Riverfront Events, Free Museums, and Reflections on Newark's Brilliant Future
Most of today's post is composed of two parts, the text of a long email alert from Newark Riverfront Revival about events along the Passaic, in which are interspersed fotos of the newly opened annex to the Prudential Financial World HQ on Broad Street at West Park Street. The main building, 20 stories tall, comprises the bulk of the complex. It runs from West Park to New Street along Broad Street and over to Halsey. But there are several other, much lower buildings south of West Park to Cedar Street, in the full block between Broad and Halsey, set beyond wonderful, dignified plantings on West Park.
The main NuPru building is clad in mirror glass, which shows how beautiful the entire area around the NuPru complex is. Can anyone walk around this complex and NOT be optimistic that Newark has entered a very brite future? There have been other steps along the path to this brite future, from the building of Prudential Plaza, the HQ to which NuPru, two blocks to the north, is annex; the PSE&G Building, an earlier mirror-glass office tower; Gateway Center; NJPAC; Teachers Village; and various conversions of old office and commercial buildings into apartments. But this complex is so big and so gorgeous (for the things it reflects even more than for the structure itself) that it should pin the naysayers to the mat, begging for mercy, "OK! I give! Newark is back."
This is also the first full weekend (Saturday and Sunday) of the month, so Bank of America's "Museums on Us" program is in force, by which holders of BofA credit and debit cards can gain free admission to over 150 museums all over the country, including many in New Jersey, and New York City and State. In Newark, participating institutions are the Newark Museum (both Saturday and Sunday) and Aljira: A Center for Contemporary Art (Saturday only). For more info about this program, see BofA's Museums on Us webpage. If you'd like to receive an email notice each month shortly before the event, you can sign up at that website.
Bank of America is now charging me and many others $25/month for what had for many years been free checking, so perhaps I should make a point of using this museum benefit while I investigate if there is a better place for me to bank. My main concern is access to my account history (check payments, etc.). If I can download that information and put it into a secure location, at home, "in the cloud", or both, then I will leave Bank of America. BofA has received BILLIONS of dollars of benefits from taxpayers, and has been raking in many billions in profits for years, but now it needs to charge for what has long been free? I don't believe it. BofA is one of those mega-banks that government permitted to become "too big to fail". Part of that growth was in taking over failing financial institutions, such as Countrywide mortgage and Merrill Lynch, as a sort of favor to Government regulators, who expedited the process. Is Bank of America finding that it can't make such acquisitions profitable any more than the management of those entities as separate companies could?
In any case, I should check the Morris Museum in Morristown to see what its current exhibits are, and see if there is any free parking at or near the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City. Is that a children's museum, or would adults find its offerings of interest too? The No. 1 bus, which runs along 18th Avenue past my block, goes all the way to Journal Square, but I don't know how to get from Journal Square to the LSC.
Passaic Riverfront Events. I present below most of the text of an email from Newark Riverfront Revival regarding events, mainly this weekend, at Newark's eastern edge. I live near the western edge of the city, so don't spend much time in the Passaic River part of town. I like the idea of kayaking on the River, which is not this week but next, so will need to decide if I want to try that. My family used to have a (wooden) canoe on the small lake (Shadow Lake) behind our house in Middletown Township, Monmouth County, and I loved it. We used to turn the canoe upside down, capturing a breathing space surrounded by water. The dancing lite that flowed thru refraction of the sun's rays by the moving water into that breathing space was nearly magical. I have never been in a kayak, however, and I imagine the organizers of that event would frown on people's deliberately turning a kayak upside down on the River.
You can view that email, with illustrations, online.
Ready for the weekend Newark? It's going to be another hot one, so come on down to the River, and enjoy the breeze at Riverfront Park.
Everything's up to date in Kansas City
They gone about as fer as they can go
They went an' built a skyscraper seven stories high
About as high as a buildin' orta grow.
One of the low buildings of the NuPru complex, at Halsey and West Park Streets.
Friday, July 31st from 7-9pm is Cobblestone Multimedia Music Night at the Orange Sticks featuring hip-hop, R&B, jazz and soul with performances by Young Bonez, Robbie Newell, Sah-B and Lady Rose with DJ APlus & DJ KD.
Don't forget your blankets and chairs!
Why is only black music featured? Where is the country music, easy listening, pop, folk, rock, metal, Broadway, Alternative, and other genres — heck, even Italian opera, given Newark's large Italian population — that white people might prefer? In Friday's Music Nite, not even salsa, merengue, and mariachi music from Hispanic America, fado from Portugal, and bossa nova, samba, and other types of music from Brazil are featured. Newark is just barely majority-black now, and if we want to bring suburbanites into the city to share experiences that could promote good feelings between city and suburb, our musical celebrations must be more inclusive. Indeed, there are even genres of black music not included in that Music Nite, such as spirituals and gospel. Given that Newark's Prudential Center hosts each year's McDonald's Gospelfest, this seems to me a significant oversight.
[Quick Culture Meetup.]
Meet new people & explore topics of interest for entrepreneurs, creatives & intellectuals with our first Riverfront Quick Culture Meetup at #Newark#RiverfrontPark this Saturday, August 1st from 2:30-5pm hosted by #GalleryRetail at the Orange Sticks.
Grupo Folklorico "KEMA"
Music of South and Central America
Saturday, August 1st
"Nights of Music & Dance"
RIVERBANK PARK 7PM-9PM
SPARK friends of Riverbank Park
Riverbank Park is ADA accessible. ...
SPARK Friends of Riverbank Park
P. O. Box 5942
Newark, NJ 07105
[Family Movie Nite] Save the Date!
Friday, August 7th is Family Movie Night in The Meadow at Riverfront Park featuring BIG HERO 6 at 8pm.
This ... event is sponsored by Friends of Riverfront Park and Newark Office of Film + Television.
[Newark Paddle Days]
Reserve Your Spot Now!
Saturday, August 8th will be our last FREE public Paddle Day at 10am!
Reserve your spot now and kayak on the Newark Passaic River with Hackensack Riverkeeper. Must be 18 [or] over.
[Dance Stories on the River]
Save the Date!
We are thrilled to be presenting Newark Riverfront Revival's first dance production[,] "Dance Stories on the River featuring Storyboard P"[,] at Newark Riverfront Park on Saturday, August 15th from 5-8pm at the Orange Sticks in association with Newark based Dance Mogul Magazine.
Featured on the bill are world class entertainers including Newark's own tap genius Maurice Chestnut (work featured on Broadway and in movies like Happy Feet), a performance by Mystic India, a Bollywood style group that will be performing at NJPAC, Zest Collective, a contemporary dance troupe with an urban flair, and Storyboard P, an internationally renowned street dancer who was recently named "Outstanding Choreographer of 2015" by The Bessie Award committee (look for him in Jay-Z's Picasso Baby and Flying Lotus' Until the Quiet Comes).
Hope to see you down by the river!
Newark Riverfront Revival (NRR) aims to connect every Newarker to their river. Since 2008, NRR has organized for Newark’s riverfront by taking hundreds of people on boat and walking tours, hosting dozens of outreach events, organizing design education programs for youth, and staging a City Hall exhibition. Since 2012, NRR has worked with Essex County, the City of Newark, The Trust for Public Land, Ironbound Community Corporation, and other partners to build and program over 15 acres of riverfront parks, including a walking and biking trail, sports fields and courts, floating boat dock, riverfront boardwalk, playground and other settings for relaxation, picnics, exercise, and environmental education.
* * * Learn more about Riverfront Park, Newark Riverfront Revival, Friends of the Riverfront and our partners by visiting our website at newarkriverfront.org,and signing up for our email list, following on Twitter, and Instagram @NewarkRiverfront, liking on Facebook & talking with your friends & neighbors about our river.
* * * If you got this message as a share [that is, for this purpose, if you saw this info only in this blog] and want to add your email address to our list [the Ironbound Super Neighborhood's list, which incorporated the Newark Riverfront Revival email], use the link on our web page:
Newark's resurgence is the product of the separate activities of organizations such as those mentioned above, Unified Vailsburg Services Organization, New Community Corporation, the Newark Arts Council, and the Newark Downtown District; plus the educational activities of the colleges of CHEN (the Council of Higher Education in Newark), Berkeley College, and our great public schools, such as Arts High and Science Park High School (among others); plus the courageous decision of companies such as PSE&G and Newark's nearly saintly world-spanning mega-corporation, Prudential Financial, to stay in Newark and work for its renaissance; plus the efforts of City, County, and State governments to promote synergy.
There's a ferocious tenacity in the people to whom Newark is much more than just the burg they happen to live in. It's beyond pride, beyond defensive reaction and self-justification as tho responding to criticism. Something about Newark inspires fierce dedication — and, when people have felt forced to flee in The Bad Old Days, their conversion into vicious slanderers and "haters" of the city they used to love is a perverse proof of how important the city is to them, still.
Many of the people who left Newark for the 'burbs, and even farther afield, are now decades older, but still miss Newark. They really have little reason to stay in the empty nest their children left, but are free to come home to Newark, even to live Downtown, a place where you can walk to fine restaurants, art galleries, a major museum and public library, a performing arts center of distinction, and an arena among the busiest on the planet to see sporting events and concerts. Why not? In the immortal words of The Beverly Hillbillies, "Y'all come back now, hear?"