Newark is New Jersey's largest city and second largest in Metro New York. Although one of the great historic cities of the Northeast and the most culture-rich city in the state, Newark is often overlooked in favor of Goliath-like Manhattan and towns along the Hudson River, such as Jersey City and Hoboken. While no longer the industrial powerhouse it once was, Newark remains one of America's major shipping, rail, and air hubs. Public transportation is abundant, making it easy to get to, from, and around the city.
Newark has been economically disadvantaged for some time, and suffers from a bad reputation, often informed by negative stereotyping. Thanks in large part to a nationally high-profile mayor (Cory Booker, now a U.S. Senator), committed populace, and changing attitudes towards once decaying urban areas, the often proclaimed, but stunted renaissance of Newark is steadily and substantially taking hold.
English is the main language, but the Ironbound area is home to a significant Brazilian and Portuguese population. Newark, NJ, is pronounced "Noo-wirk", as opposed to Newark, Delaware, which is pronounced "Noo-ark". Locals will often pronounce it "Nork" or "Nerk".
The city was founded in the year 1666 by Puritans from New Haven Colony. Three centuries later, the population grew rapidly. Industry also grew constantly. The city even had its own Chinatown. However, in the 20th century, many raids took place, and much of the Chinese population went away to other areas, causing Newark's Chinatown to fade away. Things only got worse as more racial tension and riots occurred in the city. In the 1990s, the city went through tons of revitalization efforts. Today, the city has grown back into an important industrial hub, however some things such as the old Chinatown and the city's good reputation were forever lost. Despite this, the city still shines with culture and history, and also has the oldest county park in the United States, Branch Brook Park. There is also a huge Portuguese and Brazilian population in Ironbound. Although the city is usually overlooked by Manhattan and it is not the glimmering gem it used to be, the city is still worth a visit.
The city is divided into five wards, each with its own character. Downtown has retained much of early 20th century architecture and has an iconic skyline. Nearly 100,000 people commute to the central business district on workdays, making for a lively urban landscape. Since the millennium it has become more residential as former office buildings and warehouses are converted to housing. A new performing arts complex and sports/concert venue and restaurants have encouraged visitors to linger longer into the night, particularly along Halsey Street and Edison Street. The North Ward is home to Branch Brook Park, site of the nation's largest collection of cherry blossom trees, and the neo-Gothic Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Surrounding neighborhoods include architecturally interesting suburban enclaves on the east and bustling urban districts on the west. The East Ward, or the Ironbound, is home to a large Portuguese/Brazilian community, with a "restaurant row" offering a cornucopia of eating establishments for every budget. The South Ward, once the heart of the Jewish community and home to the Weequahic Park and architectural gems, has fallen on hard times, and is where much of the city's crime is concentrated. The West Ward, including Vailsburg, is a working and middle class neighborhood.
Newark has great transportation, and is very easy to get into and out of.
1 Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR IATA) is about 5 mi (8 km) south of downtown. It is a major hub for United Airlines, and is served by numerous other domestic and international carriers. JFK International Airport and LaGuardia Airport are in Queens, New York, and are served by additional carriers who do not fly to EWR directly. Airport information can be obtained by calling +1-888-EWR-INFO or +1 973-961-6000.
AirTrain Newark shuttles between the airport's parking facilities, three terminals, and train station, where frequent New Jersey Transit (NJT) service is a ten minute ride to downtown. NJT bus #62 and the limited stop GoBus 28 also both travel to downtown, the latter with continuing service to North Newark.
Taxi service is based on a flat-fee determined by destination and paid before the trip begins.
2 Newark Penn Station (ZRP IATA) is located just a few blocks from the heart of downtown Newark. It's a beautiful old McKim Mead & White building and worth visiting just on its own. It is served by Amtrak and New Jersey Transit Northeast Corridor, North Jersey Coast Line, and Raritan Valley Line, with easy connections to New York, Philadelphia, Trenton, and other points south and west. Both Newark and New York have "Penn Stations". It is sometimes easy to mistake the conductor saying "New York" for "Newark" (and vice versa), so beware you don't accidentally get off at the wrong station.
The PATH train (NWK-WTC line connects Penn Station with Jersey City and the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan. Connections to other PATH lines can be made to Hoboken and 33rd St. in Manhattan.
3 Newark Broad Street Station is served by New Jersey Transit's Montclair-Boonton Line, Morristown Line and Gladstone Branch with trains to suburbs to the west and Hoboken Terminal, Secaucus Junction, and New York Penn to the east.
Route 21 (McCarter Hwy) runs north-south along the railroad tracks a few blocks east of downtown. I-78 skirts the south edge of town and I-280 cuts across the north. Route 1/9 comes across the Pulaski Skyway and Lincoln Highway bridges from Jersey City and the Newark Bay Extension from Manhattan (both via the Holland Tunnel). Take the Raymond Blvd. exit and drive along the Passaic River into downtown.
Newark Penn Station is also the city's bus terminal and is served by NJ Transit local and regional buses, Greyhound and others. BoltBus stops outside the station, offering service from Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, and Boston.
The Newark Light Rail runs two lines that originate at Penn Station. The City Subway Line (shown in blue on maps) has service to University Heights, Branch Brook Park and Grove Street (in adjacent Bloomfield). The Broad Street Line (orange on maps) operates between Penn Station and Broad Street Station.
There is a extensive network of New Jersey Transit buses, many originating at Penn Station. Taxis are also available and can be flagged.
- 1 Branch Brook Park, Park Ave & Lake St. Branch Brook Park contains 360 acres of open meadowland and small patches of woodland on gently rolling terrain. More than 4,100 cherry trees that blossom during April are greater both in variety and number than the famed trees in Washington, D.C. The park is 1.7 miles from downtown, and accessible by light rail. Includes spectacular views of the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart.
- 2 Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, 89 Ridge St, ☎ . Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart is a French Gothic-styled cathedral, the fourth largest in North America boasting upwards of 200 stained glass windows and 14 giant bells cast in Italy. The cathedral hosts a number of symphony orchestras and other concerts, in addition to serving as the mother church for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Newark. It is north of downtown Newark, across from Branch Brook Park, and accessible by light rail.
- 3 Military Park, Broad St between Rector St and Raymond Blvd, ☎ . A park downtown that began as a militia training green in the 1600s. Wars of America monument is an imposing work of Mount Rushmore artist Gutzon Borglum. In the summer on Thursdays, the park hosts Common Greens, a farmers market.
- 4 Newark Museum, 49 Washington St, ☎ . W-Su noon-5PM. The museum complex incorporates 80 galleries of art and science, a mini zoo, planetarium, cafe, auditorium, sculpture garden, a schoolhouse from the 1780s and the Ballantine House, the restored 1885 mansion that is a National Historic Landmark. Suggested admission $10 adults, $6 children/seniors/students/veterans. Planetarium an additional $5 adults, $3 children/seniors/students.
- 5 Weequahic Park, Elizabeth Ave & Meeker Ave (If driving, take the Elizabeth Ave exit from Route 78 West). Very big park with a golf course and large lake. Designed by the Olmsted Brothers.
- 1 Prudential Center, Prudential Center, Mulberry St (across from Triangle Park and 1 block W of Penn Stn), ☎ . It hosts the NHL's New Jersey Devils, Seton Hall University basketball, New Jersey Ironmen MISL (indoor soccer), and concerts.
- 2 New Jersey Performing Arts Center, 1 Center St, toll-free: .
- 3 Newark Symphony Hall, 1020 Broad St, ☎ .
- 4 New Jersey Historical Society, 52 Park Pl, ☎ . Tu-Sa noon-5PM.
- 5 Aljira: A Center for Contemporary Art, 591 Broad St, ☎ . W-F noon-6PM, Sa 11AM-4PM. Described by the New York Times as "a feisty alternative art space in Newark, often shows artwork that has a razor-sharp social and political edge."
- 6 City Without Walls (CWOW), 6 Crawford St, ☎ . W-F noon-6PM, Sa 1PM-6PM. Contemporary art gallery.
- 7 Gallery Aferro, 73 Market St, ☎ . Th-Sa noon-6PM. Contemporary art gallery.
- Brazilian Festival (September), The Ironbound
- Cherry Blossom Festival (April) Branch Brook Park, with 4,300 trees the largest collection in the USA
- Geraldine Dodge Poetry Festival (October) (biennale), various venues, largest poetry event in the United States
- Halsey Festival (September) Halsey Street
- Lincoln Park Music Festival (July) Lincoln Park
- McDonald's GospelFest (Spring) Prudential Center, talent competition and concert, one of the biggest Gospel events in the USA
- Newark Black Film Festival (Summer) various venues
- Open Doors (October), a 4-day city-wide studio, gallery, and museum tour
- Portugal Day Festival (June), The Ironbound
- Washington Park on Wednesdays outdoor green market and concerts June through October
Gospel and JazzEdit
Newark has a long tradition of jazz and gospel and is home to WGBO, Metro New York's jazz station. Renowned clubs are located in its suburbs, all at short ride to nearby stations of NJT's Morris and Essex Lines which depart from Broad Street Station. Local churches which have been the breeding ground for numerous R&B singers welcome respectful guests.
- 8 The Priory, 233 West Market Street, ☎ . Friday night and Sunday brunch jazz series
- Marcus J&P, 56 Halsey Street, ☎ . Food Network chef Marcus Samuelsson's Sunday brunch jazz
- Trumpets Jazz Club and Restaurant, ☎ . 1 Depot Square, Montclair
- Shanghai Jazz, 24 Main Street, ☎ . Madison
- Cecil's Jazz Club & Restaurant, 364 Valley Road, ☎ . West Orange, NJ
- Greater Abyssinian Baptist Church, 88 Lyons Avenue, ☎ .
- New Hope Baptist Chuirch, 106 Sussex Avenue, ☎ .
- Newark Gospel Tabernacle, 985 South Orange Avenue, ☎ .
- [formerly dead link] Duke's Southern Table, 11 Clinton Street.
- Prudential Center is home to hockey team New Jersey Devils and hosts other college and professional teams, including the Seton Hall Pirates and the NJIT Highlanders.
- Red Bull Arena, home to the New York Red Bulls, a Major League Soccer team. Although it's in Harrison, it's just across the Jackson Street Bridge
- Meadowlands Sports Complex, home to the football teams New York Giants and New York Jets is a 15-minute train trip from Newark Penn Station via Seacucus Junction.
More than 100,000 people commute to Newark on weekdays, making it New Jersey's largest employment center with many white-collar jobs in insurance, finance, import-export, health-care, and government. As a major courthouse venue including federal, state, and county facilities, it is home to more than 1,000 law firms. The city is also a "college town", with nearly 40,000 students attending the city's universities and medical and law schools. Its port and rail facilities make Newark the busiest transhipment hub on the East Coast in terms of volume. Light manufacturing survives in Newark too.
- Stroll Ferry Street in the East Ward and find numerous boutiques, bake shops and cafes. There are no real malls in Newark but there are malls near by that the buses in the city will take you to one for a relatively cheap fare. Jersey Gardens and Ikea are nearby in Elizabeth, NJ. You can also reach the Newport Center Mall in Jersey City via PATH (Newport-Pavonia).
Newark has three "restaurant rows' downtown: Around the Prudential Center, Halsey Street, and Ferry Street in the Ironbound, the latter known for its Portuguese, Brazilian and Latino food.
- 1 Central Restaurant, 30 Central Ave (at Halsey), ☎ . M-F 9AM to 10PM; Sa Su 10AM to 11PM. classic diner at great prices
- 2 Mi Gente Cafe, 7 Central Ave (at Halsey), ☎ . M-F 6AM-5PM, Sa 7AM-4PM.
- 3 Ferry Street Barbeque, 89 Ferry St, ☎ . Daily 11AM-10PM.
- 4 [dead link] Spice & Grill, 27 Academy St, ☎ . M-F 10AM-5:30PM; closed Sa & Su. East Indian fast food starting at under $10.
- Boi Na Brasa, 70 Adams St, ☎ .
- Brasilia Grille, 99 Monroe St, ☎ . M-Th 11:30AM-11PM; F Sa 11:30AM-11:30PM; Su noon-10PM.
- Brick City Bar and Grill, Edison Place (Pru Center).
- Brazilian Bakery, 44 Ferry St, ☎ .
- Burg, Military Park, ☎ . Lunch and dinner every day. Plain and designer burgers, etc.
- Dinosaur BBQ, Market Street (Pru Center).
- Edison House, 51 Edison Place (Pru Center), ☎ .
- Harvest Table, 127 Halsey Street, ☎ . Breakfast and lunch only.
- Je's Restaurant, 260 Halsey Street (near Pru Center), ☎ . Closes at 7:30PM, great Southern, BBQ, Soul Food.
- [dead link] Krugs Tavern. Bar menu.
- Marcus J&P, 56 Halsey Street, ☎ . Food Network chef Marcus Samuelsson's Newark locale
- Martini 494. Broad Street
- Sabor Latino Restaurant, 24 Wilson Avenue (Ironbound), ☎ . Amazing Latin food.
- Seabra's Rodizio, 1034 McCarter Hwy, ☎ .
- Sol-Mar Marisqueira & Restaurant, 267 Ferry Street (corner of Ferry & Niagara St.), ☎ . This restaurant is one of the best Portuguese restaurants in the ironbound district of Newark. They give large portions and it has some of the best Sangria in the neighborhood. Delicious fish.
- 27 Mix, 27 Halsey Street, ☎ . Drinks and lunch/dinner M-W 11:30AM-midnight, Th F 11:30AM-1AM, Sa 5PM-1AM, kitchen closes at 10PM.
- Iberia, 80-84 Ferry St.
- Iberia Peninsula, 63-69 Ferry St.
- Don Pepe 844 McCarter Hwy.
- Fornos of Spain, 47 Ferry St.
- Spanish Tavern, 103 Magazine St.
- Fernandes Steak House, 158 Fleming Ave.
- Spain, 419 Market St.
There is a liquor store in Penn Station. You can buy individual bottles of beer (including microbrews).
- 1 Newark YMCA, Washington Park, ☎ . Courteous, clean, and very convenient
- Hotel Riveria, 169 Clinton Avenue. An at-your-own-risk bargain in up-and-coming historic district
- 2 Comfort Suites, 1348 McCarter Hwy, ☎ , toll-free: , fax: .
- 3 Courtyard Newark Downtown, 858 Broad St (adjacent to the Prudential Center).
- 4 Element Harrison Newark, 399 Somerset St (next to Harrison PATH Station). Harrison PATH station across river from Downtown. Owned by Marriot.
- 5 Hampton Inn & Suites, 100 Passaic Ave (take Exit 15E on the NJ Turnpike to I-280, from I-280, take the exit for CR-508 West, then, make a right at the Popeye's (Passaic Ave) and the hotel will be on the left). The hotel is in the nearby town of Harrison but serves as a hotel for the city of Newark.
- 6 Hilton Newark Penn Station, 1048 Raymond Blvd. Gateway Center, within walking distance to many local attractions and connected by skywalk to the train station downtown with easy connections to Manhattan and airport.
- 7 Hotel Indigo, 812 Broad St. in the Four Corners district, near Prudential Center and City Hall
- 8 Robert Treat Hotel, 50 Park Place, ☎ , fax: . Renovated, runs free guest shuttles both to Newark Penn Station as well as to Newark Airport. Rooms at back have views of Manhattan while those at front have views of Military Park and Broad Street. NJPAC is across the street.
- 9 TRYP Hotel, 24 Park St. boutique hotel, newest in Newark near NJPAC, Military Park
While hotels serving Newark Airport can be inexpensive ($50+ booked online; $69 walk in). some require multiple transfers with hotel shuttle to airport & NJT#62 to Penn Station. Service is sporadic, so you can sometimes expect 1 to 2 hr each way. Those hotels located on Route 1 & 9 South/Frontage Road have NJT#40 bus service which travel between the airport and Downtown/Newark Penn on an hourly basis.
- Courtyard Newark Liberty International Airport, ☎ , fax: . Route 1&9 S (Frontage Road).
- Best Western Newark Airport West, 101 International Way, ☎ , fax: .
- Fairfield Inn & Suites Newark Liberty International Airport, 618 Routes 1 & 9 S, (Frontage Road), ☎ , fax: .
- Holiday Inn, 160 Frontage Rd (Newark Airport), ☎ .
- Newark Liberty International Airport Marriott, ☎ , toll-free: , fax: . Walking distance to terminals and conveient to all transportation.
- SpringHill Suites Newark Liberty International Airport, 652 Route 1 & 9 S (Frontage Road), ☎ , toll-free: , fax: .
Brick City Live and NewarkPatch are online news services covering local politics, culture, and events. The main newspaper of Newark is the Star Ledger. Other metro area newspapers (New York Times, New York Daily News, New York Post) are also widely available.
Starting in the 1960s, Newark has been troubled by riots, racial tension, and urban decline. Although the city has improved slightly over the years, Newark can be unsafe if you are not careful. Car theft and car jackings are the biggest crimes in Newark, followed by home invasions. Downtown Newark is crowded and safe during the day. It empties out at night and may seem creepy, but as long as you stay in well lit open areas you should be fine. The Ironbound district has most of the great restaurants and is busy on nights and weekends and is probably the safest part of the city, behind Downtown and residential Forest Hill. If you were to go to a concert at the NJ Symphony Hall or see an event at the Prudential Center you should be fine. They are well lit areas with a police presence and are the safest part of the city.
The North, South and Central Wards have heavier crime rates and it pays to be more guarded in those areas.
Although bustling during peak travel hours and almost completely safe in daylight, Newark Broad Street station (NJ Transit) can be very dangerous after hours and through the night when fewer people wait for trains (usually from 10PM-5AM). Armed robberies are common and can occur even when you are not the only one waiting for a late train. If you do find yourself at the station after hours, wait in the lobby beneath the platform, or failing that, one of the lit waiting booths on the platform. Do NOT display cell phones or iPods.
- Manhattan is easily accessible. The cheapest way is via the PATH train, from Newark Penn Station to World Trade Center or with a transfer at Journal Square (Jersey City) to the line which goes to Christopher St. and along 6th Avenue to 9th, 14th, 23rd and 33rd Streets. NJ Transit from Broad Street Station and Newark Penn Station takes you directly to the New York Penn Station in about 17 min.
- The nearby city of Elizabeth, which offers plenty of shopping options including the Jersey Gardens shopping mall and IKEA, is only a short car ride away.
- The Jersey Shore, with funky Asbury Park, Victorian Ocean Grove, and fishing town Manasquan is served by the North Jersey Coast Line, and is an easy day trip.
- The Statue of Liberty National Monument includes Ellis Island, once America's busiest immigration station, and Liberty Island, home to the statue itself. Ferries depart from Liberty State Park in Jersey City, reached by taking PATH to Exchange Place and switching to the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail.
- Field Station: Dinosaurs theme park exhibition is within walking distance of Secaucus Junction, one stop from Newark Penn on NJ Transit trains.
- Thomas Edison National Historical Park, which preserves Thomas Edison's laboratory and residence, is 6 miles (10 km) west of downtown Newark in West Orange.
- St. John's Church, a Gothic Revival Roman Catholic church which houses outstanding 19th-century artworks and an historic pipe organ is located in the nearby City of Orange.
Believe it or not, it is possible to hitchhike out of the New York Metro area. If you are trying to go long distances, your best bet is to take NJ Transit or Metro North far enough to put you well into the suburbs, preferably to a stop that puts you near (within walking distance of) a major highway such as an Interstate. From there, get to an on-ramp and put out your thumb. New Jersey state laws on hitchhiking are notoriously ambiguous, and you will be hassled by local police, so use common sense and discretion. If you're trying to go west into Pennsylvania, your best bet is to take NJ transit to Mt. Olive, which is only a 5-min walk from I-80, which generally carries a good amount of long-distance traffic going west.
|Routes through Newark (by car)|
|Allentown ← Union ←||W E||→ Jersey City → New York City|
|New York City ← Secaucus ←||N S||→ Elizabeth → Philadelphia|
|Parsippany ← East Orange ←||W E||→ Harrison → Ends at|
|Spring Valley ← East Orange ←||N S||→ Union → Cape May|
|New York City ← Jersey City ←||N S||→ Elizabeth → Philadelphia|
|New York City ← Jersey City ←||N S||→ Elizabeth → Cape May|
|Clifton ← Lyndhurst/Nutley ←||N S||→ END|
|Routes through Newark (by long-distance rail)|
|Washington, D.C. ← Woodbridge ←||SW NE||→ New York City → Boston|
|Philadelphia ← Trenton ←||W E||→ New York City → END|
|END ← New York City ←||N S||→ Trenton → Philadelphia|
|Philadelphia ← Newark Airport ←||W E||→ New York City → END|
|Philadelphia ← Newark Airport ←||SW NE||→ New York City → New Haven|
|Philadelphia ← Trenton ←||W E||→ New York City → END|
|Philadelphia ← Woodbridge ←||SW NE||→ New York City → New Haven|
|Routes through Newark (by subway/commuter rail)|
|Dover ← Montclair ←||W E||→ Secaucus → New York City|
|Dover ← East Orange ←||W E||→ Secaucus/Hoboken → New York City/END|
|Woodbridge ← Newark Airport ←||SW NE||→ Secaucus → New York City|
|High Bridge ← Cranford ←||W E||→ Secaucus → New York City|
|END ←||W E||→ Harrison → Financial District, Manhattan|