NRBP Seminar; Beautiful Downtown Newark
The problem I had yesterday with the website on which I store fotos resolved itself, after stealing a couple of hours of my life that I do not have to spare. The Support area of the webhost had said that all servers were working normally, at the very same time as my pix were not appearing. Irritating. (If at any time you should see blank spots in this blog where fotos should be, please let me know so I can complain to my server. I pay for this foto-storage space, and deserve the service I pay for.) Altho the problems with my website resolved themselves, the Newark Downtown District's website is still not working. Why is that? I wondered aloud the other day if that organization is still active, but today I was Downtown in 744 Broad Street and saw the NDD's canopy on Clinton Street from the window, then saw a guy with an NDD jacket sweeping up, and then saw an NDD truck moving on Halsey Street ahead of me with the website address I have plugged into browsers repeatedly over the past two days, http://www.downtownnewark.com/, painted across the back. So what's the problem? The Newark Regional Business Partnership's website takes a preposterously long time to appear. Perhaps they need to get a new webhost or simplify the design of their opening page. Studies have found that a lot of potential visitors will not wait more than 30 seconds or so for a website to appear but will assume that it's not working ("dead") if it doesn't come up right away, then go elsewhere and possibly never return, for assuming that the site is defunct.
Today's fotos are of views from 744 Broad Street, Newark's tallest building, at 465 feet, and an elegant classical structure from Newark's 1930's heyday. Emporis.com, a terrific buildings website, says:
- This was the tallest building in New Jersey from 1931 until the completion of Exchange Place Centre in Jersey City in 1989.I didn't know about the murals, and now have to make another trip to find them!
- Chief exterior materials are tan brick and limestone.
- The top of the building is modeled after the mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the 7 Wonders of the World.
- The mezzanine is decorated with ten murals by J. Monroe Hewlett and Charles Gulbrandsen which depict the growth of commerce in Newark.
- A $68 million renovation was completed in 2002.
This has been an eventful week for me, but not all good. As mentioned above, on Tuesday, when I went to post an entry for Monday, I found that something had gone very wrong with the server on which I store fotos, so all my recent fotos were blank and I could not upload new ones. I was thus unable to post foto entries for either Monday or Tuesday. That was specially irritating in that on Monday two noteworthy things happened, one during the day, the other during the evening, that I had intended to address on successive days. Instead of trying to reconstruct Monday on Wednesday, I'll just deal with Wednesday now, while it's fresh in my mind, and return to Monday's two topics later.
Today, I was up hours earlier than usual (losing a lot of sleep in the process) to attend a free "Essentials of Small Business" seminar held by the Newark Regional Business Partnership (NRBP) on the 26th floor of 744 Broad Street. The NRBP is our member of the national Chamber of Commerce, but the listing for Newark at the C of C national website shows its old name, just "Regional Business Partnership", without the "Newark". The NRBP should insist the national Chamber correct that. (The NRBP website still bears the "rbp.com" name, and ideally the NRBP should correct that, tho an abbreviation in a URL is far less connsequential than a wrong listing of the Partnership's name in words on the national Chamber of Commerce's website.
I wanted to attend the small-business seminar because I have some ideas for a business of my own but have no idea how to proceed. I have mentioned here that I have a couple of thousand fotos of Newark, some of them actually good. I'd like to offer people from Newark and the Newark Diaspora (people who used to live or work in Newark but have since moved elsewhere) the opportunity to create individualized calendars of Newark sights, or to buy teeshirts, mugs, or other items with Newark images, to display in their home. I'd also like to create a central repository of AllThingsNewark(.com) or EverythingNewark(.com), both of which domain names I have already reserved, thru which people might order hats, sweatshirts, and other items imprinted with the logos of Newark entities that do not presently have their own Internet store. NCC, the Cathedral Basilica, St. Rocco's, St. Lucy's, and other entities that cannot even contemplate creating their own online store might be happy to offer items for purchase (the proceeds, less a processing/shipping fee) would go to them, thru a central Newark online store that would do all the order-taking and 'fulfillment' operations for all kinds of merchandise they might offer. AllThingsNewark or EverythingNewark would as well help organizations, churches, schools, etc., to design and market their own baseball caps, teeshirts, calendars, and such to their widely scattered enthusiasts. There are a lot of people, all over the country, even in various other countries, who still love Newark and would love to have a sign of their identification with Newark to display on their head or chest or wall. I'd like to give them the chance to own that pride.
There are some fairly large organizations that don't have their own online store. The Newark Public Library is one. Maybe there's a market for "NPL" baseball-style caps, or teeshirts, which could serve as a conversation-starter outside our area. "What is 'NPL'?", asks someone in Arizona. "That's the Newark Public Library, the headquarters of which is a magnificent building, and repository of an enormous collection of art as well as books."
Tho I tried to get to sleep earlier than usual, I couldn't, so didn't manage to get out as early as intended. I arrived almost a half hour late, but wasn't the last person to get there. Nor was everyone as attentive as I (once I got there). A few people conducted private conversations during parts of the proceedings. And the guy next to me irritated the heck out of me in ignoring the speaker to conduct a text-message exchange on his Blackberry. If you want to 'chat' with someone by text message, take it outside, buddy. Why on Earth would you attend a seminar physically, but send your mind elsewhere?
In any case, tho I missed some of the information offered, I learned something worth far more than the $9.50 parking fee I incurred for the Military Park Garage.
Here you see the view looking East-Northeast from the 26th floor of the National Newark Building. Both Midtown and Downtown Manhattan are visible, Midtown to the left of center, Downtown to the right.
Microsoft sent a man to talk to us about Microsoft's small-business software solutions. Even before I heard him speak, I had concluded that if one were to select a software suite to be most compatible with potential customers, it would have to be Microsoft's. Dan Woodman, the MS guy, of course knew about Microsoft's negative image among various segments of the general and computing public. Someone in the audience offered the word "monopoly". The Justice Department examined the monopoly issue some years back but decided not to force MS to divide. I think that was a very serious error, and perhaps a Democratic President (should the Democrats ever nominate someone remotely acceptable to the general public) will reopen the issue and force MS to break up into several competing companies. In view of what now exists, however, everyone in at least the U.S. has to accept the reality that for maximal software compatibility, there is no choice but Microsoft.
Tho I am a WordPerfect guy from wayback, I have to concede that MS does have some good features, tho in some ways WordPerf is still superior. When WordPerfect was a standalone word-processing company in Utah, it was unchallengeable as to customer service. Then Canadians bought the company, moved it to Canada, and discontinued its superlative, toll-free technical support. It's been downhill ever since. Whereas WordPerfect Utah was able to go toe-to-toe with Microsoft, WordPerfect/Corel Canada crumbled into insignificance, and Microsoft Word eradicated WordPerfect as a serious challenger. Now everyone must dance to Word's tune.
In these eastward-looking views, note the bare framework for a billboard that has long since vanished. It may or may not be that City regulations now ban billboards in such a location, but there has never, in the seven years I have lived here, been a billboard on that framework. It's time to take it down and recycle the metal.
Still, MS does offer some good things, and I found out about one of them today: Office Live Small Business, which offers a free 500MB website and free domain name, plus free MS accounting software for startup small businesses.
I decided to see if the domain name "TourismNewark" was available, and claim it if it was. It was. So now I own "TourismNewark.org", tho I have yet to read thru all the STUFF that Microsoft has placed in its website-creation area before I can create a mockup website for it, as discussed here Saturday. Unfortunately I have some very urgent personal business to tend to, with the Internal Revenue Service. They claim I owe them a lot of money, but it turns out they counted as income a rollover from a profit-sharing plan into a 401(k) plan, so they owe me money, but I have to fill out various forms to fix this. Meanwhile, they confiscated my Federal tax refund from last year and my NJ property-tax rebate just this week. I have to submit all necessary documentation by December 2nd. So if there are no entries here for several days, you know why.
There was time to do some networking at the NRBP event, during a break and after the formal session ended, but since I had had perhaps 3 hours' sleep, I was in no mood to network with anyone about anything.
When I left the seminar, I revisited the Newark Arts Council art exhibit on the 6th floor of the same building, 744 (it's still open, until December 8th), and saw some things literally in a different lite, daylite as distinct from the artificial lite of the exhibit's opening on the evening of October 28th. I took some fotos that I will use here at some point in the near future.
I then tried to visit another art exhibit in the same building, on the ground floor, but it apparently closed as of November 9th, tho the artworks were still visible thru the plate-glass windows of that available retail space. It is taking a long time for Newark to absorb all the retail and office space already on offer, which militates against new construction. But as the pictures today should indicate, a really tall new skyscraper would afford tenants not just a first-class building designed for the computer age but also terrific views in all directions, as far as Manhattan (Midtown and Downtown) to the east and the Watchung Mountains to the west.
When I left 744, I didn't head directly to my car but made a couple of little detours. The three-tier pricing structure at the Military Park underground garage is one hour/two hours/all day, so there was no rush to get to the car, since I had already exceeded two hours.
Someone emailed me a week or more ago to ask if I had a clearer foto, not marred by graffiti, of the round route-map sign for the NJTransit "Loop" bus than the one I showed here a year ago. I told him I did not, but would look for one. On the way back to my car today, I found a round Loop sign that showed where the bus stops by NJPAC, and went over to see if it bore a route map. It did not. Hm. I then went to my car and headed for the Washington Park area, where there are supposed to be other Loop stops, but could not find a parking space so could not hunt down the Loop signs there to see if any of them bore a map and were clear of graffiti. Drat. I could not check off that item from my To Do
I did, however, stop into the Key Club (on Park Place near the NJ Historical Society) to check out the foto exhibit that was its contribution to the Newark Arts Council's big week. I don't know if it originally comprised more pix, or the present exhibit is something different altogether, but there are now on display at the front of the restaurant a half-dozen large-format fotos of some musical personages. Some were NJ artists, like Sarah Vaughn (Newark) and Count Basie (Red Bank), who appears next to Eubie Blake at some NJ event. There's also a picture of B.B. King. Has he ever been to Newark? If not yet, he should endeavor to get here. He'd find a very warm welcome.
Had I been a day person, I'd have had a very good day. I am not a day person, tho I'm trying to move my sleep cycle to the early part of the day in the short days we are now in. Instead of being refreshed by the things I'd done, I was exhausted, so had to go to sleep. And now my sleep cycle is set back to even later than it had been to begin with! I really hate to have to sleep, but I'm human, not robot, so must. I have heard that some people actually like to sleep. I don't "get" it.