Newark is New Jersey‘s largest city and second largest in Metro New York. Although one of the great historic cities of the Northeast and the most culture-rich city in the state, Newark is often overlooked in favor of Goliath-like Manhattan and towns along the Hudson River, such as Jersey City and Hoboken. While no longer the industrial powerhouse it once was, Newark remains one of America’s major shipping, rail, and air hubs. Public transportation is abundant, making it easy to get to, from, and around the city.
Newark has been economically disadvantaged for some time, and suffers from a bad reputation, often informed by negative stereotyping. Thanks in large part to a nationally high-profile mayor (Cory Booker, now a U.S. Senator), committed populace, and changing attitudes towards once decaying urban areas, the often proclaimed, but stunted renaissance of Newark is steadily and substantially taking hold.
English is the main language, but the Ironbound area is home to a significant Brazilian and Portuguese population. Newark, NJ, is pronounced “Noo-wirk”, as opposed to Newark, Delaware, which is pronounced “Noo-ark”. Locals will often pronounce it “Nork” or “Nerk”.
The city was founded in the year 1666 by Puritans from New Haven Colony. Three centuries later, the population grew rapidly. Industry also grew constantly. The city even had its own Chinatown. However, in the 20th century, many raids took place, and much of the Chinese population went away to other areas, causing Newark’s Chinatown to fade away. Things only got worse as more racial tension and riots occurred in the city. In the 1990s, the city went through tons of revitalization efforts. Today, the city has grown back into an important industrial hub, however some things such as the old Chinatown and the city’s good reputation were forever lost. Despite this, the city still shines with culture and history, and also has the oldest county park in the United States, Branch Brook Park. There is also a huge Portuguese and Brazilian population in Ironbound. Although the city is usually overlooked by Manhattan and it is not the glimmering gem it used to be, the city is still worth a visit.
The city is divided into five wards, each with its own character. Downtown has retained much of early 20th century architecture and has an iconic skyline. Nearly 100,000 people commute to the central business district on workdays, making for a lively urban landscape. Since the millennium it has become more residential as former office buildings and warehouses are converted to housing. A new performing arts complex and sports/concert venue and restaurants have encouraged visitors to linger longer into the night, particularly along Halsey Street and Edison Street. The North Ward is home to Branch Brook Park, site of the nation’s largest collection of cherry blossom trees, and the neo-Gothic Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Surrounding neighborhoods include architecturally interesting suburban enclaves on the east and bustling urban districts on the west. The East Ward, or the Ironbound, is home to a large Portuguese/Brazilian community, with a “restaurant row” offering a cornucopia of eating establishments for every budget. The South Ward, once the heart of the Jewish community and home to the Weequahic Park and architectural gems, has fallen on hard times, and is where much of the city’s crime is concentrated. The West Ward, including Vailsburg, is a working and middle class neighborhood.
Newark has great transportation, and is very easy to get into and out of.
1 Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR IATA) is about 5 mi (8 km) south of downtown. It is a major hub for United Airlines, and is served by numerous other domestic and international carriers. JFK International Airport and LaGuardia Airport are in Queens, New York, and are served by additional carriers who do not fly to EWR directly. Airport information can be obtained by calling +1-888-EWR-INFO or +1 973-961-6000.
AirTrain Newark shuttles between the airport’s parking facilities, three terminals, and train station, where frequent New Jersey Transit (NJT) service is a ten minute ride to downtown. NJT bus #62 and the limited stop GoBus 28 also both travel to downtown, the latter with continuing service to North Newark.
Taxi service is based on a flat-fee determined by destination and paid before the trip begins.