eileen Foti and Stephen McKenzie


Th[is] exhibition … showcases the work of four talented printmakers with selections covering the past four decades.
Anne McKeown is a graduate of the Yale School of Art and a Master Papermaker at the Brodsky Center, Rutgers University. In 2013 she organized and completed a commission in Takoradi, Ghana, where she introduced thirteen African artists and art professors to the possibilities of papermaking using materials from Ghana. She is currently on the Board of Directors of Hand Papermaking Magazine and a member of the Advisory Board of the Center for Contemporary Printmaking.
Lisa Conrad has been teaching art in the greater Newark area for the last five years in mentorship programs, after-school programs, museum initiatives and currently as a full time instructor at Columbia High School. In 2012, she founded the Newark Print Shop ["NPS"], offering workshops, residencies, youth programming, and weekly open studios. Her multifaceted body of work includes ceramics, works on handmade paper, artist books, paintings and prints.
Eileen Foti has been an Assistant Professor at Montclair State University, the Master Printer of the Brodsky Center for Innovative Editions at Rutgers University and at Tamarind Institute, and is currently teaching at William Paterson University. Foti has been on the Board of Advisors for the Artist Proof Studio in Johannesburg and Crow’s Shadow Institute on the Umatilla Reservation in Oregon. She is now on the Board of Directors at the Printmaking Center of New Jersey and the Board of Trustees at ArtsGuild NJ. [I showed a couple of Ms. Foti's prints in my post of June 1, 2014 (search for "Foti").
Stephen McKenzie has taught as an adjunct at four schools in three states, worked as an assistant master printer at the Center for Innovative Printmaking at Rutgers University and has served for 21 years as the Manager for the Arts Workshop at the Newark Museum. McKenzie is a founding member of the Newark Print Shop. He also owns the title of world’s largest monotype printmaker as certified in the Guinness Book of World Records.

I think, but am not certain, that these are the large prints that gave Stephen that title, as they appeared in the "Limited Edition" joint show of NPS and Index Art Center, another Newark institution, in late July of last year.
The opening reception for [this show] ... is on [Thurs]day, February [5] from 6pm to 9pm at the College of Architecture and Design Gallery within [the] NJIT campus, Newark, NJ. The address is 367 Martin Luther King Blvd. on the corner of MLK and Warren Street. Live entertainment and refreshments will be provided for this event which is free and open to the public.
Daily viewing is between Monday and Friday (9am-4pm) until the exhibition closes on Friday, March 6, 2015 with a reception from 6pm to 9pm.
For more information or questions regarding the exhibition contact the curator, Matt Gosser at: 973-482-0523 or smatt_nj@yahoo.com[.]
Unfortunately, I will be unable to attend, even tho my friend Jerry was willing to come in from Manhattan despite frigid temperatures, because my car had been snowed in and under, and it took me two hours to clear the snow from and around the car to get out to the supermarket last nite, and then another hour to clear more snow from that same spot when I returned home. I am afraid that if I leave that spot to go out for the NJIT show, someone else will take it, and there are no other open spaces on the street anywhere near my house. Temperatures last nite were well above freezing, so I was able to break thru much of what I needed to clear, with the plastic blade of my snow shovel. Tonite, however, temperatures are to be well below freezing, and I'm not sure I could clear away the snow-turned-to-ice even with a metal-bladed shovel. Even if I could, with great exertion, clear another spot 20 feet long, to allow easy entry and exit, such exertions are perhaps not wise for a man of 70 years. So I'll wait until the snow melts / sublimates away to attend an art show. I could take a bus, of course, but I think it just about as unwise to wait at a bus stop for an unknown period in subfreezing cold. I would not have wanted to do that even when I was young.
+
For those of you who would like to attend this evening, Matt Gosser's initial email said there is free off-street parking available. I didn't know where that would be, so asked — in that Rutgers-Newark, which adjoins NJIT, usually takes up all available on-street parking. Matt advised that it is "on summit st.... the NJIT parking deck. as you travel up warren st., from MLK, go past summit street (it's a one-way st.) and make the next left. wrap around til you see parking deck." So now both I and you know.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Hiding from the Cold; Art Show TONITE

I've been hibernating again this year, due to the appallingly severe weather. I went to AccuWeather to look at the forecast thru the end of February, and almost the whole month is expected to be severely subnormally cold. I then went to March. The forecasts stop mid-month, but what is shown is also anticipated as severely subnormally cold. When is this end-of-the-world "man-made global warming" going to kick in? I keep waiting, and waiting, and waiting.


This and the next 3 illustrations are screenprints from the typical-weather area of AccuWeather.com for Newark. This first is from the first subnormally cold month recently, November. December was more like typical, so I do not show it. This graf shows some days above normal, but many that are much below normal.

All I want to do in cold weather is hide from it. Both body and mind seem to partially shut down, as with bears so they don't have to eat for weeks during hibernation. All I want to do is stay in my cave (house, and mainly bedroom, the only warm room in the house). I have moved my computer into that warm space, and stay in touch with the wide world thru TV and the Internet during those many days that I refuse to go outdoors.


These grafs need some explanation, because at first look, some appear to show only four lines for six types of information. That is because the AVERAGE high and low are shown, in some of them, by horizontal lines that do not move up and down, so do not jump out at the observer as representing norms but look like part of the grid. In the graf above, the high average is at 40° and the low, at about 25°. January was relatively typical.

Tho I have many topics to address, and hundreds of fotos with which to illustrate things, I am psycho-physically unable to do what I want to do. I am beginning to fear that I cannot remain in Newark, given our rotten, severely subnormally cold weather in recent years. As far as I can see, we are getting colder, year-to-year, not warmer. And I just can't take it anymore.


This graf shows plainly that almost all of February is expected to be below normal, at some points much below normal.

I was born one day before the start of winter 70 years ago, but have never gotten used to it. My father was born in Orange County,* in the Hudson Valley area of near Upstate New York, which is even more severely cold than North Jersey. My mother, however, was born in the Panama Canal Zone, in the splendid warmth of the tropics. It's a pity that Panama, like most of the rest of Latin America, is a socio-economic-political mess.


Costa Rica seems far more civilized and congenial, but its dominant language is Spanish, and I am much less than fluent in Spanish. There may be enuf people who speak English that I could get by, and I do want to become fully fluent in Spanish, but it would be rough sledding (you should pardon that wintry expression) for several weeks.


My car is under there somewhere. The dark objects on the snow mass in front of it are my gloves, which I took off to fish in my pocket for my keys.

As for warm areas of the United States, many of them are extremely Rightwing (e.g., the South), and I could not stand to be surrounded by Rightwingers. Inexpensive areas of Northern California might not be so bad, but they would tend to be rural, and rural people are notoriously reactionary, perhaps even in a Blue State like California. Arizona is too hot, and is also notoriously reactionary. (Barry Goldwater and John McCain have both represented Arizona in the Senate.) Tho I enjoy warmth, I don't want to deal with extreme heat.


Happily, Newark is so well-governed that my street (and, presumably by extension, all other secondary streets) are kept very well plowed in snowstorms. It makes you really proud to see snowplows working all day and all nite long, as needed.


As regards my whereabouts for the remainder of this rotten winter, I guess I'm stuck here. But if I cannot afford to overwinter in Costa Rica and return to Newark in the spring next year, I may just have to move there or to some inexpensive place but not reactionary small town in some reasonably warm area of the United States. New Mexico has some arty, liberal places that might not be so bad, but they aren't hugely warmer than we are. At 2 p.m. today, for instance, Santa Fe was 44°, and Taos, 43°. My niece Karen lived for a couple of years in Santa Fe, and I visited. It seemed a very nice area, in the britest place I have ever been in my life! Brilliant sunshine on lite-colored soil, with only intermittent low vegetation along the roads, produced an almost blinding briteness. Such briteness, assuming it lasts thruout winter, would surely end the "SAD" (Seasonal Affective Disorder) that I suffer in some measure during the short days and long nites of winter, even tho I keep my house as brite as possible.


View from my bedroom looking east.

Even if I do decide that I can't take another Newark winter, I have enuf fotos and topics to keep this blog going for months, from wherever I end up. I want people to understand that New Jersey, a wonderful state, is losing population not because of anything wrong with the state (or, esp., the splendid city of Newark), but mainly due to the rotten, rotten winters that myriad people decide no longer to suffer. NJ is not unique in this, of course. The Frost Belt has been losing population to the Sunbelt for decades.


View from my bedroom looking south.

Altho I have wanted to catch up with the many issues I hoped to address while housebound because of weather, I find that I have wound down psychically, and lost a lot of ambition. I missed two art-show openings in a row at the Index Art Center due to weather. I might have gone to one or both except that my friend Jerry was not available to come in from Manhattan, and I was disinclined to venture into inclement weather unless I had to meet him.


View of my backyard looking west toward the houses that front on Sandford Avenue from January 25th.

There is an opening at the art gallery of NJIT's College of Architecture and Design tonite from 6-9 p.m., but the weather is supposed to be rotten until very nearly the start of that event. Some of it was supposed to be rain, which could have cleared away much of the snow that has fallen, but rain did not materialize, and the snow is still a problem. So I called Jerry to cancel, and I will miss another art show opening due to cold, snowy weather.


This is the postcard NJIT is using to publicize tonite's show. I don't imagine they'd mind me helping with publicity by showing it here.

I spent over two hours today clearing snow from my sidewalk, stairs, and part of my car. I had to trim back some branches of my great big, spreading yew, which was so heavily burdened with masses of very wet snow that branches that are typically some 8' from the ground literally touched the ground (well, the snow ON the ground).


I got the stairs clear enuf for the letter carrier to deliver mail, if any.


And then it started to snow again. ____________________

* Orange County, NY, like New Jersey's Oranges, is named for William of Orange, who became King of England on marrying Queen Mary II.