1. So Newark Was Voted The Least Friendly City. You Wanna Make Somethin' Of It!?
According to Conde Nast Traveler magazine, people agree that Newark
is the most unfriendly city in the world, beating out cities like Islamabad and Kuwait City. Newarkians don't agree, but aren't surprised. It's popular opinion that the people who took the survey never even made it out of the airport.
2. More A-Listers Come From Newark Than The Actor's Studio
Jason Alexander, Joe Pesci, Jerry Lewis, Ray Liotta, Bill Bellamy, and Ian Ziering all started off here. Okay, some of them are bigger A-listers than others, but Newark is proud to be able to claim them all.
3. Also More Top 40ers Than "American Idol"
Newark's claims to fame don't stop with the silver screen. Musicians who grew up in Newark include Whitney Houston, Queen Latifah, Paul Simon, Ice-T, the members of The Fugees, Gloria Gaynor, Redman, Frankie Valli, and Max Weinberg of Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band.
4. Newark Holds The Heart Of A Basketball Legend
It remains unclear if the water of Newark contributed to either Shaquille O'Neal's size or athleticism, but that doesn't stop aspiring basketball players across the city from gulping it down in hopes of walking in the enormous footsteps of their hero.
5. Newark Is The Little City That Could
Newark has endured economic challenges, riots in the 1960s, political scandals and corruption charges, crime spikes and an overall lousy reputation. But you can't keep them down. Through it all, Newark continues to build up and press on.
6. In Spring You'll Drown In Cherry Blossoms
Each April, Newark holds its popular Cherry Blossoms Festival where visitors are invited to enjoy "Cherryblossomland," more than 4,300 cherry blossom trees in bloom throughout Branch Brook Park. It's the largest collection in the United States!
7. There's Always A Reason To Go To This Church
The Cathedral Basilica Of The Sacred Heart is even more massive and awe-inspiring than it looks. It's the fifth largest in the country and even had a visit from Pope John II.
8. No Longer The Worst Place To Have A Car...
Once the king of auto thefts in the country per capita, the NCIB reports that Newark no longer holds the crown. In fact, isn't even in the top 10 anymore. But don't disable that alarm just yet, auto thefts are still pretty high. This is New Jersey
9. ... Not That You Really Need One Anyway
If you're in one of the better neighborhoods like Ironbound, you don't need to worry about your car getting stolen, since you won't actually need a car at all. Everything worth visiting is in walking distance. The light-rail system and PATH trains can take you everywhere from midtown Manhattan to the Jersey shore.
10. Welcome To Hell
Bring your extinguisher to Hell's Kitchen Lounge for what's bound to be a crazy time. Burlesque shows, epic Halloween parties with fire performers, retro pin up girls-this place is never boring. Their challenge to eat five fully loaded hot dogs in under five minutes to make their wall of fame is no mean feat.
11. Ironbound Is Where It's At
This neighborhood is seeing some of the most growth in the whole city. Brimming with culture, ethnic restaurants and bars, and of course The Rock, Ironbound packs an iron punch.
12. But Elsewhere, Watch Yourself
As is true with so many cities, there are good sections and then there are others where the only advice to give if you find yourself in is to make like Forrest Gump and run. Stick to the Ironbound, Riverfront, and Branch Brook districts and you'll be just fine.
13. Newarkians Worship The Devils
The Jersey Devils, that is. The fiery NHL team plays at the Prudential Center in Newark and locals flock games, still loyal to the one and only professional sports team to represent the state since Jay-Z moved The Nets to Brooklyn.
14. But It's Not All About Hockey
The "Iceman" statue outside of the Prudential Center (nicknamed "The Rock" by locals) claims the venue for the Devils, but if you're not a hockey fan (gasp) don't despair. The Rock hosts a variety of entertainment like The Siberian Orchestra at Christmas time or, for a little added Jersey, Bruce Springsteen marathons.
15. The Mayor Might Shovel Your Driveway
Winters in Newark can get... pretty rough. But when a storm back in January snowed in residents so much they couldn't even get to the store for diapers, Newark Mayor Cory Booker himself picked up a shovel and drove through town helping them dig out. Now that's serving the people.
16. Soft Serve Is A Dirty Word In Newark
Nasto's Old World Desserts makes their hand dipped ice cream from scratch, and offers amazingly simple but truly decadent choices, like the peanut butter or pistachio tartufos.
17. There's Never An Empty Seat At The NJPAC
The New Jersey Performing Arts Center brings musicians, comedians, and performers to the city from around the globe, and is the home base of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra. There's not a bad seat to be found in the house, but plenty of ambiance and awesome sound.
18. MMM... Beer
From Coors Light to Belgian imports, MMMBello's Pub boasts more than 100 bottles of beer and a number of drafts on tap at any time. It stands up against any pub in New York City
. Conveniently located across from Penn Station, it's the perfect spot for sports lovers, happy hour hoppers, or basically anyone in search of a good brew.
19. Go To The Airport To Stalk Your Crush
Sure a lot of cities have airports. But Newark Liberty International Airport sees more traffic than LaGuardia and nearly as much as JFK. And because of its close proximity to NYC, you can park yourself down at the Garden State Diner in the terminal and spot celebrities passing through.
20. Culture In Jersey? You Bet Your A#$
The Newark Museum is small but mighty, with a variety of things to do and see like Norman Rockwell art, the awe-inspiring planetarium and summertime Jazz In The Garden series.
21. Tops Diner Is...Well, You Know, Tops
New Jersey is a mecca of diners, but Tops Diner stands above. Breakfast all day every day (in seriously ample portions), great music, and red velvet pancakes which may or may not be spun from the harp strings of angels.
22. Abraham Lincoln Has Been In Newark For 100 Years
You think the only place to see Lincoln is in DC? The 16th President of the United States was immortalized right here at the Essex County Courthouse by Teddy Roosevelt in 1911. Luckily someone offered him a bench because that's a long time to wait, especially at a courthouse.
23. Beware Of The Bears
A lack of pro sports in Newark means that teams like the independent Newark Bears get even more love. The team isn't affiliated with the MLB, but loyal Newarkians (especially families) still love to cheer them on.
24. You'll Find Some Serious Zen
Branch Brook Park is a massive 360 acres of tranquil landscape voted as one of "10 Great Places In America" by The American Planning Association in 2013. Adults can drop off their kids for an afternoon at the roller skating rink while they get a few hours of peace and quiet.
25. Not All The Oranges Here Are Citrus
After spending any length of time in Newark, you'll start to hear locals refer to "The Oranges." It's not in reference to some big citrus tree in the middle of town you somehow missed. The Oranges are the neighborhoods surrounding Newark-Orange, East Orange, West Orange, and South Orange. Now you know.
26. Graffiti Artists Have A Full-Time Job
Everywhere you turn in Newark, you'll find some piece of interesting street art. Huge commissioned murals are scattered throughout the city too, like The Prudential Center, the subway, and the side of the Riverfront Stadium.
27. But There's Real Art Too
Newark's Penn Station isn't just a transportation hub-it's a prime example of the classic Art Deco look seen throughout the municipal buildings of the city. With bold geometric shapes and strong lines, art lovers of all kinds appreciate Penn Station.
28. Start Collecting Those Degrees
Newark offers four-count 'em, four-colleges and universities within city limits. Probably most recognizable is Rutgers University-Newark, but you'll also find the New Jersey Institute of Technology and Essex County College. Keane University is also a short five-mile commute outside of Newark. So many options for changing your major.
29. Newark Is Finger-Lickin' Good
One thing the people of Newark can't say they're missing out on up in the Northeast is some good barbecue. There's McWhorter Barbecue, Karpollo, Pulaski BBQ, Elm Street BBQ, Picnic's Churrasqueira... sigh. Get a whole chicken, get a rack of ribs, or get both. Just get some.