My Fordham Conversation Continues

Discussing the contours of Jersey City history and politics isn’t easy. In fact, Robin Shannon’s and my extended sit-down for Fordham Conversations, a weekly program on WFUV (90.7 FM), resulted in two full episodes.

You can hear Part 2 here.

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Manufactures Village: Art & Work

Manufactures Village, the original home of Seabury & Johnson (later Johnson & Johnson) sits in East Orange, New Jersey. Built in the late 1880s, the complex overflows with fascinating detail and industrial character. Currently, Manufactures Village houses an array of small businesses, light industry, and art studios.

Perfume Professor and I were invited to partake in this year’s annual studio tour (October 21-22, 2017) at the complex by our friends, Liz and Brendan. (Liz, the owner of Jersey City Veggie Burgers, rents a commercial kitchen in the Village.) Continue reading

A Percent for the Arts: Needed in Jersey City

On the evening of June 14, 2017, Jersey City arts advocates crowded the city council chambers and dominated the public comments segment of the council meeting. Speaker after speaker approached the microphone and articulated the integral role of the arts in the life of the city. Arts contribute to the local economy. Arts improve the quality of life. Arts capture the culture and history of the city. Arts matter.% for the Arts

Investment is pouring into Jersey City, and development is transforming its neighborhoods. Meanwhile, the arts are suffering. Many arts organizations rely upon the largess of real estate interests for studio and performance spaces. A pathetically small amount of state dollars earmarked for the arts finds its way to Jersey City.

(For a fuller analysis of the current state of the Jersey City arts community, see my recent article published by Strong Towns.)

Prior to the city council meeting, organizers passed out several hundred red shirts with the slogan “% for the Arts” printed on them. Citizens proudly wore the shirts throughout the meeting. The speakers and organizers were motivated and energized.

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