Newark, New Jersey

More Than An Airport

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What's it like to live in Newark?

Moving to Newark

The farther east, the better as I recall. The ironbound area is urban and rich with culture.

I lived in Newark for 8 years on the NJIT campus, and I taught at both East Side HS and West Side HS. East Side is more on the ironbound, and much closer to Penn. I also lived for some years a town over in Bloomfield.

When I was in college, essentially around central Newark several blocks west of Penn, I used to take the light rail down to that area to shop, go to Devils games, or even commute to NYC.

I cannot recall any time in the subways or light rails that I felt in danger, and I'm talking like 2am drunk and just wanting to get home.

You might get the occasional crackhead, but my experience was vastly that this part of Newark is largely good people of all walks of life, just trying to make a living like me.

I'm really not a city person, but I don't ever recall feeling really unsafe in that particular part of Newark. And I loved the eclectic food choices there and in the surrounding towns.

It you are looking for nightlife, Jersey City and especially Hoboken have it. Great food, fun and excitement.

Montclair is a couple towns west and offers some fabulously diverse restaurants to try, as well as hookah lounges, comedy, antiques, etc. To the north you have East Rutherford, where there is a historic horse track and football home of the Giants and Jets. Plus, there is also the growing American Dream mall, which is just astounding in scope and includes an indoor waterpark, snowboard hill, and burgeoning shopping.

If commuting to NYC and entertainment are your focus, I recommend it. In fact, I kind of miss it.

Moving to Newark

I loved living in downtown Newark also around a 5-minute walk to Penn Station! The Ironbound and downtown are safe and fine (though you will have homeless people in a quantity comparable to parts of Philadelphia or DC maybe), and you can even venture as far as McGovern’s Tavern or the area around the schools or Society Hill just fine not fearing for safety really. It will be a great time, but there is a bigger English-speaking social life in Jersey City and Hoboken if you want to be in an NJ city. Brazilian / Portuguese restaurants and cafes in Ironbound are best part of Newark for sure!

What is it like to live in Newark, NJ?
Profile photo for Gata Negrra
Gata Negrra
, Brick City (Newark, NJ) native through and through.
Updated Apr 29, 2021 · Upvoted by
Quadiyr Wilson
, lived in Newark, NJ (1986-2004)
It’s…kind of what you make of it. You just have to know what to do and what not to do when you live here.

Newark is a large city. So it’s not much different than life in any other large city. There are its good areas, its okay areas and its seemingly bad areas. I’m a native, and there’s some places I really don’t like going. Part of that is because I’m not what you would call “visually normal”…but I digress. Just always look like you know where you’re going if you’re on foot, be aware of your surroundings…you know how that goes if you know large cities. Yes, we do have a reputation for car theft and violence—I’m not saying it isn’t earned, but it’s not at all like people who don’t live or work here would have you believe. We are not all burnt-down projects and abandoned buildings and gang wars running so rampant on every street everyone needs a flak jacket and an AK-47 25/8 and martial law should be enacted (I once saw someone say that needed to happen here). People like to trash this city like it’s sport. Like I said, it is a large city, and violence, car theft, and the like are going to happen in large cities no matter which one it is. That is the reality.

In my and many others’ experiences, Newarkers are generally not necessarily tolerant of the new, strange, or unusual. Newarkers tend to be on the cynical side. Sometimes they can even be a bit elitist--especially the nouveau-Newarkers. There are a few people here who definitely don’t have that attitude (like myself), but for the most part Brick City doesn’t like change it can’t control, and cleaves to what it can. We don’t quite have the reputation of the famed stereotypical rude New Yorker, but we definitely have our moments. It depends on what kind of person you meet. There are friendly natives here…once you get past their defenses, that is.

Newark is full of art galleries—it loves the visual artists most of all, although we do have plenty of performing artists. We have some beautiful parks in just about every ward here, with Weequahic and Branch Brook Park having the most acreage and greenery.

What is it like to live in Newark, NJ?

I’ve lived in Newark for the last 20 years and honestly it really is what you make of it. As someone who has went through the education system you do have many options. I attended private school until charter schools started popping up around the city (back in the early 2000’s). Now Newark has the 2nd strongest charter school system in the country. Schools like TEAM Academy and North Star definitely helped educate Newark’s youth effectively.

Growing up in the South section or Weeqahuic Section of Newark I didn't know I lived in a bad area until I got older. Newark has some nice sections with big beautiful houses, I personally think the Weequahuic Section is the best section, with us being so close to the airport.

But make no mistake any block with numbers for instance (south 12th street) is no mans land I wouldn't even venture over to those parts. For the most part the best suburb like spots are the Weeuqahuic Section or Forrest Hills. Newark is heavily segregated with Puerto Ricans and latinos on the North Ward, Brazilians and any Spanish immigrants in the Ironbound and the rest left to the blacks. The ironbound section is safe but not as pretty houses are bunched up and tightly together.

In regards to safety I have walked the streets of Newark at 2 am alone as a young girl and teenager. It really is what you choose to surround yourself with. If you hang around a certain type or live in a certain active area than you may see a worse side to Newark.

I grew up in a house on a block of other black families and homeowners, yes if I went up the street that's when the ratchet ness started to happen.

But as times are changing I hope this Newark Renaissance impacts all of Newark. It seems if whites move back they’d only be segregated to downtown and the ironbound.

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