Highlighting Newark’s chief urban planner (Director of Community Development on her business card), Toni Griffin, the Times writes about the city’s hopes and aspirations to achieve a livable downtown for the growing urban population: A Bird’s-Eye View of Tomorrow.
While the Times points to Ms. Griffin’s home — the art deco office-turned-condo building, Eleven80 — as a glimmer of a possibility of what the city could be, it’s disappointing that this is the only success story we seem able to conjure up about Newark’s future (the Times has been writing about it since 2006)
Seeing some stories about smaller building projects like Renaissance Towers or the Chocolate Factory would be a welcome change.
“It’s like living in walking distance of Madison Square Garden and Lincoln Center,” she said. Several Newark colleges have also been expanding — and the presence of students helps keep the downtown lively.
Still, central Newark has a long way to go to become a residential neighborhood. Right now, it doesn’t even have a supermarket. (Ms. Griffin shops in the largely Portuguese-American Ironbound district.) She would also like to see “more sit-down restaurants” and a wider variety of shops.
But the amenities at Eleven80 make up for some of what’s missing outside. In addition to the bowling alley and basketball court, there is an extensive fitness center. And there are a series of lounges, decorated in the whimsical style of a boutique hotel, complete with plywood moose heads and a “chandelier” made of acrylic panels bearing photos of a chandelier.