Jazz Marathon; More on Newark 'Scum'
Before we get to the jazz marathon, let me share this reader's reaction to the "Most of Newark is scum" email exchange from yesterday.
In response to the unpleasant email you received I say this:
That person said they knew the Newark you will never know. To him/her I give my 'congratulations'. So now I say: someone who lived in Newark so long ago could never understand how far the city has come. I lived in Newark in the 80s when there was so much more to complain about. Newark is NOTHING like the way it was in the 80s.
-The city has come so far since then, so someone who lived there in perhaps the 50s could never understand that kind of progress. That person even says "what a resurgence that is" (sarcastically). That proves my point. He remembers glory-days Newark, so he can never understand the progress made from the 80s until now. He cites FBI crime stats that include Newark as one the most dangerous US cities (number 22nd I believe). So I would like to ask him: do you remember sir/ma'am when Newark, NJ was the NUMBER 1 most dangerous US city? And you're going to tell me this city didn't come a long way?
-That person speaks as if he has some sort of 'one-up' on you even though you choose to live Newark now and I'm certain know MUCH more about the city.
E.A. Steed, Old Bridge, NJ (Lived in Newark in the 80s (Osbourne Ter); now reside in Old Bridge, NJ. Plan on moving to 1180 next year)
ps Keep up your good work. There will always be haters and there was a time when I thought the haters of Newark outnumbered the optimists. I no longer think that's the case. Why? The city has been growing every single year since 2000. People go to the arena, they go to NJPac, they go to the art galleries, etc. No matter how many NJcritics/seth...whatever are out there, they don't speak for the majority even if they argue that they do.
"The city has been growing every single year since 2000." I moved here in June 2000. They're all rushing to be near me. Yeah, that's the ticket.But seriously, folks ... According to Morgan Quitno press, which uses FBI statistics, Newark was not even among the top 25 most dangerous cities in the U.S. in 2006 (and the safest city in the Nation was Brick Township, NJ). The gap between reality and reputation is astonishing, and the list of Top 25 most dangerous cities contains a number of surprises, among which is that in 2006, Minneapolis was the 23rd most dangerous city in the Nation! Who would ever have thought that? Here are some other cities on the 2006 list that people in general might be surprised at, cities that have a much better reputation than Newark and are destinations for hordes of tourists: Orlando, FL (7th); Atlanta, GA (14th); Nashville, TN (15th); Miami, FL (16th); St. Petersburg, FL (17th); Pompano Beach, FL (18th); Philadelphia, PA (21st); Tampa, FL (24th). Newark wasn't on the list at all. Ain't that a kick in the pants?!
The 2007 list did, alas, include Newark, at 22nd, probably due to the bump in certain violent crimes, particularly the Ivy Hill shootings (one incident, but three dead). We'll see what happens next year. Still, two of the cities that people don't fear, from the list above, are still on the 25-worst list for 2007: Orlando, FL (25th, three below us) and Atlanta, GA (17th, five above us).
The 2005 list did not include Newark, but did include Atlanta (3rd), Tampa (15th), and Miami (19th). You have to wonder how meaningful such lists are if they change so drastically from year to year. A single incident like the Ivy Hill shootings may bump a city up or down many places from year to year.
I wandered around the Rutgers area Downtown in the early evening after Thursday's gallery reception. With college kids walking to and fro, and eating in groups at the Subway sandwich shop at street level in the new dorm; trees above and autumn leaves below, it had much the feel of a college area of Boston or Philadelphia. Boston is on none of the most-dangerous lists, 2005-2007; Philly is on the national 2006 list, and on the 2005 list for Top 10 most dangerous cities over half a million population (6th). In the last three years, Newark was on only the 2007 national list and that, I repeat, might have been an aberration due largely to the Ivy Hill shootings.*
Jazz Marathon. Gaetano had alerted me to an eight-hour jazz marathon at Symphony Hall and the WBGO webpage about it. It seems that WBGO used to produce "Jazz Friday" concerts at Symphony Hall, but no longer does. Friday would be a much better time for such an event than a Thursday nite. I don't know what they were thinking.
Marathon performers include Savion Glover, T.K. Blue, Roseanna Vitro, Melvin Davis, David Daoud Williams, Antoinette Montague, Carrie Jackson, Bradford Hayes and many more. So come on down to Symphony Hall to celebrate its 83 years of greatness, and experience some of the area's most talented jazz singers and musicians in an unforgettable evening of swing.I saw no mention of ticket prices, so sent two inquiries to BGO, one by feedback form and the other an email followup to someone whose address I found on the BGO website. No one answered. Very unprofessional. It would be unprofessional if I were just a private person inquiring for myself alone. But it was especially unprofessional in that I identified myself as having a fotoblog about Newark, which should have told them that I could help publicize the event if I got the information I requested.
In any case, I was Downtown Thursday anyway, so instead of going directly home from the Robeson Gallery, drove to Symphony Hall to see how much tickets cost. If it were free, a fundraiser that people would give at thru canisters or something, I might go in, not for the music, because I don't much like music (of any kind except classic Motown, which I love), but to see and hopefully fotograf the interior of Symphony Hall.
(In proofing this entry after I uploaded it, I looked closely at the foto above and wonder if I'm seeing rite: do the Ionic capitals of the columns really have scrolls only on the outside? I checked the original foto. No inner scrolls showing. That is really weird, it seems to me.)
I looked for a box office at the main entrance but did not see one. A man in the wide, upward-sloping entryway was taking tickets. When I said I didn't have one, he said the box office is out the front door to the left and down three doors. Again, what were they thinking?
I asked how much the tickets are, and he didn't know. He thought, $25. I told him I was just curious (in order to tell you) and didn't much care for jazz myself. I have WBGO as one of the push-button stations on my car radio, but don't much listen to the radio in the car (and the car is the only place I do listen to radio). For one thing, I want to be able to hear traffic noises, for safety. And there's that pesky I-don't-much-care-for-music thing. (I saw an Internet poll at, I think, iWon.com, that found that some 5% or more of people do not ordinarily listen to music. I'm not alone!) The two stations I do sometimes listen to, however, are WBGO and WQXR, the (European-)classical music station of The New York Times. I regard jazz as the classical music of the United States.
I went outdoors to see where the box office is. It's in a preposterous location, perhaps 60 feet from the closest point of the main entrance. Will they move it from that absurd location once the Hall's renovations are completed? Or are the renovations already complete and they intend to leave it in the wilderness?
In any case, Gaetano sent me email yesterday entitled "went to this with friend and it was fantastic":
I took a friend from Jersey City and now we are going to attend other Jazz events in West Orange and Newark at The Priory, which my friend knew of from years ago and is somewhat famous. There must have been 500 people in the room by 9:30, and it went to 1am.I have shown here, exterior pix of the Priory, on April 28th of this year and May 7, 2006. The webpage for the Priory (a restaurant in a former Catholic church) that Gaetano showed a link for says:
People were dressed to the 9s or the hilt, whichever "jazzy" terminology you prefer, or there might be a better term. People were deff in their jazz attire.
I talked to a woman (African American), AnnMarie, who came from Minnesota, lived in Manhattan but had a 400 sq foot place for $2,000.00 per month, moved to Jersey City in a very, very expensive condo on the water but said lots of the young yuppie people were too loud, and moved to Newark 7 years ago to Mount Prospect Towers. She is on the 5th floor and has 2,700 sq feet. Yes, that is correct: 2,700!!! and a great view, and she loves it. [To put that in perspective, my entire three-story house with nearly full basement contains little more than 2,000 square feet. But, of course, I have a yard, trees, azaleas, flowers, and veggies, which apartment dwellers don't. Yes, in the autumn I do have to rake leaves, but as I tell the guys who offer to help for a fee, that is recreation to me. And it's very good exercise, especially for someone who sometimes, insanely, spends 17 hours at the computer. I love it.]
Too bad you missed it. It was a room filled with lots of people who love Newark and love Jazz and want to see both succeed in this city. I am going to make a donation to the Hall, which is trying to raise money to bring it back to its old glory!
The Priory features Friday night jazz and a Sunday jazz brunch, as well as gospel and other musical programs, workshops, and special events.The main webpage for the Priory has a bit more info:
The Atrium at The Priory Restaurant is also home to several music series featuring local and national artist[s]. Friday Night Jazz offers a weekly after-work series of performances for jazz aficionados. Inspirational music is offered monthly at the Gourmet Gospel concert series. Sundays feature a popular Sunday Jazz Brunch beneath the soaring gothic arches of the former church that is a popular destination after church."After-work" suggests early evening, say, 5-8pm. That shouldn't conflict with a Symphony Hall event starting at, say, 8:00. Perhaps it's time for Symphony Hall and WBGO to resume "Jazz Fridays". Who knows? If it doesn't cost a fortune (for us on Social Security, more than $20 is a fortune), I might even go someday myself.
* The Essex County government is building a memorial to the three slain students in Ivy Hill Park. I think that is an extremely unwise, even foolish, mistake. Tho the pretense is that it honors their lives, the reality is that it will serve as constant reminder of a horrible crime. Are we to erect governmentally-funded monuments at every murder site? Why in a park? Why not a "Monument to the Fallen in Newark's War Against Crime", in Fairmount Cemetery? That's a beautiful place that could use lots more visitors. Why on Earth would you want to put a monument to dead kids in a park that little kids play in? DiVincenzo has done some wonderful things with the Essex County Parks, including a classy revamp of the entryway to Vailsburg Park not far from me. But the Ivy Hill slayings monument, also not far from me, is a huge mistake.