Newark is the largest city in New Jersey, with a population of about 283,000. It peaked in the 1940’s at over 450,000. Puritans from the New Haven Colony founded the city in 1666.
This tour covers downtown. Welcome to the Brick City.
Newark was a major early industrial center, in 1870 producing 90% of the nation’s leather products, as well such things as iron, celluloid, and carriages. Newark is the birthplace of the zipper and the stock ticker.
After WWII, Newark fell harder than perhaps any other large American city. It remains one of the poorest and most violent cities in the nation. At one time it had the largest percentage of residents in public housing of any US city. The mass construction of superblock public housing sped the flight from neighborhoods already besieged by substandard housing and poverty. Many of the notorious hi-rises have since been razed.
The American Insurance Company Building of 1930
Looking south on Broad St.
The Griffith Building of 1928, on the northern end of Military Park
Military Park had the nation’s first public electric lamps.
The 21-story Military Park Building was New Jersey’s tallest when completed in 1926.
It was soon overtaken by the Lefcourt-Newark Building (1930, center) and the National Newark Building (1931,right).
Overlooking the south end of Military Park
Military Park Building
Looking east toward Broad from Park St
Halsey St at New St
The Gibraltar Building of 1927, formerly part of the Prudential Insurance complex, now home to the Superior Court of New Jersey.
South on Washington toward Market St
Rowhouses on Linden St
Looking east on Raymond Boulevard
A tree grows on the Griffith Building
Businesses on Market St
Abraham Lincoln hanging out in front of the Essex County courthouse, where Springfield Avenue begins off of western Market Street. Springfield Avenue was a bustling thoroughfare through the city’s Central Ward, and was the center of the 1967 riot. The street was largely destroyed.
The late 1960’s saw riots in most American cities. The Newark riot stands with those of Detroit‘s 12th Street, Chicago’s Madison Street, and Watts as being the most famous and devastating.
Through suburban flight, Newark became a black-majority city in 1966, years before any other northern city.
Washington St, north to Market
Commuter parking lots. The Prudential Center, the 2-year old home of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils looms overhead.
North on Broad St from William St. Note the Prudential Building. Newark is the nation’s 3rd largest insurance center after New York and Hartford. Newark and neighboring Elizabeth, NJ are home to the largest container port on the eastern seaboard and one of the nation’s busiest airports.
The retail in Downtown Newark is quite tacky and gaudy, but I like the density and energy of it. Many American cities do not have this level of hustle and bustle downtown.
An old RR building
The “Four Corners” at Market and Broad is the bustling heart of black New Jersey. During the 1920's it was among the two or three busiest intersections in the nation. It remainds a very active place during the day.
South on Broad
West on Market
Market St, east of the Four Corners
Looking up at the Lefcourt-Newark Building, now known as Eleven80, for it‘s address on Raymond Boulevard. It had been vacant since 1986, but has recently undergone a $110 million renovation into luxury apartments. It is the first unsubsidized rental housing to hit the market in downtown Newark since 1960.
On the right is the Fireman’s Insurance Building, tallest in New Jersey from 1910 until the completion of the Military Park Building in 1926. It’s good to see scaffolding, because it is a beautiful building and has been vacant for some time.
Detail on the Newark Paramount theatre
Back to Military Park
The National Newark Building, at right, was the tallest building in New Jersey from 1931 up to the completion of the Exchange Place tower in Jersey City in 1989. The top of the building is modeled after the mausoleum at Halicarnassus.
Newark is served by the PATH system, connecting the city with Jersey City, Hoboken and Manhattan, as well as the Newark City Subway and the Newark Light Rail, which head northwest from downtown out to the suburb of Bloomfield, NJ. It passes under the Olmstead-designed Branch Brook Park, home to the nation’s largest collection of Cherry Blossoms (larger than the infinitely more famous DC bloom).
Wars of America
, by Gutzon Borglum
8 miles east…
The Passaic River
Newark is a culture factory. It has given us:
Wayne Shorter (saxophonist and primary songwriter in Miles Davis’ legendary 2nd quartet)
Naught By Nature
Stephen Crane (Red Badge of Courage