Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Devyl Nellies - Groove on Grove

I was all ready to come up with some clever sentence about one of the GROOviest of the Groove on Grove bands played the Final Groove on Grove when I found out that it’s next week that’s the grand finale, which will feature the great local band, Any Day Parade, who opened this year’s series.

For the Next-to-Final Groove on Grove, the Devyl Nellies played and in terms of laying down a groove, they just might take the Grove Street cake. I have to say, an exceptional bunch of cats. They have the touch of a Jam Band about them, in fact, I would describe them as a concise Jam Band. The Jams did not sprawl or wallow. They were purposeful without undermining the improvisational attitude. They sustained an infectious groove in nearly every song; I found my hands involuntarily clapping along. I had to suppress an urge to stand up and shimmy in time. Some bluesy soul inflected numbers opened the set which went on to include a straight out country rock song and a straight out reggae song, both pretty awesome. The female singer would strap on a guitar sometimes; what looked like the band leader played acoustic rhythm guitar, even strapping on the harmonica holder for some multi-music-tasking. They even played an instrumental bluegrass type ditty, where the aforementioned played the mandolin—during one instrumental break he plucked out a quote of The Flintstones theme song—witty, clever and revealing a refreshing musical adeptness. I couldn’t quite make out the lyrics, but otherwise, this band had all cylinders firing, with some particularly excellent lead guitar, a kind of wah wah noodling, accentuated by deliberate statements. Just damn entertaining and impressive playing & material.

The first day of autumn still felt like summer and I guess summer gets another week with the Final Groove on Grove. I chatted briefly with Anthony Susco (who has this blog featuring upcoming Jersey City events), curator of the series. He deserves congratulations. The sophomore year of this free summer music series I found fantastic. I don’t post on it every week, because that would be boring, but I usually stay for a while at least. It’s a tough gig for the musician; most folks are passing through, heading from or to NYC, waiting for a bus to the Heights. If they are hanging out, more often than not it’s for a reason other than the music. Yet, the music is consistently good. It’s a great way to sample the currency among our area’s young, unsigned musicians. My one complaint is that there should be more seating and more seating closer to the stage and maybe, a beverage vendor. But Groove on Grove is one of the things about J.C. that works as planned. The setting is perfect for enjoying the summer, the music is always entertaining. It’s just so damn pleasant. And, as with the Devyl Nellies, sometimes there are flashes of brilliance to behold.

Facade Falls on Newark Avenue Follow Up

What if the façade of a building fell on a major thoroughfare in Jersey City and nobody was there to see it happen?

Please go to here for the original posting. Façade Falls on Newark Avenue

I saw this scene late afternoon/early evening of September 11. The large tiles on the façade of 139 Newark Avenue, an uninhabited building, feel to the street. The mess was cleaned up, but the building was re-designated as hazardous for the fire department, meaning that in case of fire, fire department personnel are not to enter the building to fight the fire. If you pass by this building, that is what the spray painted X insignia means—in case of fire, the building is not to be entered. You see this marking on buildings in New Orleans post-Katrina.

I waited that weekend to see if there would be any coverage of this incident by the local press. That Monday, I posted the pictures I took, and contacted members of the local media by phone and email. They listened and showed some interest but as of now, a story was not pursued. I’m not here to criticize them or their editorial choices. My day job is in trade magazine publishing, I am well aware of all the factors involved in making a decision about what and what not to cover, I don’t have the hubris to say I’m right and they’re wrong. The recession is hitting this already struggling industry quite hard, budget and staff cuts galore. Every business quarter it seems, every publication has to figure out a new way to stay in business. I'm not questioning why this story has not been covered, all I am saying is, I tried.

Anyway, it appears these Dislocations photographs are the exclusive pictures of this incident. Personally, I see the size of those tiles, and the mess on the sidewalk, and I think people should be informed about it, some sort of investigation of the causes of this incident under-taken. Thank God, nobody was struck by one of these pieces. This looks life threatening to me. Something should be done to alert our citizenry beyond this silly, under-read, internet blog. But, that’s just me.

I consider this mainly an entertaining blog, and one not only about Jersey City. I wander around town and take pictures and think of clever (some of them, anyway) observations. In my wanderings I stumbled across an actual news event, one that no one else saw or cares about. But I could not stand silently by and not find out more. So, I am reporting on what I found out, my experiences finding it out, and clarifying some points in the original post.

Basically, I had three questions:

Why did the façade fell?

What was done to make sure it doesn’t fall again?

Why was the building re-designated and does this re-designation have anything to do with questions 1 or 2?

The only report on this incident is from the Fire Department. If you go to the Fire Department headquarters and Marin Blvd—which I did— you can get this report.

Ask for Incident Report: 15793

The report states that fire department received an alarm at 12:55:10, arrived on the scene at 13: 07: 42 (military time, i.e., seven after one in the afternoon) and left the scene at 13:33:11. (some of the people I spoke with said it happened about two, which is why in the original post it states 12:30-2:00pm).

The report states: “L-2 responded to a 139 Newark Ave. for a dangerous condition to find J.C.P.D. on the scene and they reported that facade had fallen off the building. Police had already called the building department and had secured the scene. L-2 return to Service.”

As far as I can tell, the statement “facade had fallen off the building” and the Dislocation photographs are the only public record of this incident.

The Police did not file a report because the law only requires them to do so if there was a crime committed, or an investigation implemented. They do not have to keep a record of a call to the Building Department. It was the Building Department, not the Fire Department or the Police Department that made the decision to re-designate the building—the Big Red X.

I talked to a Building Department individual both on the phone and in person. The Building Department is located on 30 Montgomery Street. The office was filled with about two dozen people applying for Building Permits. Although an abrasive individual, which probably comes with the territory, I mean, dealing with construction companies and developers would not seem to encourage one to be overly genteel, the guy did answer a few of my questions. The problem was on my end: I do not have the expertise to ask all the proper questions, or the time to both get the expertise and find the proper channels for a proper interview with the Building Department representatives. I do not know what sort of documentation the Building Department has available, how to obtain those records, or I likely lack some expertise to fully understand them.

Personally, I think that’s a job for a city journalist, not a blogger who is doing this in his free time and intends it to be mainly amusing. However, I did see the façade on the sidewalk and I had to do something.

The Building Department did not keep a report of receiving the phone call from the police, or the actions they took in response to the phone call. I do not know what sort of records the Building Department keeps. I could not get a straight answer. I am not blaming the gentleman I spoke with; he did not have the time nor the inclination to hold the hand of a complete novice and walked him through the regulations and record keeping of the Building Department. I lacked expertise and he didn’t have the time to give me that expertise. And, I don’t blame him.

Why did the façade fell?

“Because it was loose.” Now this is an obvious answer, and he wasn’t being flippant in giving it to me. I would like to know why was it loose, and when it was last inspected—one would think the purpose of inspections is to prevent pieces of a structure from becoming suddenly loose.

What was done to make sure it doesn’t fall again?

This I got an answer on. All the tiles were removed from the façade. I feel my main responsibility has been fulfilled. The tiles were the hazard and by removing them the immediate danger has been resolved. Where you see the tarp is where the tiles had been removed. I can’t look under the tarp to see if the tiles had indeed been removed, but I see no reason why I shouldn’t take the Building Department’s word on this.

Why was the building re-designated and does this re-designation have anything to do with questions 1 or 2?

On the night in question, I was informed by the Building Department, that there was something internally in the building that the department had asked the contractor to fix. The repair had not been done, so the Building Department re-designated the building. The repair had nothing to do with the falling façade.

According to the Building Department, the internal portion of the building in need of repair was noted during an inspection of 139 Newark Avenue after a fire had damaged the now demolished adjacent 141 Newark Avenue. That fire took place November 29 2007.

I do not have a report on when the initial inspection took place, how the façade was inspected at that time, and if indeed the last inspection of the building was two years ago, and why there wasn’t any follow up in the past 24 months on their compliance with Building Department recommendations (if indeed recommendations is the right word).

I am not stating or implying the Building Department is somehow at fault, or did not fulfill their obligations under current statutes. I do not know those statutes and I do not have the expertise to research them. The gentlemen I spoke with said that if I want more information, to speak with the contractor. I do not have the contractor’s name, and I do not want interview the contractor. I do not want to “cover” Jersey City Construction News especially for free.

I do know this, when I arrived on the scene that Friday—keep in mind, this was about six, and they worked well into the night and the façade fell at 12:30. The falling façade aftermath required about eight hours or work to rectify. The men in the cherry picker were not Building Department personnel, they were workers for the Contractor. I asked a gentlemen what happened, in fact, the first I person I asked. He said nothing, they are taking off the façade. I said it looks like it fell. He said, no, nothing fell. He was not a friendly person. I asked about a half-dozen people, including shop owners whom I know and know they are in the vicinity and they confirmed that the façade did fall. The Fire Department report clearly states: facade had fallen off the building. This individual I spoke with I later saw speaking with these cherry picker workers. He sure looked like he was telling them what to do.

So, that I believe is the end of my involvement with the Façade Falling On Newark Avenue story. I guess you never know what you’ll see when you walk around Jersey City. Let’s keep in mind—139 Newark Avenue, façade fell and is abandoned; 141 Newark Avenue had a fire and has been demolished; 143 Newark Avenue is also an abandoned building, uninhabited and fallow. I am sure at some point, when financing and plans are finalized, a wonderful new life enhancing structure will be built on these lots—the buildings remaining look too far gone to rehabilitate, but hey I’m not an expert. My concern is the safety of people walking near these three addresses. The façade on 139 has been moved, and that is what initiated my concern.

On September 14, Randolph Condi a former Jersey City building inspector was sentenced in federal court to 13 months in prison for taking bribes. According to the newspaper, “Condi admitted taking the bribes between July 2008 and January 2009 in connection to projects by a contractor who turned out to be a government informant”…

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Steve Martin quote

“I learned a lesson: It was easy to be great. Every entertainer has a night when everything is clicking. These nights are accidental and statistical: Like lucky cards in poker, you can count on them occurring over time. What was hard was to be good, consistently good, night after night, no matter what the abominable circumstances.”

From Born Standing Up, by Steve Martin

Monday, September 21, 2009

Off to Oz

I usually don’t post something as esoteric as this, but here’s my good buddy Dan. We’ve been pals since third grade. We had lunch today and now he’s off to do some Zoo Keeping down under. He’s a zoologist. For his amazing true story click here.

Dog Mans Truck

German Shepard seen manning the cab of a construction vehicle. This guy was pretty cute; seemed like a good ole dog, a real dog's dog. As a woman walking her pit-bull passed, he barked good naturedly a few times, then started whimpering, like a gentle, sad puppy. Maybe he wanted to be outside. Maybe he was sick of doing man’s work. Probably can’t join the union, get benefits or overtime pay like his master; but at least he can bark out hey bitch and it is taken as a compliment (by the pit-bull).

Bomb Scare Over

Strolling early evening on Sunday, caught the conclusion of the bomb scare. According to the Jersey Journal, a “29-year-old man was taken in custody today after he entered the lobby of the Jersey City Medical Center at around 3:45 p.m. and threatened to blow up the hospital with a bomb contained in a package he was carrying… After an X-ray of the package by the Jersey City Police Department bomb squad proved inconclusive, it was taken outside and blown up at 6:28 p.m.”

I missed the evacuation. I missed the blowing up of the package. I was just taking a walk. I wasn't 'covering' the bomb scare. Saw they had the police and fire department vehicles out—when you see that massive Police Emergency Service Unit truck you know something out of the ordinary is going down. Blowing up a hospital? Did this dude watch Dark Knight too many times or what!

The responders were sort of giddy, laughing with each other (I think the firemen were flirting with the woman police officer, or was she flirting with them?). One cop said to me after I asked what was going on, watch it on the news. She was laughing when she said it. Everyone was in a good mood at the scene. And why not? The man had been apprehended, the package disposed of, the threat neutralized. No one was hurt.

I think one would call it a good day on the job. Maybe there are politicians who are tarred by corruption, problems with other departments in our beloved municipality. Probably a good long list of local authority figures who fall short of our expectations. But our police and fire department are really nice folks, professional, competent, considerate and friendly. Look across the Hudson, look at other cities, you will see how rare that is.

Old Colony Chase

Used to be you had to go into New York to go to a Chase. Now there’s one in the Old Colony strip mall. I want to say there’s now a Chase location everywhere but it’s been years since I’ve been to Death Valley or Siberia. Could be any forgotten strip mall in the U.S., not this one at the outskirts of a semi-major metropolis. I like how the light on the bricks seems to undulate, an attribute of the bricks or the sun, I’m not sure.

J.C. Best Dance Crew

I watched these kids break dance for several minutes before deciding to take their pictures. They were glad to oblige.

“Do they still call it break dancing?”


“Well, bust some moves for me. Do they still call it bustin moves?”


“Are you guys from here.”

“Not here, but around here.”

“Jersey City?”


Their agility impressed me. They were actually nice kids, good kids.

What came to mind was a Jay Leno joke, and I’m paraphrasing. “Did you hear break dancing is coming back? Now, this is a sign of getting older, when a trend is revived that you were too old for the first time.”

Sure did look fun and they sure were having fun doing it.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Rimbaud Quote - 155

“Let cities light their lamps in the evening; my daytime is done. I am leaving Europe. The air of the sea will burn my lungs; lost climates will turn my skin to leather. To swim, to pulverize grass, to hunt, above all to smoke; to drink strong drinks, as strong as molten ore, as did those dear ancestors around their fires.

I will come back with limbs of iron, with dark skin and angry eyes: in this mask, they will think I belong to a strong race. I will have gold; I will be brutal and indolent. Women nurse these ferocious invalids come back from the tropics. I will become involved in politics. Saved.”

A Season in Hell
Bad Blood (chapter II)
by Arthur Rimbaud
(as translated by Paul Schmidt)

Friday, September 18, 2009

J CITY Theater - Passion

In a few days, the J CITY Theater production of ‘Passion,’ by Peter Nichols, a British playwright, begins in the Underground Theater at 252 Ninth Street. Jersey City’s own off-off Broadway theater company, the “theater” is actually the basement of Saint Michael church. The space is in keeping with the J CITY Theater mission of “Theater in The Raw,” which essentially means unfiltered and pure. Thick drapes enclose the “stage,” a simple living room for the two-act drama, and risers will be used to accommodate the expected audience. If you have ever been to an off-off Broadway production, than you know how the intimacy and dynamic of a play can be enhanced by an effective use of non-traditional theater space.

Passion starts J CITY Theater’s second season in at the Underground Theater at St. Michael’s Church and runs September 23 through October 3. J CITY Theater, a not-for-profit professional theater company based in J.C., has been producing locally since 2006. According to their website, J CITY Theater’s mission is to create quality, high energy theater that is told with sophisticated simplicity. “I want to bring good theater to Jersey City,” said Sandy Cockerel, who serves as Artistic Director of J CITY Theater and is both director and cast-member of the current production.

Sandy has about a quarter of a century in theater, which includes a stint as a Drama Professor in Kentucky; for the last 13 years she has worked in the New York/New Jersey area. She told me she has been at preparing this production for about a year, formulating her directorial vision long before auditions began in spring.

This contemporary drama received rave reviews when it opened in London. According in The Times, "More than ‘Betrayal’ or ‘The Real Thing, Passion Play’ makes one feel the ugliness of deceit, the escalating anguish that can come from loss of trust. Passion has an intensity of feeling, a moral scope and a theatrical inventiveness that neither of the others matches."

According to a J CITY Theater Press Release: “What would happen if your most private and innermost thoughts were known to the world?” This is the question that famed playwright Peter Nichols explores in his masterwork, Passion. Eleanor (Sandy Cockrell) and James (Tony Cormier) enjoy a quiet and comfortable marriage until Kate (Rocio Mendez), “the ultimate sexual threat” comes into their lives and disrupts their safety. Not satisfied with this traditional relationship triangle, the playwright creates a pentagon by bringing Jim (Kellis Carroll) and Nell (Rachel Kerbs) on stage – who serve as the couples alter egos - allowing the audience to view a rich texture of subterfuge and deception. Rounding out the cast is Eleanor’s fiery friend Agnes (Camille Mazurek) who is a cautionary tale against bitterness and revenge. It’s a comedy on the outside, but screaming on the inside. A bitterly funny, savagely honest play that unfolds like a symphony, keeping the audience on the edge of their seat. The result is a play with wonderful complexity that never seems complicated – only very dangerous.”’

“The play’s main character is a restorer of modern art”, said Sandy (in the press release), “And we have filled the set and lobby with the paintings of local artist Hernando Rico Sanchez. His work resonates with the intensity of the script and fills the space with color. Also, I felt it was important to reflect the musicality of the story and thus we have created a kind of seventh character in local saxophonist Kevin Gosa who will be on stage, providing an original soundtrack for the evening. It’s a comedy on the outside, but screaming on the inside. A bitterly funny, savagely honest play that unfolds like a symphony, keeping the audience on the edge of their seat. As a result, I think we have created an evening of fascinating story telling filled with art and music.”

I’m not familiar with the play, but even with the minimal googling, it sounds like a gripping drama. I’m even more intrigued however because I was graciously invited to witness a rehearsal on Thursday. It was one of the most fascinating hours or so I’ve ever experienced.

Sandy began with four single-spaced pages of notes; which she said took her the entire day. Glancing at the notes as the other actors—and Stage Manager, Arlonda Washington—sat at a table in front of her, Sandy expounded on a series of details. There was give and take. The actors, who scribbled their own notes like honor students, asked pointed questions. There was as much give and take as in a self-help seminar. Most of the concerns Sandy seemed intent on discussing were about internal issues of the characters. She emphasized what she wanted to each actor to think about when saying specific lines and responding to specific lines as well as while moving on the stage.

I had the impression that the overall play was going well. What I was watching was the honing of specific moments in the play. You see a sculpture and say, what craftsmanship. Craftsmanship does not take place with the end result; it is a step-by-step meticulous process and seeing these professionals apply their acting craft—which happened at both the individual level and the collaborative unit that is theater—I found spellbindingly astounding.

At one point Sandy instructed an actor, I want to know what that kiss means. At another point, she told an actor the impact she needed regarding several lines that contained some of the more disturbing themes of Passion. She wanted the delivery of the lines to make one’s disinclination to think about the issues stronger. I asked her about this, the use of the word disinclination. She said, “Drama is about conflict, we need that emotion there.”

I watched the actors go over a scene—not a whole scene—it’s a two act play. It was just a portion of the scene. There was a snippet of dialog between characters, and one character had to enter the scene, where during the conversation both characters drink tea (Nichols is a Brit!), and concludes with one character folding napkins onto a tray with a tea serving set, then picking up the tray and exiting. The lines were repeated what seemed like dozens of time, each one different. Yes a line or two was flubbed, but they were also given different nuances, different emphasis. The actresses were using different expressions on their faces for different readings. Expression, tone of voice, emphasizing certain words and syllables—so that’s why there was so much discussion on the internal in the workshop prior to the scene rehearsal. The actors must be the characters in their heads in order to portray the characters in the face and voice. They also went over the movements, again and again. The particulars of the movement was important to the action of the drama, but it was also just as tied the internal life of the characters as their facial expression and line delivery.

I guess if you’re a real theater person, this stuff is obvious and rudimentary. For someone who has only seen and read plays, to see this behind the scenes work was impressive and compelling. Sandy told me, “You work to bring out the truths in the moments.”

From September 23 through October 3 those truths will be presented at the Underground Theater on Ninth Street)

For more information and ticket purchases visit:
Or call 800-838-3006 (ask for event 80697)


Energetic and engaging, Alissa Ahberg (on the left, she’s blonde) and Sarah Shields were hawking raffle tickets at the second-to-last Groove on Grove for a bicycle in support of the 4th Street Art & Music Festival on October 3rd in Jersey City. The event, the block-party component mid-way through that weekend’s J.C. Artist Studio Tour, will feature music and entertainment. “There’s going to be two stages,” said Sarah. “A lot of bands and sketch comedy, we’re going to be the hosts.”

“We’re EMCEES for the whole event,” said Allissa. “We’ll do sketch-comedy too!”

Allissa and Sarah are Trip-And-Fall-Productions. According to the mission statement on their website: “Based out of Jersey City, Trip-And-Fall-Productions was born from the desire to create feisty and shameless (and slightly humiliating) comedy, including: original work, sketch comedy, a mediocre website, tissue paper flowers, excessive blogging, and improv. We hope to eventually provide Jersey City (when we actually have money) with a fresh and accessible venue for local artists, goofballs, and just about anyone really- but mostly just ourselves. For now, just check us out. We do stuff all the time, every time. Believe in yourself and follow your dreams!”

The website is genuinely amusing and these women have a lot of appeal. “Believe in yourself and follow your dreams!” That’s a motto I whole heartedly support. And let’s face it, we can all use some laughs.

And they appear to have the right attitude for how we live now: “I just lost my job which means we’re both unemployed,” said Allissa. “So now, we can fully dedicate ourselves to comedy!”

Raffle tickets are still on sale and only ten bucks. It’s a good cause. The sturdy bicycle features artwork by Adam Paterson, illustrator/tattoo artist and proprietor of Jersey City Tattoo. visit:

I don’t know about the shameless part, but Allissa and Sarah are certainly feisty. They wore some faux law enforcement badges, large aviator sunglasses and serious looking motorcycle boots, but so many folks were trying to get tickets, I couldn’t get a coherent explanation for their footwear and accessory choices. Maybe they wanted emblems to indicate that there’s a new comedy law in town. The Groove on Grove band was getting louder, people were pushing me out of the way to speak to the duo. As I waved goodbye, Allissa shouted towards me, “We’re looking for gigs!”

For more information on the 4th street Festival, Visit:

For the latest on Trip-And-Fall-Productions Visit:

For Raffle Tickets or to book Trip-and-Fall, Contact:

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New Awning

I’m sure the similarity between the colors and logo of 24-7 to the better known brand, 7-11 is just a coincidence and not a marketing tactic. A new awning on Newark and a new Bodega joins our Bodega Republic. Oh wait, this is a convenience store… a Bodega by any other name. Opens on Wednesday one of the proprietors told me on Saturday. Finally, someplace to get that 3 AM raspberry slurpee and microwave breakfast taco. Or is that the other convenience store. What the heck do you have to do to find a pseudo WaWa?

Love Lettering

Nathan is the artist-in-residence at Made with Love, Jersey City’s only organic bakery on Jersey Avenue. Over Labor Day weekend, the bakery was closed so its exterior and interior could be repainted. The freshly painted bakery re-opened the following weekend with the announcement of a new Jazz brunch on Saturday and Sunday mornings. I heard the cats while taking some of these pictures and they were swinging. Seriously, they sounded great. Nathan had the task of creating a new store sign. Although Saturday was raining, Nathan worked undeterred. “The overhang keeps the space for the lettering dry. I outlined the letters earlier and now I’m painting. I’ll finish it today.” He did at that. His work progressed well into the afternoon. The secret he said is to outline the letters first then just paint them in. I also noticed, start with the preposition.

For an earlier post on
Made with Love “art” click here.

Monday, September 14, 2009

The Density of Things to See

Funny, how the new can look old. Some where near the water front, old factory (not exactly any fresh factories around here), abandoned, probably to undergo some kind of transformation into condos. I guess that’s what the pipes are for. Apartment buildings, a hotel. The Light Rail snakes through. Space for sky. I was standing on a loading dock. How many years from now will this cluttered field be filled and this view be blocked by whatever construction takes place. The density of things to see always catches my eye. What was here and what wasn’t ten years ago. How new is the new. How old is the old. What will be here and what will not be here ten years from now. This kind of stuff I think about.

“Twin” Tony’s

“I’m Tony. I work here with my son, Tony. Everybody’s Tony.” Opening day for Twin Mart, the latest Bodega—a-hem, I mean, Convenience Store—in our Bodega Republic. It still had that new Bodega smell. A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about their new sign (click here). I bought a bottle of ice tea. It’s on 9th street, the portion known as Father Fitzgerald Way, right across from the Newport Pharmacy, which used to be in the spot before they moved across the street. Young Tony was in the back of the store working on initial inventory. I bought a bottle of ice tea. How often do you get to buy something the first day of a new store, a new Bodega, staking out new territory in our Bodega republic, less than a block from the Northeast corner of Hamilton Park. Now, only if they would finish the damn park renovation—it’s only been five months!—one would have a pleasant place to drink one’s ice tea.

Facade Falls on Newark Avenue

Between 12:30 and 2:00 PM, Friday, September 11th , pieces of the facade of 139 Newark Avenue fell. The cause was likely wind and rain, although as our persistent storms this summer go, the weather on Friday seemed relatively mild. The tiles or panels crashed to the sidewalk and shattered. The storeowners and other bystanders I spoke with said that it was a slow time of the day for sidewalk traffic, made even slower by the unpleasant weather. No one was injured. Nonetheless, everyone agreed it was lucky no one was struck by the falling debris.

That portion of the South side of Newark Avenue, about half a block from the Grove Street station, was quickly closed off by the Police, I was told. Pedestrians were prohibited to walk on the sidewalk in front of the structure.

I got there about six o’clock or so. Men in a cherry picker were inspecting the exterior of the upper stories of the building. I saw them pick off chunks of material from the building which they dropped to the sidewalk. The sidewalk in front of the building was covered with shards of the shattered panels. I could not tell what the material was that shattered. It looked like glass or ceramic, but it might have been some form of fiberglass or plastic. I don’t know. There was a gaping hole where the sections of panels had come loose, and a piece of metal protruded from the newly exposed exterior.

As the men were doing their inspection, a dumpster arrived. I left the scene soon after this point. I came upon the scene by chance. I have not read anything in the paper or online about this event.

The next day a canvas tarp was tied over the portion of the facade that had come off the building. The metal gate on the front of the building was spray-painted with an X in a square, had the initials J.C.F.D. (Jersey City Fire Department) and the date 9-11-09. The front of the sidewalk was completely free of debris.

The building is right next to what is a fenced-in pit. Over a year ago, this lot contained a building that was damaged by a fire. It was uninhabited at the time and was soon demolished. Adjacent to this open lot, 139 Newark, has been empty for more than a year, according to the storeowners and others I spoke with. The inside is apparently gutted. The building has been fallow for well over a year.

On Saturday I went to the nearby fire house to ask what the Red X in the Square meant. It’s a well known symbol for fire fighters I was told. It means in case of fire, fire fighters are not to attempt putting out the fire “interiorly.” The symbol warns fire fighters not to enter the building because the structure of the building is considered unsound in the event of a fire.

I asked these men why this tag was put on the building after sections of the facade fell and not before. Why was the determination made on Friday? Did the falling facade of the building have something to do with this new designation? The men did not know. The men were not familiar with the details regarding the falling facade that occurred on Friday afternoon. They had only heard about it.

I asked them about the tarp that was now attached to the exterior. They informed me it was to catch any small pieces of debris that might come loose. Larger pieces, such as the panels that fell on Friday, would likely not be stopped by this covering. The men also said that the construction being done on Newark Avenue likely contributed to the jarring loose of the façade.

What surprised me the most was that the men then asked me, if scaffolding had been erected on the side the building. This would stop larger pieces from falling. I said there is no construction activity of any kind taking place. They then asked me, is there caution tape, is the sidewalk closed off?

Nothing like that all I said. The sidewalk is unobstructed. Pedestrians are allowed to walk in front of 139 Newark Avenue. The men shook their heads, their expressions turned grim and they had nothing more to say.