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Monday, May 11, 2009

Up in smoke

Last year a terrible fire destroyed three homes and damaged a couple more on the block on which I grew up on the east side of Newark, New Jersey -- Cortland Street, in the Ironbound (or "Down Neck") section of that city. I wrote about the fire here.

My old schoolyard friend Mike Dobzrelecki, who alerted me to this sad occurrence, e-mailed me the other day to add that the internet now has dozens of photos, and even some videos, of the blaze in progress. The photos are here, and the videos here and here. They're even more distressing than the aftermath photos that Mike sent originally.

Eleven families -- seven children and 18 adults -- were affected by the fire, according to the Red Cross. There were no injuries that I know of. The last I heard, the fire was classified as suspicious.

Comments (4)

Maybe some condo developers wanted that real estate...

I was curious about what had happened on the site since the fire (new construction, or vacant lot?) So Google-mapped 36 Courtney Street - Closest streetview is at 36 Courtney Place - one street over, (and to my eyeslooks like an alleyway, not a street.) I don't know how often Google refreshes maps, (arial or streetview) but I see no evidence of the fire (either it's obstructed by housing or they're using an older landsat photo.)

I don't know the east-coast urban-look, but to my eyes (raised in rural E. Oregon) this looks to be a bleak landscape. No parks, high-density, lots of gang-tag graffiti. But I've never been to Newark - so Jack (if you don't mind a question) - good memories? Good people? A tough place to grow up? Would this be considered middle-class, or hurting? And how has the neighborhood changed since you came west??


Andrew, for some reason Google Street View missed Cortland Street, which these days is a one-way street. Cortland Place is indeed an alley. If you didn't see burned out buildings, they're using old photos.

The alley was never too picturesque, but it's really gone downhill. Cortland Street is still solidly middle-class. It's high-density living -- if you don't like it, you won't like Portland in 20 years, either.

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