Newark at a Crossroads. That’s the title of an ambitious new series on the revitalization of Newark post Cory Booker. It’s coming up on One on One host Steve Adubato on NJTV and Channel 13. Adubato discussed his upcoming show with NJTV News Correspondent Michael Hill.
Adubato said that this is an exciting project for him because he was born and raised in Newark. He said that a lot of people talk about Booker when talking about Newark, but post Booker, the question is what happens to violent crime, urban schools and Superintendent Cami Anderson’s relationship with Mayor Ras Baraka? He questioned what happens to students who go to charter, semi-public schools. He also questioned what happens to downtown development, like NJPAC and the cultural activities happening. He said that technology is booming in Newark, but he questioned if those on the outside of downtown development feel disconnected. He said all of those issues will be looked at in Newark at a Crossroads.
Adubato said that he is most fascinated by Dr. Clement Price because he is the historian for Newark from Rutgers University and he knows Newark better than anyone else. Adubato said that when Price talks about Newark and where it has come from, he is optimistic in spite of all the challenges. He said that Price is a booster because he truly believes.
Adubato said that Price acknowledges when the federal government comes in and deals with the fact that the police department is struggling with the minority community, that’s real. He said that when the school system is controlled by the state government, those are real issues so when Price says that he is optimistic it is because he believes the city has a spirit. He said that Newark is called Brick City because it is tough as nails. He said that people who grew up there still work in Newark and do business in Newark and are connected to the city so the future is bright.
“You cannot ignore the fact that downtown a lot is happening. Panasonic comes in, Prudential expands from where they are to a new facility down there. I believe the technological advancements down there, the explosion down there, there is potential down there. I believe that there is going to be a lot of media activity because it is so close to New York,” said Adubato. “I believe that the arts and culture community around NJPAC is going to explode as well. I believe that the housing stock is better than most people think. In spite of all of the challenges that the city faces, the housing stock is better than people think.”
Adubato said that the city needs companies like Panasonic and Prudential but it also needs entrepreneurs and start-ups. He said that it isn’t just the typical movers and shakers that people know, it’s some other people as well. He said that he also looks forward to speaking with Baraka about his vision of the city.
When asked where he thinks Newark is going to be years from now, Adubato said, “It is a question of what neighborhood you drive through. I grew up in a neighborhood that has changed dramatically. It was largely Italian-American where I grew up but the church, St. Lucy’s, had a feast where they take this saint and roll it through the streets of this old neighborhood where people pin money on it. You say what does that mean? It means the old timers come back, they put money back into the community, and this church that is in an old neighborhood which is largely African-American and Latino is still strong. … Even if some of us don’t live there any more, we still have a strong connection.”