Another year has passed in Brick City! Let’s recap some major stories and look forward to 2023:
- In May, Ras Baraka was resoundingly re-elected with 83.09% of the vote, the largest margin of victory for a mayoral candidate since the city began holding direct elections. Baraka’s popularity and the lack of any real opposition means his position is beyond secure, leading some political insiders to float his name for statewide office.
- Baraka is undeniably buoyed by the sustained lowering of Newark’s crime rate. For context, in 1989 (the New Jersey Drive days) 15,674 cars were stolen in Newark, in 2010 the number was 3,145, and now the numbers is closer to 1,900. In 2013, Newark experienced 112 murders, but since 2019 the annual total has been under 60. This means Newark’s new baseline is significantly lower than 2008’s one year decrease from over 90 to 67, which did a great deal to burnish then mayor Cory Booker’s national reputation and position him for the United States Senate. Newark’s transition from one of the most dangerous cities in the country, to not even the top 10 in New Jersey, while maintaining its commitment to police reform is quite the story. The solutions-oriented discussion about crime in Newark is certainly a refreshing contrast from the fearmongering and backtracking to failed policies seen in New York City.
- Remember all of those abandoned homes in neighborhoods before COVID? Many of them were bought up, rehabbed, and placed back on the sale and rental market by private companies. This has contributed to a city-wide rise in the cost of living via rent increases. Not good news for city where the overwhelming majority of people are renters with a median income that’s among the lowest in New York City area.
- Environmental activists won a long battle to prevent a sludge treatment facility from being located in the Ironbound.
- The construction of the monument at the newly renamed Harriet Tubman Square is underway. You can donate to the project here.
- Expect even more things to be filmed in Newark after Lionsgate completes its $100 million studio at the Seth Boyden Court site.
- Bandmandrill released his full length debut album “Club Godfather” on Warner. The Jersey Club sound is creeping up from the internet into the mainstream!
- How ’bout those New Jersey Devils! Things have leveled off since their red hot start, but they still sit in second place in the NHL’s Metropolitan Division. The days of last place hockey (and $18 tickets) are over!
- Mad For Chicken has brought its Korean inspired wings to the old Dinosaur BBQ space downtown.
- bunkr has opened a recording studio and creative space for djs at 25 Halsey Street.
- The Winter Village at Mulberry Commons is open for skating, go-karts, and private igloo rentals until January 15th.
- On January 21st, QXT’s is hosting a Wednesday (Netflix) inspired costume and dance contest.
- Akwaaba Gallery’s 2nd Annual Kente Ball & Art Auction is on February 18th.
- From comedians, to classic musical acts, to the New Jersey and Munich symphony orchestras, NJPAC has a wide array of offerings for 2023.
The Board of Editors
Featured photo by Pexels