We’re glad to see our neighbors at GlocallyNewark.com take off with such success. They’ve scheduled a launch party next week to kick off the official launch of their blog after having grown to a 7,000 unique readership-per-month blog: 07102 Launch Party – Be invited!
It’s exciting to see the level of discourse rise in the city, and I’m excited to see what they’re up to next.
On June 25, 2009 Glocallynewark.com will formally launch with our first event in downtown Newark!
This event will be like NO other – check out the details…
Check out the full press release after the jump.
“Digital Meets Physical” at Launch of New Glocallynewark.com Blog
Bloggers on Rapidly Growing Site Celebrate Revitalization of Newark
NEWARK, N.J. (June 18, 2009) — When it comes to the revitalization of an urban core, it doesn’t get any more grassroots than this:
A dozen people of various ages, races, ethnic backgrounds and interests sitting around a table talking about what they love about Newark: the dancers at Portugal Day, the hardware store that sells beer- and wine-making supplies, an upcoming boxing match, the fact that residents are growing vegetables in “earth boxes” on their roofs, an event at which cupcakes will be the featured refreshment, the really good downtown DJs.
And sometimes what they hate: the purple-hued mini-hamburgers at a particular downtown dining establishment.
They are bloggers for Glocallynewark.com, a new lifestyle blog celebrating Newark’s arts, culture, dining, entertainment and downtown scene that will hold its official launch party, “07102: The Launch” on June 25, complete with digital installations, live performances, an open bar, DJs and the live music — the soul, rhythm and blues, alternative rock and jazz that are the beat of Newark’s downtown.
The attendees at the invitation-only party will include more than 500 mover and shakers who have a love of or a connection to Newark, including the presence of Mayor Cory Booker and his extensive following on Twitter.
Since its soft launch in February, Glocallynewark.com has experienced a phenomenal growth rate. The number of visitors is growing by 300 percent a month, said Janelle Noble, Glocallynewark.com’s managing editor. The blog now has 5,000 to 7,000 unique visitors monthly and is growing rapidly. The expectation is that the number of unique monthly viewers will soon be in the tens of thousands.
Those who give the blog its unique identity are the site’s bloggers, who offer up their educated, witty and sometimes eccentric commentary on the Newark scene in a lively conversation that is continued by the blog’s readers. But it doesn’t stop there: the conversational thread is picked up by other Web sites, as well in e-mails, the social media and conversations in the city’s offices, bars and buses. It’s … well, viral.
An example was cited by Quade Connolly, one of Glocallynewark.com’s most popular bloggers, at a recent blogger meeting. He reported that he ran into people everywhere he went who were talking about his purple mini-hamburger story in the days following his posting. The indignation voiced by some of his readers on behalf of the slighted dining establishment has prompted his promise to take another look.
“I love it,” said Connolly, a pseudonym for a 27-year-old graphic designer who works in Newark and whose friends and colleagues have no idea of the existence of his on-line alter ego. “It’s cool to be a part of the talk of the town.”
The bloggers will be a major presence at the launch party, whose theme is “digital meets physical, global meets local.” Videos, still photographs and interviews with attendees conducted by the bloggers at blogger stations will be broadcast in real time on the blog, which will be on view in the window of the Bushberg Building, the former furniture store at 77 Market St. that will be given a hip, lounge-type ambiance for the event.
“We will constantly be uploading content: you walk into the party and you will be walking into the blog,” Noble said. She added: “The idea is to make the statement that 07102 has arrived. The transformation of an empty downtown shell into a trendy space is a metaphor for the transformation that Newark is undergoing, and for which Glocallynewark.com is the public face.”
The blog is the brainchild of Michael Saltzman, managing principal of Newwork, a Newark-based real estate development consulting company, who launched it as part of the marketing effort for Richardson Building Lofts, a downtown development. The blog quickly took on a life of its own, answering a need for hyper-local news and Newark-centric content. It is now an independent subsidiary of Newwork run by Noble.
Although the blog was started as means of trumpeting the city’s wealth of attractions, Saltzman also sees it as fulfilling another function — that of revitalizing the city from the grassroots up. The initiative for urban revitalization projects usually comes from the top down — from planners, developers and redevelopment authorities — rather than from the residents, but the most effective strategy is to have both, he noted.
“Glocallynewark.com is organic,” he said. “It’s local, it’s independent, it’s emerging from the city itself because of the density, the cross-cultural pollination, the creative people — all the things that make Newark great. A lot is happening here — people just don’t know about it. Through Glocallynewark.com we are creating a flow of information that supports the investment decisions the power brokers are making.”
The bloggers concur. Although they recognize that their job is to keep Newark residents and visitors informed about the arts, culture, dining and entertainment, they also see themselves fulfilling a larger mission as spokespeople for the revitalization of a city that has seen some tough times. As firsthand witnesses to a stunning turnaround, they feel they have a mission to get the word out.
They also see themselves as the voice of the thousands of residents, business owners, artists, musicians and writers who are contributing to that renaissance. One such blogger is Juan O’Neill, 52, a community development consultant who was born and raised in Newark and who blogs under the name of “Urbanguru.”
“I’ve seen the city at its nadir,” said O’Neill at the recent blogger meeting. “I watched the  riots from my living room. I saw the urban decline and I am now seeing the nascent urban renaissance. Far too often that progress is viewed in terms of brick and mortar, but it’s also due to all the people who are doing creative things. They have stories to tell, if only they had that platform.”
Glocallynewark.com is providing that platform. O’Neill’s recent posts include “Chic in the City” about a recent Newark Arts Council fashion show and art event and “Yes, I’m Writing About McDonald’s,” in which he positively reviews the recently remodeled fast-food outlet at 772 Broad St. His future posts will include those on “sounds of the street” and Newark’s modernist architectural heritage.
“Up to two to three years ago nobody was talking about Newark in the sense of anything good,” agreed Connolly. “It’s good to be part of the talk of the town that’s positive.”