Monday, February 4, 2013

Newark Avenue Shrine Vandalized


The statues in this mini-memorial on Newark Avenue apparently have been stolen. It takes your breath away, makes you shake your head in disgust and mutter profanities.

I’m not sure when this happened, but it looks recent. The broken glass seems fresh. This roadside shrine, near the high school on the north side of Newark Avenue has been there since I can remember. Inside were statues of The Blessed Mother, The Sacred Heart of Jesus, and Saint Anthony of Padua, the Patron Saint of Miracles. I just assume it commemorated a tragedy; there was even an electric candle inside.

During Christmas, somebody set up decorations; at other times of the year, candles and flowers were not uncommon.

Not knowing the impetus of this shrine seem to add to its meaning ... Usually, when on a road like this, it commemorates somebody dying, more often than not, a child. I do not know the exact reason, I’m just speculating. The statues are familiar, but the anonymity and lack of apparent explanation just deepens the purpose.

Anyway, it appears the statues have been stolen, the glass broken. The statues were not unusual, I can’t imagine there being much of a resale value. You can buy similar representations of these Catholic icons in any religious store. If someone is interested in purchasing Mary, Jesus and Saint Anthony statues, would they really buy stolen statues? Maybe the explanation is less nefarious than robbery, maybe the statues were removed to avoid theft after the glass was broken. I just don't know.

Newark Avenue is the closes thing to a main boulevard in Jersey City, a well-travelled thoroughfare connecting downtown to the Heights as well as the Courthouse and Journal Square districts. Some might consider this vandalism and theft a mere desecration, but it is a loss suffered by every citizen. One of the small things that make Newark Avenue special – makes a city street human – has been stolen from all us. Instead of being momentarily reminded of personal Faith, we think of someone's personal selfishness.



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