Monday, July 30, 2007

So damned ugly

The guy in the apartment next-door has been singing & jumping around for 5 1/2 hours to what sounds mostly like voodoo music; it's probably Haitian pentecostal. Fortunately, the volume is just short of maddening. His kids get all worked up, too. Those kids are stuck in the apartment all day everyday in the summer, mom & dad never take them to the popular & safe playground just a 10 minute stroll up the street with a remarkably diverse ethnic mix ranging from Russian Jews to Pakistani Muslims. (As always happens, the younger child finally flung himself into a hard, stationary object & is now crying & the music has stopped.)

Chatting online last night with another resident of Elizabeth, first time it's happened. She resides with a guyfriend only blocks from here. Has a piano in her apartment. She's a lifelong resident. My last question of the night to her, rhetorical, as 1/2 an Ambien kicked in, was, "When did this city become so damned ugly?" But I suspect the change is mostly in my perception. My hometown is ugly now, first hit me that way when I drove around my childhood neighborhood about ten years ago. Some downtowns that had a quaint ugliness lost all charm & became just plain ugly when they were "improved." Major Jersey highway corridors that once had colorful & varied scenery, like Routes 1, 9 & 22, are now relentlessly awful along their entire lengths. Perhaps I have simply lost my patience for ugliness. More likely, ugliness has lost its character. One of my favorite "ugly" places, the Great Falls in Paterson, is now just dingy, a giant rocky ditch except after heavy rainfalls. The strange & eccentric human-made landmarks celebrated by Weird New Jersey are disappearing.


Hi Bob,

Try and relocate there are other states that are cheaper.Up state NY Oswego County off Lake Ontatio.Rutland Vermont.NJ city's are in bad shape.Have you seen downtown Rahway lately?The town of have and have nots.Keep up the good work on the blog.
Keyport opened it's new fishing pier this week.
It's the places with no have nots that make me most uncomfortable. I used to visit downtown Stone Harbor for an avocado & sprout sandwich at a modest eatery I liked, take a quick browse through the bookstore & skiddaddle back to North Wildwood by midafternoon.

Nothing short of a full scholarship at Cornell could induce me to spend a winter in upstate NY.
My wife used to vacation down in Stone Harbor amid the one-storey bungalows. Now, three-storey luxury shore homes that sell for $2 mil are the norm. She barely recognized the place.
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