NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Newark is undergoing a rebirth of sorts. Just ask the residents who’ve lived here most of their lives.
“It makes sense. It’s something they’ve been working on for a long time with the development of Downtown. The city always had the bones to be something like this,” Mfreke Inyang told CBS2’s Raegan Medgie.
“I love it being on the map as one of the biggest destinations,” said Malcolm George.
A recent article in the online version of Vogue describes the brick city being filled with must-see sights and must-taste cuisine.
It turns out that’s exactly what attracted Gerald Galang, who was visiting from Anaheim, California.
“I know they’re known for Portuguese culture over here, as far as this area,” Galang said.
For many years, Newark was known for violent crime.
“The city’s improved,” said Michael, of Middlesex County. “I’ve worked here for 12 years, and the difference is staggering. It still has a way to go.”
But just last year, the city’s murder rate dropped 10 percent, its robberies are down 23 percent, and auto-theft is down 16 percent.
The community is starting to take notice.
“I took my kids here for the first time to the monster truck show at Prudential (Center), and it was a good experience,” Michael said. “Nobody was begging us for money. Nobody was making us feel uncomfortable. We weren’t carjacked.”
In the last five years, Military Park has been redeveloped, with a carousel. There is also a new historical walking tour, and a new Whole Foods is opening in a few days. It’s all just part of what’s been drawing positive attention to Newark.
“Truth is many have discovered this neighborhood,” said Tony Martinez, who owns Mompou, a Spanish restaurant in the Ironbound district of Newark. It has been serving people for 10 years.
As for the Vogue article, no one ever contacted Karin Aaron, the CEO of the Greater Newark Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
“Those are the best kind of articles we can have because it’s coming from a visitor’s perspective,” she said. “It’s coming from someone who hasn’t been prepped. They come in, see it, love it. They run with it. They take something away from the city. Those are the kind of articles that we love.”
Vistors are starting to feel that love. Now the city just has to beat the bad rap.
The Newark Police Department has also added more officers, reassigned many to street beats and partnered with citizens groups to promote community policing.