When you think Newark, New Jersey, do you think of industry and uncontrolled crime? Then you don't know today's Newark. Newark, New Jersey's largest city is jam packed with history and the positive contributions of most every nationality worldwide. This 8-mile diameter tract of land sits only 5 miles from Manhattan, offering travelers instant access to almost anywhere on the globe. With a renowned international airport, Penn Train Station, and roadways in every direction, from Newark it's just a matter of choosing where you want to go.
In 1666, thirty New England Pilgrim families landed on the south bank of the Passaic River. They named their new home New Ark, after Newark on Trent, England, and "New Ark" took her place in history; including playing roles in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. All through those following years, immigrants came to Newark. In the early 1800s, Newark had breweries; chemical and paint industries; Iron Works and machine shops; and dry goods a-plenty, but the city had no fresh water supply. By 1890, with a population of over 55,000 people, Newark had the highest mortality rate in the country, due to water pollution disease outbreaks such as smallpox, cholera, and typhoid. In 1854, town fathers decided on a sewer system that emptied raw human and industrial waste into Newark's pristine Passaic River. By century's end, the river was all but destroyed. In 1945, Newark finally got a quality sewer system and she continued to chug on. In 1967 Newark, like many other US cities, was faced with unbearable race riots. Again, New Jersey's biggest city, somehow worked out its problems and went on.
Today's Newark is a place of positive growth and change. Tenement housing that had been a black eye on the city's landscape for years are now being replaced by quality housing. Equality and access to homes, jobs, education, and quality life for all have arrived in Newark and the city is healing. The city's children again play in the city parks and attend yearly street and film festivals without fear. If you're in Newark some must-sees are the Newark Museum/Dreyfuss Planetarium and The New Jersey Performing Arts Center. For train enthusiasts, going to Penn Station is a treat. Afterwards, have dinner in the Ironbound section at any of the nation's best Portuguese restaurants, and discover the wonders of New Jersey's Little Biggest City for yourself.
Written by Lyndsey Morgan