Underestimating Danger

by Caroline Grossmann


I was 27 years old at the time of the riots and was working as an Essex County Welfare Board caseworker at its So. 15th St. office, just in from 16th Ave. On the day the rioting began, I was at the office.  
Another caseworker told me she had her car in for service on Jones St. near Springfield Ave. This was in the morning and the neighborhood seemed its usual self: fairly quiet. So, I didn't think much of offering to drive her down to Jones St. to get her car.

I dropped her off at the garage for her car and went home to Irvington. Nothing seemed really bad, maybe just more people around. Of course, we know how bad it got.

I don't recall how long it was before we were allowed back into Newark. It was probably about two weeks after the riots started that I was back on the job. It required me to be out visiting clients all week except for one and a half days each week spent in the office doing paperwork.

It was only three years earlier, in 1964, that my family moved from Camden St. to Irvington. So, I was quite used to Newark's central ward and felt little anxiety. It always seemed to me that non-Newarkers overestimate Newark's dangers. I probably underestimated them.


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