Essex County News

Fifty years after Newark burned, gates tell story of changing landscape

0e0136d477156918f0f6_Gates-1.jpg
Roll down gates, seen all over Newark since the 1967 unrest, could soon be a relic of a troubled past as the city continues to transform. Credits: Mark J. Bonamo
38ea6dcb0d3b1c3cc17e_Gates-2.jpg
Across the street from the recently-built Teachers Village project in downtown Newark, the brand-new Tonnie's Minis bakery has no roll down gates. Credits: Mark J. Bonamo
8a9d606cbf1f0644dcd1_Gates-3.jpg
Tonnie Rozier, 47, the owner of Tonnie's Minis. Credits: Mark J. Bonamo
8aeb905079a44a9c46cb_Gates-4.jpg
Dan Phillips, Jr., owner of Dan's Hats and Caps on Branford Place in downtown Newark, talks business with customer and Newark resident Rasheed Mason. Credits: Mark J. Bonamo
471bbc940d928c197948_Gates-6.jpg
Bill Scully, head bartender at McGovern's Tavern in downtown Newark, calls working in the city for 50 years "an act of faith." Credits: Mark J. Bonamo
99eb0e892872404bb632_Gates5.jpg
A picture of McGovern's Tavern taken in 1964, three years before the Newark riots. The newly remodeled McGovern's will include wide open windows once again. Credits: Mark J. Bonamo
0e0136d477156918f0f6_Gates-1.jpg

Two downtown corners, one block apart, offer a dramatic example of how much Newark has changed in 50 years.

On the corner of Halsey Street and Branford Place are two restaurants and two clothing stores, all of which have one thing in common: corrugated metal shutters, pulled down every evening after closing time. 

To mark the 50th Anniversary of the Newark riots, TAPinto Newark has written a four-part series looking at the riot and its impact on the city.

Sign Up for E-News

Part I: Witnesses to history reflect on Newark riots 50 years later

Part II: Son of only Newark firefighter killed in 1967 riots remembers tragedy

The gates were installed sometime after the civil upheaval in July 1967 that led to widespread looting of downtown stores and prompted shopkeepers – at least those that stayed – to adopt a bunker mentality.

One block south near the corner of Halsey and Maiden Lane, the newly opened Tonnie’s Minis bakery in the recently completed Teachers Village looks more like a storefront in suburban Essex County, with a sign touting "world famous cupcakes." There are no gates to cover the expansive plate-glass windows.

More than just a visual contrast, the two scenes offer evidence that Newark has finally emerged from the pall cast over the city after the riot that began on July 12, 1967 and lasted for five days.

During the riot, looters smashed windows of shops throughout downtown and walked off with inventory – an image seared into memory from old black and white photos. The roll down gates that began appearing on stores gave the city a forlorn feel after hours.

But the newer developments that have gone up in the last few years – from Teachers Village, to Prudential’s new office tower to the rehabilitation of the former Hahne & Co. building that sat vacant for nearly 30 years – feature wide open windows that suggest a new confidence in the city.

“There is positive psychic baggage here from memories people have about how Newark used to be, such as the memories of the Hahne’s building – it’s very powerful. Legacy strengths and new energy are coming together,” said Ommeed Sathe, 39, vice president and head of impact investments at Prudential Financial, one of the anchor institutions in the city that did not flee Newark after 1967.

“Optimism and confidence become a self-fulfilling cycle. And no gates helps lead to a feeling of safety and contentment,” Sathe said.

Roland Anglin, who spent 25 years in Newark, including as senior advisor to the chancellor and director of the Joseph C. Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies at Rutgers University-Newark, said that the changes in Newark are part of a national trend.

“The new architecture in cities such as Newark reflect a newly open, post-industrial landscape that helps people look outside a formerly industrial, closed, windowless world,” said Anglin, who was recently appointed the dean of Cleveland State University's Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs.

“People are coming back to the cities, which means that we’re at the front end of a shift in population back to Newark,” Anglin said.

In many parts of downtown, the new and the old Newark sit side by side, each a striking reminder of the city’s not-so-distant past and emerging future.

Near Branford on a recent weekend, a sharply dressed man in a gray suit and red bowtie handed out copies of The Final Call, the official newspaper of the Nation of Islam, to passersby. Just down from the corner, the Memories of Soul music store blasted the Isley Brothers out into the streets. 

“I would like the gates to be gone, but for my store, not yet,” said Dan Phillips 2nd, 48, the owner of Dan’s Hats and Caps, a haberdashery that has been a fixture on the corner of Halsey and Branford for 18 years. “There was a time when people would run cars through store windows to steal. The opportunity for crime still exists. But Newark’s revitalization is coming. And people will have to prepare.” 

Steps away down Halsey at the corner of Maiden, a brand-new convenience store now caters to the residents of Teachers Village. In front of the new apartment complex, which offers lower rent to educators who chose to live and work in Newark, pots of red and purple flowers hang off the side of the building. On sale in the convenience store are the official newspapers of global capitalism – the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times

Tonnie’s Minis is located on the same block. 

“When you look at where we are, the change has to start with us. I can't be worried if I want to commit” said Tonnie Rozier, 47, the store’s owner, as he took a fresh tray of double chocolate cupcakes out of the oven. “The faith we have in ourselves and our community tends to grow. Therefore, I have no gates. And I’m not going anywhere.”

A New York City native, Rozier is no refugee from his homeland. Instead, he sees himself as a part of a movement.

“Why not Newark?” Rozier said, referring to developers such as Ron Beit, the force behind Teachers Village, and others who encouraged him to come to New Jersey’s largest city. Rozier lives in Teachers Village with his family. “The drive behind what is here now is socioeconomic, not racial. As long as law enforcement is policing crime, not people, Halsey Street can be like Manhattan or Brooklyn. There has to be a continuing flow of new blood and energy from all over country, even the world.” 

Phillips wants those bars off, but doesn't want the lifting of Newark’s post-1967 physical and burden to mean the loss of what kept the city alive during its decades-ling time of trial.

“Old Newark can’t die, it's the backbone of the community. But I need a bigger demographic of customers, not just the national orders we get,” said Phillips. “I need more people to come in to my store who are part of the fabric of the community, not just people from outside.”

“The question now is this – is this revitalization or gentrification?” Phillips said. “I think it’s revitalization because there is opportunity for those who have been here to remain here.”  

The fear of gentrification prompted Mayor Ras Baraka to propose an ordinance that will require a sizeable percentage of affordable housing to be included in new residential developments. The City Council rejected the ordinance earlier this week, though it remains on the table for further consideration. 

The upscale Whole Foods that opened in the Hahne’s building is perhaps the most obvious symbol of a gentrifying city. 

Prudential’s impact investment fund helped fuel the renovation of the Hahne’s building, which includes an art gallery, a bookstore and new market-rate and affordable apartments. 

Sathe, whose job at Prudential is to help shape the stream of financial capital flowing into Newark, said it is the refurbishment of Newark’s smaller buildings that play just as an important role in transforming the city’s terrain. 

“The new properties are intentionally not being designed for commuters from elsewhere, but for residents who walk to them,” Sathe said. “These are not just best practices in urban design, but come ultimately from a belief in Newark’s potential. It’s not a defensive posture. It’s optimistic.”

Transforming Newark has its challenges.

“Downtown Newark was never a residential downtown. It was a commercial and retail center. You have to figure out a way to bring these large buildings back to function in a different way,” said Sathe, a Harvard-trained real estate and land use attorney.

“Progress goes from nothing to all of a sudden, you open a massive building. A lot of land was utilized for institutional use. Parking lots, which are so valuable, are in some ways being mothballed for growth 20 to 30 years from now, but hurts the short run,” Sathe said. “If you look at a map of Newark in 1945, there were a lot more streets. From an urban design perspective, you want as many streets and as many blocks as you can. “

McGovern’s Tavern is another Newark institution that refused to leave the city after 1967. In fact, the downtown bar, opened in 1936, stayed open even when the buildings across the street on New Street were empty, a victim of the flight from the city, a product of its destruction.

Sean McGovern, the bar’s owner, is about to expand his family’s building. It will expand about 1,000 square feet horizontally and become a three-story building vertically. Apartments and studios will be in place both above the bar and into a long-vacant building next door at the corner of New and Washington Streets. Construction is scheduled to begin later this summer. 

The original bar next door will retain its dimly lit, historical character, its windows to the world still shuttered. The well-known murals, photos, posted articles and memorabilia will remain and be seen only after customers’ eyes adjust after going through a sole, green metal door. 

But the new bar and restaurant will be very different. There, there will be no gates. There will be windows. And there will be light. 

“The perceived risk is no longer there, not in our minds,” McGovern, 50, said. “Is the riot over? I hope so and I think so. I’m betting on it.” 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Bloomfield

Morris Canal Greenway New App and Way Finder Signs Dedication Ceremony This Thursday

June 12, 2018

BLOOMFIELD, NJ-- On Thursday at 6PM the Bloomfield Parks, Recreation & Cultural Affairs in conjunction with the Bloomfield Morris Canal Greenway Committee unveils their 30 way finder signs and related mobile app. All are invited to attend the celebration which will be located at the Wrights Field Parking Lot, 186 Baldwin Place, Bloomfield, NJ.   

Thise interested in ...

Bloomfield Residents Holding Fundraiser for Cystinosis Foundation of New Jersey

BLOOMFIELD, NJ-- Bloomfield residents Terri Venezia & Mary Jo DiMilia, M.D. are raising funds to support research to find a cure for Cystinosis. Cystinosis is rare inherited disease affecting children which presents between 9 & 18 months of age. Individuals with this disease form crystals in major organs of their body, especially the kidneys. Despite early diagnosis and ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_751e3cbb7935bf24ad83_mountainside_logo_meridian

Mon, June 18, 7:00 PM

Hospital Auditorium, Glen Ridge

Tour of the Birthing Center

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_ec80b979e3fb86b0f869_asm_spring2_2018_cover-small

Mon, June 18, 7:00 PM

Montclair Public Library, Montclair

Trump’s Trade War & Impact of the New Tariff Plan

Carousel_image_ee8f8baaa2b3b3f8403e_charlie-and-the-great-glass-elevator-logo-300x157

Mon, June 18, 7:30 PM

Studio Playhouse, Upper Montclair

AUDITIONS: Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator

Arts & Entertainment

Tue, June 19, 6:30 PM

70 South Gallery, Morristown

70 SOUTH GALLERY TO HOST THE WORK OF ACCLAIMED ...

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_ab09fd2d7f7110fecd4d_mountainside_bariatrics

Tue, June 19, 7:00 PM

Clifton Public Library, Clifton

Bariatric Seminar-Weight Loss That Works

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_272e62eb904d75a9b5c1_mountainside_bariatrics

Tue, June 19, 7:00 PM

Clifton Public Library, Clifton

Bariatric Seminar-Weight Loss That Works

Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_d7070322e7be4f998db8_mountainside_logo_lockup

Wed, June 20, 7:00 PM

Hospital Conference Room 2 (Ground Floor), Glen Ridge

Becoming a Parent

Health & Wellness

Bloomfield Police Department Blotter June 4 to June 10, 2018

June 13, 2018

BLOOMFIELD, NJ - The following police blotter has been issued by Lt. Anthony Sisco of the Bloomfield Police Department.

Shoplifting:

6/6/18- Officers were dispatched to 351 Broad Street (Quick Check) on a report of a Shoplifting. An employee observed an unknown African American male wearing a beige shirt and carrying a black bag. The suspect placed dessert items into that black ...

McGovern's summer renovation closing party celebrates change

June 17, 2018

It always takes a few seconds for your eyes to adjust when you walk into McGovern's Tavern in Newark, a downtown fixture since 1936.

But this Friday afternoon, there were two immediate sights that demonstrated something was different.

First, most of the photos, portraits, and articles that cover the bar's walls were removed, the relics of decades of history gone.

Second, you ...

Montclair Township Animal Shelter Reopens

MONTCLAIR, NJ - After a fire swept through the dog run of the Montclair Township Animal Shelter nearly two years ago, Montclair officials commemorated a reopening of the facility with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

On Wednesday, the Township of Montclair, Friends of the Township of Montclair Animal Shelter and employees, welcomed the public to the ribbon cutting ceremony. The re-opening ...

Rutgers-Camden students who saved man from fire honored by City of Camden

June 17, 2018

Camden, NJ—The Rutgers-Camden students who saved an elderly man from a March fire at his Cooper Street home were honored by the City of Camden Tuesday night.

Mayor Frank Moran awarded proclamations to Corey Zytko, Jonathan Perez-Gaytan, Matteo Resanovic, Vanessa Solis Palma, Sehwan Park and Tammy Meneses on Tuesday, June 12.

On the night of March 23, the students were hanging out in ...

Male Body Found Saturday Morning Under Belmar Boardwalk

BELMAR, NJ — A male body was found this morning under the Belmar boardwalk at Ninth Avenue, according to reports.

While the Monmouth County Medical Examiner's Office was at the scene on Ocean Avenue at about 8:15 a.m. on June 16, a spokesman for the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office referred all questions to the Belmar Police Department. 

Belmar police have not yet ...

Manutti Marina in Belmar: Top Choice for Boating, Fishing and All-Around Family Fun

June 11, 2018

BELMAR, NJ — It’s no secret that Belmar Manutti Marina ranks among the best boating destinations along the Atlantic coast.

Tucked along the eastern shoreline of the idyllic Shark River — just a five-minute trip by boat to the ocean — the state-of-the-art marina is a top choice among boaters looking to stay for the season, enjoy a vacation or spend the weekend.

In ...

State Transportation Officials: New Bridge, Same Design Planned over Shark River Linking Belmar and Avon

BELMAR, NJ — State transportation officials confirmed yesterday that the Main Street/Route 71 bridge over the Shark River will be replaced with one just like it — a low-level movable span that will stand several feet taller and will be situated about three feet west of the current bridge.

During the second public information session on the project held on June 8, N.J. Department of ...

America's Celebrated Evolving Journey

June 17, 2018

This of July, the United States of America will celebrate its 242nd birthday since the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  Our Nation was conceived in liberty at its core. Together we the people, with ancestors from every part of the world, continue the struggle to live by its founding noble principles.  Namely that, “We hold these truths to be ...

The Power of Positive Engagement

To the Editor:

I wanted to share this letter from Laurie Beacham, Media Director for NJ 11th for Change, about the notable increase in voter turnout and citizens deciding to run in the recent primary election:

"The 11th Congressional District has a lot to be proud of. In the June 5th primaries, voter turnout climbed from almost 33,000 in 2014 to over 86,000. Democratic ...

Bloomfield Bengals Sports Update May 21, 2018

Volleyball advanced to the County final with wins over Science Park and Montclair. Unfortunately, Livingston got the better of the Bengals in the County Championship Match.   

At the County Track and Field Championship Meet the Girls Team had a fine showing placing 5th overall. Leading the way was Kaela Edwards-2nd in high hurdles and Aicha Naouai- 2nd in javelin. The best ...

Bloomfield Bengals Athletic Update May 14 2018

 At the SEC Championship Meet La’Shan White equaled his school record in winning the 400-meter hurdles. He also won the 110- meter High Hurdles and anchored the winning 4x400 relay team. Aicha Naouai won the Javelin with a throw of 126’6.5(#9 NJ) and the Discus with a mark of 95’5”. Warlys Lizardo won the Boys Discus at 120’.

Kristina Collins reached ...

The Jaffe Briefing - June 15, 2018

JERSEY CITY - Should topless women be allowed in the city?  That's the big issue consuming the City Council these days, as members continue to debate 1980s-era obscenity laws. There was supposed to be a vote at the council meeting on Wednesday, but it didn't happen. Before there is a vote, it appears the goal is to wrangle support of all nine members of the City Council. The nagging ...

TAPinto Featured Franchisee: Steve Lenox of TAPinto Paterson

This week's feature will focus on TAPinto Paterson's franchisee, Steve Lenox. Find out how the current owner of a public affairs firm went from a former State Director for Senator Frank Lautenberg to a proud TAPinto franchisee for New Jersey's third largest city.

 

Q. When did you join TAPinto.net?

I joined TAPinto.net in September, ...

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (William Morrow, 2018)

 

A friend, whose opinion on literature I respect greatly, reported to me recently that she had just finished reading A.J. Finn's debut novel, The Woman in the Window. Of it she said, “I wish I hadn't finished it,” which I interpreted to mean, “It was so good I'm sorry that I finished it.” ...

When the Men Go Off to War by Victoria Kelly

When the Men Go Off to War by Victoria Kelly (Naval Institute Press, 2015)

Victoria Kelly's first published volume of poetry, When the Men Go Off to War, is a wonder in that poems can be written so beautifully about the subject of war. Each poem is a jewel, polished and colorful, glittering with elegant imagery, and rich in emotional wallop. The book, divided into three sections, ...

The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani (Ballentine Books, 2005)

            The Queen of the Big Time by Adriana Trigiani, a New York Times best selling author, was recommended to me by a young woman who actually came from the town of Roseto, Pennsylvania, the place where the novel is set. “The author did such a wonderful job of describing how the town actually is,” said the young lady.

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (St. Martin's Press, 2018)

            What is the “final frontier” on the Earth's surface? Many people would say Alaska, the 49th state, which was added to the United States fifty years ago. Once one has traveled to that remote land, it is impossible to forget the magnificence of the terrain and beasts. Floating by ship in Glacier Bay, surrounded by ...

Horse Care Workshops at Lord Stirling Start June 23

June 17, 2018

BASKING RIDGE, N.J. — Somerset County Park Commission Lord Stirling Stable is offering Horse Care Workshop 101 for adults and youth seeking to gain experience and confidence around horses through a combination of non-riding activities and hands-on practice.

Horse Care Workshop 101 will be held at Lord Stirling Stable, 256 South Maple Avenue in Basking Ridge, NJ beginning Saturday June ...

Essex County Freeholder President Brendan Gill Proclaims June LGBT Pride Month

NEWARK, NJ – Essex County Freeholder President Brendan Gill announced that the Essex County Board of Chosen Freeholders passed a resolution at their last meeting, Wednesday, June 6, 2018, proclaiming June as LGBT Pride Month in Essex County.

“I am proud to stand with our LGBT brothers and sisters in recognizing June as LGBT Pride Month, and look forward to continue working ...

New Jersey Blood Services Declares Blood Emergency

New Jersey Blood Services/New York Blood Center (NYBC) has declared a blood emergency. The organization is asking people across New York City, the Hudson Valley, Long Island and New Jersey to donate blood to help replenish the blood supply for hospitals throughout the area.

In order to maintain a safe blood supply, a seven-day inventory of all blood types must be continually replenished. Right ...

Essex County Executive DiVincenzo Opens Brookdale Park Welcome Center

BLOOMFIELD / MONTCLAIR , NJ - Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. announced the opening of the renovated Welcome Center in Essex County Brookdale Park on Friday, June 8th. Work to modernize the bathroom building at the Brookdale tennis courts is nearing completion. The upgrades are part of the County Executive's ongoing initiative to update parks infrastructure to ensure ...

Obituaries

Jul 4, 1933 - May 18, 2018
Maria A. Probst (nee: Geiger), 84 of Bloomfield passed away on May 18. Her final days were spent ...
Read more
Jul 21, 1966 - Apr 6, 2018
Sheila Rossi (nee Borges) 51, of Nutley, NJ died peacefully on April 6, 2018. Visitation will be ...
Read more

Thirty Days after the Draft

It’s been just about thirty days since the 2018 NFL Draft and the New York Jets have been working hard to build the team fans have been waiting for. Let’s recap the first round draft pick before discussing OTA’s and other Jets info.

Some New York Jets fans were certain earlier in the 2017 season that with the way the win-losses were going, Sam Darnold would be the New York ...