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This is the longest I’ve been in Newark in almost 10 years.  And it occurred to me that there really isn´t a solid iconic image of the city. In the slideshow are pics I´ve taken while cold April showers blanket the Tri-State.

Walking around, I can still feel the gritty desperation that keeps it an empty place after the office workers, hockey fans and students go home. Under the mayoral watch of  the young, Stanford-educated Cory Booker (up for reelection next month), Newark´s experienced a revitalization in many ways. Crime is still an atrocious problem, and this is one of the most dangerous cities on the East Coast.

After living in L.A. for a while, Newark feels like it should be a sister city (but only in appearance, since its population isn´t even half-a-million). Maybe it´s the new light rail system, the  sprawl, or the intense gang situation that reminds me of my West Coast home. I don´t know. But if you took Silver Lake, South L.A. and Watts, and smushed them all together, you would get a dynamic somewhat close to Newark´s.

But not really.

After all, Newark has  its own identity, one of the places George Clinton tagged “‘Chocolate City“. It just takes a little getting used to.