Hibernating; Gateway 'Fortress'
(Long post, over 3,400 words and 18 fotos. You won't hurt my feelings if you just look at the fotos. After all, I took them.)
* * * I am from Taiwan, and studying in the US currently. I have been noticing your blog several months ago and read it sometimes. I also know that you have a lot of passion about Newark, NJ. Due to my school report, I would like to study "Gateway Complex" in Newark Downtown area. I do not know whether you can help me some directions if you have some resources or information. At the same time, I am also looking for some people who may know its history. So far, I have contact one person from the City Hall. He has told me to contact with someone, but he do not have his contacting information. I am still working on it.
As what I know that, Gateway Complex was launched after the 1967 riot (or rebellion), which was used to redevelop Newark. However, some design strategies were not qui[te] friendly and unwilling to build a connection with the downtown, such as sky walks or building facade as forming a fortress. Here I want to investigate why initial plan was created like that way and also how the area looked like before building this project. Certainly, I have not figured it out the main question I am going to study. At least, I hope that I can be able to gather more information as I can in the beginning. Another things I may want to include is why a enclosed shopping mall was built in the downtown area instead of a vibrant streetscape with many shops along the street. ( I mean that when you walk out the Newark Penn Station, what do Newark want to present to his visitors?)
I hope that my e-mail will not bring some confusing to you. Hopefully, I can gain some help from you.
Also, I am studying in NJIT now. It will be fantastic that you want to meet and talk to me in person. Certainly, language barrier is my biggest challenge and worry.
The criticism of the Gateway Center project that it was "walled off" from the city is at least partly invalid, since every building in the complex has a street entrance, tho none has street-level retail space accessible from outside the building. Yes, concern about crime was indeed, and is properly, a consideration behind the design, but indoor retail spaces are hardly unusual. They're called "malls", and are everywhere.
The point of putting everything in a privately owned and patrolled space was to provide a FEELING of security to the many people from outside Newark who commute into Newark from the suburbs, not just by train from the adjoining Newark Penn Station but also by bus and by trains that arrive at the Broad Street Station. It also permitted the complex's owners to provide security instead of having to rely upon the city police force alone. That also reduced demands upon the police force, as allowed them to devote more of their attention to areas outside Gateway Center, and more in need of attention.
The main benefits of the complex as it now works [are] the all-weather nature of the retail corridor and the safety of pedestrians from vehicular traffic in having vertical separation of cars, trucks, and buses in that very busy area. Newark is in the temperate zone. It gets cold here, for months at a time. It also rains and snows and occasionally sleets here. Being able to get to and from the Station, and from one's office to restaurants and shops, without getting wet, cold, or run over is a very big deal. I worked for a couple of years in One Gateway, and generally got 'lunch' (tho I was on a swing shift, from 2pm-9pm, so my 'lunch' was not at the same time as most people's) from either the food shops (pizza, hotdogs, sandwiches, etc.) in the Station or from the Subway sandwich shop in the retail corridor within the complex. In good weather, I would walk the shorter route (than the skyway) out the side door at street level and across Raymond Plaza West into the Station, maybe sit on a bench between the Station and Market Street and toss bits of pizza [crust] or bread to the pigeons, then return to One Gateway across Raymond Plaza West at ground level again, watching out for traffic.
The skyway shown above connects the Legal Center, far right in this foto, to the Hilton Hotel (mostly hidden by Newark Penn Station in the foreground) and One Gateway Center, far left.
People who do not work in the Center can nonetheless enter the complex, patronize the stores, or just get out of the cold or rain in walking between Mulberry Street and Raymond Plaza East. It's a great thing. Fortresses do not allow people from the street to wander in.
Duluth, Minnesota also has skywalks. I have been there and wandered thru parts of it. Duluth gets VERY cold in the winter, and avoiding the cold, traffic, and slippery sidewalks and streets is important there. Montreal has an extensive underground city. There, too, the prime concerns are weather and traffic. Realize that not only is traffic dangerous to pedestrians but waiting for lites takes time away from people who may be trying to get more done during lunch hour than just eating lunch. Skyways are not at all unusual in cities. Duluth is 93% white; Montreal is only 7% black. The insistence of some black militants on attacking Newark's skyways as racially motivated has less to do with reality and more to do with a racial chip on the shoulder. Blacks are not excluded from Gateway Center, but are as free as anyone else to walk the complex and use its services.
There are skyways in a couple of other places in Newark, here connecting two former MBNA buildings, now Bank of America credit-card division buildings, over University Avenue south of Market Street.
That being said — that there are legitimate reasons for having skyways internal to the Gateway Center complex and connecting with the Legal Center and Newark Penn Station — yes, security, both actual and perceived, was a concern to the developers. And a legitimate concern. I did not move to Newark until June 2000, but I did occasionally pass thru it between Manhattan and my family's residences in Monmouth County. I was never scared of Newark, but kept my wits about me, as I did in Manhattan, on the rare occasions I ventured into it. I had heard the cautions/slanders about how dangerous Newark was, but one day when I had a wait between connecting trains, I wanted to get a closer view of the giant, temple-like building I could see up Market Street from outside Newark Penn Station. So, 'taking my life in my hands', I walked there, and back, and actually lived to tell the tale!
That temple, Cass Gilbert's Old Essex County Courthouse, with Gutzon Borglum's statue of Lincoln in front.
The Downtown area was NOT, as I understand, devastated by the rioting in 1967. Its destruction was more gradual[ ], as white flite and fear of Newark destroyed businesses. Americans, you see, are very cowardly, for the most part. Our ancestors fled Europe rather than stayed to fite for justice and opportunity. And much of the impulse to "Go West, young man" was again flite from perceived restrictions on social mobility Back East as much as a desire to see the West and make a new life there. The white middle class, and then even the black middle class, ran to the suburbs at the first sign of trouble, often using 'the safety of the kids' as excuse. Part of the "American dream" is the white-picket-fence version of small town America, transmuted into the tidy suburb with single-family houses on open lawns. Part of the move to the suburbs, in short, was positive pursuit of an American Dream. The uglier part was flite from black people in the cities.
Skyway from Newark Penn Station to Gateway Center and Hilton Hotel, daytime. If I'm not mistaken, at least one of the two people shown inside the skyway is black. So much for Gateway Center's keeping blacks out.
Here, too, there are positive and negative aspects. "Birds of a feather flock together" works in people too. We are most comfortable when we are surrounded by people like ourselves. When immigrants establish Chinatowns or Little Italy's, few people are indignant at their "racism", and excuses are made for their wanting to be with "their own kind", preserve their language and culture, etc. When white people want to be with white people, however, all that "isn't it quaint" attitude turns ugly, and instead of merely wanting to be with people like themselves, whites are seen as not just clannish, as other communities might be, but Klannish (in case you, being from Taiwan, don't get the reference, the Ku Klux Klan is an American organization devoted not just to white people's right to have places of their own but to DOMINATE society to other groups' disadvantage). I don't know how much of the dynamics of race in the United States you currently understand, nor how closely the dynamics between native Taiwanese and/against Kuomintang mainlanders who took over Taiwan in 1949 compare to the situation here. If we meet, perhaps we can discuss that. By the way, I am part of an alliance of organizations working to enlarge the United States geographically, and one of the member organizations is working to make Taiwan (which they prefer to call "Formosa") a State of the United States.
Skyway from One Gateway over McCarter Highway to Two Gateway Center, at nite.
In any case, fear of crime is closely aligned in much of the United States with fear of blacks and, in somewhat lesser measure, fear of Hispanics, which in turn is related to preference on the part of white people for being in a white community or setting, and to be among people of their own language, and all of these factors work to cause suburbanites to see things like the Gateway Center complex as a safer and better situation to work and have lunch in. Different people are more concerned about different parts of this complex of emotions, and it is impossible to separate them.According to SanDonna Bryant, the construction of the four Gateway towers starting in the late 1960s and continuing another 20 years provided a major boost to Newark’s downtown development effort. Bryant is the director of the Newark Community Development Network, a consortium of community-based agencies in the city. While Bryant is often critical of the city’s development strategies for focusing too much on the downtown, she praised the impact of the Gateway Center on development throughout the city. She considered the corporate investment by the Prudential Company and the growth potential of the project as crucial elements that enabled the Gateway to maintain its status as the most desirable office space in Newark. Other observers confirmed Gateway as an optimistic sign of growth during the difficult decades after the riots, but they also portrayed the successful office buildings as walled-off fortresses designed to protect workers from the perceived dangers of Newark’s streets. NJPAC executive Jeff Norman described the style of the Gateways as "post-riot architecture designed to protect the building’s inhabitants from urban phobias."
[Note the word "phobias", which refers to excessive fears.] That paragraph is by one Jason Stevenson,Playing Arena Politics[:] Newark's downtown sports arena is the latest flash point in the heated—and long running—debate about the kind of city it should be. A magazine feature update to my 2000 Harvard thesis.
An enclosed space allows display of art in public walkways.
A couple of years ago, in doing online research about the history of the Gateway Center complex, I chanced across a paper by Rutgers, I think it was, but did not find it among early results in a Google search today. It discussed the issue of the sociological reasons behind the design of the complex. I may have mentioned it and linked to it from my blog or my Resurgence City website, but do not recall and don't have the time right now to try to track down that paper. I assume (perhaps wrongly, however), that it is still online. Professor Clement Price, a Rutgers-Newark history prof (and a black man with connections to black militants in his youth), may be able to steer you to appropriate works about the controversy around Gateway Center's being 'walled-off' from the city.
In that the Gateway complex was started long before I moved to Newark, I'm afraid I have no more information about its motivations than you can find on your own.
The NJIT student followed up.
Thank you for providing ... information to me. These resources are very helpful to me. Thank you very much!! Do you mind if I keep in touch with you? Another thing is that I will go to my school this coming Sunday to discuss a presentation with my classmate for next week. I do not know whether you will be free to meet before my discussion with my classmate. If possible, maybe we can meet each other. It will be a great helpful to me to get to know Newark more by meeting some people like you who have passions for this city.
Another question, do you know is there any management department in Gateway Complex, in which someone may know about the history of Gateway Complex? The Rutgers professor who you mentioned in your last e-mail I will contact with him next week. Thank you very much!!
To which I replied:
I might be able to meet you some afternoon, but not morning. I'm still fiting to be up and active in the mornings (after many years of working in the evenings and overnite). What time and place did you have in mind?
I believe Advance Realty manages Gateway Center. I don't know if they have materials about the history of the complex, either as part of their website or things they could mail or email to you, but you can explore that with them directly.He then suggested we meet today but I demurred on account of the cold. I think meeting someone from so far away would be useful to me in seeing the kinds of things that might appeal to potential tourists from Taiwan who might, for instance, be visiting New York. One thing I don't have in building my TourismNewark.org website is an outside perspective.
Speaking of outside perspective, this is the main entrance to the Gateway complex, on Mulberry Street. Note that the two tallest buildings in Newark are reflected in its glass. The new reflects the old.
In any case, I have made good use of my time confined to the house on account of cold, and have not developed "cabin fever" because I'm keeping busy, and because my home office has windows on three sides. I face south when working at the computer, so on a brite day the sun shines before me. I have added substantially to the drafts for my book on spelling reform. My list of words with more than one spelling in traditional orthography is up to 286, not counting entire classes of words that are spelled differently in Britain
Tho I am taking very few fotos rite now, for not being willing to venture out into the cold on foto expeditions, I am reviewing fotos already used in this blog to create new slideshows for my TourismNewark website. Each webpage can have a slideshow of up to 50 fotos, and I want to put up at least one slideshow on Newark arts and another on such Newark tourist sites as have not already been covered in the slideshow on the Home page. I may also have a fair selection for a page on Newark churches, and perhaps one on the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart by itself; possibly also Sacred Heart of Vailsburg by itself. Maybe a museums page, with pix of NuMu and JuMu (the Newark Museum and the Jewish Museum of New Jersey, that is), and the New Jersey Historical Society (tho I'd have to ask them for interior pix, since they don't allow fotos inside). Do we have any other museums or perhaps well-established historical displays within colleges or other institutions that could reasonably be included in a Museums page? And when are we getting the children's museum that I heard about three years ago?
My favorite foto of one of Newark's premier tourist sites, the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, as a wedding party exits.
As I review the 7,000 or so fotos (of mine) on my computer that I have used online (and which are thus already in an appropriate size for onscreen display), I may see other categories I can create into slideshows for TourismNewark. If you have suggestions as to categories of Newark attractions that should be included in the TourismNewark site, and suggestions as to particular establishments to include in the TourismNewark lists, with their address, telefone number/s, and website, please advise. We'll be in warm weather soon, and a lingering recession may cause many people to restrict their tourist ambitions to domestic travel. Let's bring them to Newark.
View from the platform for New York-bound commuter trains within Newark Penn Station. Trains take Newarkers to Manhattan, and suburbanites both to Newark and beyond it. The trick is to get some of the commuters to Newark to stay past work to have dinner and see a show, and to get some of the commuters to Manhattan to realize that they can make a stop in Newark on the way home and eat in a great restaurant and see a show for a lot less than they could in Manhattan.