by Tommy Meehan
ryanov wrote:Saying that downtown Newark is a rough/scary area is false, unless you're afraid of Verizon HQ (which I could almost understand).WTH?? I think you're the second person to mention being afraid of the Verizon building, which to me is a ridiculous statement.
You want reality? Okay, yes downtown Newark can be a rough scary place at times. Sorry. Panhandling, thugs hanging out, checking people out. Boisterous teens congregating, walking in groups, acting very aggressive. Much better than it used to be, much much much, but if you're in the wrong place at the wrong time it can be scary. Ryan, you say you live at Broad Street and Raymond Boulevard? In a hotel? A dorm? (I don't recall seeing apartments there??? Just asking out of idle curiosity.) But didn't Corey Booker stop a guy being robbed at gunpoint just up the street in broad daylight last year?
Last summer I did a lot of research on the City Subway. One evening after I left the NPL I took the City Subway out to Bloomfield and return. Got off at Broad Street. I spent about twenty minutes at Broad & Raymond, just soaking up the atmosphere, trying to visualize the way it once was when the streetcars were running. (Had just discovered Raymond Boulevard was named for the Newark Commissioner who was in large part responsible for the building of the transit line that runs under the street. And that for the first couple years the Newark City Subway terminated at Broad. ) Anyways, there were a couple guys on the corner nearby arguing over a drug deal. There were a couple homeless guys shuffling along. Asked me for a smoke. Could I help them with some change. (No to both questions.) No big deal, but a little on the tough side, yes?
As for the library, walking to it from the Broad Street station (the M&E Line). I didn't say rough and scary, btw, I said a tough urban environment. Two people respond "you scared of the Verizion building?' That's what I mean about being comfortable in a particular setting. That kind of snotty response on da street can get you into a confrontation fast. Okay, this is the Internet, I understand that.
When you leave the Broad Street station, you can take the side street to Orange Avenue. I've passed some pretty tough looking guys walking who gave me some strange looks like, 'Damn what's this white man doing walking here? He crazy!' Those couple blocks are usually deserted. I've had people walking there seem apprehensive when they see me! LOL Especially the Verizon employees - I guess they're Verizon employees -- who use the parking lots along there. You can tell, they ain't wasting no time getting to their cars! LOL
Walk out to Broad Street. Even since the ballpark went up -- big improvement over Abie's hotel -- but I still see homeless people, people who look like they're on drugs, street people just hanging out. Dangerous? That's overstating it, but you have to watch your back. The first couple blocks down Broad Street can be hinky. Still some deserted store fronts, still see some tough looking hombres walking along. Giving you hard looks as they pass. (Heading back to Broadway? Walking cause they got no change for the bus? I don't know. Maybe one of you can stop and ask them?)
As for the Library. I been going there, to the New Jersey Room, for thirty damn years. No qualms but I don't forget where I am, either. I could tell you stories -- I'm not going to, but I could -- about things that have happened inside the library. In front of it. In that little park across the street. 99% of the time it's fine, but it's that 1% you gotta watch.....
Walking from Newark Penn to the Red Bull park in Harrison? Fine, have fun. Crossing the bridge you're going to really stand out too. So if a bunch of homeboys in a car pull over and tell you, "Yo, c'mere a second man." what're you gonna do? Oh that couldn't happen, right? Not in the Ironbound, no way. Hel-lo!
I was checking out the buses over there the other evening. Behind Penn Station on the east side of the station. There were two ladies waiting for a ride nearby. By the park. Across from the bank. My Spanish is muy poquito but they were saying something about not really liking waiting there. Be glad when the ride showed up. It seemed okay to stand there for a while but there were some real street looking people on the other side of the street. They seem to always be there. On the bank steps, especially. I mean like for twenty years. Maybe the same group. LOL
Hey I can tell you some things I've seen inside Penn Station. Definitely scary. But what's the point?
Don't misunderstand. I like Newark. I like that whole area. I don't even really know why, just something bout it. The history, the grittiness, for me it's cool. But I don't forget where I am. I don't go walking around with an attitude 'Nothing can happen to me.' When I lived in East Harlem I got grabbed one night, had a gun put to my head. Ryan things can happen. Newark is still Newark! Not saying don't go there, and yes it's much better than in the 70s or 80s and even the 90s. I just don't think it's cool to be advising suburban people you don't even know to go walking around there when they don't know the neighborhood.
End of sermon.