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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Photo of the Day 8/31/16


This photo shows the abandoned city-owned Krueger-Scott Mansion in Newark's Central Ward.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Maplewood Police Internal Affairs Investigates After Officer Uses Pepper Spray



Maplewood, New Jersey: Officials with the Maplewood Police Department (MPD) claim to be investigating allegations of misconduct by officers following the Independence Day fireworks.

Essex County Place first reported last month that an officer from the department used pepper spray, also known as O.C. spray, on people who attended the July 5th event at Memorial Park.

Sgt. Christopher Black of the Maplewood Police Department confirmed the report to Essex County Place, stating that "a preliminary review of an incident that occurred on 7/5, indicates that O.C. spray was deployed by an officer who was on the scene of a large fight".

Sgt. Black added that "the officers attempting to break up the fight were significantly out numbered, and were being rushed by a group of individuals that had already been ordered to disperse. This group was charging at officers as the officers were attempting to separate other individuals engaged in fighting. The O.C. spray was effective in deterring these individuals from assaulting officers and the individuals involved fled into the crowd after O.C. spray was deployed."

The VIllage Green reported that Sgt. Black also stated that "the crowd eventually dispersed in the area of Elmwood Avenue near the Irvington border", and that four teenagers from South Orange and Maplewood were arrested on charges ranging from disorderly conduct to aggravated assault on a police officer.

However, witnesses to the incidents told a different story of what occurred.

"Maplewood Police called out this boy and instigated a fight, just so they could grab him", tweeted one witness, who also posted video which appears to have been taken following the officer's use of pepper spray.

"They just pepper sprayed everyone for no reason", someone can be heard stating in the video. The witness also posted that "the police were more violent towards us then the people who wanted to get at us". 

Another witness posted on July 6th that officers were "forcing us to walk to Irvington last night", with video taken outside of Maplewood's Elmwood Sweet Shop, just 0.1 miles from the Irvington border.

The entire incident began 1.3 miles away along Valley Street, according to The Village Green.

Thomas Whitaker, a teacher at Columbia High School in Maplewood, spoke about the matter last week before the South Orange Maplewood Board of Education, according to the MAPSO Freedom School.

"Black students from South Orange Middle School and Columbia High School were mased and beaten with visible bruises by police as they tried to make their way home to South Orange", Whitaker stated, adding that "police were herding all of the black kids toward Irvington after a short fight".

This week, the MPD released the following statement:

The Maplewood Police Department considers all allegations of police misconduct to be extremely important and investigates all such allegations in accordance with the NJ Attorney Generals Internal Affairs Guidelines. On July 5th, Maplewood Police officers responded to various reports of disorderly conduct, fighting, the failure of large crowds to disperse and various other violations of the law. Several arrests were made on that date. The Internal Affairs Unit of the Maplewood Police Department is currently conducting an investigation into allegations regarding police activities on the date of July 5, 2016. Upon the conclusion of the the investigation the results of the investigation will be disseminated according to the NJ Attorney Generals Internal Affairs Guidelines.

Maplewood Mayor Vic DeLuca and a witness who recorded the alleged incidents did not respond to requests for comment.

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Photo of the Day 8/30/16


This photo shows the Old First Church, Newark CIty Hall, and Staten Island as seen from the Newark Skylab.

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Monday, August 29, 2016

New Parking Garage Opens Today at NJIT


Newark, New Jersey: A new parking garage is opening at a local university.

According to the Facilities Department at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) in the University Heights neighborhood of Newark's Central Ward, the new Science and Technology Park Parking Garage opens today. Construction on the new facility began last June, and the seven-story garage includes close to 1,000 spaces and electric car charging stations. The entrance to the garage is located at 42 Wilsey Street, between Warren and New Streets, according to NJIT Police.

The opening of the new garage comes just before the first day of classes on September 6th.

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No More Boat Tours in Newark This Year



Newark, New Jersey: Boat tours along the Passaic River and Newark Bay in Newark have reportedly been cancelled for the rest of this year.

According to Newark Riverfront Revival, "due to unforeseen circumstances, Newark Riverfront Revival and Hackensack Riverkeeper are suspending our Newark Boat Tours for the rest of the 2016 season". The organization also stated that tours should resume next June, and that donations for cancelled programs will be returned. Before the cancellation, tours had been scheduled for yesterday, September 11th, and September 18th.

Newark's boat tours, which leave from Riverfront Park in the Ironbound, began in 2012, and showcase areas like Port Newark, Downtown, the Point No Point Bridge, and the North Ward.

Hackensack Riverkeeper, an organization based in Bergen County, provides the boats that are used for the tours.

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New Mosque Planned for Newark


Newark, New Jersey: A new mosque is planned for Newark.

According to a legal notice from the Newark Zoning Board of Adjustment, the Alaaka Association of Jersey is proposing to convert the building at 151-157 12th Avenue in the Central Ward of the city, between Littleton Avenue and South 6th Street, into a house of worship. The building, located near the Rutgers medical campus and the New Community Corporation, has been vacant for over a decade, but was once used by the Devine Fuel Oil Company. NJ Parcels reports that the association, based in the South Ward, acquired the building and a neighboring lot from the City of Newark for $140,000 in February of last year.

A hearing regarding the proposal will be held on Thursday, September 8th, at 7:00pm, at City Hall on Broad Street.

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Photo of the Day 8/29/16


This photo shows a sculpture at Washington Park in Newark facing the New Jersey Bell Headquarters Building, which is being converted from Verizon's New Jersey headquarters into apartments and stores.

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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Photo of the Day 8/28/16


This photo shows an abandoned part of the Bloomfield Train Station.

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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Photo of the Day 8/27/16


This photo shows the new carousel at Military Park in Newark.

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Friday, August 26, 2016

Photo of the Day 8/26/16


Riverfront Park in Newark will be expanded to this area along the Passaic River near the Bridge Street Bridge.

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Photo of the Day 8/25/16


This photo shows Military Park in Downtown Newark.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Photo of the Day 8/24/16


This photo shows the view of Midtown Elizabeth at the Union County Courthouse from the Newark Skylab.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Santander and Sprint Planned for New Livingston Plaza


Livingston, New Jersey: More businesses are coming to a proposed shopping plaza in suburban Essex County.

A new development called 'The Corner at Livingston Circle' is coming to the corner of Eisenhower Parkway and Route 10 in the Township of Livingston. Locations of Shake Shack, Starbucks Coffee, The Container Store, and Blaze Pizza have already been announced for this 44,000 square foot plaza.

Now, more businesses have been announced for the plaza. According to a listing from Sabre Real Estate Group, locations of Sprint Wireless and Santander Bank are planned for the complex. There is currently a Sprint retailer at the nearby Livingston Mall, and Santander operates a location on South Livingston Avenue in the township.

Previously, a building that contained Tio Juan's Margaritas Mexican Restaurant and Houlihan's stood at the site.

In addition, Livingston Car Wash is planning to open at the site of a former gas station at the circle, and the property where the Donut Basket business currently stands is listed for sale. The listing states that the "site can be considered for retail development and many possibilities".

A location of North Bergen's Porto by Antonio restaurant opened earlier this summer at the former Cosi space. The owner also runs the Munchies by Antonio restaurant in Newark's University Heights neighborhood.

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Photos of the Day 8/23/16


Bloomfield Center has changed massively in the past five years. This view along Broad Street shows the new 'The Green at Bloomfield' building on the right with the Bloomfield College Franklin Street Residence Hall and Barnes & Noble location on the left. 'The Green' was built in a little over the year, and several buildings, including the former Annie Sez store and headquarters of The Independent Press and The Glen Ridge Paper, used to be located at the site.

The photos below show when construction began in May, 2015.







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Monday, August 22, 2016

Photo of the Day 8/22/16


This photo shows a sculpture of New Jersey doctor Abraham Coles at Washington Park in Downtown Newark.

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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Photo of the Day 8/21/16


The lot along Broad Street in Newark between the NJ Transit tracks and the former Newark Bears Stadium was once the site of a hotel, but it has been vacant for several years.

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Saturday, August 20, 2016

Photo of the Day 8/20/16


This photo show a sculpture at Newark Penn Station with One Gateway Center in the background.

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Friday, August 19, 2016

Little Progress at Site of Proposed Newark Development


Newark, New Jersey: Over a year after signs advertising a new development were posted in Newark's East Ward, no construction has begun at the site.

Last summer, posters were placed at 769-781 McCarter Highway/Route 21 in Downtown Newark, at the southwest corner of Market Street, describing New Brunswick-based Boraie Development's plans for a new building with up to 500,000 square feet of mixed use office and retail space available. However, the site, located near Newark Penn Station and the site of the new Triangle Park, currently remains a parking lot.

According to a resolution from a May meeting of the Newark Housing Authority (NHA), the NHA Board of Commissioners authorized Executive Director Keith Kinard to execute an amended and restated redevelopment agreement with Boraie to remove NHA affiliate Newark Plaza Development, LLC as a co-redeveloper of the property. A $750,000 "administrative fee" will be received by the NHA. Every commissioner who was present at the meeting voted for the proposal. 

The Newark Housing Authority used to own the property, but sold it to Boraie for $4,000,000 in 2012, according to NJ Parcels.

An ordinance passed in July by the Newark Municipal Council calls for "the Mayor and/or Deputy Mayor/Director of the Department of Economic and Housing Development, to enter into an Assignment and Assumption Agreement with the Housing Authority for the City of Newark to assume the Redevelopment Agreement and further authorizing them to revise and execute an amendment to the Redevelopment Agreement with Boraie Development".

Essex County Place reported last month that the authority had not published a single board meeting agenda on the 'Transparency Documents' page of its website in over a year. After the report was published, documents from recent NHA meetings were posted. 

Boraie and Shaquille O'Neal are the developers of the One Rector Street project near the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. That development has not made significant progress since a groundbreaking ceremony was held in 2013. Records from the State of New Jersey show that company founder Omar Boraie donated over $10,000 to the 2010 Booker Team for Newark, and at the 2013 groundbreaking, Sen. Cory Booker, Newark's mayor at the time, participated in the ceremonial lifting of the shovels with Omar Boraie.

The state records also show that Kinard, who is one of the highest paid public employees in Newark, donated $1,000 to Mayor Ras Baraka's 2014 campaign, and The Record newspaper reported that the Boraie family "has contributed more than $463,000 since 1981 to state and federal political candidates and committees from New Jersey".

Both O'Neal and Boraie are also the co-owners of the Cityplex 12 movie theater on Springfield Avenue.

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Photo of the Day 8/19/16


Construction is continuing at 17-21 Halsey Street in Newark. It is not clear what is planned for the city-owned building, but an online listing advertises a mixed use development.

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

Turkish Restaurants Come to Essex County


South Orange, New Jersey: A new Turkish restaurant could be coming to South Orange.

A restaurant called Otto Kebap is planned for 134 South Orange Avenue, at the corner of Prospect Street. According to the business website, "authentic Turkish cuisine" will be served, and menu items range from soups and salads to wraps, casseroles, hummus, babaganoush, tabouleh, kebaps, and baklava.

There are currently only a few Turkish restaurants in Essex County, such as Turkish Pita Place in Downtown Newark, but Otto Kebap will be the first in South Orange.

The space was previously occupied by Yama Sushi.

In addition, another Turkish restaurant recently opened a location in Western Essex County. Cinar Turkish Restaurant in Cliffside Park, Bergen County opened a restaurant at 632 Bloomfield Avenue in West Caldwell, at the corner of Melrose Place. The building used to contain Pudsters, Let's YO!, and Friendly's.

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Apartments Planned Near Orange's Highland Avenue Train Station


Orange, New Jersey: Apartments could be coming to an Orange neighborhood.

According to a legal notice from the City of Orange Township's Planning Board, a second floor addition is proposed for 281-287 Scotland Road, between Mitchell Street and Central Avenue. The proposal by Double R, Inc, based in the Colonia section of Woodbridge, Middlesex County, calls for eight residential units on the new second floor, a 'live/work' space on the ground level of the building, and one affordable housing unit.

Currently, the Toast of the Town liquor store is located at the site, which is near the Valley Arts District of Orange and West Orange, and is two blocks away from the Highland Avenue Train Station.

The Orange Planning Board will hear the proposal on Wednesday, August 24th at 7:30pm at City Hall.

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Photo of the Day 8/18/16


This photo shows the historic Ballantine House at the Newark Museum.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Photo of the Day 8/17/16


This photo shows a sign for a drugstore in Bloomfield Center.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Photo of the Day 8/16/16


This photo shows the Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium in Newark, which was recently sold. A new high-rise building is planned for the site.

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Monday, August 15, 2016

Developer Plans New Building in Newark's Ironbound


Newark, New Jersey: A new building has been proposed for Newark's East Ward.

According to a legal notice, JV Construction & Development LLC, based in Vauxhall, Union County, is planning to build a new four-story building at 156-158 Adams Street in the Ironbound neighborhood, between Elm Street and Lafayette Street. The notice states that should the building be approved, it will contain 18 apartments, one commercial unit on the first floor, and parking.

Currently, former garages are located at the site, which includes frontage on Elm Street. The property used to contain Lord Signs and Printing, which moved to Polk Street in June.

The Newark Central Planning Board will hear the proposal on Monday, August 22nd at 6:30pm at City Hall.

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East Orange's Naughty by Nature to Appear on 'Where Are They Now?'



East Orange, New Jersey: A music group formed in Essex County will appear on a national television show later this year.

Naughty by Nature, which was founded by DJ Kay Gee, Treach, and Vin Rock in 1988 at the former East Orange High School, will be featured this fall on 'Oprah: Where Are They Now?' on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Paul Gendreau, who represents the show, tells Essex County Place that the episode is scheduled to air at 10:00pm on Saturday, October 1st.

The show filmed scenes at East Orange's Independence Day Celebration at Paul Robeson Stadium, where Naughty by Nature performed. Documents from the East Orange City Council show that the $750 film permit fees were waived to help "showcase the City's many positive attributes including the accomplishments of both current and former residents of the City of East Orange". 

The group also performed at Military Park in Newark during Founder's Weekend in May, and there was once a Naughty by Nature store on Halsey Street in Downtown.

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Photo of the Day 8/15/16


This photo shows the former Newark Warehouse Company on Edison Place. Redevelopment is planned for the building.

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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Photo of the Day 8/14/16


This photo shows the Newark Broad Street Train Station.

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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Photo of the Day 8/13/16


This photo shows an old sign for a bank along Broad Street in Bloomfield Center.

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Friday, August 12, 2016

UPDATE: No More Pedestrian Access to Stickel Bridge


Newark, New Jersey:
Newarkers can no longer walk across the Route 280 Stickel Bridge to get to Harrison.

As Essex County Place reported yesterday, recently, the sidewalk leading to the walkway on the Newark side has been removed, limiting pedestrian access to the bridge. In addition, as is pictured above, the curb is no longer at the site, and a new guardrail has been installed, leaving a walking area that is approximately a foot wide.

According to Steve Schapiro of the New Jersey Department of Transportation, "as part of the I-280/Route 21 interchange improvement project, pedestrian access on the Stickel Bridge, which carries I-280 over the Passaic River, is being permanently removed because Federal guidelines prohibit pedestrians on interstate highways".

Schapiro told Essex County Place that pedestrians should use the Clay Street or Bridge Street Bridges in order to get to Hudson County.

The eastbound pedestrian walkway, which featured views of Newark and New York, began on the Newark side with a stairwell along McCarter Highway, then crossed over the Passaic River into East Newark in Hudson County, ending with a stairwell down to Hamilton Street in Harrison. 




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Photo of the Day 8/12/16


This photo shows the view of Broad and Market from the Newark Skylab atop the National State Bank Building.

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

BGR The Burger Joint is Coming to South Orange


South Orange, New Jersey: A hamburger chain will open a location in South Orange.

BGR The Burger Joint will open in The Gateway building at 9 West South Orange Avenue in the South Orange Village Center, next to the South Orange Train Station. Menu items include hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken, shakes, and salads, and there are locations in Georgia, Maryland, New York, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington, DC.

The Gateway building, which contains apartments, a hair salon, and a fitness studio, was completed in 2014 at the site of the vacant Biefus lot.

"In addition to bringing BGR to the residents of South Orange we're looking forward to introducing this innovative burger concept to Seton Hall students", said Ed Kelley of BGR in a statement.

According to a press release, the location is expected to open in the early fall. 

"I think that's a really big deal, and says a lot about how the South Orange Village Center is becoming a real destination downtown for new, emerging businesses", said Bob Zuckerman of the South Orange Village Center Alliance in the 'Village Vibe' newsletter.

The space was previously occupied by a franchise of Mara's Cafe and Bakery, which closed in February after less than a year in business.

BGR officials did not respond to requests for comment.

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New Apartment Building Coming to Site of East Orange Mansion



East Orange, New Jersey: Like many other eastern Essex County towns, more buildings are being developed in East Orange.

Now, a new apartment building could come to the city. A resolution that was approved last month by the East Orange City Council and signed by Mayor Lester E. Taylor III on July 25th designates 14 Summit Street Holdings, LLC, which is based in Paterson, Passaic County, as the redeveloper of 14 Summit Street in the city. 

A five story building with 62 apartments and 69 parking spaces is planned for the site, which is located between North Walnut Street and North Arlington Avenue. Bus service to Downtown Newark is available around the corner, and it is a .5 mile walk to the East Orange Train Station. 

Currently, an abandoned mansion is located at the property, and parking lot that used to be used for school bus and ambulance storage sits behind it. The 2003 North Walnut Street Redevelopment Plan report prepared for the City of East Orange's Department of Policy, Planning, and Development called for "preservation, restoration and re-use of the historic mansion".

Dozens of new apartment buildings have been built in the last five years across Maplewood, South Orange, Orange, East Orange, Bloomfield, and Newark.

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Route 280 Construction Limits Access to Stickel Bridge Pedestrian Walkway


Newark, New Jersey: Construction near a local bridge has limited access to its pedestrian walkway.

Since late 2015, contractors have been working on improvements near Exit 15 on Interstate 280 in Newark, at the intersection of McCarter Highway/Route 21, near the Stickel Bridge. 

George Harms Construction Company, which has been hired by the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), estimates that the $93,049,741 project will be completed in February, 2019. According to the contractor, "the goal of this project is to replace this interchange with a much safer and more up-to-date design".

However, the current condition of the bridge's eastbound walkway is having an impact on pedestrians. 

The eastbound pedestrian walkway, which features views of Newark and New York, begins on the Newark side with a stairwell along McCarter Highway, then crosses over the Passaic River into East Newark in Hudson County, ending with a stairwell down to Hamilton Street in Harrison.

Although the stairwells leading to the walkway remain open, recently, the sidewalk leading to the walkway on the Newark side has been removed. In addition, as is pictured above, the curb is no longer at the site, and a new guardrail has been installed, leaving a walking area that is approximately a foot wide.

Pedestrians who used to use the bridge to walk to Hudson County now either have to walk onto the heavily-used highway access ramp, or must walk to Bridge Street Bridge or the Clay Street Bridge in order to get to Harrison.

This is not the only problem involving pedestrian walkways on the bridge. Although there is a walkway across the Passaic River on the bridge's westbound side, and a sidewalk to it on the Newark side of the bridge, for years, there has been no sidewalk or stairwell on the Hudson County side of the westbound walkway to access the street. This forces pedestrians who already crossed the bridge to have to walk back to Newark in order to cross back to Hudson County.

Essex County Place has reached out to NJDOT, and this article will be updated should a representative respond.


Above: The Stickel Bridge in Newark

Above: The stairwell to the eastbound pedestrian walkway on the bridge at the Newark side

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Photo of the Day 8/11/16


This photo shows a view of buildings near Newark's Gateway Center with Bergen County in the distance.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Taco Bell Opens in Newark


Newark, New Jersey: Another fast food restaurant has opened in Newark.

A Taco Bell location opened last week within the Springfield Avenue Marketplace complex at 52 Jones Street, near the corner of Springfield Avenue in Newark's Central Ward. The restaurant, which includes a drive-thru, is not a 24-hour location, though breakfast is served

The Springfield Avenue Marketplace development opened last year, and includes a ShopRite supermarket and the 24 Jones apartment building. McDonald's, Taco Bell, Sarku Japan, Roberto's Pizza, Angel Nails, Huddle House, and H&R Block will also open at the property, which previously was a vacant lot for several decades. A Walmart location was originally planned for the plaza, but ShopRite opened instead.

Residents have protested the increased number of fast food restaurants in the area. Sonic opened a restaurant across the street from the marketplace in 2014, and Checkers, Wendy's, McDonald's, and KFC have locations nearby. 

This is the first Taco Bell franchise in the City of Newark.

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(File Photo)

New Coffee Shop Planned for Newark's Halsey Street


Newark, New Jersey: A new cafe could be coming to Newark.


Black Swan Espresso is planning to open a location at 95 Halsey Street in Downtown, between Linden Street and Warren Street. The space is located next to Jimmy John's, across the street from the new Prudential complex. It was previously occupied by Johnson's Barber Shop and Beauty, but has been vacant for several years. 

The building was renovated in 2014, and an additional floor was added atop the buildings. The top three floors now contain apartments.

A sign advertising the new coffee shop has been posted outside, but it is not clear when it will open. The company, which is based in Jersey City, was registered with the State of New Jersey in May.




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