I lived for many years in and around Newark, New Jersey. I had moved from San Diego to Los Angeles and then onto St. Louis on the way to Northern New Jersey. I started my serious adult career in a tall office building in the center of Newark that famously had trilobites fossilized in the marble surrounding the elevators. For a while I lived just over the line in East Orange but later moved to a small apartment close to the park (on the Belleville side). I took the city trolley into work most days or a bus that ran down Franklin and dropped me off near the Newark Museum.
This was a time not long after the riots but before the major changes to the downtown shopping areas. Newark was a fine city, not without its problems, but well-controlled by the likes of Hugh Addonizio and Tony Imperiale with an open hand and a pocketful of corruption.
Although I was most familiar with the North Ward and the neighboring towns like Nutley, Bloomfield, and Belleville, I commuted to work for several years with a co-worker from the south side: Weequahic and Irvington. This was Philip Roth country but it was early in the writer’s career so I didn’t recognize my familiarity with the many local sites that would later make his novels so real to me.