Save the Bottle!
An article in today's Star-Ledger reports that no decision has been made about what to do with the giant Bottle-shaped water tower at the former Hoffman soda, then Pabst beer bottling plant on South Orange Avenue in western Newark. That plant is now being demolished and the Bottle is supposed to come down, intact or in pieces. Built in 1930 by Hoffman, it served as a 55,000-gallon water tower, 17½ feet in diameter.
A year after demolition began on the former Pabst Brewery in Newark, one question still remains: Can a 60-foot-tall Bottle really be recycled? * * *Every time I pass by that plant and see the Bottle still standing, I feel a sense of triumph. Maybe it can be saved!
A decision has not been made about what will happen to the Bottle when it finally comes off its shelf, which stands 185 feet above street level, atop the brewery's main building.
The property's owner — New West Developers LLC — and city officials will have to decide whether to break the Bottle or preserve it. * * *
However, before the Bottle's fate can be decided, it must be brought down in one piece, though it is still unclear it that is possible. * * * [My councilwoman Mamie] Bridgeforth said if the city acquired the Bottle, officials would have to figure out where its next home would be.
[The developer has previously said] it wanted to incorporate the Bottle into a local park to preserve the area's heritage, but the cost of saving it might be prohibitive. * * * Plans for the brewery property include 100,000 square feet of commercial space and 179 housing units.
It seems to me that when you have a prominent landmark by which people far and wide can guide themselves to your establishment, any commercial developer would want it to remain high and prominent. Wouldn't commercial establishments and residential properties need a water tower? If the tower can be reactivated for that use, why not use it?
Moreover, there are wonderful things one can do with big structures today. Look at the new buildings in Times Square that have enormous electronic displays that wrap around the structures and constantly change images like gigantic TV screens. Couldn't something like that be done to the Bottle?
If international businesses locate in the commercial development, how about a painted world map around its circular form, with lites outlining the countries represented, and a flashing beacon with changing colors hiliting Newark's geographic location?
Even if the Bottle is taken down, it would presumably be best to have it painted to briten its appearance more than just preserve it. We could hold an international art contest to decide what to paint it, and maybe get a major paint or art-supply company to sponsor it. Sherwin-Williams has a major facility in Newark, on the Passaic. Maybe they'd like their paint to briten the Bottle and would be willing to supply the paint for free, as a public-relations coup.
In fact, we could hold an international contest for architects and architecture schools, artists and art schools, advertising and public-relations firms to submit ideas for use of the Bottle. Now. Hurry!
The Bottle is a giant, three-dimensional billboard that could be used in many different ways, and truly savvy marketing people would see its potential. The only thing that stands in the way of saving and making great use of the Bottle is a lack of imagination. I hope Newarkers aren't that unimaginative but will find a way to prevent the Bottle from vanishing into history.