Category Archives: Building Things

Newark Riverfront 2014 In Review

Just five years ago when Newark Riverfront Revival began its work, there weren’t too many reasons to visit the water’s edge of New Jersey’s greatest city. But things have changed! In 2014, over 3000 Newark residents & visitors came to relax, socialize, dance, perform, eat, explore, cheer & watch the river roll!

This year, Newark Riverfront Revival organized first-time events like the Praise by the Passaic Gospel Festival, the Riverfront House DJ Residency & Paddle on the Passaic Kayak Days. We continued traditions like our annual Walk to the Water & Orange Party, City & Port Boat Tours, movie nights & free Zumba & yoga. With Ironbound Community Corporation, we convened a proud third year of Friends of Riverfront Park monthly meetings. Throughout, we showcased Newark’s culture & spirit in our city’s newest public space & claimed the riverfront for Newarkers! As Larry Hamm of People’s Organization for Progress proclaimed as our featured River Day speaker, “The river belongs to the people!”

2014 also marked serious steps towards cleaning the river & expanding public access to it. In April, the EPA Regional Administration came to the Orange Sticks to announce the federal government’s proposal for cleaning eight miles of the Passaic River. Newark’s first public riverfront access outside of the Ironbound opened with a first stretch of Downtown Riverfront Trail between Penn Station & Cherry StreetPSEG’s remediation of the former Market Street Gasworks continued, setting the stage to open another segment of riverfront meadow near Raymond Boulevard & Prospect Street. Finally, the City of Newark, Essex County & Trust for Public Land advanced work on Segment 3 to begin construction in 2015, which will better connect the sports fields near Brill Street to the Orange Boardwalk & expand under the Jackson Street Bridge & beyond.

All of these good things from house parties to park construction to river remediation have only been possible because Newarkers & others have taken a stand & gotten involved in creating the riverfront that Newark wants. Going forward, we look forward to attracting every Newarker to the river’s edge & beyond! Please help us accomplish our goal by visiting our new website at newarkriverfront.orgsigning up for our email listfollowing on Twitterliking on Facebook & talking with your friends & neighbors about our river. See you all down by the water in oh-fifteen!

See the rest of Newark Riverfront Revival’s 2014 in review!

Newark Riverfront Revival Seeks Program Director

Newark Riverfront Revival (NRR) seeks full-time Program Director

Newark Riverfront Revival (NRR) aims to connect every Newark resident to their river. Since 2008, NRR has built the constituency for Newark’s riverfront by taking hundreds of people on boat and walking tours, hosting concerts, dance parties, a gospel festival, dozens of outreach events, design education programs for youth, and a City Hall exhibition. Since 2012, NRR has worked with Essex County, the City of Newark, Ironbound Community Corporation, Friends of Riverfront Park, The Trust for Public Land, and other partners to build and program over 15 acres of riverfront parks, including a walking and biking trail, sports fields and courts, floating boat dock, riverfront boardwalk, playground and other settings for relaxation, picnics, exercise, and environmental education. In 2014, with major support from the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town Program and others, NRR organized 63 events June through September engaging thousands of people. NRR pursues a broad vision of environmental justice for Newark residents and others in seeking to build a riverfront that reflects, nourishes, and sustains the city’s deepest traditions and diverse population. NRR especially seeks to increase the participation of historically marginalized people in decision-making about the future of Newark’s riverfront.

The Program Director will be responsible for supervising all aspects of the organization and will have primary responsibility for program development and fundraising to support and grow the organization’s $110,000 budget. The Program Director reports to the Newark Planning Director and Ironbound Community Corporation, Newark Riverfront Revival’s fiscal agent.

NRR has reached a critical point in its development and is poised to achieve its mission in new and broader ways. The ideal candidate for Program Director will demonstrate the vision, understanding, modesty, ingenuity, and hustle to take these efforts to a next level.


—Oversee development and execution of programs and projects in pursuit of NRR’s mission, including Newark boat tours, walkshops, concerts, physical fitness classes, movie nights, festivals, and more Responsible for overseeing performers/facilitators, equipment, publicity, logistics, etc.
—Lead fundraising and development from public, corporate, philanthropic, and fee-for-service sources to raise the necessary resources to sustain and expand NRR’s work
—Oversee NRR’s finances and operations
—Cultivate partnerships with community-based organizations, environmental advocates, community development corporations, schools, private property owners, and others
—Communicate with broad range of stakeholders and general public
—Lead marketing efforts through both traditional and social media, as well as on-the-ground outreach (WordPress, Twitter, Facebook, Mailchimp, and graphic design skills a plus)
—Work with Essex County, City of Newark, and others to monitor and troubleshoot park maintenance—Collaborate with Newark Planning Office, Ironbound Community Corporation, Friends of Riverfront Park, and other partners to set organizational goals and monitor/evaluate achievements
—Advance development of riverfront capital improvements in cooperation with property owners, community-based organizations, and government agencies
—Perform other related duties as required


  • Minimum of BA in community development, environmental studies, or related field
  • 2-5 years of experience in community organizing, urban planning, or related field
  • Must be Newark resident
  • Ability to work some evenings and weekends
  • Interest and/or background in planning for urban, waterfront, or institutional developments
  • Prior work experience with diverse stakeholder groups
  • Interest and/or background in urban park development and/or management
  • Excellent speaking and written communication skills
  • Bilingual in Spanish or Portuguese is a plus
  • Women and people of color are especially encouraged to apply

To apply

Please submit your resumé and cover letter by August 29, 2014. Your cover letter should discuss how your education, training, work experience, and vision will complement NRR’s need for leadership and innovation. Please include the names and contact information of three professional references, and your salary history and expectations.

Newark Riverfront Revival
Program Director Search Committee
920 Broad Street Room 407
Newark, NJ 07102

By email: newarkriverfront [at] gmail [dot] com

For further information, please refer to NRR’s website at

Download job description & application instructions.

“Newark’s River” Plan & Riverfront Park win 2014 Smart Growth Award

For Immediate Release


Award honors the community’s work in transforming its waterfront into an urban asset

 Newark, NJ –Mayor Luis A. Quintana, the Newark Municipal Council, Planning Director Damon Rich, Newark Riverfront Revival, Essex County, Ironbound Community Corporation (ICC), and The Trust for Public Land announced today that New Jersey Future has selected Newark’s River: Redevelopment & Public Access Plan and Newark Riverfront Park as one of its 2014 Smart Growth Award winners.

The City of Newark was one of eight communities to receive the coveted award. The construction of Newark & Essex County Riverfront Park and the adoption of the Newark’s River: Redevelopment & Public Access Plan were both recognized for demonstrating and advancing smart growth principles. These achievements, the culmination of 20 years of advocacy and planning, grew from sustained partnerships between public and private stakeholders. These partners came together to connect Newark with its river, to grow the city and its neighborhoods to the water’s edge, and to bring the life of the city to the amazing natural attraction at the heart of the region’s most populated place.

“We are honored that our longstanding efforts to re-connect our residents with our historic Passaic River and to improve the environment and quality of life there are being recognized by New Jersey Future,” said Mayor Quintana. “I commend everyone involved with this important project on gaining well-deserved statewide recognition.”

On August 3, 2013, Newark’s second segment of riverfront park opened to the public, featuring a bright orange boardwalk fabricated of recycled plastic lumber. Bringing Newark’s riverfront park area to a total of 15 acres, this opening occurred 20 years after the lower 17 miles of the adjacent Passaic River were declared a Superfund site. As accompaniment to the development and adoption of the Newark’s River: Redevelopment & Public Access Plan a few days later,these parks gave material evidence of Newark’s riverfront revival and also demonstrated strong application of smart growth principles.

The announcement of the award comes just in time for the launch of the 2014 Newark Riverfront program calendar next month. Organized programs include free and low-cost activities like concerts, boat tours, kayaking,  environmental workshops, movie nights, public art, youth day camp, and public exercise that are set to draw Newarkers and visitors to the City’s riverfront. Learn more at

“Newarkers have long known that growing our neighborhoods and downtown to the river is smart growth and sustainable development in action, and it is heartening and rewarding that others in our region and beyond recognize the same,” said Damon Rich, the City’s Planning Director and Chief Urban Designer and the principal author of Newark’s River: Redevelopment & Public Access Plan. “The Newark Planning Office and Newark Riverfront Revival aim to connect every Newarker to their river, so please join us this summer for a boat tour, a gospel festival, or a Zumba class, and join the movement back to the water.”

New Jersey Future is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that brings together concerned citizens and leaders to promote responsible land-use policies. The organization employs original research, analysis and advocacy to build coalitions and drive land-use policies that help revitalize cities and towns, protect natural lands and farms, provide more transportation choices beyond cars, expand access to safe and affordable neighborhoods and fuel a prosperous economy.

Newark Riverfront Revival (NRR) aims to revive Newark’s riverfront to bring concrete benefits to the City of Newark and its residents. Since 2008, NRR has built support for Newark’s riverfront by taking hundreds of people on boat and walking tours, hosting dozens of outreach events, organizing design education programs for youth, and staging a City Hall exhibition. Since 2012, NRR has worked with Essex County, the City of Newark, The Trust for Public Land, Ironbound Community Corporation, and other partners to build and program over 15 acres of riverfront parks, including a walking and biking trail, sports fields and courts, floating boat dock, riverfront boardwalk, playground and other settings for relaxation, picnics, exercise, and environmental education.


Newark’s Riverfront in Urban Omnibus


“Last summer, the second segment of Newark’s Riverfront Park opened to the public. Transforming deindustrialized, often polluted waterfronts into public space is a common strategy in contemporary urban revitalization, worldwide. But rarely has this tactic reflected such a long history of community-based activism for environmental justice and public access to the river.”

Walking to the Water: Environmental Justice and Newark’s Riverfront Park, Urban Omnibus, 1/29/14

Scenes from Newark River Celebration: Walk to the Water & Orange Party!

Newark’s Symphony Hall Special Ensemble led the Walk the Water. Did you think that drizzle would turn us around?

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Grupo de Bombas Os Roxinois and their earthshaking drums let everyone know we were coming.

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Rodney Gilbert, host of the River Performance, sported an orange sherbet ensemble.

NewarkWalkstotheWater5 Walk to the Water arrives at Newark Riverfront Park

Newark’s Grupo de Liberdade de Capoeira shows their stuff.

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The ribbon-cutting.

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Thanks to the Essex County Parks System Environmental Center and Tara Casella, canoes were on offer to Newarkers interested to get on the water.

Newark’s Dynamic Dynasty brought their moves to the Orange Sticks.

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Percussion from Cedric & Co and gospel from Chrystal Atmosphere

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Uniting communities along a shared river, kayakers from Paterson’s Mason Ave Christian Reformed Church tried our new dock and helped beginning canoers stay safe. 90 lucky young people received hand-made orange kites and pinwheels plus lessons on how to use them from a mysterious neighbor known as the Kite Master.

Newark Murals dedicated Song of the Passaic, its twenty-third large-scale outdoor painting, a collaboration between Ironbound Community Corporation, Seidler Chemical Company, and a team of artists led by Kevin Blythe Sampson.

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NewarkRiverfrontOrangeParty4Keeping with the orange theme while keeping it local, 150 pounds of sweet New Jersey peaches were available for all riverfront revelers.

Essex County Sheriff Armando Fontoura points out his birthplace on the temporary version of the Newark Riverfront Welcome Sign, part of the educational signage designed by MTWTF and the Newark Planning Office.


Dedication engraved at the park’s entrance next to Langston Hughes’s “Rivers.”

Maxing & relaxing.

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The park features a set of educational pictographs cut into the orange boardwalk’s rail on topics include Combined Sewer Overflow, the town of Harrison, the Dioxin Disaster, the Jackson Street Bridge, and the Passaic River.

NewarkRiverfrontSigns2NewarkRiverfrontSignsProgramDownload the day’s program.NewarkRiverfrontBoardwalk


Saturday, August 3 Newark River Celebration: Walk to the Water & Orange Party!

On Saturday, August 3, you are invited to celebrate and participate as Newark returns to its river!

9 am at Newark City Hall, join people from across the city and the region to walk from downtown to Newark’s newest segment of riverfront park. Carry a sign to represent your neighborhood or group (we’ll have supplies to make them), wear your orange (in honor of our new orange boardwalk) and stroll with musicians, dancers, and more. Contact Riverfront Coordinator Chris Caceres to reserve your place at newarkriverfront [at] gmail [dot] com or (201) 563-2834.

Then, starting at 11:30 and running through evening, keep your orange on for the Orange Party to open the park and its orangeness with Mayor Cory Booker, County Executive Joseph D. DiVincenzo, Jr., stepdancers, spoken word artists, a jazz band, Brazilian capoeiristas, face painters, Double Dutch jumpers, and more. Plus, at 12:30, we will dedicate Song of the Passaic, the Newark Public Art Program‘s largest project to date.

Full schedule

9–11 am Newark Walks to the Water
Meet on front steps of City Hall, 920 Broad St

Join people from across the city and the region to stroll 1.5 miles from Newark City Hall to Newark’s newest riverfront park with musicians, dancers, and more!

Carry a sign to represent your neighborhood or group (we’ll have supplies to make them) and wear orange in honor of Newark’s new orange boardwalk. First 150 walkers receive a souvenir shirt!

11:30 am-7 pm Orange Party
Newark Riverfront Park, Raymond Blvd & Somme St

11:30 am Newark Riverfront Park Ribbon-Cutting

12:30 am Song of the Passaic mural dedication

1–4 pm River Activities
Fun & free activities for all ages including boat rides, interactive demonstrations of Capoeira, Double Dutch, Zumba and yoga, arts & crafts, facepainting, kite flying, Sewer-in-a-Suitcase and other environmental education games, a drum circle, and more!

4–7 pm River Performance
Featuring Newark talent & culture including electric jazz/R&B band the Melectrix, dance group Dynamic Dynasty, traditional music and dance from Brazil, Ecuador, and Portugal, Brazilian martial artists Grupo Libertade, and Newark Youth Idol winners.

Please note: 11:30 am ribbon-cutting is rain or shine. Watch this space for any updates on other events.

WttW   OPDownload trilingual flyer.

RiverCelebrationDownload palmcard.

See scenes from last June’s Walk to the Water, led by the Malcolm X. Shabazz Marching Band and River Celebration.


6/15 Orange Boardwalk Young People Focus Group

On Saturday, June 15, Newark Riverfront Revival was happy to host a church youth group to help think of ways to activate the soon-to-open second segment of riverfront park.

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The group brainstormed ideas for the Orange Party on August 3 to celebrate the park’s opening.

We met and interviewed one of the construction supervisors, a graduate of West Side High School.

At the east end of Essex County Riverfront Park, we spoke with Kevin Sampson, the lead artist on “Song of the Passaic,” the mural-in-progress overlooking the park by Newark Murals.