Impressions Some 37 Years Later

by Rickyrab


I wasn't alive at the time of the Riot, and I visited Newark today by taking the train. I have been to Newark before, but my trips have largely been limited to one of the following areas: the Ironbound (decent Portuguese food), the Penn Station (decent art deco building), and that skywalk (the Gateway center), as well as the airport.

Today, I visited downtown and the four Corners, as well as walking up and down Broad Street. I noticed that antebellum (that is, pre-1967) Newark bears all the air of a town in decline even still, and I noticed at least one abandoned attempt at resurrection (the Renaissance Mall?) on Broad St. In the same vicinity I noticed a block full of abandoned or semi-abandoned buildings, along with lackluster efforts at cleaning up sidewalks, several large oases of parked cars surrounded by barbed wire, a City Hall with ornate facades but run-down window frames, several buildings in the Modern style, and, standing like a smart-aleck between the Broad Street district and Penn Station, the Gateway Skywalk - err, Center - looking every bit the post bellum fortress that it was intended to be.

Yes, the crowd downtown was mainly black. Yes, police pods were permanently placed on some corners. No, I was not mugged once, in spite of being white. (Of course, going in the daytime helps, but one still notices the bars all over the entrances of various buildings, as well as abandoned buildings nearby.)


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