Wednesday, December 28, 2011


I was reading the comments on a nice story about two generations of Elizabeth cops in the same family,  five in all, & the posts descended into A. Gripes about cop salaries. B. What an awful place is Elizabeth.

I don't know how much cops here make, & I'm aware too many of them aren't residents of the city, & I saw a patrol officer the other day who couldn't be described as anything other than fat & out of shape. But before you complain about city cop salaries, it's good idea to ask yourself why you're not a cop in a city.

As for hating on Elizabeth, there's a lot to not like about Elizabeth, or any city in Jersey. What I mainly  don't like about it is its cultural blandness (I probably wouldn't feel that way if I were Cuban or Colombian). This was a more interesting city when my mom was growing up here. She grew up in Elmora Hills, the suburban west end that extends over to a few blocks from where I live. But she attended public schools when Elizabeth was a manufacturing powerhouse with ethnic enclaves: Italian, Irish, Polish, African -American, Jewish, German, Hungarian. Mom didn't revel in diversity, but she wasn't intimidated by cities & she knew a calzone from a perogie. She didn't discourage her kids from going to cities, in fact, she even encouraged it by  giving me money to see first run blockbuster movies  in New York with my friends  & not warning me to stay away from 42nd Street.

I admit it's been a long time since I considered Newark & Paterson places of interest I liked exploring. But if you dig into the knee-jerk rants some people make against Elizabeth (or Newark, or Jersey City for that matter), you realize, because they are so bigoted & misinformed,  that  they are likely terrified of all cities. They'd hate Chicago & New Orleans & San Francisco & Los Angeles. They'd hate London & Paris & Rome & Amsterdam & Madrid.  They probably hate Honolulu.  There have been city haters since the establishment of the very first cities. They invoke deities to destroy cities & are beside themselves with glee when some natural catastrophe befalls a Sodom or a Lisbon.

You hafta take the comments posted at with a grain of salt. There are a lot of angry white males there who just love to blow off steam from their keyboards.
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"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

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