0028 Strumming in the ghetto (USA 028—new)

Newark Travel Blog

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Newark, NJ

Day 015: 6 hours, 13.5 kms

 Finally I reach Newark.  I’ve been itching to check out this city for quite some time, so I’m pretty excited to get out there and get to know New York City’s stunted cousin… Every time I’ve taken the bus through here, and passed the dark, gritty alleys and underpasses, I’ve wanted to come and take a closer look.

Right across the street from the bus station is a pleasant fountain/waterfall where I decide to go ahead and pull out my guitar.  A fellow comes along to listen.  He claims that he was a musician himself for a time and starts to tell me about the troubles of crime in this city. He explains how different crime prevention programs have been applied and failed…

…And then he asks me for money… I guess he must not be a very successful musician…

I continue on to discover the many facets of the city.

  The gleaming skyscrapers right across the street from gutted out building (guess which I choose to use for my video clip?)  The African American kids streaming out of the private school in their classy uniforms… the seedy hotels where you pay by the hour… the apartment buildings surrounded by razor wire with signs begging anyone who sees anyone loitering about to call the police… The Coptic Egyptian who has a little gyro shop who seems to feel so fortunate to be living in this city—as he speaks of the troubles in his country of origin…

Yes, all around me are fascinating glimpses into the misery and the joy of this city. And then, suddenly, it turns into an idyllic little college campus, with students from all over the world peacefully ambling about, oblivious to the decaying ghettos just as few blocks away…

I hike on through the campus and on south.  I ignore the voice of common sense which tells me that I should head back to the main bus station and catch a city bus to the airport… Instead I listen to the voice of folly which tells me “Hey, if I just keep walking south—I’ll reach the airport eventually!

And so I continue on… More apartments and homes surrounded by razor wire… more enormous freeways and underpasses… But no walkable streets heading east towards the airport…

I started getting nervous.  It’s getting pretty close to my departure time, and by the angle of the airplanes flying overhead, it looks like I’ve actually walked past the airport!  And still no road heading east!

Darkness is setting in as I reach Elizabeth, New Jersey.  Now I know for sure that I’ve gone too far.  It looks like an interesting town, but I’m in no mood for parkbenching.  I just want to reach that airport—without having to resort to taking a taxi.  That’s something I simply refuse to do…

I do finally find a streets heading east back toward Highway One.  I scurry through town as quickly as I can to Highway One only to find… it’s not accessible to pedestrians…

So what do I do? I’ve still got a couple tricks up my sleeve… I sneak into a hotel parking lot, and hop onto a free shuttle heading to the airport. 

Ha! Take that, taxi drivers…

And so I get on a plane and drift off to sleep.  But I know that my adventure is only beginning.

* To continue reading about my USA travels, go to entry 0062

 Day 016: In the air…

nathanphil says:
Thanks for the advice. Though actually I like the challenge of trying reach an international airport on foot!
Posted on: Feb 11, 2011
MelissaBeth says:
Hahaha, I never heard of anyone actually wanting to visit Newark. Glad you made it to your plane in time!
Posted on: Feb 11, 2011
NJTProadcruiser says:
Hahaa!! I like the move to get to the airport... BTW, It appears you were in Downtown Newark, next time look for the NJ Transit 62 bus for airport service.. :D
Posted on: Feb 09, 2011
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Newark, NJ
Newark, NJ
photo by: Fitnessguru729