About 1,600 words, 35 fotos.On September 2d I showed some pix of the new Schools Stadium at dusk, but it is best seen in brite sunshine. Fortunately, the ribbon-cutting ceremony September 9th was held on a gloriously sunny morning. Unfortunately, there was so little advance notice (perhaps 16 hours from the notification email to the start of the ceremony), that there were very few members of the community in attendance. Lots of media, but very few neighbors. (I took something like 90 fotos that day, which took a lot of time to process thru my graffics program. Obviously, I cannot use 90 fotos in a single blogpost, so it took me a while to decide which were important to use, both esthetically and as regards their narrative value. I decided not to rush this post online, in that these posts stay online for YEARS, so it is far more important that they be of lasting value in saying something meaningful about Newark rather than fast.)I didn't know all of the dignitaries on hand, so didn't know to try to get them all in this first shot of the group.The day was so brite that the camera shut down the exposure so much that some fotos required extensive litening in my graffics program.Cami Anderson, the new Superintendent of the Newark Public Schools ("NPS"), did a cheer with the four Barringer High cheerleaders present.Two easels displayed informational posters of the Stadium project. But they were in a crowded space, so I didn't get in close to read or fotograf them.Nearby was a Newark city flag. I could see again that the version with block-lettering below the scroll (which I show in the 2d foto of my post of August 31st) is not official.In the second picture below, North Ward Councilman Aníbal Ramos is at the podium, and you can see some dignitaries to the right that my first picture of the group did not show, including former Superintendent Marion Bolden, who was credited by the speakers with proposing the complete replacement of the old stadium when the costs of repair or mere renovation proved prohibitive. I give credit where credit is due, but also blame where blame is due. Ms. Bolden was part of an extreme, antihomosexual action by the NPS when a foto of a gay couple being close was struck out with black, permanent marker, from a high school yearbook. That was contemptible and inexcusable, and the excuses made thereafter, that they thought the people pictured were not graduates, were flimsily contemptible. So I detest Marion Bolden. Still, if it was she who came up with the idea of replacing the old, dignified but crumbling Schools Stadium with the new, magnificent Schools Stadium, I have no problem with giving her credit for that as long as the blame for her contemptible, antihomosexual action with regard to expensive yearbooks continues to attach to her.
NPS fotografer Howard Best takes a picture of the Superintendent with cheerleaders. I had met him at a student-art display at the Newark Museum years ago, and reintroduced myself.I had seen Ramos in person a few years ago on a walking tour of Forest Hill conducted by the grande dame of Newark preservation, Liz Del Tufo. He has become very noticeably grayer in the few years since (and might as well have put on a bit of weight), but he still looks very good. In checking for Ramos's first name, I found his website and saw a word missing in the very first sentence. Doesn't anybody use proofreaders anymore? I find Aníbal a very odd choice for a name for an ethnicity derived from the Roman Empire's province of Hispania, in that it is the Spanish form of Hannibal, the worst enemy the Roman Empire ever had. Hannibal's family contended with Rome for control of the Iberian Peninsula, and Hannibal himself launched a devastating attack upon the heart of the Empire from modern-day Spain. But Spanish is a Romance language; and Hispanics are called "Latins", after the language of Rome. So why on Earth would any "Latin"o name a child Hannibal?After some other dignitaries had spoken, Mayor Booker took to the lectern, and started with a joke, in this approximate form. "I suppose most of you know who I am. But if you don't, I'm Will Smith." (I don't remember what Booker was pointing toward when I took this foto.)Booker did not grow up in Newark, but played high school football in Bergen County. He said he graduated with a 4.0 and 800 — 4 carries per game and 800 yards. Here, he poses playfully with the Barringer football team and cheerleaders, whose home stadium the "Schools" Stadium is.He looks pretty dashing, so I guess he had already lost the weight he gained during the early part of his second term. Two days ago, the Huffington Post published an article, "Cory Booker Loses Weight, Gets Fashionable For Menswear Magazine" that leads off:
Not everyone will be upset at Booker's suffering a bit from his bad decisions. I for one would much rather have two extra cops at work with the money that could be saved by slashing the salary of each of a bunch of top mayoral aides and department heads. City government is about public service, not self-serving, and I feel the State Legislature should put hard limits in place for salaries in municipalities of various sizes.
We've got our fair share of stylish American politicos, from senators to First Ladies. But city mayors? Not too many come to mind.
But Newark's Cory Booker is making a case for himself, dropping weight and suiting up for the most recent issue of Fairchild Fashion Media's Menswear. The second-term mayor, known for making hard decisions in his New Jersey city to some spectacular results, also made the decision to get stylish after gaining 50 pounds.
"I was so stressed, with massive layoffs and terrible police negotiations, I gained 50 pounds," Booker tells Menswear. "Even my relaxed jeans weren’t fitting me."
A woman stood by with giant scissors. At least the cuts that device was to make didn't hurt anybody.I am of the era when $100,000 a year was a phenomenal salary, and when matched to generous benefits, much more than any employee of a city should expect. I saw a news story during public discussion of Booker's insistence on cutting police officers' pay and benefits that said, if I remember correctly, that there are a passel of top Booker Administration officials who make well over $100,000 a year.
The football team and cheerleaders were put in front of the ribbon for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. While that was a sweet thing to do, it did block the view of the actual cutting. Someone should have held the ribbon up for everyone to see. The super-sized scissors actually worked.The Governor of the entire State of New Jersey makes at most $175,000. Everyone else in the governments within this state — including quasi-governmental authorities — should make a LOT less. A New York Times story from November 19, 2006 says that Booker's own salary is $130,721 (down from Sharpe James's preposterous $200K). That's about half a dollar per resident, which doesn't sound so bad except as compared to the Governor. Newark has about 278,000 people; NJ, about 8.8 million, a ratio of 1:31; but the Governor makes only 1.3X as much as the Mayor. And the Governor makes only 1.75X as much as each of those many $100K+ City officials.
+People who want to make a lot of money should work in the private sector. Period.
Here, you can see right thru the ticket booth, which was not in use for this free event.Once the ribbon was cut, we got to enter the Stadium. This first interior view shows the "home" stands, about 30 rows high, and the giant blue bear head on the 50-yard line.Here's the "visitors" stand, half as high.But there's still this great view of the front of the Stadium as seen from inside.The turf is, alas, artificial, but that permits it to be permanently marked with various brilliant colors.Those brilliant colors form, among other things, this giant blue-bear face, seen closer than its first appearance in this post, above.Around the field were running tracks, I think cushioned rather than rigid. This next foto shows the complex pattern of lane markings for different-length races.There is a curved track.I don't know what the triangular markings are for.On the curved track, the starting positions for the 200m length are arranged to correct for the curvature of the track.There is also a straight track, with starting positions all at the same line.The far end of the straight track appears in this next foto diverging from the rounded track. St. Francis Xavier R.C. Church is the large building in the background on the right.Here you see it past the visitors' grandstand.In this picture you can see a soccer goal turned the wrong way around, behind the American-football goalpost, which just happens to frame, perfectly, St. Francis Xavier.At the south end of the Stadium complex are smaller areas for two baseball fields and shotput. The building beyond is the First Street School, which was supposed to be closed but has, I think, been reopened due to enrollment pressures.This netting surrounds the shotput circle.And there are scoreboards angled away from each other for the two baseball fields. What there are not, however, are extensive stands for spectators. Why is that? In the foto that includes the First Street School, above, you may see two small sets of bleachers to the left of the post in the chainlink fence, just inside the sidewalk beyond the field. That appears to be the entire viewing area for each baseball game, perhaps 10 rows of bleachers, 15 or 20 feet wide apiece. I accept that football has displaced baseball as our national game, but to downgrade baseball so massively as to provide so little seating "strikes" me as offensive.I did not know what this concrete pad and V-shape marked-out area was, but figured after a bit that it was probably for shotput. A Google search for shotput images showed me to have guessed right.There's not much decoration to this new Stadium, but there is this bas relief outside the locker rooms. Everything else, but the arches, clocktower, intense colors, patterned concrete walkways, and lush streetlites, is strictly functional, but in such good proportions and taste as to impress as very refined.The new Schools Stadium is a first-class facility of which Newarkers can be very proud.