Thursday, December 20, 2012

Why NOT Newark?

In a room of bright driven entrepreneurs and Newarkers, the topic was the City of Newark. There were remarks, suggestions, gripes and many opinions shared. Overall a need for change was felt throughout.

Of course I posed my complaint first (to get the ball rolling), about not only the city but somewhat the state of New Jersey (NJ) itself. At a certain time, usually 7pm, it's a wasteland. No one wants to walk the streets if no one is on them. No one wants to go to happy hour after work if there's an early cutoff. Or travel from neighboring cities like Hoboken, New York City (NYC), and Jersey City just to find out the business is already closed. There is a rise in the need for NJ to become more like NYC in their bordering cities. Why? Because New Yorkers are starting to become more interested in NJ. And as slowly as the window is opening, the faster it may close.

Many of the attendees paused discussion to point out just how many organizations are trying to make movements, but nothing is being successfully accomplished as a result of all masterminds working separately. The residents, businesses, and politicians need to come together. A united front is better than divided. The rest of the group in attendance agreed.

What is it that people want Newark to look like? Well there were a lot of references to NYC and Hoboken. In the end though, the problem may be that trying to look like someone else is part of the problem. Maybe embracing what is historic and true works for this rather large city. Trying to be someone else never works as planned.

There was a sound of defeat in some voices and there shouldn't be. Look at Jersey City. I know people who love the downtown area there. And I'm confident that took time and development. For a place known for its bad school system and crime, its doing rather well in attracting visitors and new residents now. Therefore there isn't much excuse for Newark.

Last Friday in the Elbow Room, there was exposure. Everyone definitely went home thinking, "I can help make this happen". And I believe they can. My team, who all were in attendance, has many upcoming contributions premiering in 2013. Our focus is for people to see the sides of Newark they didn't know existed. Trust me, there are many sides to explore besides their very charismatic Mayor. Don't miss out. 

*I proofread but still may come back to change some things