Essex County News

Downtown Newark Living Tour Draws Interest to City's Future

A view from a two-bedroom apartment in the Richardson Lofts in downtown Newark. Credits: Mark J. Bonamo
A central steel spiral staircase is a Richardson Lofts remnant of its former days as a factory. Credits: Mark J. Bonamo
Tonnie Rozier, owner of Tonnie's Minis, a brand-new bakery on Halsey Street in downtown Newark, lives across the street with his family in Teachers Village. Credits: Mark J. Bonamo
A group examines a new apartment inside Teachers Village during the downtown Newark living tour on Saturday. Credits: Mark J. Bonamo
Longtime friends and native Newarkers Vicki Salz (left) and Julia Zeppi (right) returned to the city to tour downtown Newark's new living spaces. Credits: Mark J. Bonamo
A diverse group asks questions about an apartment they are touring in the Hahne & Co. Building in downtown Newark. Credits: Mark J. Bonamo
Kenyon Taylor takes a picture of the Manhattan skyline from the roof of the Richardson Lofts in downtown Newark. Credits: Mark J. Bonamo

NEWARK, NJ - Kenyon Taylor, a New York City subway conductor from the Bronx, came to downtown Newark on Saturday afternoon as part of a quest to see if he wants to move to New Jersey's largest city. 

"You have to come visit, you have to do the footwork," said Taylor, 40, sitting next to his girlfriend on a bus tour of various sites in the city's downtown, designed to draw in those from around the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area who are considering a shift of domiciles. 

"You have to see for yourself, and I saw more than I needed to see," Taylor said. "These places we're looking at are to lease. I want to get in on the ground floor. I want to buy."

Sign Up for E-News

The tour, sponsored by the non-profit Newark Downtown District, the city's special improvement district of the central business area, drew approximately 700 people, according to the organization. 

The exploration included live music events at established downtown Newark cultural institutions such as the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) and the Newark Museum, as well as open houses at the numerous art galleries dotting downtown. But the tour focused on the many new apartments in new and renovated buildings that have sprung up in Newark, particularly over the last five years. 

"We are so excited to see so much interest in living, working and playing in Newark," said Central Ward Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield Jenkins. "The Central Ward continues to be the engine and the gateway for Newark. Where the Central Ward goes, Newark goes."

One relatively well-known stop on the tour was the Hahne & Co. Building apartments above the brand-new Whole Foods high-end supermarket on Broad Street. Another stop on the tour was the Richardson Lofts on Columbia Street, located one block away from the Prudential Center and diagonally across from the site of Mulberry Commons, a planned public park with a scheduled groundbreaking this summer. Members of the tour walked up a steel spiral staircase to the roof to take in the view of Manhattan before they checked out apartments. 

Sheikia "Purple" Norris, a Newark resident, lives in the Society Hill development but is considering a move downtown. Standing in a duplex apartment with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a den with a rental rate of $2450 a month, she admired the new kitchen and the high ceilings. Norris, however, sees something else coming to the city.

"I love the city's transformation, but where do people go when three bedroom apartments turn into four bedrooms and the rent gets higher?" said Norris, the artistic director of a non-profit hip-hop education program that works in schools around New Jersey. 

"The people who have lived here for decades have toughed it out," Norris said. "I have to think about the role I'm playing in all this. And we won't get a different narrative if we don't think about that." 

Tonnie Rozier's narrative is told best not by words, but by the smell of freshly baked cupcakes wafting out the door of his brand-new bakery, Tonnie's Minis on Halsey Street. 

Rozier has a great commute: he lives across the street in the Teachers Village apartment complex with his wife and two younger children. He was also having a great morning: more than 30 people, part of the downtown tour, were lined up outside. 

"I live here, I work here, and we're doing business like this after being open a month with no marketing," said Rozier, 47, holding up a tray of lemon and strawberry cupcakes just out of the oven. 

"I had a store in Harlem, and I got priced out," he said. "I can see the changes coming here, and they have to make sure that this doesn't become Brooklyn. It's going to be up to the city, meaning Mayor [Ras] Baraka, to handle the changes and make sure the changes are for the people here already."

Inside Teachers Village, the halls were jammed with people looking at brand-new one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. Prices range from $1,600 to $2,400 a month for the largest apartments, with discounts available for educators. 

Among those touring Teachers Village were Julia Zeppi and Vicki Salz, life-long friends who grew up in Newark's Vailsburg neighborhood. Members of the city's West Side High School Class of 1961, they remember the 1967 civil disturbances, a riot to some, a rebellion to others. 

Standing outside of Teachers Village, just blocks away from what was an urban war zone 50 years ago, Julia and Vicki felt like they were getting a re-education about their home town.

"This is not the Newark that we ever knew," said Zeppi, who now lives in West Orange. "We took the bus to the corner of Broad and Market today just to have a look at what's going on. I was a typist for the Newark Police Department, and I wish some of the guys were alive so I could call them up and tell them what I'm seeing. It's shocking."

"Downtown Newark has great potential, but the rest of it I'm less hopeful, we'll have to see," said Salz, who lives in East Brunswick. "But I loved what I saw downtown. I'm not going to sell my house. But if somebody asks me what I saw today, I'm going to say it was fabulous." 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News



AtlantiCast: Episode 16

Summer is in the air, and the latest episode of AtlantiCast is ready to help you enjoy some fun outdoors while staying safe! This week’s episode opens with tips for sunscreen usage from Atlantic Health System’s Chief Medical and Academic Officer, Dr. Jan Schwarz-Miller. You’ll also learn about how Atlantic Health System is advancing the future of health care through ...

South Orange Police Blotter: Robbery Reported on South Orange Avenue

June 16, 2018

South Orange Police Blotter as of June 16

Robbery - An Alpha, NJ resident reported that he was robbed on Sunday, June 3, at approximately 12:30 a.m. while he was walking on South Orange Avenue near Scotland Road. The victim stated that he was approached by three unknown actors who punched him and knocked him to the ground. The actors then stole his cell phone and wallet ...

Maplewood Police Blotter - Two Home Burglaries Reported

June 4, 2018, Burglary; Sometime during the daytime hours, a home on the 100 block of Midland Blvd was forcibly entered.  At the time of the report it was unknown what the proceeds were.

June 4, 2018; Thefts; During the overnight hours a metal rack was stolen from outside of a business on the 200 block of Elmwood Ave.

June 5, 2018; Motor Vehicle Theft; During the overnight hours, a van ...

Fifth Annual Two Towns Triathlon for Kids Postponed Until September Due to South Orange Pool Still Being Closed

June 14, 2018

SOUTH ORANGE, NJ - The 5th Annual Two Towns Triathlon for Kids, originally scheduled to be held in South Orange on Saturday, June 16, has been postponed until Saturday, September 8, according to an update on the South Orange website. 


The postponement is because the South Orange Community Pool is still closed for the season due to construction delays with the filter ...

Second Year of Maplewood South Orange Book Festival Brings Authors and Readers Together

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Anna Quindlen. Rosemary Wells. Keith Hernandez. Tayari Jones. These are just a few of the authors who were speakers at the Second Annual Maplewood South Orange Book Festival on Saturday.

The book festival, which attracted about 2,000 attendees according to organizers, had a full day of author panels covering a wide range of topics that included "#MeToo: From ...

Upcoming Events

Tue, June 19, 6:30 PM

Millburn Free Public Library, Millburn

Memoir Writing Class at Millburn Library

Arts & Entertainment

Tue, June 19, 7:00 PM

Clifton Public Library, Clifton

Bariatric Seminar-Weight Loss That Works

Health & Wellness

Wed, June 20, 6:30 PM

Pleasantdale Chateau , West Orange

Taste & Toast Gala

Giving Back Religions And Spirituality

Wed, June 20, 6:30 PM

Pleasantdale Chateau , West Orange

Taste & Toast Gala

Giving Back

Lecia Bianca Jewels Creates a Bridge to Make Bloomfield Center the Next Style Destination

June 16, 2018

BLOOMFIELD, NJ - The Bloomfield Center renaissance continues as Lecia Bianca Jewels becomes a style destination on main thoroughfare in this Essex County Community. Lecia Clay, owner of the boutique, describes her jewelry as 'bridge jewelry,' - pieces that are in a space between costume jewelry and fine jewelry, while having value. 

'Lecia Bianca' is the ...

Record Number Attends West Essex YMCA's Sixth Annual Bike Livingston

LIVINGSTON, NJ — On the heels of National Bike Safety Month in May, a new record of nearly 500 Livingston riders participated in the sixth annual Bike Livingston event, a family-oriented bike tour of Livingston’s neighborhoods hosted each year by the West Essex YMCA on the first Sunday in June.

With three routes to choose from—a four-mile route around the ...

Westfield High School Sophomore Dies; Counselors on Hand at School

June 19, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — Carthoris “Carter” Uziel, a sophomore at Westfield High School, died Sunday night, according to Westfield Public Schools and a letter sent to parents by Principal Dr. Derrick Nelson.

“Words cannot convey the grief we feel in the Westfield Public Schools community over the death of Carthoris ‘Carter’ Uziel, a sophomore at Westfield High ...

Applications to Rutgers Jumps Nearly 10 Percent; Increase From Out-of-State Students

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - Applications to Rutgers University this year increased 9.4 percent over last year, university President Robert Barchi told the Board of Governors at a meeting this week.

The university received nearly 45,000 applications this year, Barchi said.

That included a 20 percent increase in the number of students from outside New Jersey applying to Rutgers, the university ...

Maplewood Department of Public Works Employment Opportunity: Maintenance Worker

June 19, 2018


Title: Maintenance Worker – Parks/Shade Tree Dept.

Issue Date: 6/18/18       ...

Jersey Swamp Cats in Downtown After Sundown Friday, June 22

Dance under the stars to the swingin’ sounds of the Jersey Swamp Cats when the boys bring their patented piano and guitar driven blues and vintage rock’n roll to Spiotta Park, as part of the Sounds In Spiotta Park DAS concert series on Friday, June 22!

7 p.m. to 10 p.m. in Spiotta Park, located on Village Plaza and South Orange Avenue.


Founder of Moms Helping Moms Foundation Receives NJ State Governor’s Jefferson Award

Each year the New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Awards highlight the spirit of civic engagement among New Jersey’s 1.5 million volunteers and provide Jefferson Awards medals in 22 categories of volunteer service.   

The 2018 New Jersey State Governor’s Jefferson Awards presentation ceremony and celebration of volunteerism was held at the War ...