Archive for the ‘Brick City’ Category
Today I trekked out of the Ironbound and into Downtown Newark in search of a cafe I found online called The Coffee Cave.
I crossed over McCarter Highway (which is only sort of a highway) and onto Broad St., which is a street I’ve driven down plenty of times to get to Newark Penn Station, but have only once before actually set foot on. It was a clear change from the decidedly European aesthetic of the Ironbound only a few blocks away; the people around me stopped being primarily Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian and it quickly became apparent this was a predominantly Black neighborhood.
It felt a lot more like a bustling city, too, as everything was a lot more hectic and noisy and walking around required zig-zagging and circumnavigating other pedestrians. But it also, quite frankly, felt more like a ghetto with giant, colorful, somehow cheap-looking signs over 99-cent and clothing stores and nail salons. I think if you have a picture of what an American ghetto (or at least an East Coast American ghetto) looks like in your mind, it looks like Broad Street in Newark.
My first real day in Newark was ADORABLE. I went into a shoppe known as “Walgreen’s” and the young lady in there seemed very exasperated and said, “Man, it’s so busy today…” I said, “How much longer do you have to work?” She said, “Till 12:30 tonight.” I said, “Oh, I’m sorry.” She said, “It’s okay.”
I sojourned to another shoppe that sold things all at the price of 99 cents! There I purchased a garbage pail for the kitchen. I asked the shopkeep if there might be a bigger pail anywhere? She said that if I did not see one back there, one did not exist, then added, “The truck is supposed to come and deliver more tomorrow. I HOPE it comes.” I chuckled good-naturedly.
On my way back to my apartment, I came upon an older woman having trouble attempting to shutter the windows of her shoppe. She appealed to me for assistance, I believe in Spanish, but it might have been Portuguese. I closed the shutter for her and she, realizing I was an English-speaker, said “Thank you.” “You’re welcome,” I said, then added, “De nada.” She said something or another that I think meant I’d chosen the right language. I think.
All in all, I felt like a right ’50s gadabout of the town, friendly to all, helpful to some!