Imagine living a stone’s throw from a river but never seeing it or strolling along its banks. That’s what happens in older industrial cities like Newark, where views of riverfronts are often blocked by a landscape of factories, warehouses and shipping terminals.
In a construction trailer alongside Raymond Ave in the Ironbound, the owners of Riverfront Condominiums gestured over plans for a park on the riverbank and assured me that it’s construction would begin “next year.”
That was five years ago.
The creation of a park along the riverfront had been one of the most anticipated promises of urban development in our neighborhood. As parks sprung up or were refurbished throughout the city, I had hoped that the construction of this one would begin sooner rather than later. Newarkers waited patiently, watching as our neighbors in Harrison constructed a stadium and townhouses popped up like wildflowers across the river.
Riverfront Park, the first in a series of connecting parks along the winding Passaic is, without a doubt, one of the greatest expressions of optimism our city has offered in recent memory.