Public Art Bike Tour
Later this month there will be a bicycle tour of various public artworks you can see from the street. Tim Sullivan, the organizer, emailed me this info.
Here's last year's route. Tim will entertain changes, as long as the total run is about one hour to an hour and a half, by bicycle (not motorcycle).I saw some things that might be added, so sent this followup.
We talked about public art a few times in the past year when we met at a gallery or someplace. I had designed a bike route and had led my Brick City Bike Collective group on a ride to see the art. I mentioned it to you because I was thinking about creating a more complete listing of public art and knew you'd be the guy to speak to.
Anyway, we will be doing another public art ride on Sept [24th] and I wanted your input on art that maybe I missed or didn't know about. The start & end point is Washington Park. We're trying to keep it to a 1 hour ride, so I'm tentatively thinking we'll stay between Lincoln Park & Broad St Station, between Madison St in the Ironbound and UMDNJ. That's open to change though. We're open to sculptures, statues, murals, paintings, etc. as long as it's public and we can bike to it.
I assume the red spots on the map represent artworks along the route. If so, you are missing the 7 Ages of Man sculpture [foto below] on South Orange Avenue opposite the eastern portion of UMDNJ and a statue a block farther up the hill on SOA, also on the south side, opposite the more western portion of UMDNJ. The 7 Ages sculpture is inside an NCC park.
NCC may arrange to let your group into that park, or there may be a public entrance from the senior center at the corner of SOA and Jones Street, opposite the coroner's office 2d-story artwork [foto below]. I'm unclear about what is at the dot east of Penn Station. Do you mean the Marti bust? You don't show the nearby statue of Mother Seton in the little triangular park just opposite Penn Station. A few blocks south of there in the Ironbound is a bas relief of classical design at the old Murphy varnish factory. You also don't show the JFK
bust[, FrederickT. Frelinghuysen statue,] or General Kearny statue in Military Park, and the Presidents bronze plaque on the Robert Treat Hotel.
I'm unclear as to which of the statues in Washington Park you plan to pass. There is a Luis Muñoz Rivera statue inside the Park near the J. Massey Rhind statue of George Washington, which seems not even to have a dot, as well as a statue of Seth Boyden, and one of Abraham Coles, before the Puritan and Indian (or the other way around; I can never remember) by Gutzon Borglum. You also completely bypass the bronze plaques on the NJ Walk of Fame between the NJPAC lite rail station and NJPAC itself, and the artistically decorated Cathedral House and the mosaic over the old Sci Hi and Ballantine brewery on Rector Street behind NJPAC.
There's also the art at the Atlantic Avenue lite rail station. Is there an index in words of the artworks you plan to swing by?In response to his inquiry as to whether I'd like to join the tour, I told him that altho I own a bicycle, I can't use it because a less-than-successful knee surgery has made it difficult or impossible for me to straighten my right leg under strain. I guess I really should check that, inasmuch as I don't dare ride a bike here in Vailsburg, because I live on a big hill. Newark has many hills that we, in the motorized age, do not remotely appreciate. I can 'ride' (which should actually be "drive" or "propel", since a bicyclist 'drives' the mechanism) sideways along this hill, north and south on Smith Street, but once I try to leave Smith Street short of South Orange Avenue, I need to go either up a hill or down. I could cruise down, but I'd almost certainly have to walk my bike back up any hill. (My brother Alan, the one who lives in Las Vegas and writes about poker, gave me the bike he had in Nassau, the Bahamas. It has a front basket and side metal baskets, so if I could propel it, I could do local chores without expending even the tiniest bit of gasoline. If I added a little bicycle trailer, I could carry home all of my groceries, from either the Fine Fare near me (on the far side of South Orange Avenue, which is, in my neighborhood, municipal East Orange) or the Bergen Street Pathmark that is about 2½ miles from me. Unfortunately, I am not as fit as I used to be, given three knee surgeries, so cannot even entertain doing my grocery shopping by bicycle. Not everyone has so good an excuse, and I'm really not looking for an excuse. I would LOVE to be able to go almost everywhere in largely-compact Newark (and vicinity) via bicycle.
Tim clarified some issues with the map.
[T]here are some parts on the map, like the long haul from Broad St Station to UMDNJ, where there is nothing. We need to either find some art along the way or change the route.
The bike tour will be starting & ending in Washington Park this time, so we'll see everything there.
The blip east of Penn Station is the "Brief History of the Ironbound" mural between Market & Raymond.
I am aware of the two sculptures on SOA but was not at the time of the tour. I've always found the gate to the 7 Ages sculpture courtyard to be locked.
There is also a statue of Peter Francisco in the triangle between Edison & Ferry. Truthfully, a few statues are OK but I'd rather not fill the route with them unless they are along the way. Some folks on the last tour found them boring. The giant statue in Military Park [Gutzon Borglum's Wars of America, his largest bronze; below] is
interesting because of its grandness.
I'm aware of the Murphy varnish reliefs. We'll see if we can work them in without it being out of the way.
What about nice fountains? Those are art. I have two on the map I think... one in Essex Memorial Park and one along MLK next to the Essex County Courthouse. There are a few other fountains & statues tucked into courtyards on the north side of the courthouse between the courthouse and Veterans Park.
I also missed the huge murals all over the side of the [police] buildings between Robt Treat and NJPAC.
The route on the old map shown above does not start in Washington Park but I guess the tour now will. Across Broad Street from Washington Park are stone carvings across the Verizon Building's façade (best seen with binoculars, I imagine). And on the way from Military Park up to Washington Park is a statue of Monsignor Doane. There is also the sculpture garden of the Newark Museum, tho I don't know if the Museum lets bicyclists ride on the pathways. I suppose they might walk their bikes thru.
Another BIG piece not on the route is the giant hockey player at Championship Plaza (Market & Mulberry Streets). There's also this abstract sculpture outside Newark Penn Station near Market Street (next foto).
There are sculptural lions and a strip representing the zodiac on the façade of the Station itself, as well as some intricate, handsome stainless steelwork. Just inside the Station from Raymond Plaza West is the wonderful art-deco waiting room, with wavy patterns on the ceiling and many medallions of different forms of transportation. At Seton Hall Law, Raymond Boulevard near McCarter Highway, there is this large scales-of-justice sculpture. (Inside, there are artworks on a number of walls.) Outside the refined and dignified, new Federal Courthouse is a very worthy, very large head of Justice, but that's a bit out of the way.
As for murals, I don't find a 2011 map of the City Without Walls murals, but there is a map with images of the murals program murals as of 2009. A short (1:52) video on YouTube shows several of the murals cWOW has created, including one at the Greater Newark Conservancy, at the corner of Springfield Avenue and Broome Street. Also on the GNC grounds, between Broome and Prince Streets, is an older mural with embedded objects like a partial rubber tire and some mirror glass. The next two fotos show, first, a view of the right 2/3 or 3/4 of it and then a closeup of one of the most vivid sections. This is another case in which the bicycle tour group might need to arrange for a gate to be open. There is also a longer video, 8:15 plus another minute of credits, about the cWOW murals program on YouTube. Sadly, these two fine videos have had only 328 and 617 views in all the time they have been up, which is approaching two years in the case of the longer video. I guess a lot of people just haven't thought to do a Google or even YouTube search for Newark, NJ videos.
I'm not aware of a fountain in, or the existence of "Essex Memorial Park" but would certainly like to see it. There's the statue of Charles F. Cummings in Brennan Park alongside the Old Essex County Courthouse. The Historic Courthouse itself has statuary at the roofline and peak, and flanking the main portal (tho you'd need binoculars or a camera with a good telefoto lens to get a good view), not just the Gutzon Borglum statue of Abraham Lincoln, seated, at the apex of the triangle down to where Springfield and West Market Avenues merge.
The statuary on the building is shown up close in a wonderful .PDF about the Historic Courthouse put out by the Essex judicial vicinage. It shows some of the glorious interior artwork too. The central figure in the mural in courtroom 401 was, I understand, modeled on Drew Barrymore's great(-great-?)grandmother. I see a resemblance. Do you?
I don't find a current map of the City Without Walls murals, only an illustrated map of the murals from 2009. There are as well statues and a mural in the Lincoln Park area, but that might require a separate bike run. There are historical statues in Lincoln Park, the wonderful Colleoni statue [next foto] in Clinton Park across the street (which I think should be made into the centerpiece of a grand fountain), the Barat Foundation's Peace Mural at Clinton Avenue and Broad Street, and an abstract metal sculpture on MLK outside a new apartment house.
Perhaps you, the readers of this blog, have other info to offer about public art than what occurred to us. If so, pls send that info to me at ResurgenceCity[on]aol.com. I will compile a table with, say, three columns: (1) the artwork (named, if we know a name), artist (if known), medium (mural, sculpture), and date of creation; (2) location; and, ideally, (3) a thumbnail foto that will take the visitor to a larger view. I can put this up on my skeletal TourismNewark.org website. The first column should also explain something of the subject, for instance, who is shown and his or her importance. For my purposes, tho not the bike tour, public art can also include interior works, as in public buildings, such as the mural on the ground floor of One Gateway Center.
Inasmuch as I'm sure I've overlooked many public artworks, I thought I'd ask the Newark Arts Council and City Without Walls if they have a comprehensive list/map, so sent this email.
Do you have, online or in print, a map and index to outdoor public art in Newark? The Brick City Bike Collective is planning a bicycle tour on September 24th and contacted me to review its map for suggestions. It occurred to me that this information might be centralized at NAC or cWOW, but I don't see any such listing or map, much less a map with dots indexed to a description of outdoor artworks in Newark. So I thought I'd ask cWOW and NAC directly, with cc to Brick City Bike Collective. Pls advise.
I'll see what they have to say. There's a great deal more public art in Newark than most people appreciate. This is the kind of information that should be compiled by a tourism agency, but the City of Newark laid off its only full-time tourism guy in what I regard as a preposterous false economy. Tourism is free money for things you already have. All you need to do is provide information about all there is to see, but Newark doesn't do that. The City Government has been defeatist about tourism, assuming that no one would really want to come to Newark as a tourist! The city's "Visitors" area has GRAY type, not even crisp black, and tiny type to boot. All of that has got to change. Why WOULDN'T tourists want to see the third oldest major city in the United States, after only Boston and New York? The City of Newark needs to create a robust and massive tourism website, with BLACK type of striking size and jazzy font, filled with fotos and videos to glory in the wondrous, historical, refined, dignified, artistic and creative city that is the New Newark. We have lots to brag about, such as the inventiveness of Thomas Edison (whose first workshop was in Newark) and the man Edison called the greatest inventor of the United States, Seth Boyden, who also worked in Newark. (Edison might have qualified his praise of Seth Boyden with a phrase like 'before me', but Thomas Edison was so decent and modest a man that he did not compare himself to Seth Boyden.) Celluloid reel film was invented in Newark, and without it, the modern film industry would not have been able to function. We have always had one of the first and greatest of all airports (and not just in the United States), dedicated by Amelia Earhart, with either the first or second control towers and lited runways on Earth. We have, as well, the museum with the best Tibetan collection, starting very early on. We have three sculptures by Gutzon Borglum (and might once also have had a fourth, at the site of the landing on the Passaic of Robert Treat and the original settlers), plus three buildings by the great American architect Cass Gilbert, plus a distinguished statue (Washington by his horse, at Washington Park) by a great Scottish-American sculptor, J. Massey Rhind. On and on, you find things about Newark that are somewhere between interesting and amazing. The deeper you delve, the more remarkable Newark becomes.