Monday, July 02, 2012
The sign with the Official Seal of the City of Elizabeth. Excuse me, but since when does the city officially designate ethnic districts? Is there a sign over by the Jewish Education Center complex saying "Welcome to the Jewish District"? That Jewish community has roots going back to 1880. I appreciate living near them. Wish someone would open a falafel stand. Our famous Italian neighborhood, "Peterstown," known locally as "The Burg," doesn't to my knowledge have signs; it's a neighborhood, not a district. It doesn't even have a predominantly Italian population anymore, just a lot of Italian restaurants, cafes & meat markets. Ethnic neighborhoods are organic, they change. Elizabeth no longer has an Irish, a Polish, a German neighborhood. In the 1950's, 60's, 70's there were enough Russian Orthodox to build a beautiful new church around the corner & pay for it. Where are they now? What in this city constitutes an "African-American District"? The Colombians are welcome to promote their three blocks of Morris Ave. businesses through their merchant associations. Go ahead, put up signs on your properties. Have parades & festivals. But I'll tell you this; I don't live in a "Colombian District" authorized by city hall. Where are the borders? Where's your churches, your social clubs? Most of the Colombian businesses here are less than a decade old, many less than five. The new school on Morris. Ave. is named for a great Puerto Rican educational reformer. That clock tower in the photo is attached to a restored train station housing a fine Italian food establishment, Michelino's.