• Short Summary

    This study of Newark, New Jersey, has been shot by Visnews staffer Jean Poignonec as an illustration of the deep-rooted problems currently afflicting the social stability and the economy of so many major American cities.

  • Description

    This study of Newark, New Jersey, has been shot by Visnews staffer Jean Poignonec as an illustration of the deep-rooted problems currently afflicting the social stability and the economy of so many major American cities.
    In terms of twentieth-century status, Newark is an important centre for transport and industry, education and commerce. It has tradition, too. This is the United States' third oldest city -- founded after Boston and neighbouring New York.
    So what is the crisis that faces this well-established city? To the outside world, it is familiar mainly from the newspaper reports headlining racial tension. The 1967 riots have a lasting memorial in the charred and gutted buildings still standing in the city's ghetto areas.
    But the riots were simply the expression of an economic and social malaise that spreads deeper than straightforward antagonism between black and white communities. This film takes a look at some of the economic symptoms of the malaise in the city where thousands work in insurance headquarters, but here it is virtually impossible to buy insurance for ghetto buildings. It's a city here billions of dollars are spent on the airport, docks and commercial center, but here lower class housing continues to deteriorate for lack of money.
    These are some of the symptoms of strife that have been growing in Newark. And perhaps Newark itself is symptomatic of urban problems throughout the United States.
    Newark, New Jersey. Beneath its wholly American skyline of office towers and skyscrapers, the streets reflect a prosperity that is the reward of centuries of enterprise. But the surface prosperity is delusive. Underneath lurks the spectre of bankruptcy, which has become an increasing fear in so many twentieth-century cities. The symptoms are familiar -- heavy overheads from amenities, decreasing income from tax exempt concerns. Federal grants have diminished, private concerns refuse to invest in the ghetto.
    It is this dark financial situation that stifled the flow of jobs for workers from the black ghetto and helped trigger the 1967 riots. The shells of buildings burned during the riots have been left to rot -- a wasteland memorial to one of the grimmest moments in the city's three-hundred year history.
    Nearly seventy per cent of Newark's four-hundred-thousand population are black of Puerto Rican -- that's forty per cent more than in neighbouring New York City. More and more white workers have moved out to the suburbs. So the black neighbourhoods disintegrate. But with the recent election of a Black Mayor, Kenneth Gibson, new hope has flowed back into the black community. He and his administration are trying to create a sense of family for blacks, a source of stability and pride, which their lives have lacked. But to clean up the ghetto takes money -- and ironically there's little of that available in the rich banking center of Newark.
    In dramatic contrast to the poverty and decay of the ghetto are the upper income bracket homes at Lake Street. No more than twenty minutes from the slums, you can find houses costing up to quarter of a million dollars.
    The district called Ironbound presents an even more striking contrast. The neat, tree-lined streets are the home of the lower-class white community. The houses are small, cheap and immaculate. The deepest fear of the residents is that the cancer of urban decay should spread from the slums into their neighbourhood. Plans to bring middle class white families into the city center failed for lack of finance.
    The center is already packed by industry and one of the world's biggest concentrations of transport facilities. These include the lines of three major railways.
    The city has more than three-hundred industries turning out beer, machinery, chemicals, electrical goods, jewellery, toys and many other products.
    Newark has one of the world's fastest growing ports. Its thirty-six deepwater berths handle more than four million tons a year. The money not available for low-profit urban renewal is being poured into the highly profitable docks. Newark and nearby Port Elizabeth are benefiting from a four-hundred million dollar expansion programme There's no lack of funds for Newark airport, either. It's in the middle of a two-hundred million dollar building programme, which will include a four-hundred acre passenger terminal, reckoned to be the most modern in the world.
    On a working day, the population of Newark doubles as nearly half a million commuters flood into the center. Most are white workers living in the suburbs -- so once again the jobs go to outsiders rather than the impoverished sections of Newark's own community.
    It's a bitter irony that Newark is one of the chief centres for insurance firms in the United States. Yet it is next to impossible to buy insurance for houses and businesses located in the ghetto area.
    The main reason why Newark faces bankruptcy is the fact that sixty per cent of its area is tax exempt. Most of this land is occupied by parks, schools, hospitals, churches, the airport and docks -- none of which pay taxes. Urban renewal land is used -- not for better houses -- but for new university buildings. It's thought to be the first campus carved entirely from urban renewal land. It will house twenty-five thousand students at a cost of sixty million dollars. So these are some of the problems in Newark -- the United States' third oldest city determined to develop to keep its status as a center of world commerce. Enormous commercial wealth confronted by widespread poverty and slum conditions. It's a formula for crisis that has developed all over the would. But the solution has yet to be found.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA6GIHCXQTP10T5152QNJD6XSJP
    Media URN:
    VLVA6GIHCXQTP10T5152QNJD6XSJP
    Group:
    Reuters - Incuding Visnews
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    02/06/1971
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:05:03:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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