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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Photo of the Day 12/31/15


This photo shows the Newark Legal Center reflected on the windows of NJ Transit's headquarters.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Photo of the Day 12/30/15


This photo shows the North Reformed Church on Broad Street in Newark.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Photo of the Day 12/29/15


Several buildings still lie abandoned near areas of recent revitalization in Downtown Newark.

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Monday, December 28, 2015

First Night Returning to South Orange/Maplewood


Maplewood, New Jersey: Several events will be held across Essex County this week to celebrate the new year, including one tradition in the South Orange/Maplewood community. The South Orange/Maplewood First Night event will be held this Thursday, December 31st, from 4:00pm to 10:00pm, at Columbia High School in Maplewood. There will be a variety of performances, shows, bands, and activities like face painting. In addition, attendees can watch the fireworks at Ritzer Field behind the school following the event. Sponsors include the Township of Maplewood, the Township of South Orange Village, and BCB Community Bank of South Orange. Tickets cost $20 at the door, though children under the age of three will be admitted at no cost. Columbia High School is located at 17 Parker Avenue, at the corner of Valley Street. Transportation is available using Coach USA ONE Bus 31. Click here to learn more.

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Clothing Boutique Opens in West Orange


West Orange, New Jersey: A new clothing boutique has opened in West Orange. ICYUENVY Fashion Boutique and Consignment is located in the Tory Corner neighborhood of Downtown West Orange at 285 Main Street, at the corner of Washington Street. The store, which previously operated solely online, sells a variety of women's clothing. A grand opening celebration was held last week. The space was previously occupied by Machados Tailor Shop. Click here to learn more.

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Pizzeria Opening in Belleville


Belleville, New Jersey: Essex County will soon have another pizzeria. Belleville Pizza and Italian Restaurant will be located hear the Municipal Building at 145 Washington Avenue in the Township of Belleville, at the corner of Belleville Avenue. The space was vacant for several years, though it was previously occupied by World Class Martial Arts, which closed in 2012. The pizzeria will join the twelve other Italian restaurants that serve the Township. Click here to learn more.

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Photo of the Day 12/28/15


This photo shows the abandoned Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal on Broad Street in Downtown Newark.

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Sunday, December 27, 2015

Photo of the Day 12/27/15


This photo shows the Stickel Bridge and the Empire State Building.

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Saturday, December 26, 2015

Photo of the Day 12/26/15


This photo shows the former Hahne building in Downtown Newark, which will soon house a Whole Foods Market.

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Friday, December 25, 2015

Demolition Slated for Abandoned South Orange Pumping Station


South Orange, New Jersey: A long abandoned South Orange building will be torn down, according to village officials. 


The former main pumping station of the South Orange Water Department, located off of Walton Road near the South Orange Department of Public Works facility, will be demolished to make way for the South Orange River Greenway project. Several surrounding buildings, which were part of the South Orange Kennel, are slated for demolition as well.


According to South Orange Village Trustee Walter Clarke, construction on the greenway will "hopefully" begin in the fall of 2016. Clarke said that the pumping station "will ... be memorialized in an area of the greenway path nearby". 

The greenway, when completed, will be a walkway and bikeway that will connect West Parker Avenue in Maplewood with Meadowland Park in South Orange. The path will pass through Chyzowych Field in Maplewood, which is owned by South Orange Village, and will cross the East Branch of the Rahway River using a new bridge that will be constructed. The existing bridge has been closed off for two years. The part of the greenway linking Meadowland Park with West South Orange Avenue was completed several years ago.

The pumping station sits in a flood zone next to the East Branch of the Rahway River. Currently, graffiti covers large portions of the outside and inside of the building. Part of the interior of the pumping station is flooded. 

A nature center had originally been planned for the building in the project master plan from 2007. 


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Photo of the Day 12/25/15


This photo shows Hobby's Deli in Newark's Central Ward.

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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Pizza Shop Opens in East Orange


East Orange, New Jersey: Another new restaurant has opened in the City of East Orange. Dolce Pizza opened earlier this month next to Ambassador Fish and Chicken in the Doddtown neighborhood of the city at 76 Dodd Street, at the corner of Prospect Street. Dine-in and take-out services are available, and menu items include pizzas, pastas, subs, wraps, hamburgers, salads, and paninis. Dessert pizzas, like cannoli pizza, Nutella pizza, and cookie butter pizza, are also sold. The storefront was previously occupied by Doddtown Pizza. It is one of seven pizzerias in East Orange. Click here to learn more.

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Photo of the Day 12/24/15


This photo shows the United States Post Office in Downtown Newark.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

New Dunkin' Donuts Location Opens in West Orange


West Orange, New Jersey: A new drive-thru Dunkin' Donuts location has opened for business in West Orange. The new franchise is located opposite the South Mountain Recreation Complex at 563 Northfield Avenue, between Pleasant Valley Way and St. Cloud Avenue. Julio's Restaurant used to stand at the site, before the Italian restaurant closed and moved to Mount Pleasant Avenue. That building, which was built originally as a Ground Round Grill & Bar location, was torn down in April of this year. The new building will also contain a Kessler Sports and Orthopedic Rehabilitation Center. Another Dunkin' Donuts location opened along South Valley Road in West Orange earlier this year, and two new locations will open in Newark. There are currently more than 40 franchises across Essex County. Click here to learn more.

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Home Discount Center Opens in Downtown Newark


Newark, New Jersey: A new business is now open in a historic building in Downtown Center. Home Discount Center's Newark location opened recently at 768 Broad Street, between Market Street and Clinton Street. The storefront was previously occupied by the Wee Bee Kids children's clothing store and a location of the regional Danice clothing store chain. Home Discount Center has other locations in Orange and Hackensack, Bergen County. A variety of carpets, toys, and bed, bath, and kitchen items are sold. The building was once the headquarters of the Howard Savings Bank, and was built in 1899 by George B. Post to look like a Greek temple. It is known for the limestone lions' heads atop the building.


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Photo of the Day 12/23/15


This photo shows the Old First Church on Broad Street in Downtown Newark.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

South Orange's Craig Treadway to Anchor PIX11 Weekend News


South Orange, New Jersey: An Essex County resident is the new anchor of WPIX's weekend evening newscasts. Craig Treadway, of South Orange, will anchor the PIX11 News at 5:00pm and 10:00pm on Saturdays and Sundays with Kala Rama. A former police officer, Treadway has been a reporter for over 25 years in New York, Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, and Massachusetts. He has been working for Tribune Broadcasting-owned PIX11, which is the New York Metropolitan Area's affiliate of the CW, since 2000. "Craig is a proven performer", Rich Graziano of PIX11 said in a statement. 


Treadway and Rama will begin on January 9th, 2016.

Click here to learn more.

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New Restaurant Opens in Newark's North Ward


Newark, New Jersey: A new restaurant has opened to patrons in the North Ward of Newark. The grand opening of Shorty's Restaurant was held on Saturday, December 19th. The restaurant is located at 511 Summer Avenue, between Chester Avenue and Delavan Avenue. It serves Puertor Rican and Ecuadorian food. Customers can order takeout or dine in. The space was previously occupied by the Irma Botanica, a bodega, though it has been vacant for several years. This is the second Puerto Rican restaurant in the Forest Hill/Mount Prospect neighborhood. Click here to learn more.


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Yoga Studio Coming to Newark


Newark, New Jersey: Another business will open a location along Halsey Street in Downtown Newark. Yoga Mechanics will open a studio in a brownstone building at 45 Halsey Street, between Bleeker Street and New Street. Company officials say that they are "looking forward to building relationships before opening". Yoga Mechanics, which offers a variety of classes, is a popular business in Newark's suburbs, with locations in Montclair and Morristown, Morris County. The space was previously occupied by The Coffee Cave, a neighborhood cafe. Several new businesses have been opening in recent months along Halsey Street, including Ron Tomson, Bright Horizons, and Jimmy John's. Qdoba Mexican Eats and Pure Pita are also going to be opening locations on the block. Click here to learn more.

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Photos of the Day 12/22/15


These photos were taken along the east gate of the former estate of Western Union Executive John Calvin Willever along Glen Avenue in Millburn. The property has since been subdivided, though the gates, waterfalls, and benches along Glen Avenue remain. Designer Harold Caparn, who designed the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, designed this landscape.




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Monday, December 21, 2015

Annie Sez Store in Millburn to Close


Millburn, New Jersey: One of Essex County's last freestanding department stores is preparing to close its doors. The Annie Sez store in Millburn, located at 249-251 Millburn Avenue, at the corner of Essex Street, will close by February, 2016. YM, LLC, a Canadian clothing store chain, owns Annie Sez and the retailer Mandee. The company closed several store locations earlier this year. The 14,900 square foot Millburn store, which has been in operation for 25 years, briefly closed in 2011 after flood damage from Hurricane Irene. Millburn Township, which includes Short Hills, used to have other freestanding department stores like Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue. Those retailers moved their area locations to the Livingston Mall and The Mall at Short Hills, respectively. Click here to learn more.

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New Stores Opening in Renovated Downtown Newark Building


Newark, New Jersey: A two story building in the heart of Downtown Newark will soon be occupied by retailers again. 774 Broad Street, located next to McDonald's between Clinton Street and Market Street in Downtown Newark, was renovated over the summer. Cricket Wireless and Petland Discounts are opening locations in the building. Cricket, which is owned by AT&T, operates another Essex County location in East Orange. Petland Discounts, an Islip, New York-based pet store chain, has recently been expanding in Northern New Jersey, and has Essex County locations in Orange and Irvington. The Barbecue Hut restaurant and Auction Outlet Cameras and Electronics operated on the first floor of the building until 2013. The building was known for many years for the Weber and Heilbroner Department Store 'ghost sign' atop it. However, the sign was recently removed. Click here to learn more.

Update: The locations have opened.

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Photo of the Day 12/21/15


This photo shows the South Mountain School in South Orange.

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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Photo of the Day 12/20/15


This photo shows South Orange Avenue in Downtown South Orange.

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Saturday, December 19, 2015

Photo of the Day 12/19/15


This photo shows South Orange Avenue in Downtown South Orange.

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Friday, December 18, 2015

Audible to Open Facility in Historic Downtown Newark Church


Newark, New Jersey (First Reported on PlaceNJ.com): A former church in Downtown Newark will soon be used for a new purpose. 

The Second Presbyterian Church, located opposite Washington Park at 23-27 Washington Street, at the corner of James Street will being redeveloped. Officials with ‎Assurance Realty Group and the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation confirmed to Essex County Place that Amazon.com-owned audiobook company Audible, which is currently based down the street at One Washington Park, will occupy both the church and two attached buildings on James Street, including the former Women in Support of the Million Man March Cultural Center. Audible will use the space as part of a new engineering and development hub to create 350 jobs, according to NJBIZ.

The church closed in 1995, according to Old Newark. According to planning board minutes, additional floors and mezzanines will be added to the new facility. 

The project was approved with variances by the Newark Central Planning Board last Monday. A meeting was held in the church the following day, but attendees said that they could not comment at the time about the development. Audible officials did not return several requests for comment. Click here to learn more. 



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Learn About the History of James Caldwell High School


West Caldwell, New Jersey: A local Essex County high school will celebrate its history at a program in 2016. James Caldwell High School in West Caldwell will hold James Caldwell Historical Night on Tuesday, February 23rd, beginning at 6:30pm. The event will be held in the school's Center for the Performing Arts. Attendees will watch a documentary and see presentations about the history of JCHS, and will meet a reenactor of its namesake, James Caldwell. In addition, there will be performances by school music groups and other activities. Admission is free and open to the general public. The school serves the Borough of Caldwell and the Township of West Caldwell. It opened in 1960, after The Caldwells saw a rapid increase in population after residents of Newark, many of whom were from the North Ward of the City, left for suburban communities. James Caldwell High School is located at 265 Westville Avenue, at the corner of Woodmere Road. Click here to learn more.

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Photo of the Day 12/18/15


This photo shows the Washington Rock overlook at South Mountain Reservation in Millburn.

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

New Businesses to Open in Bloomfield


Bloomfield, New Jersey: The Township of Bloomfield will soon have several new businesses. Seven new businesses will open in the Bloomfield Center Business District, according to the Bloomfield Center Alliance, five of which will be in the new Glenwood Village development. Tilted Kilt Restaurant, Buy Rite Liquors, Aki Asian House, Verizon Wireless, and an urgent care medical center will all open in the new development, which also contains a Jack's Super Foodtown supermarket, on Washington Street near the main Bloomfield Train Station. Buy Rite Liquors is a Northern New Jersey chain of retailers, and Aki Asian House was recently established. In addition, Subway will open another township location along Bloomfield Avenue, and a new restaurant called Heavenly Bites is coming to Washington Street, Click here to learn more.

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Proposal Withdrawn for Newark Senior Citizen Housing


Newark, New Jersey: A housing development for senior citizens will not end up coming to Newark's Central Ward. 

A facility owned by Metropolitan Senior Housing was originally proposed to the Newark Board of Adjustment in July. The building would have been located on the site of a currently vacant lot near the Greater Newark Conservancy at 16-24 Prince Street, across from the new Springfield Avenue Marketplace development. The four story building would have stretched along South Orange Avenue from Prince Street to Broome Street and would have contained 58 apartments and 26 parking spaces. 

The building did not meet the requirements of the Newark City Zoning Regulations, and variances were sought by the applicants. However, after months of postponements, the attorney for Metropolitan withdrew the application at the beginning of this month, according to board minutes.

Click here to learn more.

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Photo of the Day 12/17/15


This photo shows Columbia High School in Maplewood as viewed from Crest Drive.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

After 102 Years, Llewellyn-Edison Savings Bank Closes


West Orange, New Jersey: One of the last Essex County community banks has officially closed. All locations of Llewellyn-Edison Savings Bank have been converted to branches of Glen Rock Savings Bank. Llewellyn-Edison had two locations in West Orange, one in Livingston, and one in Frankford Township, Sussex County. It was originally founded in 1913 by West Orange residents as a building and loan association, and was combined in 1939 after the merger between the Llewellyn Building and Loan Association and the Edison Building and Loan Association of West Orange. At the time, there were over 100 building and loan associations in Essex County. 

Llewellyn-Edison's merger with Glen Rock Savings Bank was announced earlier this year. The merger increases the number of Glen Rock Savings Bank locations to seven. All other locations are in suburban Bergen County.

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Coat Donations Being Accepted in Newark


Newark, New Jersey: A local government office is accepting donations for local residents in need. The Deeds and Mortgages office of the Essex County Register, former Newark councilwoman Dana Rowe, is collecting coats from now until Thursday, December 31st. The office is within the Essex County Hall of Records in the University Heights neighborhood of Newark's Central Ward. The winter coats should be new or slightly used, and will be accepted on weekdays from 8:30am to 4:00pm. The office is closed on holidays. The Essex County Hall of Records is located at 465 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, between West Market Street and Springfield Avenue. Click here to learn more.

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Photo of the Day 12/16/15


This photo shows Maplewood Middle School as viewed from the First Watchung Mountain.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

What Happened to the Proposed Children's Museum of New Jersey?

Above: The site where the museum was proposed.

Newark, New Jersey: Within the past 10 years, the City of Newark has seen an increase in developments rising from former parking lots, and historic buildings being rehabilitated for new use. However, the opposite scenario has unfolded over the past five years at one property in the city's East Ward, where a museum was once proposed. 

At a press conference in April of 2010, Newark officials spoke of the planned Children's Museum of New Jersey at 399 Market Street, near Newark Penn Station. The museum was slated to be housed in the former TAP Air Portugal building, which would undergo renovations for the project. 

"This has been a project we've been working on now for years", Cory Booker, who was Newark's mayor at the time, told reporters, adding that "the city is committed to working with, and continuing to work with, the leadership of the Children's Museum to make it a reality here for the City of Newark". 

Yet, nearly four years later, the building was torn down, and today, the land where the five story office tower once stood is now used as a parking lot. 

So why did the museum never open? Lack of funding and a poor economy, according to planners, was to blame.

Edison Properties announced in 2009 that it was giving the building to the museum free of rent and taxes for five years. However, museum planners were still unable to gain the public and private funds necessary to operate it, and development never began. Edison Properties demolished the building in 2013, and the company still owns the ParkFast lot that sits at the site today.

"A children’s museum was and still is an incredible opportunity for Newark in terms of early childhood education, school readiness and economic development", Siobhan McDermott, who was the management consultant for the museum, told Essex County Place. 

McDermott said that the museum was originally proposed for Union County. However, the proposed location shifted to 399 Market Street in Newark due to its location near the "greatest concentration of mass transit that would have afforded the most access for families of all financial needs...as opposed to a suburban setting". She cited the economy of 2008-2010 as a reason why "the project went to sleep". 

The museum would have been designed for children with special needs in mind, and would have had several exhibits themed around specific regions of New Jersey like the Jersey Shore.

The only children's museum currently operating in Essex County is the Jersey Explorer Children's Museum in East Orange. The New Jersey Children's Museum in Paramus, Bergen County closed last year. 

McDermott says that she still hopes that a children's museum will open in Newark, calling such museums "tremendous economic engines for communities". 

"Now may be a very good time for the museum to reignite", said McDermott, who felt that "the city is booming in many ways and it would be wonderful to have such an enormous attraction...in the heart of Downtown Newark". 

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Ron Tomson Opens in Newark's Downtown


Newark, New Jersey: A national upscale clothing boutique has opened a location within a new residential and office development in the Newark Downtown District. Ron Tomson, also known as RNT23, opened earlier this month at 114 Halsey Street, at the corner of Cedar Street. The brand is originally from the Fashion District of Los Angeles, California. It sells a variety of men's clothing, including jackets, dress shirts, and other items. Ron Tomson's Newark store is within the Prudential Shoppes on Broad development, which was completed earlier this year. The building was recently renovated, and was previously occupied by RTB Boots and Queen Pizza, which moved across the street.

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Photo of the Day 12/15/15


This photo shows the view of the Union County Courthouse in Midtown Elizabeth, Kean University, and the Goethals Bridge from South Mountain Reservation in Millburn.

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Monday, December 14, 2015

Lofts Coming to Historic Verona Flag Factory

Above: The former Annin factory towers over the surrounding Verona neighborhood

Verona, New Jersey: A former flag factory in Essex County will soon have a new use. 

The Verona factory of Annin Flagmakers at at 183 Bloomfield Avenue, between Brookdale and Route 23/Mount Prospect Avenues, ceased operations in June, 2013, and had been vacant since. Now, 51 loft apartments are proposed for the interior of the building, and an apartment building with 68 units will be constructed next door. The development will be called Annin Lofts, and will be set on four acres. The factory was built nearly 100 years ago, when Annin Flagmakers moved to New Jersey from New York City. Flags for several presidential inaugurations were manufactured at the Verona plant.

Dinallo Construction and Russo Development own the property, though construction has not yet begun.

Annin's flag production facilities are now located in Coshocton, Ohio and South Boston, Virginia, though the company is still based in Essex County off of Route 280 in Roseland.

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Riverside Medical Group Opens in Nutley


Nutley, New Jersey: A new medical practice has opened a location in Essex County. Riverside Medical Group held a grand opening of the new Nutley location last month. The office is located in the Downtown area of the Township at 228 North Franklin Avenue, between Centre Street and William Street. The space was previously occupied by a Citibank location. Riverside is a partner of Hackensack University Medical Center, and the company has dozens of locations in Bergen, Passaic, and Hudson Counties, but this is the first office in Essex County. Provided services include pediatric care and adult medicine. Click here to learn more.

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