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by Jule Spohn


Hello everyone. Finally did what I previously said I'd do. Moved back to Newark last week and am living over in the old North Newark/Little Italy area on Van Wagenen Street between Broadway and Summer Ave. It feels a little different, but wonderful, to be back in Newark.

This area is predominately Hispanic now. As you turn onto Broadway from Broad Street down by the Colonnade Apt almost all of the stores have Hispanic names. This is a very "vibrant" part of town. Am able to walk around the corner to get bread, milk, etc. Can walk around the corner and go to the Post Office on Broadway. Walked to Mass at St. Michaels Church on Broadway this past Sunday. A few "shady" character around but not an uncomfortable feeling.

Drove up Summer Ave, Mt. Pleasant, Mt. Prospect Ave, Heller Parkway, and in that area and the homes are still beautifully maintained. Had lunch today at McGovern's Tavern on New Street by Rutgers. Still there after all these years. Went up Springfield Ave on Sat and had one of those greasy, but wonderful, Italian hot dogs at Jimmy Buffs.

Lots of changes along Springfield coming up from downtown at the old courthouse with the wonderful statue of a sitting statue of President Lincoln. First of all St. Benedicts Prep is still there and has expanded. All along Springfield Ave between High Street and Bergen Street there are new houses up already, and a lot more being built as I speak. It was amazing to see all of the construction going on there.

Coming up South Orange Ave from the courthouse there are some beautiful houses which were built my Hovanian around 8-10 years ago. Just above these new houses is the new New Jersey College of Medicine and Dentistry and the hospital which replaced the old Martland Medical Center. South Orange Ave gets a little more "seedy" as you continue going West past Bergen Street.

Downtown is coming along great. There is the New NJPAC - New Jersey Performing Arts Center at the end of Park Place. The old Robert Treat Hotel has been refurbished and looks great. There is the new Newark Bears ballpark on McCarter Highway behind the old Telephone Company building on Broad Street which is now Verizon.

The area over by Rutgers looks great. There are many new building which have been added to their expanded campus. Of course there is the beautiful Newark Museum, Ballantine House, and Newark Pubic Library all along Military Park with it's wonderful statue of George Washington on horseback, and of course that wonderful statue of Christopher Columbus.

Saw many more business-type people just walking around at noon time today. There is lots of construction going on downtown for new office buildings. There are many positive things going on in Newark at this point in time. Could not have said all of this 10 to 15 years ago, but Newark is definitely on the rebound. Even Traveler Magazine got into the act. In it's April issue they did an article about Newark being a "travel destination" city. How's that?

Anyway, whenever you have a chance, come back and see all of the changes going on in your old hometown.


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